Train with us and earn professional credit
The West Coast Institute is recognized as a program that can meet the requirement for all training hours required by the Association for Play Therapy for the RPT credential. The same hours apply toward the required training hours (108) for Certification as a Gestalt Therapist with Children and Adolescents through WCI. The same hours also apply toward licensure requirements for the BBS through CAMFT requirements.
Due to COVID-19 health concerns our one-time online events have been approved by APT as contact hours. Please refer to each training description for specific number of contact hours.
APT Approved Provider
CAMFT Approved Provider
**FOR IN-PERSON TRAININGS** To assure the health of all participants we ask that all attendees attest to the absence of symptoms AND either their fully-vaccinated status (defined by CDC) with vaccination card or exceptions and a negative test no more than three days prior to the event (w/ documentation). Additionally, attendees will sign a waiver of liability and any local masking requirements as well as event/location-specific protocols at the time of the event will also be required.
" I appreciated having this office setting rather than an impersonal conference room."
"The training was well organized and paced. Felicia is a wonderful teaching. She was so available to further my professional and personal development. I highly recommend this training."
"I would recommend this course for any mental health professional working with change. This intensive course was a life changing experience for me."
"Since I have cut back on giving trainings, I am delighted that Felicia is offering this Basic training as well as other programs that will continue my work and the contributions of the Oaklander Model to the practice of child psychotherapy. Her work is intelligent, sensitive and inspiring. I recommend her trainings to everyone."
-Violet Oaklander, Ph.D. Founder of the Gestalt approach with children and adolescents who conducted a highly successful Basic training each summer from 1981 until her retirement in 2007.
"This workshop was incredible. It will change how I practice. I am now inspired!"
"Very well done, and worth the 3200 mile travel."
These Intensive programs are designed to build theoretical understanding and clinical skills in working with children/adolescents from the perspective of contemporary Gestalt Play Therapy. The programs of WCI incorporate the principles and practices of playful and creative therapeutic interventions that foster the growth of each client regardless of age. Recent research in neuroscience, attachment theory and relational psychotherapy are presented as confirmation and extension of the Gestalt play therapy approach. Each day includes didactic discussion and experiential practicum sessions which aim at integrating theory with practice while increasing competence in using modalities of expressive play therapy. The focus of this program is the application of Gestalt Play Therapy principles represented in the work of Violet Oaklander, PhD., author of Windows to our Children: A Gestalt Approach to Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy and Hidden Treasure: A Map to The Child’s Inner Self. An emphasis in this training will be on the dynamics of the therapeutic relationship as the heart of treatment and the processes of integration.
Both formats limited to 12 participants which allows for interactive, experiential learning. Participants are asked to read Dr. Oaklander’s books, Windows to Our Children and Hidden Treasure available through http://vsof.org. Other readings will be made available to those attending the training(s).
The Advanced Trainings are planned for those wanting to continue with the work of the Intensive Trainings and reunite with friends while doing so.
WCI is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. Provider Number 1000126.
A Certificate of Completion will be given upon receipt of the evaluation for the program. No partial credit can be provided. See Refund Policy below.
- "Another wonderful experience. Excellent!"
- "You made it fun, kept it from becoming heavy."
- "In-depth understanding of roots, as well as overarching constructs. Will provide me with guideposts in assessment and treatment planning."
- "Well thought through, lots of depth. Responded to requests to relate more concretely to working with child clients."
November 18th & 19th, 2022
Las Vegas, NV
The Adoption Experience in Gestalt Play therapy
It is not uncommon for an adopted child’s grief to be unseen in therapy. This workshop which is led by an a specialist in the therapy of foster families and adopted children (who herself is an adoptee) will focus on the many issues that become present in therapy, but especially how grief manifests in the behavior, emotions, and the beliefs of self. The approach of Gestalt Play Therapy in this specialized area will be presented through research, theoretical perspective, and case presentation.
