Recent Grads Join Professor to Provide Community Forum During Play Therapy Conference
From left, TJ Schoonover, Cameron Houin, Kristi Perryman, Chulyndria Laye (current Ph.D. student) and Brittany Massengale presented their dissertations at the National Association for Play Therapy Conference. Houin and Massengale joined associate professor Perryman to provide a free community forum regarding LGBTQ concerns at the event.
The Association for Play Therapy recently invited two doctoral graduates and faculty member Kristi Perryman to provide a free community forum regarding LGBTQ concerns.
"We offered resources for the LGBTQ community and, specifically, spoke to parents and counselors about how to obtain services for transgender kids and teens," said Perryman, associate professor of counselor education at the U of A.
The forum was held during the 38th Annual National Association for Play Therapy Conference, which convened in Arkansas for the first time in its history. Conference planners invited Perryman and recent counselor education doctoral graduates Brittany Massengale and Cameron Houin to present at the event.
Perryman serves on the national board for the Association for Play Therapy. "We wanted to provide LGBTQ+ resources for children and the families in the state to help them access mental health services," she said. "Recent legislative reforms in Arkansas have created many obstacles for this vulnerable population."
The presentation offered information on state legislation in Arkansas impacting LGBTQ+ youth as well as current statistics both locally and nationally that show the negative impact on mental health. Video recorded interviews with parents of youth struggling in the state were shared.
The presentation included a resource list of websites, helpful Instagram accounts, literature and psychoeducational tools for parents and therapists working with LGBTQ+ youth. The session was audio recorded and is available on the Association for Play Therapy website. Houin and Massengale, who are assistant professors in the Viterbo University counselor education program, also conducted a separate, two-hour invited presentation during the conference.
About 20 current counselor education students and recent graduates attended the conference, and multiple master's degree students served as volunteers while obtaining hours toward becoming Registered Play Therapists.
The conference provides post-graduate level training and education, fosters the exchange of ideas and provides networking opportunities to professionals across disciplines. Counselors, psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, graduate students and other mental health professionals can select from over 60 educational workshops over the six-day event offered every October. Nearly 1,100 attendees attend every year and may earn up to 40 hours of continuing education credit for licensure and play therapy credentialing purposes.
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