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: 2017
Jun 29, 2017

In this episode Billie Jo covers the following:


  • Description of what Infant Mental Health is and what professional support in this area involves.
  • A discussion on the impact that ages 0-3 has on a child’s development – emotional, physical, cognitive, etc.
  • Clarification of who could benefit from Infant Toddler Mental Health Support
  • Tips for therapists working with children and families.


Jun 22, 2017

Ellis Edmunds is a licensed psychologist in Oakland, CA.  He has a private practice working with teens and adults struggling with anxiety.  He is passionate about Mindfulness practices and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  He also loves to play games of all kind and has created a therapeutic board game called The Mindful Bus that can be used with groups or in a one on one setting.  He believes games can provide a fun, safe, and interactive experience for therapeutic work to take place.

In this episode Dr. Edmunds covers the following:

-How he got the idea for the board game by working with teens and adults. 
-The process of getting the game created: prototypes, testing it, art work. 
-How Acceptance and Commitment Therapy inspired the idea for the game. 
-How to get started on your own product or game.


Jun 15, 2017

In this episode Dr. Kat covers the following:


  • Understanding what Maternal Mental Health is and where to find trained professionals to help.
  • Where to get training for professionals working with mothers in the mental health field.
  • Understanding postpartum depression, anxiety, and much more.
  • Reducing the shame of maternal mental health struggles through support, education, and sharing stories.
  • Her podcast, Mom & Mind is a wonderful free resource for parents, professionals, and anyone that could use information and knowledge in this area.


Dr. Kat’s Amazing Podcast


Mom and Mind Facebook Page


Jun 8, 2017

Expert Guest: Mercedes Samudio, LCSW Mercedes Samudio, LCSW is a parent coach, speaker, and author who helps parents and children communicate with each other, manage emotional trauma, navigate social media and technology together, and develop healthy parent-child relationships. Over the course of her career, she has worked with adoptive families, foster families, teen parents, parents navigating the child protective services system, and children living with mental illness. Mercedes started the #EndParentShaming movement as well as coined the term Shame-Proof Parenting – using both to bring awareness to ending parent shame. Mercedes is a leading parenting expert and has an amazing following on social media that allows her to reach the hearts of thousands of parents who feel heard and seen on their parenting journey. She has been featured on The Huffington Post, US News and Report, Woman’s Day, LA Parent Magazine, CBS LA, and Kids In The House. Mercedes seeks to empower parents to believe that they are already great guides for raising healthy and happy children. You can read more about her parenting expertise at



In this episode, Mercedes covers the following:

  • How family meetings can help strengthen relationships. 
  • Important things to consider when having family meetings. 
  • How to respond to sibling rivalry and the benefits. 
  • The importance of listening to children and allowing them to participate in family discussions and problem-solving.


Mercedes’ Book – Shame Proof Parenting 

Mercedes’ Website


May 9, 2017

My guest today is Dr. Jonathan Singer, Ph. D., LCSW, who is an expert in the area of suicide. He is an Associate Professor of Social Work at Loyola University in Chicago and the founder and host of The Social Work podcast. He co-authored the book, Suicide in Schools. This episode focuses on suicide pacts and the social media component and is the second piece of a two-part series.

  • The language we use around suicide is important. Instead of “suicide threat,” the less-threatening terminology is “suicide disclosure.” Dr. Singer shares how he helped in a suicide pact scenario years ago, before the onset of social media. His story would be very different in today’s world that’s overrun with social media platforms. 
  • Peers can help and even intervene in a crisis situation. In today’s world saturated with social media, teens will often be the first to hear of suicide pacts. Their awareness is crucial, so they know how to help and what to do. Dr. Singer explains how to be a friend to someone who is at risk for suicide and, specifically, how to address an online suicide pact.
  • What if someone feels that they are betraying a friend? Well, “It’s better to have a friend alive and mad, than dead.” There are intense affective conversation techniques that can help keep a friend around: “Your reason for living may not be in your life yet.”
  • Talking about it is so important! Dr. Singer explains that research has shown that asking kids about suicide does not increase risk, but can actually buffer the risk. Contrary to what some people think, bringing up the conversation will NOT make them suicidal.  What does increase the risk is watching a graphic show about a bleak world without hope, as in the recent Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why.


Find Jackie and the Play Therapy Community on Facebook: Look for Play Therapy Community or Jackie Flynn Play Therapy Community.


Find Jackie on Twitter @jackieflynnrpt


Suicide in Schools by Dr. Jonathan Singer


Social Work Podcast


Join the Play Therapy Community Mastermind group -


May 9, 2017

My guest today is Dr. Jonathan Singer, Ph. D., LCSW, who is an expert in the area of suicide. He is an Associate Professor of Social Work at Loyola University in Chicago and the founder and host of The Social Work podcast. He co-authored the book, Suicide in Schools. This episode focuses on suicide assessments and interventions and is the first of a two-part series.

