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By Your Side: A Therapeutic Approach to Transitioning Foster Youth Using Play Therapy

July 15, 2020 @ 9:00 am - 11:15 am CDT

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4 CEs
*CEs only available for those licensed in the US
This webinar will NOT be recorded

This is a two-day course July 15 & July 16
Same time each day

By Your Side: A Therapeutic Approach to Transitioning Foster Youth Using Play Therapy

Presented by Dr. Vivien Norris

The workshop will introduce the By Your Side model for supporting children across family transitions. By Your Side provides a practical set of tools that can be used to support children and the adults who care for them as they transition a child from one family to another. Transitions include foster care to adoption, as well as other family compositions. By Your Side is an attachment-focused and trauma-informed treatment model that integrates Theraplay (a play therapy modality) and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy. This unique model creates a comprehensive plan that allows all of the adults involved in a transition to work together to support the child. Using videos of clinical families, this workshop will illustrate how the model is implemented. Participants will learn the By Your Side protocol, practice facilitating Theraplay play therapy sessions designed for treatment of children and families in transition, and explore helpful ways to speak with children about the transition as it occurs.


  • Summarize how to use Theraplay play therapy sessions and concepts across transitions
  • Recognize the attachment and developmental trauma principles underlying the By Your Side model
  • Facilitate specialized Theraplay play therapy session during the introductions process
  • Identify when to integrate other play therapy or talk therapy approaches with Theraplay


Dr. Vivien Norris, DClinPsy, DipMusicTh is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist and Music Therapist. She is also accredited in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy® and is a Certified Theraplay® Therapist and Trainer. Vivien has been working as a Clinical Psychologist within the NHS in the UK for over twenty years specialising in therapeutic work with families and in the area of fostering and adoption. She has a longstanding interest in trauma and has worked in various roles in the field, in therapeutic communities with adolescents and leading national research into the impact of the Asian tsunami.
Along with part time NHS work, Vivien is Clinical Director of The Family Place, an independent organisation providing flexible therapeutic interventions for families. Her main area of interest is in children with severe difficulties in forming relationships, arising from histories of abuse, neglect and trauma. Her clinical approach centers on the inclusion of foster carers and adopters in interventions and combines approaches to address complex difficulties. Vivien has many years experience delivering training. She has contributed to publications in the area of self-harm and the impact of trauma.


Boswell, S. and Cudmore, L., (2014). ‘The children were fine’: Acknowledging complex feelings in the move from foster care to adoption. Adoption and Fostering. 38(1), 5-21

Geller, S.M., & Porges, S.W. (2014). Therapeutic presence: Neurophysiological mechanisms mediating feeling safe in therapeutic relationships. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 24 (3), 178

Hughes, D., Golding, K.S., & Hudson, J. (2015). Dyadic developmental psychotherapy (DDP): The development of theory, practice and research base. Adoption & Fostering, 39, 356-365

Kestly, T.A. (2016). Presence and Play: Why Mindfulness Matters. International Journal of
Play Therapy. 25(1), 14-23.
Norris, V. and Lender, D. (2020). Theraplay: The Practitioner’s Guide. Jessica Kingsley

Porges, S.W., & Lewis, G.F. (2010). The polyvagal hypothesis: common mechanisms mediating autonomic regulation, vocalizations and listening. Handbook of Behavioural Neuroscinece, 19, 255-264

Porges, S. W. (2015a). Making the world safe for our children: down-regulating defence and up-regulating social engagement to ‘optimise’ the human experience. Children Australia, 40, pp 114-123.

Porges, S. W. (2015b) Play as a neural exercise: Insights from the Polyvagal Theory. The Power of Play for Mind Brain Health, 3-7.

Schore, A.N. (2001).“Effect of a Secure Attachment Relationship on Right Brain Development, Affect Regulation, and Infant Mental Health,” Infant Mental Health Journal 22 (1-2), pp.7-67.

Schore, J.R., & Schore, A.N. (2014). Regulation theory and affect regulation psychotherapy: A clinical primer. Smith College Studies in Social Work, 84 (2-3), 178-195


July 15
9:00-9:30 Overview of the By Your Side model
9:30-10:00 Managing adult dynamics
10:00-10:15 Break
10:15-11:00 Video illustrations of the patterns of sessions
11:00-11:15 Q&A

July 16
9:00-10:00 Facilitating a Theraplay session across introductions
10:00-10:15 Break
10:15-11:00 Integrating DDP-based story-telling into a Theraplay session
11:00-11:15 Q&A

There is no conflict of interest or commercial support for this program.

This is a non-contact live virtual webinar.

Visit our FAQs here for cancellation policies

Download CE information here

For those seeking CEs, participants will receive an email from R. Cassidy Seminars within a few days of the conclusion of the Summer Learning Institute. Upon completion of the course evaluation, the certificate of completion will be made available.


July 15, 2020
9:00 am - 11:15 am CDT
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