Wednesday, March 14, 2001

Child's play serious for organization of certified therapists

Group unites, plans more training

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Tami Langen and a handful of others noticed there were few opportunities for play therapists in Ohio to network, collaborate and share ideas. Training was also hard to find.

        So, for two years the small group worked to form an organization that would meet their needs.

        In October, the Ohio Association of Play Therapy was recognized at the International Play Therapy Conference in New Orleans.

        “There's been a huge interest among play therapists in Ohio to get this going,” said Mrs. Langen, president of the statewide association.

        The group is run out of her office at Catholic Social Services of Butler and Warren Counties, where she is the assistant clinical director.

        Play therapists can assist police investigators by using toys such as puppets, dolls, emergency vehicles and artwork to help children act out their traumatic experiences, such as abuse, through play rather than words.

        “It's a great way to break the ice and build some rapport with kids,” she said.

        “Play therapists are trained to make therapeutic responses back to kids.”

        She said one reason Ohio has only about two dozen certified play therapists is because of the intense training required.

        “There are only a few courses that are offered in play therapy training,” said Mrs. Langen, a registered play therapist supervisor.

        “We're hoping to bring in some speakers and do some training for the people in Ohio.”

        Judy Fulcher, executive director of Catholic Social Services of Butler and Warren Counties, said her organization has a waiting list of 50 potential clients, about half of them children who have been sexually abused.


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