  • Therapists can do much at various levels to assess risk. The most important action is to screen for suicide risk at each intake assessment, whether it’s suspected or not. Often, aggression and other behavioral disturbances can be evidence of suicide risk, so ASK the questions!
  • What can parents do? Dr. Singer says that parents of any child at risk should talk to the school counselor about a referral. “Don’t start looking for someone when the need arises.” Therapists should also connect with school counselors and let them know who you are and what you do.
  • Dr. Singer explains Attachment-Based Family Therapy, which is emotion-focused and addresses the fundamental issue of why kids don’t see their parents as a resource for help. “Why does the child feel like it’s a better choice to die rather than talk to and open up to their parents?” Repairing the “attachment rupture” makes it easier than to talk about everything. Kids need their parents to be a safe place!
  • Within ABFT, parents must understand the difference between condoning and validating by giving care and acceptance with words and actions. Use the phrase, “tell me more” to encourage kids to share. With this, they gain confidence to start problem-solving on their own---and this is what we want them to do!
  • Another important aspect of ABFT is the service coordination between therapist and counselor. The amazing work in your office is not going to be beneficial if the adults in the kid’s life are not on the same page!



Find Jackie and the Play Therapy Community on Facebook: Look for Play Therapy Community or Jackie Flynn Play Therapy Community.

Find Jackie on Twitter @jackieflynnrpt

Suicide in Schools by Dr. Jonathan Singer

Social Work Podcast

Join the Play Therapy Community Mastermind group -


Apr 27, 2017

Lucy Lauer, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with 26 years’ experience as a Registered Dietitian. She specializes in helping people navigate the rough waters of disordered eating to achieve a healthier life and relationship with food. She has experience with Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, Nocturnal Eating Disorder, and the range of dysfunctional eating patterns that cause distress but may not have a diagnostic label.


In 35 years of practice, Lucy has treated disordered eating from both a nutritional and psychological perspective. She has presented workshops at the local, state and national level on many aspects of disordered eating for psychologists and counselors, physicians, dietitians, parents and teachers. She established and facilitated the Space Coast Eating Disorders Professional Consortium from 2009-2011, and supervises Florida Tech Psychology students in a special practicum focused on Eating Disorder treatment. 


She participates regularly in continuing education programs and has had over 60 hours of specialized training in ED treatment in the last 3 years alone. Specific topics have included ACT and other evidence-based interventions, medical complications, trauma impact, co-occurring disorders (substance abuse, self-injury, etc), assessment for appropriate level of care, body image, art and other expressive therapies, and using a team approach to treatment. She has also been invited to site visits at residential treatment centers in South Florida and Colorado. 




What are the various types of eating disorders? Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder


Since eating disorders have a direct impact on physical health as well, tell us a bit about the team approach to treatment when collaborating with Registered Nutritionists, Physicians, etc...

The gold standard of ED treatment involves a team of clinicians working together. The team consists of a mental health counselor or psychologist, Registered Dietitian (RD), primary care physician, and if needed, a psychiatrist. In an out-patient setting, it is usually the mental health clinician who coordinates care by communicating with other team members re. treatment goals, progress toward goals, and psychoeducation, as needed. The RD monitors weight, food intake and specific food-related issues and may also help set exercise goals. Medical parameters such as labs, EKGs and bone-density are ordered by the PCP and shared with other team members as markers for progress. When all team members are not under the same roof (which is usually the case), communication is done through phone calls, written assessments and updates and occasionally, face-to-face team meetings. If the client is a minor, the parents are also part of the team and are included in treatment planning, progress updates and psychoeducation so they can more effectively support their child’s recovery.


 Many people with an eating disorder have a fear of recovery.  Talk a bit about this and how a clinician can work with someone resistant about recovering from their eating disorder.

An eating disorder is experienced as a life-raft in the rough sea of uncertainty that is a normal part of life. Despite the fact that eating disorders are deadly and create enormous physical and psychological pain, they also serve important functions such as protection from intrusion, a sense of control when life feels chaotic, a way to make complex issues seem more manageable and many others. In order to help a person let go of this safety net, the clinician has to help them:  1) recognize the costs to other valued parts of their lives such as relationships, energy & concentration for other persuits; 2) Identify the functions of the ED and Develop other ways to address those. This often requires practicing acceptance of the inherent uncertainty of life, imperfection of themselves and others, and the messiness of living in a human body with all of its flaws and limitations. Sometimes, cognitive growth and recovery cannot take place until weight and nutritional balance is restored and this takes education, support, encouragement and a leap of faith on the part of the client.


