Creating an Inclusive and Culturally Competent Play Therapy Practice


Anti-oppressive practice, cultural competence, cultural humility and the integration of these in the provision of play therapy services is an essential element of working with culturally diverse children and families. The principals that inform this include a number of facets related to identity and experiences of relative power and privilege. One facet, and perhaps a starting place, is self-reflection: acknowledging privilege and the benefits that affords. Another facet is responsibility: taking responsibility for the historical injustices that have resulted from unearned privilege. A third facet is receptivity: seeking and remaining open to feedback from oppressed and marginalized groups and individuals about how to better understand and more sensitively respond to their experiences of oppression and marginalization, both historical and ongoing. And yet another facet is action: putting into action an ongoing process of reflection, responsibility and receptivity that supports a clinical response that is built on social justice principles and practices.

This one-day course will engage participants in: activities of self-reflection and sharing; didactic teaching and audio-visual material that explore historical and current social justice issues; group activities to support openness and discussion and practical suggestions about how to put this into action in the practice of play therapy.

Learning Outcomes:

Participants will:

  1. Develop increased self-awareness specific to understanding the relationship between
    identity, privilege and power and its impact the therapeutic relationship
  2. Increase their understanding of historical and current forms of oppression and how this
    may show up in clients play
  3. Develop skills that will support openness and sensitivity in identifying and responding to
    various forms of oppression experienced by play therapy clients
  4. Learn practical ways to put this learning into practice in a play therapy setting.

Presenter Bio:

Barbara Jones Warrick: I am a cis gendered, white woman who is on a journey to becoming an anti-racist, anti-oppressive member of my community and profession. I bring the experience of listening to and working with Black, Indigenous and Persons of Colour (BIPOC) in my community and in my work as a play therapist. I am grateful to my elders and peers in the Queer and Earth- based Spirituality communities who have taught me that rather than calling people out on their ‘isms’, I can call people in to the conversations about difference, celebrate diversity and hold myself and other accountable when we mis-step, mis-speak and do harm.