Play Therapy Retreat

Spark It Up!

 Play Therapy Experiential Retreat   

 Join Us in 2022 in Danville, CA. 

Earn 21 CE’s By Attending This Retreat! 



Check Out  What We Did At Our Last Event…

Just Imagine 3 Days of  Play Therapy

Focusing on Growth, Learning and Play, Just for You!

Course meets the qualifications for 21 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.


This exciting and interactive retreat is a three day play therapy experience for clinicians at every level.  Spark It Up! Play Therapy Retreat is about growing your understanding of play therapy through experiential application of play and specialized training to better understand yourself as a play therapist and as a provider of the art of play therapy.  

Day 1 is focused on understanding the “self” of the play therapist by exploring play and integrating play into your practice. Day 1 will emphasize play based interventions focused on understanding attachment, managing reluctance and resistance as manifestations of countertransference.

Day 2 jumps on what we learned about ourselves and digs a little deeper creating miniatures of self-expression to be used in personal exploration with the Sandtray. Group sandtray will also be explored.

Day 3 is called “Expressly Yours”. This is the day we integrate experiential and expressive interventions. Experience creativity as applied to play therapy.

There will be opportunities to connect with others, spend time in reflection, go for a hike on one of the many hiking trails, walk the labyrinth, or look out over the vistas of nearby Mount Diablo. This course supports qualifications in becoming a Registered Play Therapist with the Association for Play Therapy.

Learning Objectives for Spark It Up

After this workshop participants will be able to:
1. Utilize and apply the ProQol to assess the play therapist state of well-being in order to develop an understanding of their level of burnout, compassion fatigue and compassion satisfaction to be able to effectively administer play therapy in session with youth.
2. Understand and explore the application of mindfulness and stress inoculation and stress management in order to reduce burnout and compassion fatigue, and increase compassion satisfaction to improve effectiveness in providing play therapy services.
3. Create a personal item to enhance better connection and understanding with self and use the item to create an expressive narrative to share with the play therapy group.
4. Identify, create and utilize 2 sandtray therapy miniatures that represent “self” as therapist and then use the miniatures to improve understanding of self through amplification of the symbol and metaphor that has been created.
5. Explore and create a narrative collage for self-exploration to identify and advance personal dreams and moving forward as a professional play therapist. Participants will apply the intervention for working with youth in moving them from where they are to where they want to be.
6. Identify and apply at least 2 mindfulness play based interventions for down regulating.
7. Explore and identify at least 4 attachment play based strategies for improving relationships within the youth’s social system.


Our Past Distinguished Presenters Presenting on…

When Love Isn’t Enough – Parenting the Defiant, Noncompliant Child in Ourselves and our Clients  

By Jeannette Harroun, LMFT, RPT-S

Play therapists are often challenged by clients with oppositional, defiant, or non-compliant behaviors. As we explore this process for our clients, we can also explore those moments when our own process can create resistance to change.

Being a play therapist or parent can be one of the most rewarding as well as one of the most frustrating jobs ever. For families with intense, defiant and/or oppositional children it can be agonizing, particularly when consequences and other parenting strategies seem ineffective or only result in short term, temporary change.

This workshop looks at the nature of defiance and opposition as well as effective ways to help parents reduce conflicts, build stronger family relationships and facilitate better behavior. In addition, participants will consider their own possible triggers, resistance and countertransference that may arise while working with this type of client and their families.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe at least one behavior that identifies the nature of defiance, opposition or noncompliance in youth in play therapy.
2. Identify and describe fourplay based parenting strategies that are effective in managing oppositional and defiant behavior.
3. Identify and describe the difference between consequences and punishment and the effectiveness of each in managing behavior with the framework of play therapy.
4. Identify at least three ways that play therapists can identify their own countertransference or compassion fatigue and at least 2 appropriate ways to address it.


The Flip Side of Attachment: Understanding how Attachment and Therapist burn out go Hand in Hand
By Aseye Allah, LCSW, RPT-S

This workshop will focus on the therapist attachment style and how it intersects with the client’s own attachment history. We will explore the importance of using self-care when using attachment in order to mitigate therapist burnout. Play will be used throughout the training and show how critical attachment is to the client and therapist overall well-being. It will examine the therapist attachment styles and how interaction with client attachment styles may affect the therapist well-being. It will focus on the importance of therapist understanding their own ability to heal themselves in order to remain focused and effective for their clients.

