Study Shows Lasting Value of Play

UNC Charlotte team at play therapy conference
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Graduate School graduate assistant Krystal Turner, MA, Counseling, recently participated in the annual conference of the Association of Play Therapy (APT) in Phoenix where she helped promote graduate education at UNC Charlotte and presented on the research project “Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) for Adoptive Families: Parents’ Lived Experiences.”

Turner joined a research team led by Asst. Professor Kristie Opiola, Department of Counseling, and including graduate students Lauren Chase, Jenna Taylor and Rebecca Blanchard. The Graduate School and the Department of Counseling jointly sponsored the team’s participation in the event. 

The research team’s presentation concludes there is a substantial benefit to adoptive parents who participate in Child/Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT), a play therapy-based treatment program for young children.  In the study, parents using CPRT reported feeling a stronger bond with their children and were better able to understand how they perceived themselves in their world.

APT launched in 1982 to provide mental health professionals a forum to share information on therapeutic play to communicate with and treat primarily children. The annual conference draws almost 1,000 participants, including graduate students, counselors, psychologists, social workers and other mental health professionals.

UNC Charlotte joined top universities around the country in participating in information sharing and connecting with top tier graduate students.

“The APT conference brings together play therapist theorists, practitioners, and aspiring therapists to partake in workshops to help strengthen their education and remain up to date on changing practices,” Turner said. “In addition to our poster, we also ran a booth to promote the UNC Charlotte Graduate School as well as the UNC Charlotte Multicultural Play Therapy Center.”

For more information on UNC Charlotte’s counseling program, visit the Department of Counseling in the Cato College of Education.

Photo: The UNC Charlotte Counseling research team attending the APT conference included (L-R) Lauren Chase, Asst. Professor Kristie Opiola, Krystal Turner, Jenna Taylor and Rebecca Blanchard.