 I know you facilitate a wonderful group for people with an eating disorder.  Tell us a bit about that group and how it's different from individual therapy? Our 8-week eating disorder therapy group employs a combination of mindfulness practice, self-compassion and some elements of ACT (acceptance & Commitment Therapy), which helps people identify personal values that the ED has robbed them of. There is a lot of discussion about perfectionism, fear of failure, body hatred, habitual responses to difficult emotions and practice slowing down and experimenting with alternative perspectives and behaviors. Much of the benefit from the group comes from the common experiences of the members who usually feel alien and outside of “normal” human connections. ED is a very isolating illness and it is progressive, so over the years, people feel more and more alone and ashamed of the disorder in addition to all the other things about themselves they already hate.


  Where can clinicians go for more information, trainings, certifications, etc... My favorite resources are programs presented by The Renfrew Center & the Eating Recover Center, both of which have residential treatment facilities in several US cities and do a lot of research, outreach and education. There are some very useful websites with loads of info, too. I’ve attached a list of resources we turn to on a regular basis. Our website and Facebook page also have regular posts about ED and other psychological and mental health issues. Our website is; our FB page is Beachside Counseling & Wellness on Facebook.




Recommended ED Self-help books


Cruze, Robyn & Andrus, Espra, LCSW (2013). Making Peace with Your Plate:  Eating disorder recovery. Central Recovery Press.

Kelly, Joe (2003). Dads and Daughters: How to inspire, understand, and support your daughter when she's growing up so fast. 

Lock, James, MD, PhD. & Le Grange, Daniel, PhD (2005). Help Your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder. The Guilford Press.

Maine, Margo, & Kelly, Joe (2005). The Body Myth: Adult women and the pressure to be perfect. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. 

Roth, Geneen (2010). Women, Food and God. New York: Scribner.

Tribole, E. and Resch, E. (2003). Intuitive Eating. New York:  Saint Martins Press.

Johnston, Anita (1996). Eating in the Light of the Moon: How women can transform their relationships with food through myths, metaphors and storytelling. Carlsbad, CA: Gurze Books.

Schaefer, Jenni (2004). Life Without Ed:  How one woman declared independence from her eating disorder and how you can, too. New York:  McGraw-Hill.

Siegel, M., Brisman, J., and Weinshel, M. (1995). Surviving an Eating Disorder:  Strategies for Families and Friends. New York: Saint Martins Press.

Waterhouse, D. (1997).  Like Mother, Like Daughter:  How women are influenced by their mothers’ relationship with food, and how to break the pattern.  New York:  Hyperion.

Sandoz, Emily and DuFrene, Troy (2013). Living With Your Body & Other Things You Hate:  How to let go of your struggle with body image using acceptance & commitment therapy.  Oakland, CA:  New Harbinger Books.


Eating Disorder Resources

  • NEDA - National Eating Disorders Association. NEDA Helpline: 1-800-931-2237

     ANAD-National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Eating Disorders. ANAD Helpline: 630-577-1330

  • Something Fishy - Website On Eating Disorders. Referral sources.
  • Gürze Books. Eating Disorders Publication/Education & Referral Sources.  800-756-7533
  • EDReferral - Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center.
  • Alliance for Eating Disorder Awareness. Information for parents & caregivers about the warning signs, dangers, and consequences of eating disorders.
  • ED Hope: a resource and referral site for eating disorders and addictions.
  • Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA). Mission is to raise awareness, educate, and provide resources for its members and the general public.
  • F,E.A.S.T. - Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders. An organization of parents and caregivers. ww•
  • Anna Westin Foundation. Dedicated to the prevention and treatment of eating disorders & advocating for insurance coverage.
  • Beachside Counseling & Wellness, Indialantic, FL. Individual, couple and family therapy, Group Therapy, Nutrition Counseling, Information. 321-327-3793
  • Am I Hungry? Website promoting intuitive/mindful eating and body respect.

Websites & Blogs:

  Website launched by a patient in recovery from Bulimia:

  • Blog encouraging positive body image:

  Blog encouraging a non-diet approach to healthy eating:  Website/program to improve body image on college campuses:


Apr 14, 2017

Episode 53 – Sandtray Therapy and the Brain

Expert Guest: Amy Flaherty, LPE-I, RPT is the Founder and Director of the Southern Sandtray Institute located in Jonesboro, AR. She has a hybrid program to credential therapists as a Registered Integrative Sandtray Therapist (RIST).  In addition to the formal credentialing program, Amy also offers online sandtray training through The Sandtray Suite. To find out more and grab your free Sandtray technique, simply go to

In this episode, Amy Flaherty LPE-I, RPT covers the following:

  • What is Sandtray Therapy?
  • She describes the relation between neuroscience and Sandtray therapy.
  • She shares few examples of that she’s seen throughout her work.
  • She shares her most used miniatures?  And, where are some common area she finds miniatures for her collection


Apr 14, 2017

Episode 52 – Supporting Grieving Children and Families at the Dougy Center


In this episode:

Jana Cristofaro covers the following:


  • Describes the mission of The Dougy Center.
  • Tells how it was created (Dougy's story).
  • Describes who is eligible to receive services through your program and what is the process.
  • Describes what services look and feel like at the Dougy Center.
  • Provides tips that you have for therapists working with grieving children and their families.
  • Let’s us know about and/or donate to the Dougy Center.


