Play Therapy Community Inspiration, Information, & Connection for Child Therapists Around the World | ADHD, Autism Spectrum Di

Jackie Flynn - Licensed Psychotherapist, Registered Play Therapist, Education Specialist, Adolescent Life Coach and a Parent Educator

Podcast Overview

Play Therapy Community will present a fresh, insightful episode once a week, usually on Thursday mornings.
On this podcast, we will cover topics such as play therapy techniques and resources, group therapy, maternal mental health, picky eaters, struggles in school, behavioral issues, grief and loss, and so much more. We’ll also delve into specific diagnosis such as ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Specific Learning Disabilities, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, etc. Difficult topics, such as parenting through separation/divorce, depression, anxiety struggles, relationship struggles, and such will be explored as well.
As the host of Play Therapy Community, I feel honored that you are joining us on this journey for knowledge to truly help our children in a way that honors their mind, body, and soul. My name is Jackie Flynn, and I’m a Licensed Psychotherapist, Registered Play Therapist, Education Specialist, Adolescent Life Coach and a Parent Educator.

Podcast Episodes

Episode 60: Understanding Infant Toddler Mental Health with Billie Jo Clausen, MA, Early Childhood Specialist / Infant Toddler Mental Health Specialist

In this episode Billie Jo covers the following:


  • Description of what Infant Mental Health is and what professional support in this area involves.
  • A discussion on the impact that ages 0-3 has on a child’s development – emotional, physical, cognitive, etc.
  • Clarification of who could benefit from Infant Toddler Mental Health Support
  • Tips for therapists working with children and families.


59: Dr. Edmunds – All About Creating a Therapeutic Board Game

Ellis Edmunds is a licensed psychologist in Oakland, CA.  He has a private practice working with teens and adults struggling with anxiety.  He is passionate about Mindfulness practices and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  He also loves to play games of all kind and has created a therapeutic board game called The Mindful Bus that can be used with groups or in a one on one setting.  He believes games can provide a fun, safe, and interactive experience for therapeutic work to take place.

In this episode Dr. Edmunds covers the following:

-How he got the idea for the board game by working with teens and adults. 
-The process of getting the game created: prototypes, testing it, art work. 
-How Acceptance and Commitment Therapy inspired the idea for the game. 
-How to get started on your own product or game.


58: Maternal Mental Health with Dr. Katayune Kaeni, Psy.D., Host of Mom & Mind Podcast

In this episode Dr. Kat covers the following:


  • Understanding what Maternal Mental Health is and where to find trained professionals to help.
  • Where to get training for professionals working with mothers in the mental health field.
  • Understanding postpartum depression, anxiety, and much more.
  • Reducing the shame of maternal mental health struggles through support, education, and sharing stories.
  • Her podcast, Mom & Mind is a wonderful free resource for parents, professionals, and anyone that could use information and knowledge in this area.


Dr. Kat’s Amazing Podcast


Mom and Mind Facebook Page


57: How Family Meetings Can Help with Mercedes Saudi, LCSW

Expert Guest: Mercedes Samudio, LCSW Mercedes Samudio, LCSW is a parent coach, speaker, and author who helps parents and children communicate with each other, manage emotional trauma, navigate social media and technology together, and develop healthy parent-child relationships. Over the course of her career, she has worked with adoptive families, foster families, teen parents, parents navigating the child protective services system, and children living with mental illness. Mercedes started the #EndParentShaming movement as well as coined the term Shame-Proof Parenting – using both to bring awareness to ending parent shame. Mercedes is a leading parenting expert and has an amazing following on social media that allows her to reach the hearts of thousands of parents who feel heard and seen on their parenting journey. She has been featured on The Huffington Post, US News and Report, Woman’s Day, LA Parent Magazine, CBS LA, and Kids In The House. Mercedes seeks to empower parents to believe that they are already great guides for raising healthy and happy children. You can read more about her parenting expertise at



In this episode, Mercedes covers the following:

  • How family meetings can help strengthen relationships. 
  • Important things to consider when having family meetings. 
  • How to respond to sibling rivalry and the benefits. 
  • The importance of listening to children and allowing them to participate in family discussions and problem-solving.


Mercedes’ Book – Shame Proof Parenting 

Mercedes’ Website


56: Understanding Suicide Pacts and Social Media

My guest today is Dr. Jonathan Singer, Ph. D., LCSW, who is an expert in the area of suicide. He is an Associate Professor of Social Work at Loyola University in Chicago and the founder and host of The Social Work podcast. He co-authored the book, Suicide in Schools. This episode focuses on suicide pacts and the social media component and is the second piece of a two-part series.

