By Christa Grauert
This year, I was lucky enough to attend The Association for Play Therapy Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Having graduated with my Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling only a couple months before, I was anxious to attend. I could feel emotions stir inside my stomach and I began to doubt who I was as a therapist. These feelings of inferiority were quickly squashed the second I stepped foot in the Grand Sheraton, as I was immersed in a sea of other Play Therapists who share the same passion as myself. There were 1,100 therapists there, all eager to learn, and take away new knowledge to better support our clientele.
Being my first conference, I threw myself into as many workshops as I could, but could feel the fatigue set in after day three of 9am to 6pm classes. Nevertheless, there was an energy in each of the workshops that encouraged me to continue showing up and opening my mind and heart to whatever I was about to absorb in those moments. I attended a range of trainings beginning with innovative techniques to support hard to engage kids and teens and ending with a Jungian play therapy approach to sexual abuse victims. Attending this conference, I gained a new perspective of how I can approach my sessions depending on the needs of my clients. I feel that I walked away with more skills and resources in my toolbox that will contribute to the well-rounded, engaging and compassionate play therapist that I want to be. I look forward to attending the 2019 Conference next year!