For her Free Download:  Tips for Supporting Grieving Children click on the following:


Apr 14, 2017


Episode 51: Introduction to Play Therapy Community Podcast and Host, Jackie Flynn EdS, LMHC, RPT

Thank you so much for listening to the podcast! This episode was previously known as Parenting in the Rain Podcast.

I created this community as a space for us (Child Therapists!) to connect with other and learn together.  If you’re anything like me, you like the idea of having tons of information at your fingertips so that you can provide the best therapy possible for your clients.

I have a Private Practice in Central Florida, with a fully stocked Play Therapy Room and Expressive Arts Therapy Studio. 

I love being a private practitioner and entrepreneur, taking risks, and daring to dream BIG! And, I LOVE Play Therapy!!!  Helping people through the healing Power of Play.

In the beginning, I remember surfing the web for hours and hours trying to get ideas.

Now, we don’t have to do it alone…we have this podcast and connection to each other where we can find out about all of the other wonderful play therapy related resources that are available to us out there! I LOVE the thought of being part of a community with like-minded individuals.

In my work at my private practice, I am passionate about helping children, adolescents, parents, couples, and families through Play Therapy, EMDR, Sandtray Therapy, Gottman Method Couples Counseling, Hypnotherapy, Education Consultation, Mindfulness, and Art Therapy. 

Probably much like you, I’ve spent years and years going to school, training, conferences, reading books, listening to podcasts, networking, reading blogs, and more to be the effective and passionate therapist that I am today.

We all have so much info to share… and the thought of creating a SYNERGYSTIC community of amazingly ambitious, child therapists like you makes me so happy, I can hardly stand it!!!

Personal and professional growth is ALWAYS at the forefront of my consciousness. And, I LOVE the world of BUSINESS and THERAPY combined. The online business world is packed with so many opportunities for growth – and I LOVE it!  I love helping people in a big way, and online that is possible!  You may have listened to my podcast, Parenting in the Rain or attended some of my Webinars.

I’d love to stay in touch with you through our newsletter.  If you’d like that too, just let me know where to send it by entering your info below.  You’ll get a video of my top 3 most used miniatures as my way of welcoming you to Play Therapy Community’s newsletter.

Apr 6, 2017

Episode 50, When Your Child Makes a Mistake

In This Episode:  

Mistakes are part of our humanness.  They are bound to happen from time to time.  In fact, they need to happen for us to grow.  For our kids, allowing them to make mistakes can make all of the difference.

As parents, it is helpful to allow our children’s mistakes to teach them about life.  

It can be difficult, though.  Especially, if you are in a rush and you need to get out of the door for school (okay this can be tough!), you may be tempted to just tie their shoes yourself, or dress them yourself, or make the bed yourself so it’s not so messy, or stick with the food that they are comfortable with ... the list can go on and on talking about how we’re busy and we don’t want to cause a scene and how everyone benefits, if we choose leads you down a path of least resistance.  I know some of these because I’ve been there.  Parenting can be exhausting and feel defeating sometimes.  I’m not saying you need to never help your kid again.  But rather, grasp those opportunities to learn and grow from messes and mistakes when possible.  

If you are in a rut of doing everything for your child, give own self-permission to be human.   Small tweaks over the course of time can make all the difference.  With a positive attitude. .. and lots of EMPATHY.  It may sound something like this, “It must’ve been really hard to have done your project and then not have it in class.  I know how hard you worked on it.”  

Beware of the temptation for sarcasm here.  If you connect with your child in an empathic way that leaves them feeling like “my mom or my dad gets it. I’m not gonna let this happen again.” 

“When the student is ready, the teacher will teach.”  – Zig Ziglar

When children are allowed to make mistakes and learn from their experience, the cognitions (aka “thoughts”) that are embedded in their self-perception are I am capable, I am competent, I can do difficult things, It's okay to try, as well as several other helpful ways to feel.  

The only people that make mistakes are the ones that don’t try.

Some opportunities to make mistakes are to learn how to tie shoes, make lunches, forget homework, lose a friend due to behavior, and a gazillion other ways.

One of the huge benefits of making mistakes, especially for children, is that they get a chance to hone and develop their problem-solving skills.  Think of it like muscles – how will they ever get strong if you don’t use them, or, if you let them lay dormant for a while.  