  • The language we use around suicide is important. Instead of “suicide threat,” the less-threatening terminology is “suicide disclosure.” Dr. Singer shares how he helped in a suicide pact scenario years ago, before the onset of social media. His story would be very different in today’s world that’s overrun with social media platforms. 
  • Peers can help and even intervene in a crisis situation. In today’s world saturated with social media, teens will often be the first to hear of suicide pacts. Their awareness is crucial, so they know how to help and what to do. Dr. Singer explains how to be a friend to someone who is at risk for suicide and, specifically, how to address an online suicide pact.
  • What if someone feels that they are betraying a friend? Well, “It’s better to have a friend alive and mad, than dead.” There are intense affective conversation techniques that can help keep a friend around: “Your reason for living may not be in your life yet.”
  • Talking about it is so important! Dr. Singer explains that research has shown that asking kids about suicide does not increase risk, but can actually buffer the risk. Contrary to what some people think, bringing up the conversation will NOT make them suicidal.  What does increase the risk is watching a graphic show about a bleak world without hope, as in the recent Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why.


Find Jackie and the Play Therapy Community on Facebook: Look for Play Therapy Community or Jackie Flynn Play Therapy Community.


Find Jackie on Twitter @jackieflynnrpt


Suicide in Schools by Dr. Jonathan Singer


Social Work Podcast


Join the Play Therapy Community Mastermind group -


55: Suicide Assessments & Interventions

My guest today is Dr. Jonathan Singer, Ph. D., LCSW, who is an expert in the area of suicide. He is an Associate Professor of Social Work at Loyola University in Chicago and the founder and host of The Social Work podcast. He co-authored the book, Suicide in Schools. This episode focuses on suicide assessments and interventions and is the first of a two-part series.

  • Therapists can do much at various levels to assess risk. The most important action is to screen for suicide risk at each intake assessment, whether it’s suspected or not. Often, aggression and other behavioral disturbances can be evidence of suicide risk, so ASK the questions!
  • What can parents do? Dr. Singer says that parents of any child at risk should talk to the school counselor about a referral. “Don’t start looking for someone when the need arises.” Therapists should also connect with school counselors and let them know who you are and what you do.
  • Dr. Singer explains Attachment-Based Family Therapy, which is emotion-focused and addresses the fundamental issue of why kids don’t see their parents as a resource for help. “Why does the child feel like it’s a better choice to die rather than talk to and open up to their parents?” Repairing the “attachment rupture” makes it easier than to talk about everything. Kids need their parents to be a safe place!
  • Within ABFT, parents must understand the difference between condoning and validating by giving care and acceptance with words and actions. Use the phrase, “tell me more” to encourage kids to share. With this, they gain confidence to start problem-solving on their own---and this is what we want them to do!
  • Another important aspect of ABFT is the service coordination between therapist and counselor. The amazing work in your office is not going to be beneficial if the adults in the kid’s life are not on the same page!



Find Jackie and the Play Therapy Community on Facebook: Look for Play Therapy Community or Jackie Flynn Play Therapy Community.

Find Jackie on Twitter @jackieflynnrpt

Suicide in Schools by Dr. Jonathan Singer

Social Work Podcast

Join the Play Therapy Community Mastermind group -


54: Eating Disorder Recovery through Group Therapy Lucy Lauer, LMHC

Lucy Lauer, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with 26 years’ experience as a Registered Dietitian. She specializes in helping people navigate the rough waters of disordered eating to achieve a healthier life and relationship with food. She has experience with Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, Nocturnal Eating Disorder, and the range of dysfunctional eating patterns that cause distress but may not have a diagnostic label.


In 35 years of practice, Lucy has treated disordered eating from both a nutritional and psychological perspective. She has presented workshops at the local, state and national level on many aspects of disordered eating for psychologists and counselors, physicians, dietitians, parents and teachers. She established and facilitated the Space Coast Eating Disorders Professional Consortium from 2009-2011, and supervises Florida Tech Psychology students in a special practicum focused on Eating Disorder treatment. 


She participates regularly in continuing education programs and has had over 60 hours of specialized training in ED treatment in the last 3 years alone. Specific topics have included ACT and other evidence-based interventions, medical complications, trauma impact, co-occurring disorders (substance abuse, self-injury, etc), assessment for appropriate level of care, body image, art and other expressive therapies, and using a team approach to treatment. She has also been invited to site visits at residential treatment centers in South Florida and Colorado. 




What are the various types of eating disorders? Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder


Since eating disorders have a direct impact on physical health as well, tell us a bit about the team approach to treatment when collaborating with Registered Nutritionists, Physicians, etc...

