The first meeting of my new Play Therapy Virtual Book Club was a hit.  We had a fantastic group of clinicians discuss Virginia Axline’s classic book, Dibs: In Search of Self.  If you missed it, the recorded version of this course is available for non-contact hour credit here.

(And, the audio of the discussion is available as a free preview so you can see what it was like before you decide to purchase the course).

August 2017 Selection

The August Selection is Touch in Child Counseling and Play Therapy: An Ethical and Clinical Guide edited by Dr. Janet Courtney and Dr. Robert Nolan. 

You can purchase the August Selection anywhere you like, but consider, Self Esteem Shop because you can use code JT12302017 to save 20% of your purchase.

This is a great exploration of play therapy interventions that use touch.  And, it’s perfect for discussion because each chapter is a case study of different techniques. So, you can actually read it in any order or jsut read parts of it and still benefit from this discussion.

And if you’re a fan of Dr. Courtney, you will be pleased to listen to her presentation in the Play Therapy Summit starting August 25th!  

Zoom Meeting

The discussion takes place through Zoom Meeting on August 24th at 2pm CST. Not sure what time that is where you are? Use this easy time zone converter.

Here’s all the details that you need to know:

Touch in Child Counseling and Play Therapy: Discussion From (1 hr play therapy credit: APT Approved Provider 12-331)

Program Description

This live group discussion  will take place through Zoom meetings and will feature the book “Touch in Child Counseling and Play Therapy: An Ethical and Clinical Guide” edited by Janet Courtney and Robert Nolan.   Participants can register for free by joining this list and will be provided with a meeting link the week of the call. (Participation is free, only pay $10 if you need documentation for play therapy credit).

Learning Objectives

  1. Discuss the ethical considerations in providing therapuetic touch in play therapy
  2. Describe at least 3 case studies of how touch was used in play therapy
  3. Explore and discuss innovative ways that play therapists are using touch in play therapy settings.


There is no fee to participate in the discussion, but there is a fee for play therapy credit ($10).   Register by adding your email to this list.  You will receive a link (the week of the meeting) to join the live discussion.  If you are unable to join live, you will receive notification when the recording is available for viewing. *Note, this discussion is limited to the first 100 participants.

(If you’re wondering how to discuss a book with 100 people – it’s easy. Zoom meeting allows for break out rooms, so you will be randomly assigned to smaller groups and will rotate groups throughout the meeting).

Live Participants with verified attendance for the entire hour may receive 1 hour play therapy credit (after completion of a course evaluation).

For those viewing the recording, a short quiz will required and 1 hour of NON-CONTACT play therapy credit will be offered. This is usually posted within 7 days of the event.

*Play therapy credit is not available to non-mental health professionals; however,  students (social worker, counseling, other mental health field) are eligible.

**There is no fee for participation.  However, no refunds whatsoever will be issued after a certificate is obtained.

***Participants assume all responsibility for operating within their scope of practice.  Participation in a group discussion is not a substitute for supervision or consultation while acquiring new skills.

To view all the details about cancellations and refunds, see the policy here. 


This will be a monthly offering so mark your calendars and start reading the future selections.


September 14 2pm-3pmCST: Integrative Team Treatment For Attachment Trauma in Children: Family Therapy and EMDR by Debra Wesselmann et al.  (**note, you do not have to be EMDR Trained to participate, but are responsible for working within your scope of practice).

Join this list to get notified of any future offerings (both live and recorded). 


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

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

  • I just found out about your Book Club through Jamie Langley! I’m so excited about this!!! I need to be pushed/held accountable to finish books. LOL! This is a great way to get therapists to keep learning on their own. Can’t wait to join in.

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