Attendees will be provided with tools and Play Therapy interventions that address increasing awareness and positive attachment. They will also be given tools to help them mitigate the vicarious emotions experienced when completing attachment work. This is an instructional and hands on training that will encourage play therapists to practice experiential interventions. This workshop will provide the play therapist with information pertaining to the different attachment styles, the effects of different attachment styles and how attachment effects one’s ability to function in life.

Learning Objectives:
After the session, participants will be able to:
1. List three ways that attachment styles contribute to social and emotional health in play therapy.
2. Utilize three play therapy techniques focusing on rebuilding relationships.
3. Identify three play/attachment exercises that therapist can use to reduce therapist burnout.


Tapping into Joy: The Importance of Self Care Using Play Therapy and Experiential Interventions

By Lyla Tyler, LMFT, RPT-S

This presentation will discuss the importance of play and how it has been used through the ages with children and adolescents. Participants will learn about the biology of play and how it is an important part of brain development as an essential part of our evolution which can help spark new insights, connection and self-care. As play therapists we use play every day to practice role rehearsal, mind-body integration, and creativity. Play therapy helps build self-esteem, access states of wellbeing and promote joy. This workshop will teach participants how to use play therapy and expressive therapy techniques with their clients and themselves to promote therapeutic change.

Learning Objectives:

1. After the session, participants will be able to describe at least one of the healing potentials of play and how it effects brain development and our future growth.
2. After the session, the participant will be able to demonstrate how to use a guided meditation and creative intervention to aid in self exploration and self-care as a therapist in play therapy.
3. After the session, the participant will be able to demonstrate at least 3 play therapy techniques to strengthen their own coping skills and help them help clients develop coping skills.





Important Information

Prices Increase May 1st, then its full price

Last day to register May 8, 2022


Early Bird Registration

Single Occupancy 

Single occupancy includes: Twin bed, private bath, individual A/C or heating with linens, all meals included.

How did you hear about the retreat?

Installment Option 

Single Occupancy -Registration can be made in 2 installment payments 


Double Occupancy  

Shared room with assigned roommate or your friend, private bath, individual A/C or heating with linens, all meals included

How did you hear about the retreat?

Installment Option

Double Occupancy- Registration can be made in 2 installment 



Live in the Bay Area? Come spend the day with us, meals included except breakfast (Commuter has no overnight accommodations)

How did you hear about the retreat?


Installment Option

Commuter -Registration can be made in 2 installment payments 



San  Damiano Retreat Location 

San Damiano Retreat Center is tucked away in the beautiful hills of Northern California. This destination resort offers something for everyone. It offers an opportunity to get away from hectic daily life to seek peace and solitude for rest, renewal and play. It has a Franciscan influence and provides a peaceful environment of natural beauty where renewal may be sought thru the beautiful gardens, labyrinth and walking trails.


At this retreat you will personally discover how to…

  • Find your own inner “Play-er”
  • Dig deeper to understand yourself and others
  • Connect to a variety of play
  • Express yourself through play and expressive arts
  • Use play and expressive therapy interventions
  • All this plus so much more…

You will learn how to improve your energy for developing a playful counseling practice and utilize evidence based interventions that you can apply to your own practice. You will enhance your understanding of brain functions and play while you explore playful ways of connecting. You will gain feelings of thriving, support and connection. After the retreat you will leave feeling refreshed, renewed and re-energized, while gaining new friendships, connection and support with fellow play therapist.


Our Wonderful Presenters For The Retreat

Mary Ruth Cross, MS, MFT, NCC, RPT-S

Mary Ruth is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with extensive training and experience in working with traumatized children and their families. She is the CEO/Owner of Treehouse Family Counseling Services in San Ramon, CA a group therapy practice that specializes in the use of play therapy as the primary treatment modality. Mary Ruth is also a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor and helps mental health practitioners who are working towards certification in play therapy through her co-owned company Academy for Play Therapy Training, Inc.™.  She has provided workshops on play therapy throughout the United States and Canada.


Leslie Baker, MA, MFT, NCC, RPT-S

Leslie Baker is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with extensive training and experience in working with trauma and its effects on youth, couples and families. She is the CEO/Director of Therapy2Thrive® of the Ruby Hill Marriage & Family Counseling Center, Inc. in Pleasanton, CA working with her team of clinicians and associates to serve the community. Leslie is a co-owner of Academy for Play Therapy Training, Inc.™ with the goal of facilitating mental health clinicians toward certification as Play Therapists. Leslie is the Author of Healing Feelings: A healing story for children coping with a grownup’s mental illness. She is a local, national and international speaker on the topics of Play Therapy, Technology in Psychotherapy and Counselor Burnout & Compassion Fatigue.




