APT content area: Skills & Methods and Special Topics



Professional board complaints are on the rise. The evolution of mental health treatment includes changes in how we engage in our professional mission; how we relate to clients/colleagues and society; the intervention methods we use and the resolution of ethical dilemmas in practice. (Reamer) Additionally we have an “ongoing obligation to demonstrate competence in the provision of service that are sensitive to client’s cultures and to difference among people and cultural groups” (NASW Code of Ethics 2017)
Play therapy professional competence includes the regular review of ethics (most state licensing boards require ethics training with each renewal period) in mental health treatment with providers practicing the 8- point process of mitigating complaints. The rationale for ongoing play therapy training in ethics include the: contemporary challenges (digital age); the history of ethics; ongoing ethical dilemmas for review; the need to understand the core elements of why we place importance on ethical standards and more.


At the end of this course participants, through a play therapy lens, will be able to:
•Describe the differences between ethics, values, morals, and law as it relates to play therapy treatment
•Describe specific play therapy ethical issues that could arise in the treatment with minors and caregivers where the focus is child centered play therapy
•Analyze professional forms useful in play therapy treatment to reduce the potential of the above ethical complaints
•Identify the 8 steps of how to mitigate an ethical complaint utilizing child centered play therapy vignettes to demonstrate how to use the 8-step protocol (Reamer)
•Describe five potential play therapy ethical dilemmas that could arise related to the internet, social media, telehealth and the pandemic
•Identify general methods of professional self- care.  

Specific recommendations will be reviewed for the play therapist professional faced with a board complaint.

Instructor Bio:

Lisa has over 25 years counseling experience that ranges from school counseling to private practice, to full time university instructor in counseling. Lisa has been using Play Therapy extensively in her practices since 2001. She has presented numerous counseling and play therapy workshops for CE credit and supervises future therapists and Play therapists. After retiring from Eastern New Mexico University in 2015, Lisa moved to Santa Fe, NM where she has worked with the Military Family Life Counselor Program (MFLC) and currently the Child Counseling Center and Play Therapy Institute of New Mexico.

Lisa Dykes-Harrell, LPCC, RPT-S