Resiliency and Perspective Training


Resiliency & Perspective: A new way to experience families afflicted by trauma.

September 8-9, 2018 Best Western Plus GranTree Inn 1325 N 7th Ave, Bozeman, MT 59715 APT Approved Provider S2-249 Find us on the web at ​

Working with families can be very complex and challenging at times, especially when trauma is involved. Whether complex or acute trauma, the relationship and client concerns can lead to feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy as a counselor. This two day workshop is designed to bring awareness and normalcy to the challenges these families and we as their helpers face. It will incorporate the neurobiological effects of trauma with client symptomology to create a space of acceptance for both our experience as helpers and their experience as survivors. Using science-based information to empower us with the most effective and important tool, ourselves and our relationship with our clients. Most families that have experienced trauma have a hyper or hypo vigilant nervous system that is constantly working to detect safety. It’s first stage of detection is through the social relationships in their environment. Thus if we can regulate our nervous system and be our authentic selves it will support them in their self-regulation and tolerance of the therapeutic relationship.

We hope to encourage the perception that client symptoms are valuable and survivalistic to promote client resiliency and decrease counselor anxiety. If we can create an environment of exploration and normalcy by being attuned to our clients experiences in and out of counseling and listening to their cues we can meet them where they are developmentally. Statements like, “I’m working harder than them,” “they won’t try anything new,” or “they don’t want to change” become amazing indicators that we’re not in alignment with where they are and what they need. This exploration and building of relationships can be exceptionally challenging when trauma is involved because of the way it changes our clients experience of reality and safety. This workshop will focus on ways for you to promote safety in your relationship with your clients, despite the attachment challenges that can be present, and support them in combating isolation which is a key side effect of trauma. Encouraging self awareness as helpers to help use feelings of exhaustion, being overwhelmed, or not enjoying our clients as indicators of our relational patterns that may be affecting the therapeutic process. Through the gift of counselor authenticity we are able to teach our clients through observational learning and effect their experience of the world through mirror neurons.

The second part of the workshop will focus on play therapy assessment and interventions to support children, parents, and families in their process and help move them through their trauma developmentally. The workshop titled Treating Family Trauma through Powerful Play Therapy will focus on empowering play therapists to be effective in treating families who have experienced trauma as a system. Helping therapists to find value in treating family as opposed to treating child. Providing you with scientifically supported tools that support you in feeling armed and competent to help families. Being able to exist in a room with an entire family or just parents can feel exhausting. This part of the workshop will focus on techniques and tools that allow you and support you in finding your place in the family system and how to strengthen attachment through play. Trauma affects the adult brain in the same ways as a child’s brain and when the adults are triggered or their nervous system is aroused they are presenting developmentally as a child themselves. That being said, play therapy techniques are a non-invasive way to gauge developmentally where your parents are and support their healing and thus their child’s. Many families affected by trauma have few opportunities in their lives where their goal is to enjoy themselves as a family. Play is inherently fun and is easy to sell, once you help them understand the importance for their children and their family. This training will support you in understanding the gift family involvement is and arm you with the tools to help all members heal.

This workshop will give you research to help you support what you may already know intuitively about the power of love and togetherness as a people. It will support you in exposing what makes this population challenging for you and what makes dealing with parents or families scary and overwhelming for us as providers. Allowing those struggles to become our greatest therapeutic interventions versus a source of our own feelings of inadequacy, frustration, exhaustion or whatever defense we use. We will draw a parallel between all relationships: Therapist/client, parent/child, teacher/student and the inherent sense of shame that may come from this relationship. Using our own experiences while treating trauma as a tool. We will use experiential activities to support the identification of our triggers as providers and what other indicators can tell us that our systems are overwhelmed and tools to regulate ourselves through Synergistic interventions and mindfulness.


Day One The first day will focus on Increasing awareness of developmental and physiological effects of trauma and the normalcy and functionality of symptoms. Supporting the use of counselor self awareness and the authentic self to encourage healing and regulation. Encouraging awareness of parallel process and transference that can lead to helpers feeling stuck, exhausted, and helpless.

1.Awareness of neurobiological aspects of the the central nervous system and their affects on the developmental spectrum from child into adulthood and how to use this as the basic tenets of the play therapy process to support healing and growth.

2.Using play therapy interventions to highlight and normalize the functionality of symptomology.

3.Utilizing counselor self awareness to identify play therapy interventions that are developmentally appropriate for the client and their stage of healing.

4.Supporting attendees in using their authentic selves as part of the play therapy intervention to encourage healing and regulation.