CE: 10 contact hours
The Center for Connection
2655 S Rainbow Blvd #110
Las Vegas, NV 89146
December 2nd, 2022 - December 4th, 2022
Shame, Guilt, Introjects & Self Nurturing: Oaklander Approach
The Advanced Intensive Training is planned for those wanting to continue with the work of the Basic Intensive and reunite with friends while doing so. The focus of the Advanced Training will be on Integrative processes such as working with children and adolescents on core issues of shame and disruptive beliefs about self and others and one’s place in the world. These “introjects” shape the trajectory of a child’s life. The processes of self-nurturing and self-compassion and the writing of a life/trauma narrative can provide a foundation for healing and greater neural integration. How to effectively use these processes in Gestalt Play Therapy with teens as well as younger children will be the focus of this training.
CE: 16 contact hours
The Phenomenological Process: Sand Tray & Other Modalities as Tools for Engagement & Integration
September 16th-17th, 2022
In-Person: Solvang, CA
This experiential workshop prepares the therapist to develop their understanding and use of integrative processes using these therapeutic tools as presented by Violet Oaklander in her books, Windows to Our Children and Hidden Treasure.
CE: 12 contact hours
Introduction to Gestalt Play Therapy: Oaklander Approach
The Introductory Workshop in Gestalt Play Therapy is designed to introduce the theoretical principles and clinical skills that distinguish Gestalt Play Therapy from other approaches. This day is experiential which aims at integrating theory with practice while using the tools of expressive play therapy. The emphasis of this program will be on individual psychotherapy and the application of Gestalt Therapy principles represented in the work of Violet Oaklander, Ph. D., author of Windows To Our Children and Hidden Treasure: A Map to the Child’s Inner Self. In this training we will examine closely those factors that bring about change and growth for a child or adolescent through the therapeutic process of Gestalt Play Therapy. An emphasis in this work will be on the dynamics of the therapeutic relationship as the heart of play therapy.
On-Line: April 8th, 2022
In-Person: November, 4th, 2022
Gestalt Therapy with Teens: The Inward Journey to the World Outside
The period of development in human and other species is often called the time of STRUM UND DRANG—a time of great emotional dysregulation/distress and challenging of social norms. The Nobel nominated book, WILDHOOD (2019), suggests some of the same. The authors, Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers identify four core life skills that adolescents across species must master to confidently emerge into adulthood: How to stay safe; How to navigate social hierarchies; How to communicate sexually; and How to leave and care for one’s self.
This workshop will explore this period of adolescence from the perspective of how we as Gestalt Therapists can work with our clients as they meet their many challenges to develop a strong sense of self and self-support. We will explore and work with those modalities that work best with adolescents and how can we use creative play in order to strengthen the organismic wholesomeness of each adolescent. We will learn from research and clinical experience how Gestalt Play Therapy can be effective accomplishing the tasks of adolescence. References from numerous Gestalt Therapists will be provided.
Natterson-Horowitz B &Bower, K. (2019) Wildhood: The epic journey from adolescence to adulthood in humans and other animals. Scribner: New York.
McConville, M. (1995). Adolescence: Psychotherapy and the emergent self. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco.
October 23rd &24th:
In-Person: Solvang, CA
CE: 12 contact hours
4th International Trainers Symposium 2022
Origins: Celebrating our Ancestors who Developed Gestalt Therapy with Children
October 27th - 28th, 2022
The mission of the West Coast Institute is to provide to qualified professionals training and support in Gestalt Play Therapy with Children and Adolescents. The Certification Process offers those who want to develop a specialization in Gestalt Play Therapy with Children and Adolescents the structure and guidance in studying theory and applying the perspectives of Gestalt Play Therapy to work with their younger clients and their families WCI also provides in-depth training and inspiration to encourage those who are WCI Certified therapists and practitioners to provide competent training programs in their countries, vicinities, towns, and villages. We welcome the diversity, creativity, and aliveness this brings to all of us. A Trainers’ Symposium is held every two years. We gather together to share ideas for training programs and new play and expressive interventions. Those who attend build an international network of dynamic and committed colleagues.