Letting our children make mistakes is actually a HUGE gift to them. 

This topic lends itself to the area of high expectations.  Les Brown said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.”  This is so true.  If we hold our kids to high expectations such as doing chores, reading a book every 2 weeks, applying for the scholarships, eating their vegetables, messing up their Science project, then we are sending the message of “I believe in you.”  And, then in turn, they have permission to believe in themselves.   

Remember, as we raise these small human beings that we refer to as our kids, we are given opportunities to help them be the best that they can be.  So rushing their homework or lunch to school that they forgot or allowing them to sit in front of the video games all weekend disconnected from family and life because they’ve had a difficult week, is not helping them at all.  It actually hinders them.

I’ve told the butterfly story before, but I’m going to mention it here too because it is so related.

I first heard this story in my Child Parent Relationship Therapy training.

So, as Mrs. Frizzle used to say in the Magic School Bus episodes... “Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy.”  This will allow your children to dare to dream and actually have the confidence and courage to follow their dreams.  



For Therapists – Join Play Therapy Community ™ with Jackie to learn more... Launching Soon!

Below Are Some Affiliate Links to Books/Products That I Love


Jackie’s Favorite Labryinths (Discounted Price)

Weighted Blankets by Mosaic




If you’d like to connect with me, I offer consultation and parent coaching support.  Just email me at or at my private practice at


Find a Play Therapist  Near You


Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting From Birth to Six Years

Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) Treatment Manual: A 10-Session Filial Therapy Model for Training Parents


Mar 30, 2017

Episode 49:  The Art of Raising Honest Children with Integrity

In This Episode:  


Children learn way more by watching what we do, than by listening to what we say to do.

This is why it is so important to live our lives with integrity and good character.  It was super important before we had children, but it’s more important now than ever as it could impact generations to come.

There are quite a few definitions of integrity floating around, but I like this one the most.  

Integrity – doing the right thing even when no one is watching.  It’s personal honesty.

It’s a biggie to resist those temptations to tell little white lies or big hairy tall tales.  

Don’t tell the person at the ticket booth that your child is really 9 instead of 12 to get a reduced price ticket.  Don’t sneak into hotel pools when you’re not a guest.  Don’t go past the “Do Not Enter” signs and all of the other of gazillion things that can be tempting to do.  It may save you a few bucks at the movie theater to sneak in Candy from the outside, but in the long run, it costs way more than a few bucks.  You can compromise your kid’s integrity.  And, that is so valuable.

When someone is true to their values of honesty and integrity, it usually generalizes to other areas of their lives.  

So, take every opportunity to be honest, even when your child isn’t present, even when it cost you more money, even when it means that you will be inconvenienced, even when it’s hard...  Resisting the urge to gossip about someone else’s life can help your child develop trusting relationships that are solid as a rock too.  It helps your child to not only be trustworthy but to be trusting.  

It’s not only a beautiful gift to your child to raise them to value this important character trait, but is also a huge gift to yourself, your community, and ultimately the world that we all share.

Below Are Some Affiliate Links to Books/Products That I Love


Jackie’s Favorite Labryinths (Discounted Price)

Weighted Blankets by Mosaic



If you’d like to connect with me, I offer consultation and parent coaching support.  Just email me at or at my private practice at


Mar 23, 2017

Episode 48:  EMDR Therapy: Helping Children Move Past the Tough Stuff

In This Episode:  


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, also known as EMDR, is an effective, research and evidence-based therapy that helps free people from painful memories, anxiety, intrusive thoughts and other disturbances from exposure to trauma or especially disturbing situations.  And, it works with children too.  In my experience, it often takes less time to notice changes because often children have less tough memories due to their young age, as compared with older clients.

When exposed to traumatic events, our minds may not fully understand and process the magnitude of the situation due to the scenario at hand its overwhelming nature.  When I mention trauma, I want you to think of it as in “Big T trauma for the big stuff such as witness a crime, etc” and “Little t trauma such as being called a name by a peer, etc” This lack of processing of traumatic events thoroughly can show itself in a debilitating psychological/emotional state of distress. With kids, it can look like night terrors, bedwetting, behavior issues, anxiety, depression, and so on.  This state of distress can result in a feeling of being “emotionally stuck”.

EMDR Therapy can help with symptoms of distress from living with disorders such as Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (ADHD), Restless Leg Syndrome, Phantom Leg Syndrome, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Eating Disorders, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Anxiety, Depression, Tourettes Syndrome, Bed-Wetting, Emotional Regulation Issues, Behavior Concerns, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Eating Disorders, Disassociative Identity Disorder (DID), and much more.

