I was asked to introduce myself to you since I am the newest member of the UAPT board. I am excited to serve on the board and share my love of play with all of you. I am a therapist for Summit Counseling Services in Logan Utah. I received my bachelors in Psychology from Utah State University and completed my masters in counseling from the University of Phoenix.
The first time I heard about play therapy was while I was in my internship. I was working mainly with kids and was looking for different ways to treat childhood issues when I stumbled across the Association for Play Therapy’s website. I think I spent several hours reading through the information and decided then and there that I wanted to become a registered play therapist. I mean, who doesn’t want to play with toys and get paid for it??
As I read through the APT website, I remembered a time when I was about 12 years old and visiting some family in California. My aunt and uncle were notorious for being one of those couples that fought all the time. They had a 3-year-old son who taught me the power of play. We were all sitting around talking when this little boy walked into the room and pretended to scrub the coffee table. As he scrubbed the table he said in an aggressive tone, “I never get any help around here! I always have to do all the work!” I knew he was acting out something that he had heard his mother say. At the time, I thought it was cute. I see it differently now as I look at it from a play therapy standpoint. He was obviously trying to process the stress and tension he must have felt in his home on an almost daily basis. My little cousin was a perfect example of how children use play to communicate and why I love to help children communicate with me through play.
I feel so fortunate to be working in this field and to be a part of the healing process for these precious children and their families. I think Plato sums it up nicely when he said, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”
-Heather Stephenson, MS, CMHC