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: June, 2016
Jun 30, 2016

Parenting in the Rain, Episode 27, How to Heal and Move on After Divorce

Are you a parent worried about your child through your divorce? Here’s a link to my s Free Parent Class 

In This Episode:  

It’s important to identify the emotional pain by naming the feelings.

Dr. Siegel says “When we can name it, we can tame it!”.  This is so true. 

Common feelings are feelings of betrayal, fear, guilt, hope, anger, regret, etc...  Recognizing and accepting the feelings that surface, release their grip on you. 

Also, it is important to recognize your belief systems that have been put into place through it all.  Some painful ones that I hear in my practice is “I am unlovable.” “I should’ve done something earlier.” “I am a bad person.” and such.  If those are coming up for you, therapy may be the best option to help you heal. 

When we experience trauma, our brain functions differently.  It can change so many things in our lives.  Divorce is no different.  If left unprocessed in a healthy way, one my feel anxiety when connecting with new people such as dating.  Perhaps feeling clingy, untrusting, or even standoffish and unable to accept the other’s compliments.  

For parents, unprocessed trauma could reduce their capacity to be fully present with their kiddos and cause them to feel “numb” to things that they previously enjoyed.  It could cause them to be irritable or to have a shorter fuse with their kiddos.  And, for many it just feels like they are stuck, destined to feel that way forever.  Trauma distorts time.

It’s important to seek support not only to help you grieve the loss of the dreams you had when you got married, but also to help you reprocess the trauma, so that you don’t repeat the same situation with someone new as you delve into a new relationship.  

Some people grieve, then find someone new, while others find someone new then feel those feelings.  Now, I’ll bet you can imagine which one has the best results.  That’s why it’s recommended for people that are newly divorced not to dive right into a new relationship.  The excitement of a new relationship can disguise the pain for a while.  But, after the newness wears off, then it can surface. It can leave people with new relationship challenges.  

Also, jumping in too soon after divorce can complicate the adjustment process for the children too.  Some people have a big worry of not being able to financially support themselves without someone else, so getting in a relationship right out of divorce is part of their freedom plan. Unfortunately, relationships that exists as a financial stability piece can dissolve and be more destructive than ever.  So it’s super important to heal first, and then move on after you are in a healthier spot, emotionally and financially.  


After your divorce, be sure to take time to decompress.  Engage in an activity that makes you feel good, other than dating or partying.  Something that ignites your feeling of self again: volunteering, exercise, connecting with friends, painting... Only you know what does this.  Movement can do amazing things for your emotional state.  

Identify and connect with your support system.  Friends, family, therapist, etc.  the reason why this helps is because we are wired as social beings.  This means, we have an innate need to feel heard, cared about, ... in the heart and mind of someone else.  <3

After divorce, this can be especially important since relationship ruptured can leave one feeling unheard, unloved, uncared about.  

Since our bodies are a system, when a trauma happens such as with some divorces, it can affect our sleep patterns, tolerance levels, digestive system, emotional regulation (some people experience depressive and anxiety symptoms).  With therapy, people can organize it all in your brain, heal the hurts and position themselves with a much healthier capacity to adjust and enjoy your new start, which can then help your kiddos ultimately to move on.  

Just like the flight attendant says to put on your own oxygen mask before you do your child’s, be sure to oxygenate yourself during this time so that you can be there for your kiddos.  

With friends and family, notice the amount of time that you engage in “Divorce” talk.  If it’s too much, pull back and seek out a therapist for individual or group support.  Let your previous relationship be your teacher. 

What “ruts” do you want to get out of? What would you like for the future? What are some deal breakers with future relationships?  

Some relationships end as a result, or at least partially because of emotional abuse.  This is tough for some to grasp since there aren’t any physical marks, but there are certainly emotional scars.  This involves a regular pattern of verbal assault, such as threatening, bullying, constant criticism, or more subtle approaches such as intimidation, shaming, humiliation, control, manipulation, etc... 

Emotional abuse is used to control and suppress the other person.  


