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Play Is the Therapy

A Polyvagal-Informed Approach to Recognizing and Treating Child Traumatic Stress

Jackie Flynn, EdS, LMHC-S, RPT
Publication Date:
Aug 13, 2024
PESI Publishing
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Play isn’t something you do in therapy. Play is the therapy.

In young children, complex trauma often manifests as anger outbursts, self-injury, school avoidance, defiance, and even suicidal thoughts. And although cognitive, or top-down, approaches like talk therapy can help, they do not address where trauma is stored: in the body.

In Play Therapy Is the Therapy, you’ll find a bottom-up framework for working with kids that is grounded in the foundations of polyvagal theory and play therapy. By drawing on children’s first language – play – this framework inherently creates two of the most important elements that allow for deep healing from trauma: safety and connection.

Filled with kid-friendly activities, case studies, and sample scripts, this transformative treatment guide will allow you to harness the power of “polyvagal play” so you can:

  • Build rapport with children who struggle to trust others, particularly adults
  • Move past outdated and punitive behavioral management approaches
  • Reframe “problem” behaviors as adaptive nervous system responses
  • Use a playful approach to support kids in learning about their nervous systems
  • Create feelings of safety and connection by simply being with your client in session



Jackie Flynn, EdS, LMHC-S, RPT's Profile

Jackie Flynn, EdS, LMHC-S, RPT Related seminars and products

Jackie Flynn, EdS, LMHC-S, RPT, is a licensed psychotherapist, registered play therapist, certified EMDR therapist, EMDR consultant, and a certified Safe and Sound Protocol provider. She hosts Play Therapy Community®, where clinicians gather together from around the world to share resources and inspire each other. As a co-host of the Neuroscience of Play Therapy and Playful EMDR Summit, as well as the founder of EMDR and Play Therapy Integration Support, she supports countless clinicians internationally learning about the power of PLAY through training and consultation.  


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Jaqueline Flynn is the founder of Play Therapy Community and maintains a private practice. She receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Jaqueline Flynn is a member of the Association for Play Therapy (APT) and EMDR International Association (EMDRIA).


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