Course Description

This 2-hour recorded course provides an introduction and overview of FirstPlay® Therapy and the background “story” of its creation with its roots as an adapted Developmental Play Therapy model. It will also distinguish differences between symbolic and pre-symbolic play. It covers the vital importance of the first-play types of experiences to attachment and brain development, and the detriment for children who did not receive those experiences. It also examines how these early life experiences parallel later life relationships. The differences between the two different developmental levels of FirstPlay® Therapy are distinguished to include FirstPlay® Infant Story-Massage (birth to two years) and FirstPlay Somatic Storytelling (formerly known as Kinesthetic Storytelling®) (ages two years to ten-twelve years).

Course objectives:  At the end of this course practitioners will be able to:

  • Describe at least five significant points related to the development and historical background of FirstPlay® Therapy.
  • State at least three differences between symbolic play and pre-symbolic play and the importance of both to a child’s mental health.
  • Describe three reasons why first-play joyful activities are foundational to building secure attachments in relationships.
  • State one way in which early first-play activities mirror later life relational experiences.

This course is led by Janet Courtney, PhD., RPT-S. APT credits available as listed in the course description are sponsored by Developmental Play & Attachment Therapies (APT Approved Provider 10-287) Play therapy credit available to mental health professionals only as listed in each course description.  Courses that do no qualify for play therapy credit are clearly listed.

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

No NBCC Credit available.

If you are interested in certification in FirstPlay Somatic Storytelling:

This course is also the first two hours of the FirstPlay Somatic Storytelling Level 1 course. 

If you are interested in becoming certified in First Play Somatic Storytelling (formerly known as First Play Kinesthetic Storytelling), you can start with this FREE course.

 If this material resonates with you, you can go directly to this course, Somatic Storytelling Level 1 to complete the remaining of Level 1.

If you are not sure (yet) about certification or just need to spread your resources out over time,  Dr. Courtney has offered the next three modules of Somatic Storytelling Level 1 as stand-alone courses.  

Next, you would purchase these courses

2)  Attachment Theory in FirstPlay Therapy

3). The Ethics of Touch in Play Therapy

4). Parent and Child Attachment and Assessment (Coming Soon!)

Once you complete all 4 of the courses listed above, please email Jen Taylor at [email protected] to purchase Module 5, which will be the final course needed for you to complete Level 1 of the Somatic Storytelling Series.  Once you have completed that course, you can move directly to Level 2 of the Somatic Storytelling series.  

The three-part Somatic Storytelling series is 37.5 hours of training in all three Levels of the Somatic Storytelling series.  After completing the training, contact Dr. Courtney to schedule individual or group consultation sessions to review the material and demonstrate competency in the techniques.

Instructor 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.

Course curriculum

    1. Welcome to the Course

    2. A Note About FirstPlay Somatic Storytelling (formerly Kinesthetic Storytelling) Certification

    1. Course PowerPoint

    2. Course Video Recording

    3. Required Content: Francis McGlone Lecture

    1. Evaluation (Required)

    2. Quiz (Required)

About this course

  • Free
  • 7 lessons
  • 2 hours of video content

This Course is Available Free of Charge

What Students Are Saying

5 star rating

Great Course!

Melissa Opiel

I enjoyed this introduction into FirstPlay and am interested in further training opportunities and materials

I enjoyed this introduction into FirstPlay and am interested in further training opportunities and materials

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5 star rating

Great, helpful, clear, interesting

Eva Zikmundova

Very interesting course for all working with children, motivation for training in FirstPlay. Thank you.

Very interesting course for all working with children, motivation for training in FirstPlay. Thank you.

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5 star rating

Theoretical Foundations

Victoria Kelly

Really interesting

Really interesting

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