1st Edition

Nature-Based Play and Expressive Therapies Interventions for Working with Children, Teens, and Families

    284 Pages 98 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    284 Pages 98 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Nature-Based Play and Expressive Therapies addresses a wide range of healing modalities and case studies that can be used in both indoor and outdoor environments.

    Each chapter includes vignettes to support the interventions and approaches presented. Readers will find a diverse array of helpful handouts and topics explored, including tips for creating outdoor healing gardens and labyrinths, guidelines for using nature to address trauma, working with sandplay and storytelling in nature, adapting nature-based interventions via telehealth, and much more.

    Chapters focus on work with young children and teens in individual settings as well as work with families and groups, making this book an important read for a wide range of mental health professionals.

    Part 1: Roots: Essential Nature Foundations

    1. An Introduction to the Emerging Practice of Nature-Based Play and Expressive Therapies

    Janet A. Courtney and Jamie Lynn Langley

    2. Not Just a Walk in the Park: Complex Layers of Integrating Nature into Play Therapy Practice

    Megan Ellard and Judi A. Parson

    3. Let’s Meet Outside: Nature-Based Play Therapy Through The Lens Of Cultural Humility.

    Meyleen Velasquez

    4. The Universal Utility of Nature for Self-Care

    Eliana Gil

    5. Creating a Place of Healing: Therapeutic Healing Gardens for Play Therapy Across the Lifespan

    Angela Cavett

    Part 2: Trunk: Nature-Based Therapeutic Interventions

    6. Cultivating Mindfulness Playfully Through Harmonizing With Nature

    Lynn Louise Wonders

    7. Into the Great Forest: Sandplay and Storytelling in Nature Play Therapy

    Rosalind Heiko

    8. Natureplay as Healing Practice for Children, Teens, and Families

    Jamie Lynn Langley

    9. Utilizing Nature’s Resources to Heal Trauma

    Rose LaPiere and Lisa Dion

    10. Integrating Play and Nature for Stabilization and Safety With Traumatized Kids

    Jackie Flynn

    11. Using Nature-Based Interventions in Family Play Therapy

    Jennifer Taylor and Bree Conklin

    Part 3: Branches and Leaves: Nature-Focused Models or Programs

    12. The Wisdom of Nature: Storyplay: Connecting Nature’s Gifts of Thriving and Resiliency to Play

    Danielle Woods and Joyce Mills

    13. Nature-Based Child-Centered Play Therapy

    Jacqueline M. Swank and Sang Min Shin

    14. Harnessing the Power of Nature in Traumaplay

    Paris Goodyear-Brown

    15. Story Stone Play: Embodied Imagination in Tele-Play Therapy

    Cyndera Quackenbush and Janet Courtney

    16. How Horses Can Be Used to Enhance Play Therapy

    Susan Jung

    17. Tiny Hands: How Nature Play Promotes Infant Mental Health from Birth to Three Years

    Janet A. Courtney and Harleen Hutchinson


    Janet A. Courtney, PhD, RPT-S is founder of FirstPlay® Therapy and author of Healing Child and Family Trauma Through Expressive and Play Therapies, Infant Play Therapy, and Touch in Child Counseling and Play Therapy.

    Jamie Lynn Langley, LCSW, RPT-S maintains a private practice and is teaching faculty at Middle Tennessee State University. She is president of the Tennessee Association for Play Therapy and provides play therapy training and supervision.

    Lynn Louise Wonders, LPC, RPT-S is a child and family counselor, professional trainer, consultant, and author of When Parents Are at War: A Child Therapist's Guide to Navigating High Conflict Divorce and the Miss Piper's Playroom series of therapeutic children’s books.

    Rosalind Heiko, PhD, ISST, RPT-S is a sandplay therapist, founding board member of the World Association of Sand Therapy Professionals and author of A Therapist’s Guide to Mapping the Girl Heroine’s Journey in Sandplay.

    Rose LaPiere, LPC, RPT-S, ACS is a trauma therapist and is past president of NJCA-Creativity Division and currently serving on the board for the World Association of Sand Therapy Professionals.

    "This book is a nourishing banquet of play and healing. It offers great resources for those who connect children, families, and communities to the natural world." — Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, Vitamin N, and Our Wild Calling

    "Brilliant! Blending the powers of play and expressive therapies with the robust healing of the natural world is a groundbreaking contribution! Highly recommended!" — David A. Crenshaw, PhD, ABPP, RPT-S, author and board-certified clinical psychologist 

    "Ready for an adventure? Nature-Based Play and Expressive Therapies guides you through the rationale, explores the research base for nature play, and reveals vital cultural considerations to meaningfully integrate the wisdom of the natural world into your practice. Offering abundant and detailed case studies and compelling interventions, the authors walk readers through a verdant landscape of techniques and models of using nature to nurture healing and growth. In addition, authors describe both individual and family interventions, address nature-based play therapy in urban environments and discuss how to bring nature into the therapy room. Readers of this inspiring anthology are invited into the woods to explore relationships, process trauma, and promote emotional well-being with nature as their co-therapist!" — Anne Stewart, PhD, professor of graduate psychology at James Madison University and registered play therapist supervisor