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The Art & Science of Holistic Expressive Play Therapy

An Integrative Approach To Healing Complex Trauma

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Presentation Description

In this presentation, Marie-José Dhaese and Richard L. Gaskill join their expertise to explore and weave together current neurobiological research and the theory and application of Holistic Expressive Play Therapy, an integrative approach with a long and successful history of treating trauma in children. Its wide variety of attachment-based and body-centered expressive methods utilizing sensory experience, movement activities, and creative expression lend themselves well to the rapidly evolving knowledge regarding the effects of complex trauma.

All proceeds from this online video presentation are going to a charitable fund providing therapy for traumatized children who would otherwise have no access to treatment.


Presentation Outline

Day 1 - Morning

1. Welcome and Introductions.
2. The purpose of bringing perspectives of Holistic Expressive Therapy and Neurobiology together.
3. View of human beings and Insights into Healthy Child Development from both perspectives.
· Resiliency
· Attachment
· Ego/Self Connection, capacity to process experiences
4. The effects of complex trauma on child development from both perspectives.
5. The Healing Journey: a general overview of what we need to do to begin to help repair relational patterns and gradually process traumas.

Day 1 - Afternoon

1. Facilitating the Healing Journey from both perspectives.
· Overview of major principles and components of methods used and their practical applications.
· Conducting a play therapy session with children suffering from complex trauma: (1) Starting from where the child is at, (2) Following and guiding, (3) Importance of structure and closure.
· Addressing challenges of facilitating the reparative process with children suffering from complex trauma.
2. Closing story.

Day 2 - Morning

1. Opening exercise; questions and comments.
2. Processing the traumas as relational patterns continue being repaired from both perspectives.
3. Overview of Expressive therapies available for safe and gradual processing of trauma from both perspectives.
4. From traumatic play to creative play: the challenges of facilitating expression and transformation of multiple traumas (case examples viewed from both perspectives).
5. Processing the traumas through the stages of healing (case examples viewed from both perspectives).

Day 2 - Afternoon

1. Processing the traumas through the stages of healing (case examples viewed from both perspectives).
2. Addressing issues of fear, anger, shame (case examples viewed from both perspectives).
3. Images of healing: showing growth has taken place from both perspectives.
4. Time for closure, whether the child is ready or not.
5. Closing comments.


Your Instructor


Marie-Jose Dhaese
Marie-Jose Dhaese
At the time of this presentation Marie-José celebrated 40 years experience as a psychotherapist and 30 years as a consultant and international workshop leader in the field of expressive therapies, abuse, loss, and trauma. She has developed her own approach to healing: Holistic Expressive Therapy and founded the Centre for Expressive Therapy, a place of learning and retreat for clients and professionals from all over North America.

Visit my website: Centre For Expressive Therapy


Class Curriculum


  The Art And Science of Holistic Expressive Play Therapy
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