EMDR therapy basically stimulates the mind into reprocessing the events, facilitates resolve from within the person experiencing it, and lessens the emotional impact of the memories. Even if the memories are from before the person can remember it with their thoughts.  We actually have memories from up to 3 months in utero that can sometimes stay stuck as emotional memories.  EMDR can free individuals from painful memories and empower them to live more fully in the present.  This is especially important with our kids, as staying stuck in trauma can impact their development in so many ways.  Sometimes, the effect of trauma is misdiagnosed as ADHD since it can leave people feeling distracted, unable to focus and fidgety from anxiety.

EMDR is a therapeutic “tool” that can be used in therapy to help our clients overcome barriers to normal functioning, and ultimately, to their happiness.  I love using it with kids!  Also, EMDR has been shown to alleviate anxiety and depression, which can leave children and their loved ones feeling emotionally anguish.  Anxiety and depression can look very different for children than it does adults.  Many of my clients have engaged in some type of self-harm, such as cutting, skin picking etc… and EMDR is one of my go-to tools to help them.  There are so many ways that it can be performed.  With younger kids, I love integrating it with Play Therapy.  As a part of the therapy, I have the client identify a negative thought about themselves, notice what they are feeling in their body and provide stimulation to either side of the body by having them move their eyes back and forth (usually with finger puppets or moving a car back and forth), or holding on to buzzers while often wearing earphones that alternate soft beeping in either ear that help desensitize what their feeling and reprocess it into something healthier.  For example, a negative thought maybe “I am a bad person” and the reprocessed thought maybe “I’m good enough just as I am.”  The healing can be profound.

Memories of negative events, whether big T or little t traumas, for children it can be a death, divorce, car accident, fight, etc. can become painfully fragmented into other events resulting in limited enjoyment of life activities.  Often it may manifest into anger, depression, chemical dependency, impulsive disorders, eating disorders, anxiety, phobias, relationship issues, and more.  Through the brain stimulation created from EMDR therapy, clients can reprocess traumatic events or negative thoughts, and eventually become desensitized to the painful memories that are often at the root of emotional troubles.

I love using the audible app.  Through Audible, I have read Francine Shapiro’s book “Getting Past Your Past” 5 times so far.  That book is wonderful at explaining EMDR in a way that helps people understand how it works and what it works on.  Francine Shapiro created EMDR Therapy back in the 80s and it is getting more and more well known each day.  In the show notes, I’ve linked sites where you can find an EMDR therapist in your area.  It’s good stuff, whether you use it for you or your child.

I remember that quote “Hurt People, Hurt People” that I first heard in an Addiction class.  When we can free our kids and ourselves from pain, we not only improve our own lives but improve the lives of others around us for years to come.

Below Are Some Affiliate Links to Books/Products That I Love


Jackie’s Favorite Labryinths (Discounted Price)

Weighted Blankets by Mosaic




If you’d like to connect with me, I offer consultation and parent coaching support.  Just email me at or at my private practice at



Mar 16, 2017

As a Play Therapist, I love using art with my clients!

 Art engages more of the brain in the healing process. 

But what about home? Is it important to have our materials and home? They can get messy look a little bit cluttered, be expensive sometimes, and take some time to delve into. 

Is it worth it?

The answer is yes! Art helps children in so many ways.Art projects can definitely help with confidence. Especially, if children are struggling in other areas. When children make something that they feel good about, that makes him feel proud of themselves, they perceive themselves as competent and capable of performing work that is really good. This self-perception often generalizes into other areas of their life. On surface level, one might think what’s sure they can paint a tree on a canvas, but that doesn’t mean that they can rock at math. And, to some extent that is correct. But, if gives them the confidence to try things that are very difficult and helps them to feel capable, they may have the courage to do math problems, they previously would’ve just shut down on…or whatever it is that the struggles with. Art projects can also help children with emotional self-regulation.  Artwork helps a right and the left hemisphere of the brain to synchronize which engages a calming effect. Many times, in session I will have my clients use the right in their left-hand at the same time which can enhance this effect. We do activities such as double mirror doodle, or art in the sand tray by moving both hands, design figures with the clay with both hands, and other things that just engage both hands, etc. I also love mandalas! mandalas or circle designs can either be symmetrical or any random design. I use these in individual, group and family sessions. There’s so many varieties think that you can do with Art.Art projects can also help with connection on many different levels. Engaging in creativity can help us connect with our inner self as well, as express what’s going on to others that can be so connecting. It can be so very healing. 

A picture is definitely worth I thousand words… and then some. I love using art therapy with blended families and adoptive families as it can truly that can strengthen the family system.  Art surpasses the limitation of words for sure!Sometimes, families will have an art cabinet or an art shelf where they random art supplies. For my families that I work with that do this, many of the kids comment how doing art work is one of their favorite things to do as a family. Sometimes in our family sessions where we’ll do a family coat of armor and have them identify their family strengths, or I’ll have them created habitat of a an animal in the future including all of the things that he needs to survive. They can be fun, telling of their situation, and also very healing and connecting, especially in high conflict situations.

