Play Therapy Community Inspiration, Information, & Connection for Child Therapists Around the World | ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Child Parent Relationship Therapy, School Counseling Behavior Therapy, Sandtray Therapy,

Play Therapy Community will present a fresh, insightful episode once a week, usually on Thursday mornings. On this podcast, we will cover topics such as play therapy techniques and resources, group therapy, maternal mental health, picky eaters, struggles in school, behavioral issues, grief and loss, and so much more. We’ll also delve into specific diagnosis such as ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Specific Learning Disabilities, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, etc. Difficult topics, such as parenting through separation/divorce, depression, anxiety struggles, relationship struggles, and such will be explored as well. As the host of Play Therapy Community, I feel honored that you are joining us on this journey for knowledge to truly help our children in a way that honors their mind, body, and soul. My name is Jackie Flynn, and I’m a Licensed Psychotherapist, Registered Play Therapist, Education Specialist, Adolescent Life Coach and a Parent Educator.
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Play Therapy Community Inspiration, Information, & Connection for Child Therapists Around the World | ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Child Parent Relationship Therapy, School Counseling Behavior Therapy, Sandtray Therapy,




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Now displaying: April, 2016
Apr 28, 2016

Parenting in the Rain, Episode 18

When a Child has Suicidal Thoughts

In This Episode:  

Below are some snippets from a conversation with Jonathan Singer, LCSW, Ph.D.  on this episode of Parenting in the Rain podcast.

Jonathan shares that suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the United States.  

“Risk factors” are different than “warning signs” when talking about the issue of suicide.

Risk factors are conditions that increase the person’s chance that they may try to take their life by suicide.  It is important to know that having risk factors doesn’t equate to suicide ideation or intent.

Warning signs are things that let you know that there are foreseeable plans for suicide in the near future.   It’s important that a thorough assessment is done by a mental health professional if warning signs are present.  

Expressing “hopeless” about the future and talking about a plan are some warning signs to be aware of.

It’s important for parents to listen to their children, especially when warning signs are present, and to take it seriously.   Dismissing a child’s warnings signs are not helpful and could be dangerous.

When someone dismisses a child’s thoughts of emotional pain they may interpret the person as conveying “your pain is not a priority to me”.

When adults can determine if the child wants “to die” or just wants “to be happy”, a supportive response can be more aligned with what is the best help for the child during that time.

Parents should seek support from mental health professionals before suicide ideation is present if possible.  

Sometimes the egocentric state that can be present in teenagers due to a natural developmental stage of adolescence can lead them to feel like thoughts of suicide is something that “everyone” has present in their lives and feeling like it is “normal”.  It is important to  concerns relating to suicide early and often.

It’s important to seek assistance from professionals when you suspect suicidal thoughts; parents should not try to figure out how to help their child on their own as even the professionals consult since it can be a complex and is a serious matter.

Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) is the intentional, self-inflicted harm to one’s body.   

If someone is engaging in self-harming behavior, even if believed to be NSSI, a suicide risk assessment should be performed in a professional setting.   

There are many reasons why children engage in self harming behaviors, mental health professionals can perform a suicide risk assessment and help with issues surrounding the self-harming behaviors.

“Postvention” happens after a suicide death to support people as it pertains to prevention of future deaths by suicide and to address the grief and trauma of the bereaved.

Jonathan mentioned a great resource for schools, “After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools”

It’s important to be aware and a part of your child’s social media world to use as your own “megaphone” to communicate helpful information to those in need of it.

Sometimes children have more than one social media account. It’s important to be aware and involved as a parent.

Jonathan mentioned the following quotes:  Carl Rogers’ quote, “Congruence e is the key to happiness.”  

And, the quote “Suicide doesn’t take away the pain, it gives it to someone else.”

Hannah’s Heroes  is a non-profit organization with a passionate mission to draw attention to youth suicide prevention. They work with and through community agencies and partners to develop solutions that provide support for their community and prevent other losses.  Visit their website at and donate to their cause, Youth Suicide Prevention, if possible.

Apr 21, 2016

In This Episode:  

Pam Dyson tells us all about Play Therapy.  

