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Lisa Dion is the creator of Synergetic Play Therapy – a researched-informed model of play therapy based on nervous system regulation, interpersonal neurobiology, physics, attachment, mindfulness, and therapist authenticity. It aims to replicate the delicate dance of attunement that occurs between a caregiver and an infant. It focuses on ensuring that the practitioner’s verbalizations and non-verbal activity are congruent during the play therapy sessions in order to transmit trust and safety. In doing so, the approach maximizes right-hemisphere to right-hemisphere communication and acts as an external regulator for children’s dysregulated states as they arise in the therapeutic process.

Lisa defines the therapist as the most important toy in the playroom. Her approach is applicable to all children, as the basis for her theory is rooted in neuroscience and interpersonal neurobiology.  Her work is also effectively applied to work with children and young people who express aggression in their behaviour during the therapeutic process. This is a vital new area that has rarely been conceptualized. Lisa’s approach highlights how a compassionate and relational orientation is critical to be aware of the multiple layers of meaning that occurs in the exchanges between therapist and child/young person.

Participants will come away with a range of new skills and strategies that include:

  • Being able to describe how play therapy works from a neurobiological perspective
  • Learning how to set boundaries without shaming or shutting down the child
  • Learning how to make aggressive play therapeutic
  • Understanding how to work with the intensity of aggressive play without the therapist’s own nervous system shutting down resulting in compassion fatigue and burn out
  • Learning how to become the external regulator in a session to deepen children’s ability to integrate the challenging experiences they are working through

Using hands-on and practical techniques, Lisa will assist the group to trace the moment to moment shifts in regulation between therapist and child, providing a level of insight which supports the transformation of aggression into ways of connecting and mutual trust.