A Spectrum of Superpowers in Play Therapy





A Spectrum of Superpowers in Play Therapy

Presented by: Cynthia Manley, MA, CCC, RCT, CPT

 Saturday and Sunday, October 5 & 6, 2024     9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time

On-line Synchronous (live instructor) training

Course Content

Is Autism Spectrum Disorder a disability, Superpower or combination of both? In
this course, we explore a new way of looking at this diagnosis and using this
lens in play therapy. We will balance theoretical and factual knowledge with
examples of clinical experiences. In the first part of the course, we review up
to date information about Autism Spectrum Disorder. Further, we investigate the
dimensions of Autism including executive function, sensory-based challenges,
emotional regulation, and social skills.

Participants then identify and engage in both directive and non-directive play therapy with
clients on the spectrum after we review case conceptualization and treatment planning.
The Superpowers of ASD will also be investigated.

Certificate Outcomes: 

  1. Name some Superpowers of ASD that might emerge in Play Therapy and explain how they might create resilience factors for clients and caregivers.
  2. List diagnostic criteria for ASD that are relevant for play therapy.
  3. Name common myths/misinformation about ASD that might hinder progress in Play Therapy.
  4. Explain the concept of Executive Function and how it applies to Play Therapy.
  5. Describe the grief process of parents/caregivers and how it impacts Play Therapy.
  6. Name research-based play therapy interventions that would be appropriate for clients on the spectrum.
  1. Conceptualize cases for children/teens on the spectrum and create Play Therapy treatment plans that address dysregulation, lagging social skills, sensory based challenges, executive functioning and the superpowers of having autism.
  1. Identify directive and non-directive play therapy approaches that address: dysregulation issues, lagging social skills, sensory based challenges and executive functioning.
  1. Discuss ways to involve caregivers in the play therapy process.

Biography of Instructor

Cynthia Manley, MA, CCC, RCT, CPT

My name is Cynthia Manley and I am the owner of Shifting Tides Play Therapy in Bedford, Nova Scotia. I am a Certified Play Therapist through the Canadian Association for Play Therapy. I am a Registered Counselling Therapist in Nova Scotia.  I got my Master of Arts in Professional Mental Health Counselling from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. I am a Supervisor in Training for the Canadian Association for Play Therapy.

My training in counselling therapy came later in my life and has been heavily informed by immigration and an awareness of my own life experience and privilege.  I was a Special Education teacher in California, British Columbia, and Oregon before becoming a counsellor. My son is on the Autism Spectrum, and I have been through the immigration process when I moved to Canada. When I was a teacher, my students with special needs were the children of migrant farm workers from Mexico. My students had diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, various processing disorders, and intellectual disabilities. Through working with families in various settings, walking alongside them and reflecting on my own experiences,  I have seen the complexities involved with social locations and the intersections of people’s lives: culture, race, class, gender, and on and on.  For me, as a therapist, my work is always to follow the lead of the client, to meet them where they are, and to offer integrated approaches to support them in healing and growth.


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