Play Therapy

Play is fundamental to a child’s learning and understanding of the world and is the primary way young children communicate and express themselves. In play therapy, children use play to express and process difficult, challenging or traumatic experiences they are struggling with but unable to explain or express verbally.

In my play therapy practice, I work with children ages 2 through 12 who come to therapy demonstrating behavioral challenges or significant symptoms of distress at home, school, or other social settings. These symptoms and behaviors are the child’s way of indicating support is needed to deal with something that feels overwhelming. Through their play, children might indicate feelings of sadness, frustration, loss, anger, or fear, and through our work together they will feel seen, heard, understood, and accepted.

Then as the play therapy process evolves, they learn healthier and more effective ways to deal with their perceived challenges, and they begin to integrate new patterns of behavior and new ways of relating to themselves and others that carry over into their life outside of the play therapy process as they navigate life’s continuing challenges.

Play Therapy has been proven to be effective for a variety of life situations that children might be struggling with including, but not limited to:





Attachment concerns

Grief and loss

Sensory Processing issues

Highly Sensitivity

Self esteem/confidence challenges

Challenges in school

Social adjustment challenges

Behavioral challenges

Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress

ADD/ADHD/Autism Spectrum

Adoption or living in foster care

Separation or divorce of parents

Physical and/or Sexual Abuse or Neglect

My practice is highly informed by Synergetic Play Therapy,™ the first research-informed play therapy model to blend neuroscience, attachment/attunement, therapist authenticity, emotional congruence, nervous system regulation, and mindfulness to get to the heart of the healing process for children. It is an innovative and cutting edge model of play therapy that is designed to re-pattern the disorganization in the lower brain centers.

To learn more about Synergetic Play Therapy™ and how it is different than other play therapy models, you can read more below:

Synergetic Play Therapists literally get to the root of the struggle, helping transform the child (and the family) from the inside out. As human beings we are given a marvelous coping mechanism in our biology called the nervous system. In simple terms, the nervous system acts like a “honing mechanism” constantly trying to keep us in an optimal state of regulation. When we perceive any form of challenge in our lives, our nervous system gets activated to either rev us up or slow us down- whatever we perceive is necessary to take on the challenge. Every symptom that a child struggles with is rooted in the nervous system’s inability to return to a state of regulation.

When we have an experience that we have labeled as “challenging” in our perceptions, we will attempt to move away from the physical sensations, emotions and thoughts related to that experience. Neuro-biology now shows us that in order for integration to occur, we must move towards the physical sensations, emotions and/or thoughts rather than away from them.

Synergetic Play Therapists understand the neuro-science behind the transformation process and are able to work with a child (and the family) in such a way that targets:

1) Supporting the child in moving toward the uncomfortable sensations, emotions and thoughts that they might be experiencing. The result is that the child learns how to integrate manage their internal experiences faster.

2) Helping the child feel empowered in his/her physical body, while learning new and more effective ways of expressing emotions that he/she can take with them their whole life.

3) Teaching the child how to stay connected to themselves so that their authentic self emerges and their belief in self increases. The child learns how to communicate effectively and enjoy more fulfilling relationships.
Synergetic Play Therapy™  Lisa Dion, 2013


For a child, it is in the simplicity of play that the complexity of life is sorted, like puzzle pieces joined together to make sense of the world.
~L.R. Knost


When we treat children's play as seriously as it deserves, we are helping them feel the joy that's to be found in the creative spirit. It's the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives.

~Fred Rogers



Nature-Based Play Therapy
© 2016 Playful Nature