adolescent girl smiling while painting
Expressive Arts in Play Therapy with Adolescents


This version of the course does not have CEs available.


Integrating expressive arts into play therapy like an expert therapist using a neuroscience and attachment lens.

This self paced course will increase your skills to help your adolescent clients improve their self-esteem, develop coping skills, and engage in healthy relationships so they can thrive.

Integrating Expressive Arts into Clinical Practice

Sometimes traditional talk therapy doesn't help your adolescent clients fully and effectively explore and address the issues underlying their mental health challenges.

   And sometimes play therapy can be challenging to meet your adolescent client's needs in treatment.   

Cathi Spooner, LCSW, RPT-S | Trainer

Do any of these ring true?

๐Ÿ‘‰๐ŸผYou're struggling to find ways to help your adolescent client tolerate their emotional distress to explore their negative beliefs activating anxiety, depression, trauma response, self-harm, or suicide ideation.

๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿผ You need a way to confidently and effectively use expressive arts in your therapy sessions with adolescents to get great treatment results for them.

๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿผ You need a way to use play therapy with adolescents that meets their developmental needs and not feel like you're treating them like "babies."

๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿผ You need ideas using expressive arts to access the therapeutic powers of play you can use right away.

๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿผ You're not sure how to recognize clinical themes, how to introduce and process expressive arts activities, and maintain a safe therapeutic space for your adolescent clients.

adolescent girl holding poster

This training will help you understand role of neuroscience and attachment in the development of self-concept and relationship patterns so you can target the right areas for change using expressive arts. 

You'll learn how to use that information to use expressive arts activities to access the therapeutic powers of play like an expert so your adolescent clients can thrive and learn expressive arts strategies that you can use immediately with your clients.

Expressive Arts in Play Therapy Course Information

Expressive arts provide a powerful tool for your adolescent clients in the play therapy process to express themselves, identify cognitive distortions and shame, explore self-concept and their relationships, and develop resiliency through the creative process. This course uses a neuroscience and attachment lens in play therapy to give you a framework to recognize what factors may be contributing to your client's mental health challenges. You'll use this "lens" to explore and address these core issues underlying many mental health challenges for adolescents. You'll learn a variety of expressive arts activities using mindfulness, art, poetry, and music to explore these keys areas with your young clients. These activities will help them explore painful emotions and experiences using expressive arts to help them engage in the change process more deeply. You'll learn a neuroscience and attachment-informed framework to help you ground your expressive arts strategies in theory and application in the play therapy process.

  • Define the concept of mentalization and its relationship with attachment and emotion regulation in play therapy
  • Learn the relationship between attachment, mentalization, and our conceptualization of self, others, and relationships in play therapy for adolescents
  • Explain the mind-body connection for emotion regulation in play therapy
  • Identify at least three therapeutic powers of play to use with expressive modalities
  • Explain the archetypes and shadow and light attributes of attachment and how to use them to integrate expressive arts activities in the play therapy process 
  • Describe the elements of the Be 5 Framework to apply clinical decision-making for integrating expressive arts in play therapy and establish a strong therapeutic relationship to facilitate change
  • Demonstrate at least four expressive arts activities to use with adolescents in the play therapy process to explore self-concept, relationships, regulate emotions, develop coping skills, and increase resiliency 

To help you apply the information learned in the training, there is a Community Group (like a Facebook Group) to share ideas, ask questions, and get feedback that's available 24/7. There are additional Live Zoom Calls scheduled periodically for additional consultation support to help you effectively and confidently use the information learned in the course. You'll have lifetime access to the course as long as the course is available with access to the training material, Community group, and periodic Zoom calls, including any updates made to the course along the way.

"Loved all of the useful interventions."
Laura, Play therapist
"Everything was great! Loved all the activities."
Melissa, Play therapist
"Awesome training and review on attachment and emotional regulation!!"
Aubree, LCSW

Are you ready to integrate Expressive Arts in Play Therapy with your adolescent clients?

check out what's inside the course

Using a neurobiology & Attachment lens for grounding treatment

This module discusses how attachment influences our conceptualization of self, others, and relationships - our core beliefs. You'll learn the role of memory and neuroscience for mentalization or what attachment theory refers to as internal working models. You'll examine the archetypes of attachment to help you conceptualize targets for change using expressive arts activities when working with adolescents in the play therapy process.

Mind-Body Connection for emotion regulation

This module examines the neuroscience of emotions and emotion regulation as well as the importance of integrating caregivers into the play therapy treatment process for co-regulation. You'll explore the concepts of Polyvagal Theory to understand the mind-body connection for regulating emotions. You'll learn expressive arts activities to teach mindfulness and coping skills.

Developmemnt tasks of adolescence and art

This module reviews the developmental tasks of adolescents when working with them in play therapy to help you better assess your clients social-emotional functioning and create a realistic expectation for change and treatment needs. You'll learn the developmental aspects of art to help you recognize clinically relevant themes and how to process and hold the expressive arts process in play therapy.

Accessing the therapeutic powers of play for adolescents

This module discusses the importance of the therapeutic powers of play in the treatment process and how to apply these principles to expressive arts modalities with adolescents.

Creating a Framework for Change

This module introduces you to the neuroscience and attachment-informed Be 5 Framework for integrating expressive arts into clinical play therapy practice with your adolescent clients. Grounding projective techniques into a frameworks provides support for clinical and ethical decision-making.

Setting Intention for Change

This module helps you take the information learned in the course and conceptualize how you can create a plan for using the concepts and ideas in clinical practice with your specific client population. Learning new information is great and having a plan to implement the information confidently and effectively is where the magic happens to help you provide "next level" play therapy treatment.

Community Group Feature

The Community Group is similar to a Facebook group within the course and provides the ability to get feedback, ask questions, and share ideas for using the information with your clients. It's a great way to enhance your learning experience because it's available 24/7 and you can access it anytime.

Live Zoom Group Consultation Calls

The Live Zoom Group Consultation calls will provide support so you can confidently and effectively implement the concepts and activities with your specific clients. It's an opportunity for you to get feedback and additional ideas to support the important work you're doing with your clients. These meetings are optional and intended to provide additional support during the course to enhance your learning experience. The Live Zoom Group Consultation calls are scheduled periodically and announced in the Community Group feature. These consultation calls do NOT count toward a Registered Play Therapy Certification or clinical licensure.

Meet Cathi

Cathi Spooner LCSW, RPT-S


It is my greatest desire to help families heal by empowering mental health professionals to learn how to integrate play therapy and expressive arts using the therapeutic powers of play into clinical practice with confidence.

Cathi Spooner, LCSW, RPT-S

What your colleagues have said about Cathi's trainings

Hear what they have to say...


Cathi's training was helpful. I will be able to integrate the information and interventions provided into my work with my clients

Anna H.

Smaller group sizes in Cathi's training facilitated more discussion and ability to participate.

Hallie B.


Cathi's experience and confidence in the model she developed plus her grounding energy helped in learning a whole new model. She brought it to life, including making comments during the first part explaining that the science is why you emphasize certain things with parents.

Cooper S.


Cathi was very available and able to answer questions. I really enjoyed her enthusiasm and knowledge. I learned a lot and feel more confident meeting with families.  

Leslie E. 

3 adolescent kids doing arts and crafts

Enroll Today!

If you've wanted to learn how to effectively and confidently use expressive arts in the treatment process with your adolescent clients, this course will give you a solid foundation to enhance your clinical work and great ideas to use with your clients.