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Gender Diverse Affirming Play Therapy

For someone else
Avail Institute Admin
For someone else

This is a three part workshop that will assist clinicians in developing skills necessary for working effectively with gender diverse populations.

This 3.5 credit APT approved non-contact hour workshop explores play therapy with transgender and non-binary youth and their families. The presenter examines the social construction of gender, analyzes gender belief systems, analyzes the psychological reasons for creating gender categories, what gender is, and gender terminology. The presenter then explores the use of pronouns, gender diverse behavior/expression, diagnostic criteria, comorbidity, discrimination, what gender dysphoria feels like, myths, conversion therapy, and what clinicians need to promote in their practices. The presentation then focuses on the skills and tools needed to work with individual transgender and non-binary youth, grieving caregivers, and families. The presentation explores body image in regard to gender dysphoria, coming out in session, and the support clinicians can provide to their clients when they choose to come out in session. The presenter then provides information about medical transitions, clinical letters, how to find legal resources and other community resources. Finally, the presenter discusses the importance of being an ally and support system for transgender and non-binary youth and their families.

The presenter discusses clinical tools such as gender diverse bibliotherapy, play therapy activities with transgender and non-binary youth and their families, and fabricated case studies with corresponding play therapy activities. A true story in the media is also presented. Handouts include: references, a family resource list, a feelings list, a letter about clinical responsibilities by Gerard Lawson, a bibliotherapy book guide, and a form letter for hormone blockers and HRT.


Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this workshop, the participant will be able to:

Analyze gender belief systems.

Identify bibliotherapy play therapy interventions to use with transgender and non-binary youth.

Apply play therapy techniques to work with transgender and non-binary youth.

List play therapy interventions to use with families of transgender and non-binary youth.




Samantha Willis, M.Ed., CCC, LPC (AL), NCC, Registered Play Therapist


CE Hours:


3.5 non-contact hour

APT approved provide number 18-527




American Counseling Association. (2013). Ethical issues related to conversion or reparative therapy. Retrieved from by-year/2013/2013/01/16/ethical- issues-related-to- conversion-or-reparative-therapy


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: Author.


American Psychiatric Association. (2015). Guidelines for psychological practice with transgender and gender nonconforming people. American psychiatric association, 70(9), 832–864. Retrieved from https://www.


American Psychological Association, Boys and Men Guidelines Group. (2018). APA guidelines for psychological practice with boys and men. Retrieved from psychological-practice-boys-men-guidelines.pdf


American Psychological Association, Girls and Women Guidelines Group. (2018). APA guidelines for psychological practice with girls and women. Retrieved from


Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama. (2018). Retrieved from  


Brooks, J. (2018). The Controversial Research on 'Desistance' in Transgender Youth. Retrieved from desistance-in-transgender-youth


Canadian Institutes of Health Research. (2019). What is gender? What is sex? Retrieved from


Centers for disease control and prevention. (2019). Retrieved from 


GLAAD. Retrieved from


Golarai, G, et al. (2007). Differential development of high-level visual cortex correlates with category-specific recognition memory. Nature neuroscience, 10(4), 512-522.


Mmari, K., Blum, R. W., Atnafou, R., Chilet, E., de, M. S., El-Gibaly, O., Basu, S., ... Zuo, X. (2017). Exploration of gender norms and socialization among early adolescents: The use of qualitative methods for the global early adolescent study. Journal of adolescent health, 61(4, suppl.), S12–S18.


National Center for Transgender Equality. Questionable questions about transgender identity. Retrieved from Questions.pdf


Nealy, E. C. (2017). Transgender child and youth: Cultivating pride and joy with families in transition. New York, NY: Norton.


Safe Zone. Retrieved from


Valentine, D.(2004). The categories themselves. GLQ: A journal of lesbian and gay studies, 10(2) 215-220. Retrieved from


Williams Institute. (2014). American foundation for suicide prevention. Retrieved from Suicide- Report-Final.pdf 

Here is the course outline:

1. Video

2. Handouts

Materials for the course.

3. Evaluation

Complete the evaluation for this course.

4. Quiz

Take the quiz and pass to receive your certificate of completion.


The following certificates are awarded when the course is completed:

Certificate of Completion 3.5 hr
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