This symposium is offered to those who have attended the Intensive trainings or a full International program, and want support to become trainers in their own community/country. Preference will be given to those who are working towards certification through WCI. Participants will develop the following.
Build international community with other Trainers and potential Trainers of Gestalt Play Therapy with Children and Adolescents.
Share theoretical developments, research, therapeutic activities and modalities
Support program development
2nd Trainers Symposium
While living in South Africa (1933-1947), Laura Perls, PhD observed the child-rearing practices of the indigenous peoples. Her chapter, “The Dummy Complex” in Ego, Hunger, and Aggression (1947) reflects her observations and thinking that contributed to the development of the theory of oral resistances. Her contributions to the emerging Gestalt Therapy and the eventual Gestalt Therapy with Children are often overshadowed by the writings and teaching of Fritz Perls, MD. Nevertheless, her work is significant to our work with children.
Even though it took another three decades before Windows to Our Children (1978) would be published, there were others who early on began to apply the organismic principles of Gestalt Therapy to the therapeutic and educational practice with children. These clinicians and educators made significant contributions to our therapeutic perspective and practice. The focus of this workshop will be to discover and celebrate those who have contributed greatly, Past and Present, in forming the branch of Gestalt Therapy that is concerned with the well-being of children.
Location: - Solvang, CA
Fees: - $480
Hosted By: Felicia Carroll, MEd. MA, LMFT, and RPT-S
CE: 12 contact hours
2019 Countries Represented
The 2019 Symposium was an international event and the focus was on updating our theory and training materials. Gordon Wheeler, Ph. D. noted author and trainer who has contributed to Gestalt theory in child development and child clinical practice was the 2019 guest presenter. In appreciation he received the first WCI Honorary Award as a Certified Gestalt Therapist with Children and Adolescents. Violet Oaklander was contacted through SKYPE and each attendee spoke directly with her about how she had influenced their clinical work. Another highlight was hearing from our colleague Anum Malik in Karachi, Pakistan about her training program with child therapists in Pakistan via SKYPE with Felicia Carroll. The Symposium group enjoyed food, wine, countryside, and entertainment from the Santa Ynez Valley.
International trainings are endorsed by WCI and are available internationally upon request of a local organizer. This is an exciting and educational exchange for everyone. The goal is to provide adequate training so that qualified persons at each location can eventually take on the training for professionals for their locales.
Felicia Carroll travels internationally providing workshops/trainings to groups of therapists interested in learning more about Gestalt Play Therapy with Children and Adolescents as developed by Violet Oaklander, Ph.D and other leading child clinicians. Many of these training programs evolve into training programs either through Gestalt Institutes around the world or more independent clinical programs.
Basic Training: The Oaklander Model (4 days)
Shame, Introjects, and Anger (4 days)
Integrative processes and Writing Life Narratives with Children and Adolescents (3 days)
The Gestalt View on Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment Planning (3 days)
Other issues/topics can also be addressed as the program is tailored for each group and cultural needs.
International Training Programs Endorsed by WCI
Instituto de Therapia Juego Gestalt Ninos and Adolescentes
Location: Leon, Mexico
Contact Person: Susana Millan Cruz
Tembusu Training and Therapy Institute
Location: Singapore City, Singapore
Contact Person: Lee Sock Kuan
Location: Caxias do Sul, Brasil
Contact Person: Claudia Clair Pasa Tessari
The Violet Oaklander Gestalt Play Therapy Institute for Children and Adolescents in Georgia (GPTG)
Contact Person: Mzia Dalakishvili
Contact Person: Simon Pevec
Symbolon-Institut fur Gestalttherapie
Location: Nurnberg, Germany
Contact Person: Carmen Suleiman
Valley Institute for Training and Gestalt Therapy
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Contact Person: Alena Vavrova
Other International Contacts
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Contact Person: Simon Pevec
Contact Person: Andrea Acosta Sarasola, Ph.D.
Saemsotneun Child & Adolescents Counseling Center
Location: South Korea
Contact Person: Guemwoon Kim