D&E hosts Play Therapy Association conference

Davis & Elkins College hosted mental health professionals from throughout the state for the annual West Virginia Association of Play Therapy this spring.

With a theme of “When Life Doesn’t Play by Our Rules,” the conference focused on how to recognize and provide therapy for childhood grief; and how professionals can cope and heal from their personal and professional experiences of loss, grief and disruption. Participants also learned about changes in the Code of Ethics.

“Trained individuals use play to understand young children’s issues and use play to heal,” said Judith Bertenthal-Smith, Davis & Elkins College assistant professor of psychology and a past president of WVAPT. “Play is the natural medium of children; through play, children can deal with problems that they may have difficulty verbalizing.”

As the state branch of the Association for Play Therapy, WVAPT promotes to psychotherapists and the general public the understanding of play and play therapy as a valid and worthwhile therapeutic practice. Its membership is made up of mental health professionals who use play therapy.

Professionals who attended the conference earned continuing education units. Anna Losh, a D&E junior from Valley Bend, also attended the conference.

The Davis & Elkins College Department of Psychology and Human Services strives to develop intellectual and social competencies vital to the meaningful life that contributes to society and humanity. Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and human services participate in field placement at one or more human services agencies which integrates cognitive knowledge and incipient professional skills with the “real world” of human service work. Students also have the option of declaring a minor in psychology and human services.

More information is available at or 304-637-1243.