Janet Courtney, PhD, LCSW, RPT-S
Janet Courtney, PhD, LCSW, RPT-S is the Founder of FirstPlay® Therapy and offers a Certification to Practitioners in FirstPlay® Infant Massage & Kinesthetic Storytelling®. Since 1997, she has been an Adjunct Professor at Barry University, Miami, FL where she also obtained her Doctoral degree in Social Work completing a dissertation in Developmental Play Therapy, touch and attachment.
She is a Registered Play Therapy Supervisor and past President of the Florida Association for Play Therapy. Dr. Courtney is author/editor of the books Infant Play Therapy: Foundations, Models, Programs and Practice and Healing Child and Family Trauma through Expressive and Play Therapies: Art, Nature, Storytelling, Body, Mindfulness” book. She is co-author of the groundbreaking book, Touch in Child Counseling and Play Therapy: An Ethical and Clinical Guide, and is published in the International Journal of Play Therapy, the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, and the Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture. Other publications include chapters in the books, Environmental Expressive Therapies: Nature-Assisted Theory and Practice (2017) and in Play-based Interventions for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders (2012).
Janet’s career has focused on attachment and bonding, and the importance of nurturing touch between parents and their young children. As a wholistic oriented practitioner, she believes in the power of infant massage and joyful “first-play” activities (for example, patty cake and peek-a-boo) as the best start for infant mental health.Dr. Courtney is an internationally recognized play therapist and has been invited to speak on topics of infant and childhood play therapy in England, Ireland, Morocco, Russia, Ukraine, and the Cayman Islands. She has acted as a consultant to several Florida based children’s agencies, and supervises clinicians seeking Florida board licensure, as well as, those seeking Certification as a Registered Play Therapist. Dr. Courtney has developed a new process of storytelling called FirstPlay® Kinesthetic Storytelling® which merges imagery relaxation skills with joyful first-play interactive parent-child activities. Her children’s book, The Magic Rainbow Hug©, makes this technique directly accessible to professionals, parents, and the children who can most benefit from its use.