Aseye Allah, LCSW

Aseye Allah is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor who has been working with underserved populations for over a decade. Aseye works specifically with children, youth and families that have experienced trauma and are experiencing emotional, social or mental health impairments. She specializes in work with children and caregivers from birth to 5 years old, and with those who have attachment impairments. Aseye is also recognized as a Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist and Reflective Practice Facilitator II. Aseye Allah is certified in Child Parent Psychotherapy, Trauma Focused CBT, Individual Psychotherapy, and the Managing and Adapting Practice and is also a trainer/adherence rater for Seeking Safety.


Lyla Tyler, LMFT, RPT-S

Lyla Tyler is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with extensive training and experience in working with children and families and know how important it is for kids to grow up in a home where they feel loved and cared for. At the same time, she understands how intense children can wear us down and make family life chaotic and difficult. Lyla believes in early intervention for kids to get them on track as soon as possible. She also knows that children do not just open up and talk about their feelings or know how to express what is bothering them. That is why she is so passionate about the use of play therapy to help children express their emotions, fears, and desires. With older tweens and teens, she uses games, art and creative interventions to help them express themselves. She also focuses on helping parents get the help they need to parent their child and help them through whatever difficulty they are facing. Lyla sees us working as a team to help your child and family. She loves what she does and tries her best to be kind and creative in the work she does. She always brings playfulness and sense of humor to every session.

Jeannette Harroun, LMFT, RPT-S 

Jeannette Harroun is a licensed Marriage and family therapist and Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor. Her private practice is in Lafayette, CA where she provides psychotherapy and individual consultation and supervision. Her approach to therapy is described as positive, warm and playful. She strongly believes in the power of play in helping children and teens better understand and express themselves and has extensive training and experience in using child-centered, directive and medium specific play. She also works closely with parents collaterally as well as providing parent coaching to strengthen parent-child relationships. She is a collaborative supervisor for the Wright Institute and has taught at both the University of Phoenix and John F. Kennedy University. Currently she provides continuing education workshops for mental health professionals through Growth through Play Training Associates.


For further information please call or email:

General information (925) 626-0084

Mary Ruth Cross (925) 626-0084

Leslie Baker (925) 998-3392

Central Counseling Services is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs. Central Counseling Services maintains responsibility for this program/course and its content.

Cancellation Policy:  Participants can request a full refund minus $100.00 administration fee before May 28th, 2020, unless a replacement is found.  If you are requesting a replacement please contact Mary Ruth at No cancellations or refunds will be given after May 29, 2020, but your fee will be held for 2021 Spark It Up Retreat. Partial credit cannot be given.

Disclaimer: Recordings, both audio and video may be used to further benefit Academy for Play Therapy Training, Inc.™. All information presented is for educational purposes only.  Opinions expressed by the presenters do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Academy for Play Therapy Training, Inc.™ and Central Counseling Services.


Association for Play Therapy –APT approved provider 18-544 sponsored by Mary Ruth Cross, MFT CE’s for Marriage & Family Therapist, Licensed Social Workers, Professional Counselors.

Central Counseling Services provider number: 128357 in sponsorship with Academy for Play Therapy, Inc.™ will be conducting the workshop Spark It Up meets the qualifications for 21 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.  

**Participants may file a complaint/grievances and email it to Complaints or grievances will be reviewed within 5 days it is received.  A response or corrective action plan will be sent on the 6th day in a form or hardcopy and or email.  If 6th day falls on a weekend.  Response will be sent on the next business day. 

*** Participants may request for special accommodations to address their specific needs.  Academy for Play Therapy Training, Inc.™ will make all attempts to accommodate participants and their needs.  All participants may send a request for accommodation two weeks prior to the CE event in a form of an email or letter.  Participants will be sent a response within 48 hours for accommodation options.  Accommodations are as follows, but not limited to, wheelchair accessibility, sign-language interpreter, and or language interpreter.  The goal of Academy for Play Therapy Training, Inc.™ is to provide diverse participants complete access to all CE trainings. 

**** Participants will complete course evaluations and answer questions after the live workshops.  Each participant will receive their course completion certificate after submitting the course evaluations.  If participants take the course via on-line (distance learning), they will complete a course evaluation and answer questions pertaining to the course.  They will then receive their certificate of completion via email, or mail with address provided to CE provider.

Comments are closed.