Play therapy is different than a child just playing.  

Play therapy may look and feel differently with different therapists.  Some therapists allow the child to lead the play in some situations and other situations may be a bit more directive by the therapists.  

The relationship between the therapist and the child is key in regards to meeting the treatment goals.

Pam customizes her approach for each child and each family to ensure that she meets their specific needs.

Pam Dyson trains therapist in Play Therapy techniques through their work.  She is a strong believer in ongoing training for therapist to stay abreast of new approaches.

Play therapy can help with all kinds of behavioral and emotional challenges that a child may have such as grief and lost from a death, divorce, adoption, anxiety, depression, traumas, life changes, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Learning Disabilities, and so much more.

Its important parents to work closely with the therapist to maximize the effect for the child.

Play therapy can be used to diagnose and treat children with problematic issues. 

The benefits of Play Therapy is seemingly limitless.  It nurtures responsibility, understanding, self-esteem, and so much more.

Play therapy is a method of therapy that has been proven to reduce and/or resolve a variety of problems in children and families.

It is designed for children between the ages of 3-9 years old, while my Art Therapy Studio is designed for ages 12+.  

Play therapists work closely with parents to develop an effective treatment plan that works towards a happier and healthier life.

Sometimes Play Therapy is offered in the home, school, and other places.  It is not limited to the therapist’s office.   

The toys in a play therapy room are chose carefully to ensure that children can fully express themselves.  Some of the toys are aggressive, nurturing and expressive in nature.

EMDR integrates extremely well with Play Therapy. Problematic issues such as phobias, nightmares, bed-wetting, fear, anger, acting out/aggression, and more…, can be treated successfully with this integrated therapeutic approach. For children and adolescents, sand tray therapy, art therapy, hand tapping, and a “hand held buzzer” (to create the bi-lateral stimulation effect) can be during an EMDR therapy session. This is one of my(Jackie) treatments of choice, as I have seen so many people heal much more quickly than other means.

Be sure to check out the future episode with Dr. Dalena Taylor on Child Parent Relationship Therapy, also known as CPRT and Filial therapy.

Also, a previous guest on Parenting in the Rain podcast, Tammi Van Hollander, will be on the show soon to tell us all about and expressive arts type of therapy, Sand Tray Therapy.

Following is a link to my private play therapy practice click on “Tour”.

How to know when your child needs therapy?  If there is changes in the child’s behavior, especially after a change or a trauma in the child’s life therapy may be beneficial for the child.  Changes such as a move, a death in the family or a pet, trauma at school or home, and many more issues can cause a shift in the behavior and/or cause a change in their ability to focus.

How do you know when it’s time to finish therapy?  When the child’s behaviors  improve, the reasons why they came in improve, or the child seems to be enjoying a better quality of life at home, school and life it could be a good time to phase out of therapy.

Sometimes children return back to therapy after it’s complete if the behaviors resurface or another issue arises.

The relationship between the child and the therapist is so important in the healing process. 

To find a play therapist in your area you can do a search for a play therapist on the internet, but specifically the Association for Play Therapy, APT, has some great resources and can give you information on Play Therapists in your area.

Be sure to check out future episodes of the podcast.  A free training will be coming up next week to help parents through parent through divorce.  

You can read the full show notes at

Apr 14, 2016

Parenting in the Rain, Episode 15

Tips for Successful Co-Parenting (even in high conflict situations)

In This Episode:  (this information is also available on the free download) 



Lorrie Brook provides some tips regarding Communication & Respect for parents struggling with co-parenting in separation and divorce situations in their families.


It is important that despite living in 2 separate households you both maintain an open line of communication within the family. 

If you aren’t sure if it is something worth telling ask yourself this:

Use this question as your guide –“If this happened in the other parent’s household would I want to know?”  If the answer is yes – let them know.

When you are communicating with the other types remember these tips:  1. Be polite 2. Be concise 3. Don’t exaggerate, embellish or understate what happened. Tell it as it is.


While co-parents are no longer in a romantic relationship with each other, they are in a co-parenting relationship and as such respect plays a big role.