The gold standard of ED treatment involves a team of clinicians working together. The team consists of a mental health counselor or psychologist, Registered Dietitian (RD), primary care physician, and if needed, a psychiatrist. In an out-patient setting, it is usually the mental health clinician who coordinates care by communicating with other team members re. treatment goals, progress toward goals, and psychoeducation, as needed. The RD monitors weight, food intake and specific food-related issues and may also help set exercise goals. Medical parameters such as labs, EKGs and bone-density are ordered by the PCP and shared with other team members as markers for progress. When all team members are not under the same roof (which is usually the case), communication is done through phone calls, written assessments and updates and occasionally, face-to-face team meetings. If the client is a minor, the parents are also part of the team and are included in treatment planning, progress updates and psychoeducation so they can more effectively support their child’s recovery.


 Many people with an eating disorder have a fear of recovery.  Talk a bit about this and how a clinician can work with someone resistant about recovering from their eating disorder.

An eating disorder is experienced as a life-raft in the rough sea of uncertainty that is a normal part of life. Despite the fact that eating disorders are deadly and create enormous physical and psychological pain, they also serve important functions such as protection from intrusion, a sense of control when life feels chaotic, a way to make complex issues seem more manageable and many others. In order to help a person let go of this safety net, the clinician has to help them:  1) recognize the costs to other valued parts of their lives such as relationships, energy & concentration for other persuits; 2) Identify the functions of the ED and Develop other ways to address those. This often requires practicing acceptance of the inherent uncertainty of life, imperfection of themselves and others, and the messiness of living in a human body with all of its flaws and limitations. Sometimes, cognitive growth and recovery cannot take place until weight and nutritional balance is restored and this takes education, support, encouragement and a leap of faith on the part of the client.


 I know you facilitate a wonderful group for people with an eating disorder.  Tell us a bit about that group and how it's different from individual therapy? Our 8-week eating disorder therapy group employs a combination of mindfulness practice, self-compassion and some elements of ACT (acceptance & Commitment Therapy), which helps people identify personal values that the ED has robbed them of. There is a lot of discussion about perfectionism, fear of failure, body hatred, habitual responses to difficult emotions and practice slowing down and experimenting with alternative perspectives and behaviors. Much of the benefit from the group comes from the common experiences of the members who usually feel alien and outside of “normal” human connections. ED is a very isolating illness and it is progressive, so over the years, people feel more and more alone and ashamed of the disorder in addition to all the other things about themselves they already hate.


  Where can clinicians go for more information, trainings, certifications, etc... My favorite resources are programs presented by The Renfrew Center & the Eating Recover Center, both of which have residential treatment facilities in several US cities and do a lot of research, outreach and education. There are some very useful websites with loads of info, too. I’ve attached a list of resources we turn to on a regular basis. Our website and Facebook page also have regular posts about ED and other psychological and mental health issues. Our website is; our FB page is Beachside Counseling & Wellness on Facebook.




Recommended ED Self-help books


Cruze, Robyn & Andrus, Espra, LCSW (2013). Making Peace with Your Plate:  Eating disorder recovery. Central Recovery Press.

Kelly, Joe (2003). Dads and Daughters: How to inspire, understand, and support your daughter when she's growing up so fast. 

Lock, James, MD, PhD. & Le Grange, Daniel, PhD (2005). Help Your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder. The Guilford Press.

Maine, Margo, & Kelly, Joe (2005). The Body Myth: Adult women and the pressure to be perfect. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. 

Roth, Geneen (2010). Women, Food and God. New York: Scribner.

Tribole, E. and Resch, E. (2003). Intuitive Eating. New York:  Saint Martins Press.

Johnston, Anita (1996). Eating in the Light of the Moon: How women can transform their relationships with food through myths, metaphors and storytelling. Carlsbad, CA: Gurze Books.

Schaefer, Jenni (2004). Life Without Ed:  How one woman declared independence from her eating disorder and how you can, too. New York:  McGraw-Hill.

Siegel, M., Brisman, J., and Weinshel, M. (1995). Surviving an Eating Disorder:  Strategies for Families and Friends. New York: Saint Martins Press.

Waterhouse, D. (1997).  Like Mother, Like Daughter:  How women are influenced by their mothers’ relationship with food, and how to break the pattern.  New York:  Hyperion.

Sandoz, Emily and DuFrene, Troy (2013). Living With Your Body & Other Things You Hate:  How to let go of your struggle with body image using acceptance & commitment therapy.  Oakland, CA:  New Harbinger Books.


