2023 Mar 18 - Restoring Hope to Youth in Play Therapy: Assessment, Treatment, and Prevention for Suicide


Registrations are closed

2023 Mar 18 - Restoring Hope to Youth in Play Therapy: Assessment, Treatment, and Prevention for Suicide

 Registration Information

Registration fee: $119

* Member discount available

 Workshop Description

Participants will assess for suicide risk by applying Prescriptive play therapy theory, integrated expressive play therapy treatment, and suicide prevention tools. The Centers for Disease Control ranked Suicide the 8th leading cause of death for children 5-11 years old (CDC, 2021a). Play Therapy offers interventions to reach youth with a neuro-sequential developmental approach developed by Dr. Bruce Perry (2009). According to Burgin, E., et al. in 2022, children benefited from Client-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT), so CCPT maybe considered efficacious in the treatment of depressive symptoms. This workshop includes populations and how to assist their unique needs.

According to the California Department of Public Health and the CDC, suicides among children, adolescents, and young adults ages 5-24 were 6500 in the United States. (California Dept. of Public Health, Death Statistical Master Files & CDC WONDER Online Database, 2021). This demonstrates the need for workshops to train play therapists and school-based play therapists to address assessment, treatment, and prevention in play therapy. Studies indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with distress, anxiety, fear of contagion, depression, and insomnia in the general population leading to an increase in the mental health crisis. Covid-19 and its variants contributed to the need for play therapy services, particularly for children with suicidal ideation and suicidal behaviors. Training play therapists in how to recognize, treat and prevent suicidal behaviors like self-harm, for example, can make a difference in saving lives. Another key aspect of suicide-prevention services is parents, caregivers, and teachers to whom we have an obligation to provide psychoeducation and training to teach skills so they can also be involved in supporting youth in prevention and healing.

Suicidality is a concern in all cultures and communities regardless of race or ethnicity. This workshop will address issues of diversity by elucidating the unique risks and warning signs for many populations, including vulnerable ones, as well as provide assessments and interventions that are culturally sensitive and aware of the need for diversity.


Leslie S. Baker, MFT, NCC, GCT, Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor 
Leslie Baker owns and operates Therapy2Thrive® Ruby Hill Marriage and Family Counseling Center, Inc. She has been in practice for over 30 years treating children, adolescents, couples, and families for anxiety, depression, and mental illness. She has worked with suicide loss and suicide assessment, treatment, and prevention for the past ten years. More recently, Leslie has delivered keynotes, workshops, and symposiums to local, national, and international groups focusing on play therapy to treat children and adolescents. A Certified Suicide Bereavement Trained Clinician since 2017, Leslie works with suicide loss survivors and treats those who are coping with suicidal ideation and suicidal behaviors. Leslie is the author of two children’s books and two chapters in books edited by Dr. Jessica Stone.

Speaker Disclosure:

  • Financial: Leslie Baker maintains a private practice. She is an author for Yorkshire Publishing and receives a royalty. Ms. Baker receives a speaking honorarium from the California Branch of the Association for Play
  • Therapy. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
    Non-financial: Leslie Baker is a member of the American Counseling Association; and the Association for Play Therapy.

Mary Ruth Cross, MFT, NCC, Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor

Mary Ruth Cross owns and operates Treehouse Family Counseling Services, PC. She served as a Faculty Member at the University of Phoenix, College of Social Sciences, Master of Counseling program for eight years. She is a recognized leader in the California Association for Play Therapy (CALAPT). Mary Ruth’s recent teaching experience includes developing and presenting play therapy-based workshops locally, nationally, and internationally to mental health groups looking to enhance effective strategies for working with children and adolescents. Mary Ruth is also a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling. Mary Ruth also facilitates a monthly grief support group for those experiencing a suicide loss.

Speaker Disclosure:

  • Financial: Mary Ruth Cross maintains a private practice. She receives a speaking honorarium from the California Branch of the Association for Play Therapy. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
  • Non-financial: Mary Ruth Cross is a member of the California Association for Marriage and Family Therapy; the Association for Play Therapy; and the American Counseling Association.

 Learning Objectives

  1. Describe 3 risk factors to identify suicidal behavior in youth in play therapy settings.
  2. Describe 3 warning signs to identify suicidal behavior in youth and adults in play therapy settings.
  3. List 1 or more assessment tools for youth coping with suicidal thoughts/ideation and/or suicidal behaviors that can be integrated into play therapy.
  4. List 2 or more expressive play therapy-based prevention strategies for youth coping with suicidal thoughts/ideation and/or suicidal behaviors.
  5. Examine and apply at least 3 expressive play-based strategies for working with youth with suicidal ideation and/or suicidal behaviors. 
  6. Identify at least 5 myths about the assessment and treatment of suicidality in youth.

 Workshop Schedule

9am-9:15am     (15 minutes)  ​​Introduction and Overview

9:15am-10:15am     (60 minutes) ​​Suicide- Video & Activity

10:15am-10:30am     (15 minutes)  ​BREAK

10:30am-11:30am     (60 minutes) ​​Risks, Warning signs/Interventions,

​Cultural considerations

11:30am-12:00pm     (30 minutes)  ​Vignettes

12:00pm-1:00pm     (60 minutes)  ​​LUNCH

1:00pm-2:45pm     (105 minutes) ​​Assessment & Treatment

2:45pm-3:00pm     (15 minutes) ​BREAK

3:00pm-4:00pm     (60 minutes) ​​​​Prevention - School-based

4:00pm-4:15pm     (15 minutes) ​​​​Resources

4:15-4:30pm     (15 minutes) ​Q&A

 Continuing Education Information

Continuing Education: This workshop meets the qualifications for 6 hours of continuing education credit per day for Psychologists, MFTs & LCSWs and LPCC’s. The California Association for Play Therapy (CALAPT) is approved by the Association for Play Therapy to offer continuing education specific to play therapy (APT Approved Provider # 00-094). The California Association for Play Therapy is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The California Association for Play Therapy maintains responsibility for this program and its contents. NO CREDIT FOR PARTIAL ATTENDANCE.

Who Should Attend:  Social Workers, Marriage, Family & Child Therapists, School Counselors, Psychologists, and Interns.

Instructional Level:  Intermediate – requires a working knowledge of the fundamental principles of play therapy.

Instructional Methodology: May include lecture, demonstration, audio/visual, experiential practice of techniques, case examples, large and small group discussion

 CalAPT Policies and Disclaimers

Cancellations & Refunds: Requests for refunds must be made in writing by e-mail to president@calplaytherapy.org. Requests must be made at least two weeks prior to the training to receive a refund. There is a $25.00 administrative fee for refunds. There are no refunds for cancellations after the deadline, however, registration may be transferred to another individual. There are no price breaks for partial attendance.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by presenters at the CALAPT events do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the CALAPT Board of Directors or its membership. CALAPT reserves the right to make changes to the conference schedule, speakers and presentation, if this becomes necessary.

Accessibility Information: CALAPT is committed to providing universal access to all of our events. Please contact president@calplaytherapy.org to request disability accommodations per ADA/504. Advance notice is necessary to arrange some accessibility needs. Please provide notification two weeks prior to the workshop date.

Health and Safety Information: CALAPT follows all guidance and recommendations set forth by the CDC and other state, local, and federal healthy and safety governance.

Questions and Concerns: Contact us at president@calplaytherapy.org with any event or registration related questions or concerns.


Registrations are closed
Date & Time
Saturday, March 18, 2023
9:00 AM 4:30 PM (America/Los_Angeles)

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