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Story Stone Play: 

Healing Tools from the Natural World for Play Therapists

with Janet Courtney, PHD &

Cyndera Quackenbush, MA









February 24-25

Friday 1:00-8:30pm & Saturday 8:30am-5:00pm



12 CEs (additional fee of $25, paid directly to Dr. Courtney)

Early Bird $250 (until February 1)

After February 1 - $275

Cancellations, in writing, before February 15

will receive a full refund 

Location: Boynton Beach, Florida (Palm Beach Co.) 

10 minutes from airport & sunny beach!

Snacks, Refreshments, Materials and

Certificate of Attendance included 

Lodging and Meals on your own

Contact Dr. Courtney for lodging suggestions or questions at

Register soon as seating is limited!  




Join Dr. Janet Courtney and Cyndera Quackenbush, MA for this in-person, 12 hour CE workshop for practitioners working with clients across the lifespan. This workshop is grounded in the therapeutic powers of play—including positive emotions, self-esteem, resiliency, and self-regulation.

This workshop welcomes you into the heart of nature-based play and expressive therapies inspired by the archetypal and metaphorical foundations of Carl Jung and Milton Erickson, with a deep-dive focus on the element of stone. Stone offers a myriad of metaphorical opportunities in therapy, including a sense of grounding, safety and dependability. Stones throughout time and place have also offered the inspiration for making meaningful stories. Practical approaches to work with stone will be shared, including the practices of Story Stone Play™, stone life-stories in sand, and somatic storytelling. Experiential activities will take place both indoors and outdoors in sunny Palm Beach county, Florida (10 minutes from the ocean). 

There is growing research that contact with nature is emotionally, cognitively, and physically restorative. The realm of rock is an easily accessible portal to this restoration and wonder for the worlds within and outside of us. Learn how the brain’s phenomena of pareidolia both sees and interprets faces and figures in nature, that inspires us towards meaningful connections. The subsequent healing in this bond between the environment and ourselves will be freshly illuminated. These approaches will invite a storied re-connection to self, to others and to our place in the larger world.


  1. Demonstrate how to implement at least three different nature-based stone interventions with clients during Play Therapy sessions. 

  2. Summarize the 10 Steps of Story Stone Play™ that can be utilized within Play Therapy sessions

  3. State two examples of how nature-based play therapy can cross cultural boundaries. 

  4. State one way that each of the following elements of nature (gemstones, feathers, shells, sand) can be therapeutically integrated into Play Therapy sessions.

  5. State how stone embodies healing symbolism in at least three different world cultural myths or folktales.

  6. Explain two different therapeutic powers of play that the intervention of “I KNOW MY YES’s & NO’s” meets.

  7. Describe how viewing and connecting imagery (pareidolia) from nature into story helps to process trauma through the right hemisphere of the brain. 

  8. Describe three steps of how to use stones in sand to illuminate a client’s life-story. 

  9. State how the relationship between archetypes, symbols, and metaphor can be utilized within nature=based play therapies.

Who is this Workshop for?

  • Play therapists 

  • Therapists

  • Anyone who works with Children and Families

  • Mental Health Professionals

  • Graduate Students

  • Anyone interested in incorporating nature play with their clients


Janet A. Courtney, Ph.D. For over 25 years, Dr. Courtney, Ph.D., LCSW, RPT-S, has worked with children to heal emotional wounds and families in enhancing the parent-child relationship, utilizing a variety of creative experiential modalities including Developmental Play Therapy; Artistic Mediums, Family Play Therapy; Gestalt Therapy; Visualization/Imagery; and metaphorically through the incorporation of Earth Sciences. Janet Courtney is the founder of FirstPlay Therapy and author of Healing Child and Family Trauma Through Expressive and Play Therapies, Infant Play Therapy, and Touch in Child Counseling and Play Therapy, and Nature-Based Play and Expressive Therapies.

Cyndera Quackenbush, MA, spent her childhood in Joshua Tree, California. She credits the desert landscape for gifting her with an expansive and playful imagination. Having also been given a unique inheritance from her father, Cyndera is the creator of the Story Through Stone Reflection Cards and Story Stone Play for children. She is the author of a chapter on this subject in the 2022 anthology Nature-Based Play and Expressive Therapies: Interventions for Working with Children, Teens and Families.


Florida Mental Health Practitioners CE’s: Developmental Play & Attachment Therapies, Inc. (DPAT) is an Approved Provider for Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling in the State of Florida. BAP #1035 Exp. 3/2023 AND an Approved Provider through the Florida Board of Massage Therapy.


Association for Play Therapy: Developmental Play & Attachment Therapies, Inc. is an Approved Provider through the Association for Play Therapy: APT Approved Provider 10-287



Friday, February 24


Introductions (stone choosing) & Roadmaps & Agreements 

Nature-Based Play Therapy Foundations


<Break - Snacks Included>



Story Stone Play Process 


<Dinner - On Your Own>



Deepening the Story / Somatic Stone Story Integration

Active Imagination


Saturday, February 25



Sandtray Stone Play

(video example)


<Break - Snacks Provided>



Sandtray Stone Play Dyads 



<Lunch - On Your Own>



Case Studies of Stone Play in Action

“I know my Yeses and Nos”



Closing Session at the Beach

Breathing and Releasing with Ocean


Circle Closing

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APT Approved Provider Logo (002).jpg
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