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Intersecting Trauma Treatments: Combining EMDR Therapy & Theraplay for Play Therapists

July 28, 2020 @ 9:00 am - 12:15 pm CDT

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6 CEs
*CEs only available for those licensed in the US
This live webinar will be recorded

This is a two day presentation July 28 & July 29
Same time each day

Intersecting Trauma Treatments: Combining EMDR Therapy & Theraplay for Play Therapists

Presented by Ana Gomez, MC, LPC & Glenda Villamarin, MA, LCP

Treating children with complex trauma is challenging.  Integrating two therapies, Theraplay and EMDR therapy, can have a synergistic effect of facilitating healing in these children.  Theraplay can facilitate the child’s relationship with the play therapy therapist and the parent as well as enhance self-esteem, attachment, and affect regulation.  EMDR therapy can directly treat the trauma itself.  This training will address the benefits and intricacies of using EMDR therapy and Theraplay, as these two powerful approaches can compliment and benefit each other in the treatment of highly traumatized children.  It will highlight case conceptualization and the framework in which two approaches can co-exist while honoring the heart of each.  Participants will learn when and how to best integrate these two treatment models in play therapy sessions in order to give voice to both the right and left brain.  This training will emphasize the importance of addressing intergenerational trauma and how Theraplay and EMDR therapy both contribute to the healing of generations.  Ana and Glenda will highlight work with caregivers to increase mentalizing capacities and attunement, as well as work on moving the parent out of survival and self-preservation into co-regulation and connection.  Participants will walk away with inspiration, ideas, and tools that they can implement into their play therapy work with children and families.


  • Cite the similarities (theories and methods) between EMDR therapy and Theraplay in play therapy
  • Describe the benefits of combining EMDR therapy and Theraplay in the play therapy treatment of children with complex trauma
  • Identify when and how to integrate EMDR therapy with Theraplay to increase affect regulation and affect tolerance in play therapy sessions
  • Describe how to utilize the four dimensions of Theraplay while adding a Dual Attention Stimulus (DAS) to enhance child’s regulated moments
  • Exhibit two ways of increasing affect tolerance while engaging in Theraplay activities in the four dimensions within play therapy sessions
  • List 2 strategies that will help the dissociative child reconnect with their body in play therapy
  • Explain how to help a client access and process trauma memories in play therapy sessions using EMDR therapy supported by Theraplay strategies
  • Describe ways of using inner child strategies to heal the “hurt little self” during EMDR therapy-Theraplay play therapy sessions


Ana M Gómez, MC, LPC is the founder and director of the AGATE Institute in the U.S. She is an EMDR Institute and EMDR-IBA trainer of trainers in Colombia. She is a psychotherapist, author, and an international speaker on the use of EMDR therapy with children and adolescents with complex and developmental trauma as well as generational wounds and dissociation. She has also presented on the use of play therapy, Theraplay and attachment informed treatments to heal intergenerational trauma. She has been the keynote and invited speaker at numerous conferences and workshops. She has presented in over 70 cities in 15 countries. Ana is the author of EMDR Therapy and Adjunct Approaches with Children: Complex Trauma, Attachment and Dissociation and several books, book chapters and articles on the use of EMDR therapy with children and adolescents. She is the author of Dark, Bad Day…Go Away: A book for Children About Trauma & EMDR Therapy, Stories and Storytellers: The Mind, The Heart and The Body, Let’s Have a Visit with Our Feelings: A Book for Children to Increase Affect Tolerance and Acceptance among others. Ana also developed and created The Thoughts Kit for Kids and co-authored with Dr. Francine Shapiro, an article on the use of EMDR therapy with children. Ana was the recipient of the 2011 “Distinguished Service Award” from the Arizona Play Therapy Association and the 2012 Sierra Tucson “Hope Award.” Ana has developed numerous intensive programs and protocols that include the “EMDR-Sandtray Protocol” and “The Systemic, EMDR- Attachment Informed Program to Heal Intergenerational Trauma & Repair the Parent-Child Attachment Bond.”

