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Loyola University Play Therapy Center accredited by Association of Play Therapy

Loyola press release - July 6, 2009

The Loyola University New Orleans Play Therapy Center has been designated as an Approved Center of Play Therapy Education and Research by the Association for Play Therapy. The center, founded last June by Department of Counseling Chairwoman LeAnne Steen, Ph.D., LPC, RPT-S, was approved for this designation by generating substantial play therapy research, publications, graduate instruction, supervised clinical experiences and other programs.

Play therapy is a form of mental health counseling or psychotherapy by which licensed mental health professionals incorporate the use of play to better communicate with and help clients achieve optimal mental health. The APT is a national organization, which promotes the use of play therapy and training.

Loyola’s center features a play therapy lab with toys, expressive arts supplies, a sand tray and other items. Students use volunteer children in the lab to facilitate therapeutic skill development, and their work is videotaped for use in classes. The center’s library also has a large collection of play therapy videos, books and research journals.

Loyola was one of the first five universities in the United States to receive this certification and has offered play therapy courses since 2005 for graduate students in the College of Social Sciences. Steen plans to intensify the center’s focus on research and implement more courses, allowing students to meet the educational requirements for becoming registered play therapists when they receive counseling degrees.

“The center will grow into a resource center for students and play therapists, a training center as both a continuing education provider for mental health practitioners in the community as well as the for credit courses offered through the counseling program and a research center dedicated to promoting evidence based practices in play therapy,” Steen said.

“Play Therapy is the most effective method for facilitating the mental and emotional health of many people, especially children. Having a center dedicated to the advancement of play therapy through education and research in New Orleans is important in the process of healing our children and our community.”

“APT applauds Loyola University for approving the establishment of the center,” said Bill Burns, executive director of APT. “We are confident that, under Dr. Steen’s leadership, it will significantly advance our growing field and serve those who counsel clients, particularly children, in schools, public agencies, private practices and other venues.”

For more information on the Loyola University New Orleans Play Therapy Center, contact LeAnne Steen by e-mail at lsteen@loyno.edu. To learn more about the Association for Play Therapy, contact Bill Burns at 559-294-2128 x6 or by e-mail at bburns@a4pt.org. For more information on the College of Social Sciences, contact Catherine Koppel in the Office of Public Affairs at 504-861-5448 or by e-mail at ckoppel@loyno.edu.