 When parents ask me what they need to buy for their ourselves, I usually put it back on them. What do you think YOU might need for your shelf?   Because something that I recommend make totally be a turn off to them! For example I absolutely love, love, love, love, love, LOVE  glitter. But, a bottle of glitter around a 5-year-old can send some people into tizzy.  Gathering supplies for an art supply is an individual process for sure. You can find many low cost items at the local department store, but many things in nature are very useful as well. I love to bring in palm fronds for my clients to paint on and Angel and I have painted about a gazillion of them over years. We love using stick and leaves too. We live in Florida, so many times people around the neighborhood well trim the palm tree and put the palm fronds on the side of the road. Then, when we are walking our dog Max full pick up a really good friend.

 Remember too, art in this context is expressive, so isn’t confined to paint, paper, colored pencils etc. Art can be building a sand castle at the beach, it could be writing a plan together, it could be singing a song and expressing it with a dance, etc.

 As a play therapist, I love using the sand tray.  If you haven’t heard the episode 44 with Tammy van Hollander yet, it is so worth listening to. Putting little figurines, a.k.a. miniatures in the sand, can be very healing and extremely connecting. Also, I love to use rocks! All kinds of rocks I like to paint on rocks write on rocks use the rocks in the sand tray, incorporate rocks and are in mindfulness altogether… The possibilities are absolutely limitless

 In the show notes I have provided several links to art sites that can give you inspiration.


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Mar 9, 2017

“Is my kid addicted to video games?” 

I hear that question all the time from parents.  The word “addiction” is thrown round a lot these days… Video game addiction is not actually in the diagnostic manual per se, but some families have a real issue with their child being clued to a video game for many hours of the day. Sometimes, this is at the detriment of the social relationships play, family relationships, getting things.

 To steer away from the term addiction, which could be used totally appropriate here, I want to go to little bit deeper  with this topic. As a hypnotherapist that helps people transition from being a smoker to a nonsmoker, the term addiction can sometimes leave people feeling stuck and held captive by something larger than them.  I prefer to use the word habit, just because habits are much easier to change.   It’s all about perception and mindset, especially with our kids.

I just had an episode with Dr. Temple Grandin, perhaps the most famous person with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the world.  In that episode, she spoke to the connection between kids have an Autism Spectrum Disorder and their often strong attraction to play videogames. Many people children and adults included are trying to videogames for hours on end. Dr. Grandin recommends limiting their time on the games and involving them in some type of activity where they feel useful and helpful.  This approach helps prevent the dreaded scenario of having a 29 year old living at your house without skill, ambition, and desire to move into a more interactive kind of life that involves independence, responsibility and work ethic.

When is video gaming a problem?

 Moderation is the keyword here. And, prioritization. Just to be clear I am not anti-video games, I’m just pro parenting wisely when it comes to this area. As a parent of the kid that loves to play video games I totally understand the excitement and the joy and skill building in all of the strategic thinking that  goes with it. I’ve also experienced the other end where it is all-consuming, when situations left me wondering how to wean back without an unimaginable amount of upset or a disaster scenario.

This is where an ounce of prevention is like a pound of cure applies.  But, it’s never, ever too late to improve. 

Excessive, unmonitored, and/or violent video gaming can put a child at risk for increased irritability, avoidance of other healthy activities such as playing, reading, doing chores, spending time with family, obesity, etc.…  A very real concern sometimes involves safety such as connection and communication with strangers. It can get downright scary.But what can you do? What’s the solution? It can be a real dilemma, especially if you have a child that has been playing games for years and you fear an emotional explosion if you decide to pull the plug. Many times children that Play video games excessively also use the gaming as a in emotional self-regulation technique a.k.a. “A source of calming.” This could create a situation where the child is especially upset over losing the privilege of playing video game, win the video game is actually their way of calming down. This is why I recommend never going “cold turkey”. Never take away 100% of the videogame time if they are truly relying on it to help regulate their emotions without any other calming techniqes. Slowly pulling back to healthier lifestyle can be achieved much easier. Our children’s brains are not fully developed until about the ages of 21 to 24, so they are already working on limited ability to come down.Okay, following are the things that I think are important to keep in mind when making decisions around this matter. Each family is different… each family has their own set of values, rules, expectations, culture,… So the decisions that you may make for your child may look totally different than the decisions that your friend makes for her child– And that’s okay!

