December 1, 2017

I just wanted to take a quick minute to say how thankful I am for everyone that participated in the 2017 Play Therapy Summit. I have now moved to Hawaii and since it might be cold where most of you are, I’m not going to talk about the amazing weather.  I will say that it has honestly been a difficult transition just getting organized and back to work.

But, THANKFULLY, I am starting to get it together.  And, I realized that there was a TON of information from the Summit and like me, you might have already forgotten most of it (or missed it altogether).

So, I was going back through the material and pulling out some memorable moments. And as I did, I remembered that some of the videos were not (technology wise) perfect. In fact, I had some difficulty during Dr. Mullen’s recording and that is why hers looks different than the rest (you can see us both throughout the whole interview instead of focusing on her while she’s talking).  It bugs me that she doesn’t get the spotlight like everyone else does.

But my mentor reminded me that to be accepting of my flaws and my imperfections (when it comes to technology and life) is what actually makes things MORE amazing. And, low and behold, that is the EXACT message that Dr. Mullen herself talks about in this presentation.

As a little reminder, she says:

Throughout her presentation, Dr. Mullen reminds us of the reasons that she and so many clinicians love play therapy.  She inspires us to remember the foundation of child-centered and humanistic theories in our work with children.  And she does that by continually asking one question:


The week of  any holiday can often be a really difficult time for some of our young clients.  I know in my own history – holiday weeks usually prompted the most crisis calls or other “meltdown” behaviors from kids that were supposed to be celebrating.

Parents are often surprised that these kids somehow sabotage their ability to attend a party at school or regresses in their behavior when a big group of family members get together.

In her class, Dr. Mullen reminds us about how preschoolers draw people with “a big head and legs” and she talks about how they view the world as being bigger than them.

So, if things are blowing up this week or your own children manage to embarrass you in front of the in-laws, don’t forget to consider that question posed by Dr. Mullen:


What is it like from their point of view? It may be a key to understanding their behavior this week and in the weeks to come.

In her course, Dr. Mullen tells us that sometimes we assume that we understand what it is like to be a child, but we’re not always really listening to what they are trying to tell us.  Sometimes, we fail.  Sometimes we mess up.  Or just get it wrong.

And, that children forgive us as long as we keep trying and are coming from a place of authentic compassion and understanding. 

In closing, she tells us that in that way-

EVERY CHILD BECOMES OUR TEACHER and it’ OK to make mistakes!


You can learn more from Dr. Mullen by taking her one hour course on The Culture of Childhood as featured in the 2017 Play Therapy Summit. (APT Approved Provider 12-331)

Or, you can contact her through her website at


**This course is designed for mental health professionals or those with a desire to learn more about helping children. It is not a substitute for therapy.  If your child is in need of mental health services, please find a qualified play therapist to help you through this process at**

About the Author

Jen Taylor, LCSW-C, RPT-S is an EMDR Approved Consultant and Certified Journal to the Self Instructor.  She is a therapist specializing in complex trauma, an international play therapy teacher and a published writer of multiple play therapy chapters.  Jen is the creator of the original 2017 Play Therapy Summit and many other innovative programs for mental health professionals.  Jen uses writing therapy, play therapy and expressive arts for her clients and for other mental health professionals so they can lead more joyful and meaningful lives.  Jen encourages people to try new things and create daily habits that allow for incremental progress towards previously unimaginable results.   Jen is a travel enthusiast, an avid reader, and a girl who lifts weights and runs for fun.  

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