What's Included?

1) Storytelling with Superheroes in Play Therapy and 2) Using Pop Culture in Play Therapy & Counseling

Storytelling with Superheroes in Play Therapy

All of our clients have their own superhero inside of them! Our goal as mental health clinicians is to help them unlock their inner strengths! Overcoming depression, anxiety, grief, and trauma is what superheroes do! We will establish why Joseph Campbell's "Hero's Journey" is imperative with storytelling and superhero metaphors. Exploring the psychology behind superheroes, we discuss the latest research and will discuss how to use superheroes and storytelling in play therapy. We will cover evidence-based practices. We will also discuss strategies about helping clients distinguish between reality and fantasy play. You will walk away with immediate interventions you can use right away with your clients in person or in telehealth!

Learning objectives:

  1. Participants will be introduced to the history of superheroes and the Hero(ine)’s Journey and be able to articulate why superheroes appeal to adults, teens, and children in play therapy.
  2. Participants will review the latest research and establish which evidence-based theories enhance the superhero metaphor in play therapy.
  3. Participants will articulate how storytelling and metaphor can create safety for clients to discuss and heal from trauma, mental health issues, and grief in play therapy.
  4. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss strategies to help clients distinguish between reality and fantasy play in the playroom.
  5. Participants will be introduced to cultural diversity in with superheroes and discuss how a client's own culture or ethnicity can help self-esteem, self-compassion, and self-identify in play therapy.


Using Pop Culture in Play Therapy & Counseling

Using mainstream media as the metaphor, this 3 hour training will explore the psychology behind superheroes, analyze the latest research and will discuss how to use these metaphors in the counseling setting and in play therapy. We will cover evidence-based practices including: play therapy, ACT, CBT, bibliotherapy and more. We will establish how comic book narratives and a client’s love for a certain character can promote engagement to overcome depression, anxiety, trauma, grief/loss, and maladaptive behaviors. 

Learning objectives: 

1) Participants will analyze the latest research on the use of the pop culture metaphor in clinical practice and communicate the impact of this in mental health practice and play therapy.

2) Participants will establish how to identify strengths and foster the therapeutic alliance in play therapy using the client’s passion for a particular mainsteam media.

3)The participants will review case conceptualizations, treatment plans and interventions us ing popular-culture references such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Disney and Anime/Manga, Dungeons and Dragons and Minecraft and in play therapy. 

4) Participants will articulate how video games can be used therapeutically in play therapy, and the pros and cons of technology in the playroom. 

Each course is eligible for 3 APT non-contact hour Credit Hours under Special Topics. No NBBC Credit available.

APT credits available as listed in the course description are provided by Ragan Snyder-Smith, LCSW, RPT-S, APT Approved Provider 19-588.  Play therapy credit available to mental health professionals only as listed in each course description. Courses that do not qualify for play therapy credit are clearly listed.

NBCC credits, when available are provided by Jennifer Taylor. Jennifer Taylor has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider ACEP No. 6928. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly marked. Jennifer Taylor is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

Technical support for this course is provided by Jennifer Taylor of Jennifer Taylor Play Therapy Services, LLC.  


Instructor Ragan Snyder-Smith, LSCSW RPT-S

Ragan is a Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker who is currently in practice at Andover Family Counseling. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Wichita State University. She also has a Master’s in Education from Newman University. In her 20 years in mental health, she has worked in schools, psychiatric hospitals, foster care and adoption agencies, and nonprofits. She is passionate about helping women heal from what may interfere with emotional, psychological and social well being. She specializes in women's issues, including: trauma, depression, anxiety, relationships, and barriers to sexual health. Ragan has spoken to audiences throughout the United States and Australia.

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