Here are some tips:

1. Be polite

2. Use your manners (please and thank you go a long way!)

3. Don’t talk badly about the other parent in front of the children

4. Don’t allow others to talk badly about the other parent in front of the children

5. If your children mention the other parent to you – don’t roll your eyes or the like.

6. If your children start to be rude or disrespect the other parent, correct them and talk to them about it.

 You can read the full show notes at

Apr 7, 2016

In This Episode:

  • In this episode, Penny Williams tells us what her journey of parenting a child with ADHD and Autism has been like for her and her family.
  • She shares some helpful strategies such as validating her child’s feelings during times of upset, remaining calm during stressful situations such as meltdowns and tantrums, communicating with the school, and much more.
  • She recommends that parents advocate for their child’s needs and educate themselves as much as possible.  Knowledge and understanding is key.
  • She refers to her son as “Ricochet” to respect his privacy.  His soccer coach gave him that nickname at his first day of practice at 4 years old.
  • At first she didn’t realize that his behavior was out of the ordinary.  Feedback from peers and teachers helped her to realize that something was going on and there was a need to seek more information from a specialist.  She eventually sought out an appointment with a Developmental Specialist, which took a while to get an appointment.  During that time she researched to try to find answers on her own. 
  • Penny thought that since he was able to focus on things that he loved, that focus wasn’t really an issue. 
  • She shared what her family’s lives were like before the diagnosis with school struggles, the search for answers and strategies, and the emotional impact of it all.
  • She felt overwhelmed and in search of information to “fix” it after she received the diagnosis.  But, then she realized that she couldn’t “fix” it. She searched out knowledge to help with strategies and techniques.  She wrote 3 books so far to help other parents learn from her experience.   It was really a mindset shift for her and her family.  It took her about 2 years to come into acceptance that it couldn’t be “fixed”, but it can be helped and their family could feel joy and peace together.
  • Penny talks about the reality of the struggle – “an on the bathroom floor” type of struggle.  It can be difficult and leave parents feeling inadequate, frustrated, and in emotional distress.  She tells us that suppressing feelings does not make anything better. 
  • She mentions the metaphor of the flight attendant instructing parents to put the oxygen mask on themselves first before they do their children, so that they can be there for their kids.  It’s important to validate your own feelings as a parent as well as well as realize that self-care is so important.  Skipping on self-care can intensify the struggle. 
  • She tells us about the “Happy Mamas” Conference coming up in May.
  • In her books, she provides specific strategies to parents to help de-escalate situations, communicate effectively for school, understanding the difference between developmental and chronological age, and much more.  
  • ADHD will never go away, but you can improve the situation.
  • At first she thought was only Sensory Processing Disorder, SPD, and a Specific Learning Disability, SLD, which does have, but when she went to a Developmental Specialist, she also learned that he has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD and eventually learned about Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD, too.
  • After the diagnosis, she felt guilty for grieving.  She compared her situation to people struggling with other diagnosis that seemed worse.  Now she knows that each person experiences the struggle and it’s important to engage in self-love and care during that time.  
  • It’s important to validate your child’s feelings instead of trying to teach in that moment of emotional overwhelm or shame them through comments such as “you’re acting like a baby”.  This can leave children feeling defective and we don’t want that for our kiddos as it can have a long-term negative impact.
  • She has a free training coming up at the “Parenting ADHD & Autism Academy”  Space is limited, so it’s important to sign-up soon to reserve your spot.
  • Penny will be offering parent coaching and online courses later on this year.
  • Penny Williams is the award-winning author of three books on parenting kids with ADHD, Boy Without Instructions, What to Expect When Parenting Children with ADHD, and The Insider’s Guide to ADHD. She is a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine, Healthline, and other parenting and special needs publications. 
  • Penny has been in the ADHD trenches for nearly 8 years now, and often describes herself as a “veteran” parent of a child with ADHD. She had to learn the hard way how to successfully parent a child with ADHD, since there were no guidebooks at the time. It's now her mission to shorten that prolonged learning curve -- and the pain and struggles that come with it -- for other parents on a similar parenting journey.