Synergetic Play Therapy

“We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing.”

-Charles Schaefer



Children are best served by play therapy, because unlike adults, they tend to process things and integrate challenges nonverbally. Play is their language and a means to feel truly heard. Through play, the therapist can understand the child’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Synergetic Play Therapy (SPT) is a research-informed model of play therapy that incorporates brain science, mindfulness practices, physics, attachment, and therapist authenticity. It is a holistic approach designed to help the body, mind, and spirit become more aligned and increase self-awareness from moment-to-moment. SPT is based on the premise that symptoms can be alleviated by helping the child learn to regulate the nervous system.  When a person can engage the thinking brain to make decisions and is aware of the contents of the mind and the body in space, the nervous system is regulated.

“The hardest and most important lesson in life is to learn how to be yourself.”

– Lisa Dion, founder of SPT

The course of SPT begins with an orientation phase, where the child will determine if it is safe to show up as one is and will check to see that the therapist is doing the same. Once comfortable with the therapist, the child will bring a perceived challenge to the play room and begin working on it in therapy sessions. The Synergetic Play therapist will attune to the child to get a sense of their experience with the challenge and will authentically verbalize feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations associated to the challenge, while modeling the use of regulation techniques such as deep breathing and mindfulness practices. By doing this, the child sees that the challenge is surmountable and learns ways to regulate through it. The child is considered to be in the empowerment phase of therapy, when they are practicing self-regulation techniques in therapy sessions 50% of the time. When they are practicing self-regulation outside the playroom, then therapy has concluded.


    Meet our practitioner

    Kathy (Kat) Sterling

    Kathy “Kat” Sterling is a synergetic play therapist with a passion for helping children overcome life’s challenges by increasing their self-awareness and emotional control. Kat uses SPT, child-centered play, art, sand, and directive activities to help children explore and communicate about present or past experiences. Many parents see a change in their child’s ability to express emotions, improve behaviors, and increase self-acceptance. Caregivers are also included in the work and will be  informed of progress along the way. Parenting interventions are provided for help at home.

    Kat has had success in helping children to cope with ADHD, abuse, adoption, anger, anxiety, depression, divorce and separation, grief and loss, life transitions, trauma, and social difficulties. Contact Kat at 720-295-2272 for a free consultation.