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Continuing Education Workshops

The Nazareth College Play Therapy Center for Children and Families offers several play therapy workshops throughout the year for mental health professionals and graduate students in mental health programs. This page will be updated as new trainings are added. For questions about training details and registration, please contact Michelle Petrin at

Upcoming Workshops

Play-Based Approaches to Treating Repetitive Behaviors: From Autism to OCD

Presenter - Rob Rice, Ph.D., LMHC, Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Internships
Mental Health Counseling Program, St. John Fisher College

Limited to 25 participants.

When: Saturday, September 15, 2012 - 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Nazareth College - Shults Center International Room
4245 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14618
Cost: $95

Description: Repetitive behaviors are commonly observed in clinical settings, yet mental health practitioners still understand very little about them or the role they play in someone's life. Because of the lack of distinction among repetitive behaviors, they are often treated using the same categories of intervention, regardless of factors such as diagnosis, and intellectual and adaptive functioning. Participants will learn how to use creative, play-based approaches to applying cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and narrative therapy (NT) to treating young people with repetitive behaviors.

Participants will also gain a new understanding for how to assess and interpret repetitive behavior in both autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This workshop is for graduate level mental health practitioners and graduate students in mental health related programs. Clinicians who work with young people with ASD and/or OCD in mental health settings will find this workshop directly applicable to their practice.

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to:

  1. Better assess the functional characteristics of repetitive behavior in ASD and OCD.
  2. Understand the impact of a repetitive behavior's functional characteristics on treatment approach.
  3. Identify more traditional approaches to CBT and NT that have been used effectively to treat repetitive behavior.
  4. Identify creative, play-based approaches to engaging young people with ASD and OCD in CBT and NT.
  5. Demonstrate (during workshop role-plays) the basic skills involved with implementing one creative, play-based approach including characterization (externalizing the repetitive behavior), filling the utility belt (strengths assessment), planning missions (confronting repetitive behavior), and celebrating victories.
  6. Use these skills in their daily work with young people with ASD and OCD after attending the workshop.

Dr. Rice (Rob) is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who completed his entire undergraduate and graduate education at the University of Rochester. Through his dissertation, he validated a new instrument assessing repetitive behavior in ASD and OCD. He currently uses creative, play-based approaches to treat young people with repetitive behaviors through the Easter Seals Diagnostic and Treatment Center, where he served as Director from 2004 through 2009. He is also a full-time faculty member and Director of Clinical Internships for the MS Program in Mental Health Counseling at St. John Fisher College. Dr. Rice's current activities include research with the Rochester Institute of Technology to develop a physiologically controlled videogame for young people with repetitive behaviors.

To register please send an email to Michele Petrin ( and request a registration form.

Continuing Education Units:6
Approval # PCE 09-251

Cancellation Policy:
Written cancellation must be received via email at least five (5) days prior to the training for full refund of workshop fee. Please send an email to Michele Petrin ( if you need to cancel.

Programs may be cancelled by the Nazareth College Play Therapy Center for Children and Families based on low attendance. Full refunds will be issued.

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