Eating Disorder Resources

  • NEDA - National Eating Disorders Association. NEDA Helpline: 1-800-931-2237

     ANAD-National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Eating Disorders. ANAD Helpline: 630-577-1330

  • Something Fishy - Website On Eating Disorders. Referral sources.
  • Gürze Books. Eating Disorders Publication/Education & Referral Sources.  800-756-7533
  • EDReferral - Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center. 
  • Alliance for Eating Disorder Awareness. Information for parents & caregivers about the warning signs, dangers, and consequences of eating disorders. 
  • ED Hope: a resource and referral site for eating disorders and addictions. 
  • Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA). Mission is to raise awareness, educate, and provide resources for its members and the general public.
  • F,E.A.S.T. - Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders. An organization of parents and caregivers. ww•
  • Anna Westin Foundation. Dedicated to the prevention and treatment of eating disorders & advocating for insurance coverage.
  • Beachside Counseling & Wellness, Indialantic, FL. Individual, couple and family therapy, Group Therapy, Nutrition Counseling, Information. 321-327-3793
  • Am I Hungry? Website promoting intuitive/mindful eating and body respect. 

Websites & Blogs:

  Website launched by a patient in recovery from Bulimia:

  • Blog encouraging positive body image:

  Blog encouraging a non-diet approach to healthy eating:  Website/program to improve body image on college campuses:


52: Supporting Grieving Children and Families at the Dougy Center with Jana Cristofaro

Episode 52 – Supporting Grieving Children and Families at the Dougy Center


In this episode:

Jana Cristofaro covers the following:


  • Describes the mission of The Dougy Center.
  • Tells how it was created (Dougy's story).
  • Describes who is eligible to receive services through your program and what is the process.
  • Describes what services look and feel like at the Dougy Center.
  • Provides tips that you have for therapists working with grieving children and their families.
  • Let’s us know about and/or donate to the Dougy Center.


For her Free Download:  Tips for Supporting Grieving Children click on the following:


53: Sandtray Therapy and the Brain with Amy Flaherty, LPE-I, RPT

Episode 53 – Sandtray Therapy and the Brain

Expert Guest: Amy Flaherty, LPE-I, RPT is the Founder and Director of the Southern Sandtray Institute located in Jonesboro, AR. She has a hybrid program to credential therapists as a Registered Integrative Sandtray Therapist (RIST).  In addition to the formal credentialing program, Amy also offers online sandtray training through The Sandtray Suite. To find out more and grab your free Sandtray technique, simply go to 

In this episode, Amy Flaherty LPE-I, RPT covers the following:

  • What is Sandtray Therapy?
  • She describes the relation between neuroscience and Sandtray therapy.
  • She shares few examples of that she’s seen throughout her work.
  • She shares her most used miniatures?  And, where are some common area she finds miniatures for her collection


51: Introduction to Play Therapy Community Podcast and Host


Episode 51: Introduction to Play Therapy Community Podcast and Host, Jackie Flynn EdS, LMHC, RPT

Thank you so much for listening to the podcast! This episode was previously known as Parenting in the Rain Podcast.

I created this community as a space for us (Child Therapists!) to connect with other and learn together.  If you’re anything like me, you like the idea of having tons of information at your fingertips so that you can provide the best therapy possible for your clients.

I have a Private Practice in Central Florida, with a fully stocked Play Therapy Room and Expressive Arts Therapy Studio. 

I love being a private practitioner and entrepreneur, taking risks, and daring to dream BIG! And, I LOVE Play Therapy!!!  Helping people through the healing Power of Play.

In the beginning, I remember surfing the web for hours and hours trying to get ideas.

Now, we don’t have to do it alone…we have this podcast and connection to each other where we can find out about all of the other wonderful play therapy related resources that are available to us out there! I LOVE the thought of being part of a community with like-minded individuals.

In my work at my private practice, I am passionate about helping children, adolescents, parents, couples, and families through Play Therapy, EMDR, Sandtray Therapy, Gottman Method Couples Counseling, Hypnotherapy, Education Consultation, Mindfulness, and Art Therapy. 

Probably much like you, I’ve spent years and years going to school, training, conferences, reading books, listening to podcasts, networking, reading blogs, and more to be the effective and passionate therapist that I am today.

We all have so much info to share… and the thought of creating a SYNERGYSTIC community of amazingly ambitious, child therapists like you makes me so happy, I can hardly stand it!!!

Personal and professional growth is ALWAYS at the forefront of my consciousness. And, I LOVE the world of BUSINESS and THERAPY combined. The online business world is packed with so many opportunities for growth – and I LOVE it!  I love helping people in a big way, and online that is possible!  You may have listened to my podcast, Parenting in the Rain or attended some of my Webinars.

I’d love to stay in touch with you through our newsletter.  If you’d like that too, just let me know where to send it by entering your info below.  You’ll get a video of my top 3 most used miniatures as my way of welcoming you to Play Therapy Community’s newsletter.

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