Recent Graduates Join Professor to Provide Community Forum at Play Therapy Conference

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From left to right, TJ Schoonover, Cameron Houin, Kristi Perryman, Chulyndria Laye (current PhD student) and Brittany Massengale presented their theses at the National Association for Play Therapy Conference. Houin and Massengale joined Associate Professor Perryman in providing a free community forum regarding LGBTQ concerns at the event.

The Association for Play Therapy recently invited two PhD students and faculty member Kristi Perryman to provide a free community forum regarding LGBTQ concerns.

“We offered resources for the LGBTQ community, and specifically, we talked to parents and counselors about how to get services for transgender children and teens,” said Perryman, associate professor of counselor training. at the U of A.

The forum took place during the 38th annual conference of the National Association for Play Therapy, which was held in Arkansas for the first time in its history. Conference organizers invited Perryman and recent PhDs in Counselor Education Brittany Massengale and Cameron Houin to present at the event.

Perryman serves on the National Board of Directors for the Association for Play Therapy. “We wanted to provide LGBTQ+ resources to children and families across the state to help them access mental health services,” she said. “Recent law reforms in Arkansas have created many barriers for this vulnerable population.”

The presentation provided information on Arkansas state legislation impacting LGBTQ+ youth as well as current statistics both local and national that show the negative impact on mental health. Videotaped interviews with parents of troubled youths in the state have been shared.

The presentation included a list of website resources, 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 adjunct professors in the University of Viterbo Counselor Education Program, also presented a separate two-hour guest presentation at the conference.

About 20 current students in counselor training and recent graduates attended the conference, and several master’s students served as volunteers while earning hours to become licensed play therapists.

The conference provides post-graduate level training and education, promotes the exchange of ideas and provides networking opportunities for professionals from all disciplines. Counselors, psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, graduate students and other mental health professionals can choose from more than 60 educational workshops during the six-day event offered each October. Nearly 1,100 participants attend each year and can earn up to 40 hours of continuing education credit toward play therapy licensing and accreditation.

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