A lot of time it can result out of childhood wounds and insecurities that the abuser experienced and didn’t heal from in their own life.  This reminds me of the quote “HURT PEOPLE, HURT PEOPLE”.  Along the way, healthy coping mechanisms weren’t put into place.  This could leave them with a hunger for control and power as a result of their unprocessed anger, hurt, fear and feelings of powerlessness, those more vulnerable feelings.  That’s one of the reasons why you should heal yourself through this, so that you can be healthy enough to parent in a healthy way for your kiddos. 

Allow yourself to grieve if you are feeling the pain of divorce.  Allow yourself to feel the feelings in a supported, safe way.   One thing that can be incredibly helpful is to write and / or create some type of artwork.  

The power of expression is amazing. I use expressive art therapy in my work in almost every session with my clients, regardless of age.  

Journaling can be really helpful.  Research tells us that it cannot only help at the moment with regulating the body’s physiological response such as blood pressure, heart rate, and it can help people sleep more sound, but it can also help in the long term with huge physical and emotional benefits.  For this, you can just by a journal (it doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive) and just write what comes to mind, thereby releasing it from your mind body and soul.

It is also helpful to write a letter to yourself from someone that you love and that cares about you, such as a family member or a trusted friend. This one was shared with me from a dear friend that went through a divorce herself.   It can be so very healing.  It’s cathartic and can help people heal enough to move on in a healthy way.  

From a neuroscience perspective, the power of telling our story through a narrative can organize it in our brain, in the hippocampus, where it would otherwise be left fragmented and unprocessed.  This can lead to chaos, whereas the narrative can heal.  

Remember that there is an “after” this time.  So, intentionally focus on creating a better future for you and your kiddos.  Remember, you and your kiddos can still be a happy family even after all of this.  So play with them, show your interest in your children, and connect with them in a way that lets them know that you care about them and that they are important to you.  Remember, their belief system is forming during this time too.  

Also, allow your child to grieve and process through this divorce in a healthy way.  It can be tough for kids if some things aren’t in place.  

I have an online course on this, Parenting through Divorce: 7 Key Strategies To Nurture Your Child’s Emotional Healthy Before, During And After Divorce.  It’s one of my Parent With Intention courses.  If you want check that out, just visit   I have almost 50 brief videos in the course that incorporates much of what I share with the parents that I work with in my private practice and as a parent coach as a Divorce Recovery Specialist


Jun 23, 2016

Parenting in the Rain, Episode 26

A Child is Like a Butterfly

Are you a parent worried about your child through your divorce? Here’s a link to my s Free Parent Class 

In This Episode:  

Just like a butterfly needs the struggle of emerging from the chrysalis to get it’s blood to it’s wings then ultimately fly, so does a child.  

Giving children the gift of responsibilities sends them the message “I believe in you!”.  “I believe you are capable.” “You can difficult things.” “You are an important member of this family.” 

Responsibilities and chores really equip our children with the confidence, grit and work ethic to go out into the world and dare to follow, and work for, dreams.  

When kids have responsibilities, it nurtures their sense of self-worth which relates to self-esteem.  

Some parents don’t require their kids to do chores for a variety of reasons.  They may feel guilty about a touch circumstance such as divorce, health condition, or some other hardship.  This is often done with good intention, but it actually limits the child even more.  

If you want to set your child up for success, give your child a meaningful chore around the house; ones that they do, just because they are an important member of the family.  

It’s important to make the chores meaningful, achievable and worthwhile.  Also, be sure to notice that the child did the chore or took care of the responsibility.  Be careful to not be overly critical of the child’s work, as that could leave him feeling defeated and undervalued.   Create an environment that fosters a love for participation and follow-through.

Resist the urge to pay your child with allowance for all of their chores, not all certainly, but have some chores be just a part of their life duties.  

This will help them get the blood to their wings and ultimately fly independently.


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Jun 20, 2016

Parenting in the Rain, Episode 25

Divorce and Sports

Are you a parent worried about your child through your divorce? Here’s a link to my s Free Parent Class 

In This Episode:  

Brian Brunkow is a San Diego-based lawyer, Glazier Head Coach Academy speaker, and the author of Zero Offseason – a guidebook on divorce & sports parenting.  

