Seventh Annual Conference to Focus on Sand Tray Therapy for Adolescents

Play therapy expert Marshall Lyles
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Play therapy expert Marshall Lyles

Play therapy expert Marshall Lyles will be the keynote speaker at the U of A's Office of Play Therapy Research and Training Conference in person on June 10-11.

The seventh annual conference will focus on "Sand Therapy with Adolescents: Unlocking creative potential during a season of complex neurodevelopment." It will be held in person at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel in Fayetteville and will provide professional development for mental health professionals and teachers.

Lyles, LPC-S, LMFT-S, RPT-S, lives in the Austin, Texas, area and has 20 years of family and play therapy practice. Drawing on lessons learned from working with attachment trauma in various mental health settings, he regularly teaches on trauma, expressive therapies and attachment-informed family work around the globe. In addition to maintaining a small clinical practice, Lyles conducts supervision and consultation sessions with counseling professionals pursuing Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) certification and Registered Play Therapist (RPT) status, often with a particular focus on the use of sand tray therapy.

Lyles has published in professional journals and magazines and contributed to the books Counseling Families: Play-Based Treatment and EMDR with Children in the Play Therapy Room: An Integrated Approach. He also co-authored a book titled Advanced Sandtray Therapy with Linda Homeyer. He teaches in the Interpersonal Neurobiology Certificate Program at Portland Community College.

Adolescence is a season of intense neurobiological change. In this workshop, therapists will focus on play therapy using the sand tray and other adolescent-friendly expressive arts.

Kristi Perryman, an associate professor of counselor education in the College of Education and Health Professions and the director of the U of A Office of Play Therapy, said the conference offers training not only for students majoring in counseling and mental health professionals in the field, but would be appropriate for students studying psychology, social work, occupational therapy or nursing,

The U of A Counselor Education and Supervision Program is an approved provider of the Association for Play Therapy (APT) and an Approved University Center (APT). Conference attendees can earn 12 CEU's of APT-approved credit at the 2022 conference.

The U of A Office of Play Therapy received its designation as a nationally-approved center by the APT in 2015. The department offers the 150 CEU's needed to become a Registered Play Therapist over the course of a year through play therapy coursework and the annual summer conference.:

  • Annual Summer Conference: 12 hours (two-day workshop offered each summer)
  • Introduction to Play Therapy: 67.5 hours (five-week course offered each summer)
  • Counseling Children and Adolescents Through Play: 67.5 (16-week course offered each spring)
  • Three additional hours may be obtained at workshops offered throughout the year.

Register for the June 10-11 conference here.


Kristi Leann Perryman, associate professor
Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders

Shannon Magsam, director of communications
College of Education and Health Professions


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