 Be involved, know what your kid is playing enjoying in periodically. When you are not involved it is like a secret world you have limited information about. No need to tell you about all of the dangers of the Internet, as I’m sure that you already know from my previous podcast episode on the subject. Sit down with your child to play the game every once in a while. It’s hard to find time to even take a shower before 11 PM much less to sit down to play a video game with your kid. But it is so very important to be involved. It’s a big deal.  The stakes are high.  Then you know what your child was doing and is exposed to, as well as it turns it into a connected activity.

 Also, pay attention to the rating levels… I recommend being really conservative with time here… Some of the games with the enhanced graphic these days are really activating… It does have an effect on your child’s perception of normalcy. Kids need to be kids while they are kids. Enough said here the violent games are not good …for anyone !

 Place your child’s gaming device and/or computer in a public area. When parents put gaming devices in their bedroom, they are really limiting their capacity to not only know what the child is playing to be more aware of how long they are playing for and with whom they are playing. This is a biggie!Also, prioritize, prioritize, prioritize… be sure that your child gets their chores done come other homework done, their playtime and their social time in before they play games.  Also, be sure that they get to be in time.  The crankiness meter can shoot up fast with sleep deprivation, regardless of age.  This helps to ensure that gaming is PART of their life, not their ENTIRE life. Many kids are at risk of turning into a hermit crab and staying in the room for hours upon and only to come out when they need food, a bathroom break, or prompted by their parents.  It can get bad sometimes.  

 Some warning signs that your child is playing too much is when they give emotionally explosive when it’s time to get off, when you wake up in middle the night to go to the bathroom and you see that they’re playing video games instead of sleeping school night or not, feelings of disconnection from family and friends, when they do not get enough physical exercise because they are always sitting in front of the computer or the gaming device,  when they don’t want to do anything except for play their video game, and several more things that I’m probably not thinking about basically becomes a problem when it is the problem. What are your thoughts? Jump in the Facebook group at Parenting in the Rain Community and let me know what strategies you have adopted to help your kids moderator video game usage

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Jan 12, 2017

I’m really excited about this episode with Dr. Temple Grandin!  

She’s so inspirational to me and many around the world. 

She has written so many books on Autism!  

In this episode, she talks about what it was like growing up for her with Autism, what helps and what doesn’t.  She also provides some great tips for parents, teachers, and therapists to help raise kids that have a sense of purpose and a strong work ethic that can go on to thrive in emotionally, socially, and occupationally.

I first heard of Dr. Grandin from a friend of mine, Stephanie Sanders.  She is the Speech Therapist and the author of the FILTER Approach that I had on the podcast way back in episode 28.  If you haven’t listened to that episode, please do.  It’s a good one!  I love Stephanie and her work.  Her book is fantastic.  It provides a step by step curriculum to help children with social communication skills.  I worked with her when I was a school counselor and had the opportunity to really see her work help some of the same kids I was working with... it’s amazing.  

Also, one more thing before we jump into my conversation with Dr. Grandin.  My colleague, Robert Cox, has a podcast and a book coming out soon that I am super, crazy excited about.  It’s called Listening to Autism.  He was also a guest on my podcast back in Episode 24 – “Teaching Kids with ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder to Calm Their Chaos through Mindfulness.”  On his podcast “Listening to Autism” he brings in research, lots of information from professionals.  He draws on his 24 years of experience of working with people with Autism as well as explores effective treatment approaches to really help.  One thing that I love about his work is that he looks at helping through the lens of trauma, to really help.  He also has a book in the final stages at the time of this recording “The Life Recovery Method”.  You can find Robert at

Okay, so here are the highlights of my conversation with Dr. Temple Grandin.

It’s important to get a child that is non-verbal into speech therapy as soon as possible.  

There’s 3 types of minds -  photo-visual thinking, pattern thinker, and the person that thinks in words.

It’s important to “stretch” kids to expose them to things that help them grow.

Build on children’s strengths - art, hands-on, etc...

Giving kids a chance to develop a strong work ethic and develop working skills is so important.

Dr. Grandin expresses gratitude to the people such as her teachers, her mother, and others that helped shape her work ethic and push her.

She is very concerned about video game “addictions”.  

It’s important to limit their video game addiction with ASD, by weaning them away from it and replacing it with hands-on work opportunities and activities that the child is interested in. 

Dr. Grandin describes “teachable” moments as being really helpful.  

She mentions that understanding sensory issues is really important.  

When she was growing up, adults would “correct” kids when they were doing something incorrectly such as “only the clerks are allowed behind the counter” when she went behind the counter.

It’s important to give kids a refuge away from teasing in groups with people that have a “Shared Interests”.

Exposure in high school is important – it’s a window of opportunity to get kids involved and exposed to other things than video games.

Dr. Grandin says that it is never too late to make changes.

She discusses her own experiences with medication to help her take the edge of anxiety.

She mentions a connection with Autism Spectrum Disorder and the images in video games.

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