With a background in family law and coaching youth football, Brian’s focus is helping coaches and parents collaborate on the “ABC’s of Divorce & Effective Sports Parenting.”  

When time and money is so commonly used as a weapon in divorce situations, the “ABC’s” : Aligning Goals, Following the Best Interests Standard & Controlling Controllables.  They help encourage the adults to stay focused on helping kids develop life skills thru positive youth sports lessons.

Brian has a substantial background in coaching.  

It’s important to keep the kids on the field and involved in sports to give them the life skills that can come through sports. 

Sports can reduce the high school dropout rate with adolescents.

When parents are passive aggressive with time and money, the child is the one that misses out and is ultimately hurt.

Brian tells us about the Baldwin vs. Basinger story, how high conflict divorce can result in the child missing out on valuable time over custody battles.

He shares some statistics about divorce.  

He also shares insight of how divorce can impact kids.  T

here are some program success studies that illustrate the importance of working together as parents for the children’s sake. 

Brian is the author of a book, “Zero Offseason”.

Good behavior will not change the behavior of the other parent.  But, it will give you a piece of mind.

He tells us about the “ABC’s” : Aligning Goals, Following the Best Interests Standard & Controlling Controllables

He talks to us about aligning goals.  He tells us a story of divorced soccer parents and how their situation affected the child.

Simple rules, but complex...“The kids gotta play, let the coaches coach, and the parents need to support.” Being the support system as a parent is so important.

Sports help kids with socialization skills, as well as conflict management skills that will help keep them out of trouble in life. 

Youth sports teach kids discipline, mental toughness and grit.

Communication between parents is very important. 

Using stories is a great way help parents work things out, so that the child doesn’t lose years of opportunity for sports growth.

He talks to us about “Bleacher” Parents and references Jennifer Capriati and her experience through the divorce in her family.  As a tennis player, she was an incredible athlete and top performer in the world.  By the time she was 17 though, she retired from tennis.  She didn’t have the support system at home. 

Some parents equate their ability as a parent with the child’s performance in the sport.

The parents need to be smart about how they approach the calendar.  A throughout calendar can prevent some conflicts from occurring.  

“ Best Interests” standard is all about the child, not the parents or the coaches.

Brian recommends having a Co-Parenting Mission Statement to have on the refrigerator at both homes. You can get a copy of it at   The child may think, “Mom and Dad don’t get along, but they both have my back.”

Impact – Safety is considered a “non-negotiable.  Parents must communicate.  For example, parents need to work together and communicate if their child gets a concussion.  This is HUGELY important.

It’s important for parents to remember that they can’t control bad behavior of the other parent, so it is best to focus energy on what you can control.

Process-based goals keep things focused on the child.

On field & off field, parents need to support their child.

Brian recommends playing “Rock, Paper, Scissors” game with little kids as a way to teach them how to control the controllables.  This is where you want your energy to be because this is where you can have an impact.  It helps teach kids the importance of teaching them to focus on what’s in front of them. 

Brian is working on a program, a legal workshop for employees “aligning goals”, “best interests”, and “controlling the controllables”.  


Jun 9, 2016


In This Episode:  

Robert Cox specializes in the treatment of Trauma and Autism Spectrum Disorder and uses mindfulness extensively in his practice.  He lectures nationally on autism and works as a consultant for children’s psychiatric hospitals in the development of Autism treatment programs.  Recently, he has become the lead consultant for the creation of a special needs school for autism in Cameroon, Africa.  He also provides consultation service for parents.  His expertise is valued all around the world.

Mindfulness is really paying attention to one specific thing.  It is about being quiet long enough to create a space between the limbic region and the forebrain.

Taste can be used in mindfulness activities. This works great with kids that may not be able to understand some of the more complex tasks.  It’s important to involve all of the senses.  It’s really about teaching them to pay attention to one thing at time.

Mindfulness with kids with ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder can help with focus, calm and clarity.