5.Exploring counselor triggers and defenses that lead to feeling stuck, exhausted, and helpless in the play therapy process.

6.Bringing awareness of parallel process and transference and using it in the play therapy process.

Day Two The second day will focus on defining your roles as a therapist in the play room with the family and using play therapy assessments and tools to identify developmental and relational challenges. Encourage the knowledge of behaviors as symptoms of root problems and the Brain and Body connection. Identifying play treatment interventions to create desired change for healing families and closure play to support regulation and effective termination.

1. Defining and establishing your role as a therapist in the play room with the family.

2. Create effective assessment tools with little questionaires and many play techniques.

3. Increasing observation and awareness as the therapist.

4. Understand behaviors are symptoms of root problem. Brain and Body Connection.

5. Provide play treatment interventions to create desired change for healing family.

6. Closure play to support regulation and effective termination.


Mary Morgan is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Clinical Counselor, and Registered Play Therapist. Mary is an insightful, talented, and experienced therapist with specialties in couples, family, children, and adolescents since 1978. She founded Red Tent Counseling in 2007. Her practice specializes in Family and Children ages 2-10 years old. She is currently in the process of opening Red Tent Family Center, a visitation Center that will support families in healing from high conflict divorce and parental alienation. This Center will support families in healing from intergenerational Trauma. Mary’s mission is to change the world one family at a time by building healthy family connections. Mary has also been the Program Director of Brain Balance Highlands Ranch Achievement Center. She works to build relationship with children and families, supporting functional brain development and helping families to make necessary changes in their family lives. She uses occupational therapy techniques to identify and assess areas of the brain, body and development that are affected by trauma as well as play therapy techniques to support client attachment, healthy family interactive patterns, developmental progression and healing. Mary writes about connecting with children in the world of play in her upcoming book ​The Treasure of Toys.

Ania Bartkowiak is a family and trauma therapist with a practice in Bozeman. She has a masters in Counseling from Montana State University and is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. Ania has been working with victims of domestic violence and trauma for 10 years and currently runs the counseling program for HAVEN, a Bozeman based domestic violence shelter. She is credentialed as a Certified Clinical Domestic Violence Counselor through NAFC, and Registered Play Therapist – Supervisor through APT. She has been a supervisor for professionals seeking a degree and licensure for the past 4 years. Ania is pursuing her PhD from Oregon State University. Ania is basing her clinical practice in relational and cultural healing, creating safety being the top priority and condition on successful therapeutic relationship forming. She is interested in the issues of vicarious trauma and maintenance of wellbeing for helping professionals.

Lacee Gengenbacher, a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, has worked with families who’ve experienced trauma for over a decade. She began her career as a youth case manager for Montana based families prior to and while she earned her masters degree from Montana State University. She established her own private practice in 2013 where she works with children and families. She has completed trainings for Certified Family Trauma Professional and completed countless other trainings and workshops on treating trauma. Lacee brings a unique view to the workshop, her five year old daughter battled cancer during 2015 and 2016. Lacee and her family relocated to Denver to fight for her daughter’s life and during that time Lacee gave birth to a baby boy. Her daughter currently has no evidence of disease and her son has reached the Terrible Twos. Her family continues to work on surviving survivorship. Lacee brings the knowledge and experience of counseling, the extensive study of trauma, and the experience of being in counseling as an individual, parent, couple and family to this workshop. Through her own journey towards mindfulness and healing she has used her experiences to tap into her own resiliency and share her findings and knowledge with others to provide safety through clinical competence and hope. Lacee believes that we are all doing the very best we can and our struggles lend us good information as to what we are needing and how we are coping with our environment. Her approach is not to fix or extinguish behaviors, but to understand them and support children, adults, families and their helpers in healing through acceptance and validation. Her greatest strength is her ability to connect with others and use her own vulnerability to create a safe environment to grow and heal.

This workshop is sponsored by Lacee Gengenbacher and will provide 14 CEU’s, APT Approved Provider number S2-249. For additional approved certifications, daily workshop schedule, and all additional questions please visit our website ​​ or email us at ​​. ​All of our contact workshops are approved for CEUs through the Association for Play Therapy via APT Approved Provider. Cancellations received at least 30 days prior to a workshop are fully refundable. Cancellations received less than 30 days prior to a workshop are not refundable. No shows or missed trainings will receive no refund or credit. All trainings are subject to sufficient registration. In the event that the workshop is cancelled, we will make every attempt to notify paid registrants in a timely manner and all paid registrants will receive a full refund.

Kirk Thiemann

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