When I was 29 weeks pregnant I was in a hit and run car accident that sent me into labor. Little did I know that I had just experienced the catalyst that would forever change me, my understanding of the power of attuned connection and the trajectory of my career. As fate would have it, my daughter was not born and made it to 39 weeks, but what was born was Synergetic Play Therapy. Read the full story on my blog or watch the History video.
Synergetics (a term coined by physicist Buckminster Fuller) is the study of systems in transformation, with an emphasis on total system behavior unpredicted by the behavior of any isolated components.
Synergetic Play Therapy® honors both the therapeutic powers of play, the science that governs relationship, and the development of the therapist, recognizing that it is ultimately the interplay between these three systems that support deep transformation for both therapist and child.
The word itself is also reflective of what is happening in the playroom and how integration and healing occurs. As the therapist attunes to their own internal systems and then attunes to the internal systems of the child, a union of systems occurs. In this union, a synergy forms, allowing for co-regulation to emerge. The co-regulation supports both the therapist and the child in their ability to move towards the uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, and body sensations that they would not have been able to move towards as easily on their own.
During this “synergy of systems”, therapist and child enter something akin to a “Synergetic field’ where right hemisphere to right hemisphere communication emerges, allowing for integration and transformation.
Curious? Check out the toggles on this page and the tabs in the sidebar to learn more about the history, philosophy, tenets, research, and training of SPT.
“SPT is a game changer. It gives birth to the authentic self within the child and the therapist…”
For training information, visit my calendar or the training calendar at the Synergetic Play Therapy Institute.
History of Synergetic Play Therapy®:
How a Tragedy Inspired a new Play Therapy Model
Renown therapist Lisa Dion developed Synergetic Play Therapy® after a hit-and-run car accident.
When I was 29 weeks pregnant with my daughter, I was in a hit-and-run car accident. As a result of the accident, I ended up in the hospital in labor. For three days, a team of doctors worked diligently trying to stop my contractions. Each time the medication that I was given to calm them would wear out, my contractions would spike. And so would my baby’s dys-regulation. Rather than calm with the medication, my baby would try to fight back. It was clear that her sympathetic nervous system was in overdrive…. Read More
Synergetic Play Therapy® (2008) is a researched-informed model of play therapy blending the therapeutic power of play with nervous system regulation, interpersonal neurobiology, physics, attachment, mindfulness, and therapist authenticity. Its primary play therapy influences are Child-Centered, Experiential, and Gestalt theories.
To learn more about SPT’s primary influences, click here.
Although Synergetic Play Therapy® is a model of play therapy, it’s also a way of being in relationship with self and others. It’s an all-encompassing paradigm that can be applied to any facet of life and, subsequently, any model of play therapy can be applied to it or vice versa. Synergetic Play Therapy™ is both non-directive and directive in its application.
With certification training hubs in the United States (Boulder, CO), Canada (Vancouver, BC), and Australia (Melbourne) as well as online training courses, Synergetic Play Therapy® is now accessible from multiple locations.
Philosophy of Synergetic Play Therapy®
“SPT is a new way of conceptualizing the therapeutic process by utilizing concepts from neuroscience, nervous system regulation, therapist authenticity, attunement and emotional congruency. It encourages us to look at all parts of ourselves and to fully engage in who we authentically are, so that we can model and teach that to the children we work with.”
-Cathy Lopez-Wesell, Certified Synergetic Play Therapist
“Synergetic Play Therapy is not only a new and cutting edge model of play therapy, but also a process of personal growth. I have learned how to work with my edges of discomfort, to expand my own windows of tolerance and to be open to the ways in which true attunement with a child in the playroom can lead to a reciprocal growth process.”
“I don’t know how to thank Lisa enough for the transformative experience she has provided. She is teaching exactly what needs to be taught right now, and the way she goes about teaching it – with such clarity, kindness, generosity, and vision – is incomparable. I have never in my life, experienced such a profound workshop experience.”
“SPT is not only a new and cutting edge model of play therapy, but also a process of personal growth. I have learned how to work with my edges of discomfort, to expand my own windows of tolerance, and to be open to the ways in which true attune met with a child in the play room can lead to a reciprocal growth process.”
“Lisa is a brilliant teacher. I walk away from every class inspired and full of new ideas that I can immediately apply to deepen my work with families. I have learned so much about neurobiology as it relates to human behavior and techniques of play therapy. I continue to be amazed at children’s abilities to grow and overcome challenges quickly through Synergetic Play Therapy.”
“The education, supervision and support I received through my training in Synergetic Play Therapy has been phenomenal. I am coming in to myself as a therapist in new and amazing ways; and the shifts I am experiencing with my clients have been profound. To have permission to be authentic with myself and my clients is truly liberating, not just for me but for them, as well. With Lisa’s support and guidance, I feel more confident and inspired in my work as a therapist than ever before.”