Robert uses mindfulness in his practice with almost all of his clients with trauma, addictions, social isolation/bullying, Autism, ADHD, and much more.  It can have a powerful impact!

Mindfulness can really have a great effect with students in the school system.

“Pain is a guaranteed part of life, but suffering doesn’t have to be.” Robert Cox

Mindfulness can help parents regulate themselves so they aren’t bouncing off of their child’s emotional state.

Robert uses Gummies, Oranges, M&Ms and such to teach help kids experience mindfulness.  It’s important to find something that is really attractive to the child so it really holds their attention.

It’s important to practice mindfulness with your kids, because they will respond to it when they need it instinctively.   It will become a learned behavior and become a functional tool.

We know from research that it “rewires” the brain, thickens the part of the brain that enables better access to greater processing abilities.

Mindfulness can help people with Reactive Attachment Disorder, RAD, because it retrains the brain.

Oxytocin is referred to as the “Hug Drug” in reference to social relations.  It helps people connect and feel love and strengthens relationships.

It’s important for parents to practice mindfulness themselves.  Teach your kids to pay attention with all of their senses.  When kids see their parents using mindfulness they are more likely to use it themselves.

The biggest challenge that people usually come up is when people try to stop the thoughts.  But, the trick is to just let the thoughts release through the breath without forcing the thoughts to stop.

Robert tells us about a technique called “Becoming the Observer” that can help people avoid the suffering.

Jun 2, 2016

Parenting in the Rain, Episode 23

Practical Understanding of Sensory Processing Disorder

In This Episode:  

  • Lindsey Biel, MA, OTR/L, a pediatric occupational therapist in private practice, lives in New York City.
  • She describes an Occupational Therapist as a person that works with people in many areas to optimize the function of daily life skills.
  • Sensory Processing is how we transform bits of information that we get through our senses into meaningful messages in the world around us and what to do with them.
  • Sensory Processing Disorder is when there are differences in how a person’s wiring works, as well as the person is experience the world in a different way. They may experience out of proportion reactions to everyday sensory experiences.
  • Sensory challenges are seen more often in people with the following: Autism Spectrum Disorder, children born and adopted internationally from orphanages, premature babies (especially the youngest and the smallest), Down syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, ADHD, exposure to drugs and alcohol in utero, mood disorders and many others.
  • Connect the dots between behaviors and the underlying sensory issues.
  • Lindsey uses the phrase “Sensory Smarts” to describe tools and strategies to help people overcome sensory challenges.
  • When working one on one with a person, Lindsey always starts with an assessment.
  • For many people, getting a lot of deep pressure can provide the sensory input that can help them feel where their  body is on the planet.
  • Parents and therapists try to determine “how much do I push them to build tolerance and how much do I protect?”.   It’s best to do both.
  • Sometimes sounds such as the vacuum cleaner, hairdryer, cafeteria can be overwhelming to people with auditory challenges.
  • Ultimately, parents are the expert on their children.
  • Parents and teachers are an important part of empowering kids to overcome some of their sensory issues.
  • Lindsey talks about a “Sensory Diet” as a carefully and personally designed activity plan to help people feel good on a physical level and have their sensory needs met.  It helps attain balance of “not too wired, not too tired”.
  • The deep pressure work can be very helpful “organizing” kids.
  • “Toe walking” can be a result of impaired body awareness, neurological body awareness, or sensory hypersensitivity in the foot.  Interventions help by teaching them to get more comfortable with their feet and sensory input to desensitize.   If left untreated mobility issues and orthotics issues could occur.  It’s recommended to see if toe walking is a sign of something going on neurologically.
  • Lindsey provides some practical strategies to help with changing the environment – light, sound, and feelings of postural safety, oral stimulation, visuals and more...
  • School based Occupational Therapists are limited to educational related support.   Occupational therapists working outside the schools in agencies, private practice, and homes can provide a wide array of services.
  • There are online resources for parents that can be really helpful to find support.  Links to Lindsey’s facebook communities and her website are below.



Lindsey Describes Sensory Processing Disorder in a Video

Article on Supporting Sensory Processing Issues written by Lindsey Biel