Glenda Z. Villamarín, MA, Certified Clinical Psychologist is a Certified Theraplay® Therapist and Trainer. She graduated from Universidad Católica del Ecuador PUCE. Currently the director of “Serendipitá Ecuador – Centro de Psicología, Psicotrauma y capacitación,” she works with children, adolescents and their families with a variety of difficulties: autism spectrum, adoption, DHAD, abuse, trauma, personality disorders, and violence. She is a certified Therapeutic Psychodramatist by APSE (Asociación de Psicodrama y Sociometría del Ecuador), member of the Faculty (trainer in psychodrama) and former President of APSE. She has a Master’s degree in Cultural Studies at the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar UASB-Ecuador. She was co-coordinator of the III Iberoamerican Congress on EMDR and Psychotrauma. She is a certified EMDR therapist, Approved Consultant, facilitator and Full EMDR trainer of the Iberoamerican team and the EMDR Institute. She is a founding member of EMDR Ecuador and conducts EMDR trainings in Ecuador, Colombia, Chile and is a Trainer in charge of Bolivia. Glenda is a certified Brainspotting therapist and Approved Consultant and Trainer for the Brainspotting® Institute conducting trainings in Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, Chile and Salvador. Since 2006, she has taught courses at the Post Graduate programs of Health & Environmental Studies, Education, and the Andean Program on Human Rights of Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar. Glenda can be reached at [email protected].


Blaustein, M. E., Kinniburgh, K. M. (2019). Treating traumatic stress in children and adolescents: How to foster resilience through attachment, self-regulation and, competency. New York: The Guilford press.

Cozolino, L. (2014). The neuroscience of human relationships: Attachment and the developing social brain. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Dana, D. (2018). The polyvagal theory in therapy: Engaging the rhythm or regulation. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Geller, S. M., Porges, S. W. (2014), Therapeutic presence: Neurophysiological mechanisms mediating feeling safe in therapeutic relationships. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, Vol 24(3), 178-192.

Gomez, A. M. & Jernberg, E. (2013). Using EMDR Treatment and Theraplay. In A. M. Gómez (2013), EMDR and adjunct approaches with children: Complex trauma, attachment and dissociation. (pp. 247-271). New York: Springer Co.

Hewitt, O., Gurney-Smith, B., & Golding, K. (2018). A qualitative exploration of the experiences of adoptive parents attending ‘Nurturing Attachments’, a dyadic developmental psychotherapy informed group. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 23(3), 471-482.

Koole, S.L. & Tschacher, W. (2016) Synchrony in Psychotherapy: A Review and an Integrative Framework for the Therapeutic Alliance; Front. Psychol., 14 June

Levy, T. M., Orlands, M. (2014). Attachment, Trauma and Healing: Understanding and treating attachment in children, families and adults. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Perry, B. D., & Szalavitz, M. (2017). The boy who was raised as a dog: And other stories from a child psychiatrist’s notebook : what traumatized children can teach us about loss, love, and healing. 3rd edition, New York: Basic Books.

Porges, S. (2015). Making the World Safe for our Children: Down-regulating Defence and Up-regulating Social Engagement to ‘Optimise’ the Human Experience. Children Australia, 40(2), 114-123. doi:10.1017/cha.2015.12

Shapiro, F. (2017). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. Basic principles, protocols, and procedures (3rd ed.) New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Zero to Three (Organization). (2016). DC:0-3R: Diagnostic classification of mental health and developmental disorders of infancy and early childhood. Washington, D.C: Zero To Three Press.


July 28
9:00-10:00 Principles and theoretical underpinnings of Theraplay and EMDR therapy
10:00-10:30 Why utilizing two approaches? How do they complement each other? What do they share in common?
10:30-10:45 Break
10:45-11:15 Strategies for stabilization and increasing affect regulation and affect tolerance
11:15-12:00 Utilizing the four dimensions of Theraplay and EMDR therapy
12:00-12:15 Q&A

July 29
9:00-10:00 Working with dissociative children: Helping them reconnect with the body. Identifying memories of trauma and initiating trauma processing
10:00-10:30 Working with the wounded “little self” and the “bigger self”
10:30-10:45 Break
10:45-11:15 Working with parents: Increasing mentalizing capacities and attunement
11:15-12:00 Re-uniting and reconnecting with Theraplay after trauma work
12:00-12:15 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 28, 2020
9:00 am - 12:15 pm CDT
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