I'm going to keep this post really simple. 

There are only 3 TEDx Talks that have been given by PLAY THERAPISTS (as of March 2019).  

There are a few others about the importance of play, but these are the ones that were written and delivered by our very own esteemed and credentialed colleagues. 

Bookmark this post so that you can find them anytime you need to reference them.

*There are several play therapists that have applied and if they are accepted, then I will add them to this post.  (GOOD LUCK, btw!). 


The Curative Touch of a Magic Rainbow Hug
Dr. Janet Courtney  
TEDx Delray Beach

Dr. Janet Courtney was a pioneer for the play therapy field with her TEDx talk in 2013.   This is the description from her talk:​

As Director of Developmental Play & Attachment Therapies and adjunct Professor at Barry University, Janet's career is centered on bringing psychological healing to children. She is an internationally recognized Play Therapist specializing in expressive therapies and attachment treatment who has invented a new process of kinesthetic storytelling, merging imagery relaxation skills with joyful first-play touch activities. Her interactive storybook, The Magic Rainbow Hug makes this technique directly accessible to professionals, parents, and the children who can most benefit from it's use. ~ Dr. Janet Courtney, TEDx Delray Beach (Sep 20, 2013)

Play is the Child’s Language: Play Therapy
Joanne Wicks
TEDx Darwin

Joanne Wicks is an Australian Registered Play Therapist  (AAPT-RPT) and a Registered Counsellor who is an Associate Lecturer at Charles Darwin University, School of Psychological and Clinical Science where she is a Unit-Coordinator of three post graduate courses in Play Therapy.  

This is the description for her talk:

All behaviour is communication and children are often unable to verbalise their experiences and strong emotions in the same way that they can express them through play. Learning how to speak their language, the language of play can provide access into a child’s world which is often left silent. ~ Joanne Wicks, TEDxDarwin (September 28, 2016)

Trauma & Play Therapy: Holding Hard Stories
Paris Goodyear-Brown, MSSW, LCSW, RPT-S
TEDx Nashville

Paris Goodyear-Brown, LCSW, RPT-S, is a child trauma expert and a professional player with 23 years of experience in helping traumatized children and their families heal. She is the founder and Clinical Director of Nurture House, serves the Association for Play Therapy in several roles, is a sought-after international speaker and a prolific author.

This is the description of her talk

How do children heal from trauma? Play therapy and trauma expert, Paris Goodyear-Brown, takes us on a journey through the stories of children from hard places, the neuroscience of play, and the importance of each of us in bearing witness to the hurt. Graphic images may evoke strong emotions but will reveal the amazing ability of children to tell us what happened and play their way to healing. ~ Paris Goodyear-Brown, TEDx Nashville, June 14, 201

Again, if there is one that I missed, be sure to email me so that I can update this and feel free to use this post as a reference in the future. 

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Why a white daisy?

Apparently, when people  are asked to draw a flower, the first one that comes to mind for a majority of people is the daisy shape.   This single flower (just the flower part without the stem or any leaves and on a solid black background) was show to study participants after being shown a high-arousal negative image. Examples of high-arousal negative images include awful things like violence, injuries and car crashes.  Two trials were conducted:  in the first subjects were shown a high arousal image and then either a) the flower image b) a mosaic of fragments of the flower image or c) a visual fixation point.  In the second trial, the high arousal image was followed by either a) the flower image, b) a chair (deemed a neutral image) or c) a blue sky with clouds (deemed a positive non-floral image).   Systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings were taken throughout the experiments.  

As expected, mean blood pressure was lower when participants viewed the flower versus the fixation point or the mosaic flower,  but what was unexpected is that the flower image actually reduced mean blood pressure to a level lower than the baseline.  Both the flower image and the blue sky had a similar positive impact in changing mood from negative to positive (with the blue sky having the most overall impact).  However, only the flower (not the sky) caused a reduction in mean blood pressure.  It was determined that viewing a simple flower image could in fact change a negative mood into a more positive one and also decrease blood pressure. 

The power of the single flower image was then studied in regards to salivary cortisol levels.  During this study, the high-arousal images were once again paired with the flower image, the flower fragment mosaic or the fixation point.  Once again, only the flower image was shown to significantly decrease stress during the recovery phase. One final examination looked at fMRI images of the brain during these conditions.  Through this imagery it was discovered that the flower image was effective in decreasing the amygdala-hippocampus activation that occurred after viewing the high arousal images. Researchers speculated that the flower image was a distraction tool that was helped prevent the recall of the stressful images.  

The brief viewing of this single flower image was shown to be effective at reducing negative emotions and created better functioning of both the cardiovascular and endocrine systems! Having such a simple tool available to help reduce stress and regulate unpleasant emotions and is one possible tool for interrupting ruminating thoughts or unpleasant flashbacks.  

About the Author Jen Taylor

Jennifer Taylor, LCSW, RPT is an experienced child and family therapist and public speaker who specializes in trauma, ADHD, and conduct problems. Discover more about her diverse clinical background and family. Reach out to Jennifer with questions or comments by emailing at info@jentaylorplaytherapy.com

Jennifer Taylor, LCSW, RPT is an experienced child and family therapist and public speaker who specializes in trauma, ADHD, and conduct problems. Discover more about her diverse clinical background and family. Reach out to Jennifer with questions or comments by emailing at info@jentaylorplaytherapy.com

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