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Digital Recording

Play-Based CBT for Children with Anxiety: Innovative Techniques that Work

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Liana Lowenstein, MSW, RSW, CPT-S
6 Hours 26 Minutes
Audio and Video
Mar 03, 2023
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Media Type:
Digital Recording
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We know CBT is effective to help kids manage their anxiety. The problem is, traditional CBT that is talk-focused and workbook-based falls flat.

By integrating therapeutic games, art, stories, and puppets into CBT, you’ll captivate children’s interest, put them at ease, and motivate them to learn and apply core skills.

This one-day event will offer you an opportunity to walk alongside an expert and learn creative therapeutic techniques to engage, assess and treat anxious children. You’ll learn to forge a more positive therapeutic experience for kids as they get out from underneath the anxious chatter in their minds.

Watch award-winning author and international speaker Liana Lowenstein, as she brings CBT to life through her innovative approach.

You’ll learn to make CBT engaging through PLAY interventions to:

  • Create a safe and trusting therapeutic environment
  • Assess anxiety symptoms and its impact on the child
  • Provide kid-friendly psychoeducation about anxiety and CBT basics
  • Foster treatment readiness and navigate resistance
  • Implement developmentally appropriate cognitive restructuring techniques
  • Develop gradual exposure plans that fit the child’s needs
  • Teach effective relapse prevention skills

Watch the activities come alive through videos of client sessions and activity demonstrations and come ready to play and immerse yourself in hands-on experiential exercises.

Make CBT interventions come alive - Purchase today!


Planning Committee Disclosure - No relevant relationships

All members of the PESI, Inc. planning committee have provided disclosures of financial relationships with ineligible organizations and any relevant non-financial relationships prior to planning content for this activity. None of the committee members had relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies or other potentially biasing relationships to disclose to learners.  For speaker disclosures, please see the faculty biography.


This online program is worth 6.5 hours CPD.



Liana Lowenstein, MSW, RSW, CPT-S's Profile

Liana Lowenstein, MSW, RSW, CPT-S Related seminars and products

Liana Lowenstein is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Play Therapist-Supervisor, and Certified TF-CBT Therapist who has been working with children and their families in Toronto for over 35 years. Her areas of specialty include treating trauma, bereavement, divorce, anxiety, and ADHD. She integrates play therapy into evidence-based models such as CBT and TF-CBT. In addition to her clinical practice, she provides supervision and consultation to mental health professionals. Liana’s 14 books are used by mental health professionals and children’s support workers all over the world, and several have been translated into Chinese, Korean, and Turkish. Her best-selling titles include Creative Interventions for Bereaved, Creative Interventions for Children of Divorce, Creative CBT Interventions for Children with Anxiety, and Cory Helps kids Cope with Sexual Abuse. Her latest book, Cory Helps Kids Cope with Grief: Playful Activities for Young Children, helps young grievers impacted by suicide, homicide, drug overdose, natural disasters, mass violence, war, military casualties, and other types of loss.
Liana is a frequent keynote speaker at international conferences and agency training events, and has provided workshops throughout North America and abroad, including China, South Africa, Israel, England, New Zealand, Australia, and Slovenia. Liana has trained mental health professionals and grief group facilitators on innovative ways of supporting bereaved children, including presentations at the ADEC conference, The International Death, Grief, and Bereavement Conference in La Crosse, and Canada’s Grief Certificate Program run through the Learning Institute at the Sick Kids Centre for Community Mental Health. 

Liana is winner of the Monica Herbert award for outstanding contribution to play therapy in Canada.



Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Liana Lowenstein maintains a private practice and receives compensation as a consultant. She receives royalties as a published author. Liana Lowenstein receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Liana Lowenstein is a member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers, the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, the Canadian Association for Child and Play Therapy, and the Association for Play Therapy.




  1. Analyze the special challenges of utilizing CBT with children.
  2. Determine the benefits of integrating play therapy interventions in CBT with children.
  3. Use at least two play-based interventions to assess anxiety in children.
  4. Conclude two methods for fostering treatment readiness in anxious children.
  5. Implement at least five new play therapy interventions to treat anxiety in children.
  6. Construct play-based ways to engage resistant children so they will follow through with an exposure plan.


CBT with Anxious Children
Not as Straightforward as it May Seem
  • Challenges of engaging anxious children in CBT
  • Rationale for integrating playful activities with CBT
  • Key guidelines for CBT with anxious children
  • Creative use of rewards to motivate children to follow through with skill practice
Childhood Anxiety
What’s Normal and What’s Problematic
  • What anxiety looks like and feels like in children
  • Differentiating anxiety and ADHD
  • Common anxious thoughts
  • Physiological responses to anxiety
Innovative Model for Engaging and Assessing Children
  • Build trust and rapport with children
  • Help children open up and share their fears
  • Hone in on key areas to assess
  • Gather key information from parents and teachers
  • Translate assessment information into an effective treatment plan
  • Limitations and risks
Tips, Tricks, and Treatment Techniques
Play Therapy Games, Art, Stories & More
  • Play therapy interventions to address the core components of CBT
    • Foster treatment readiness
    • Exposure plans to fit unique needs of each client
    • Address resistance so children will approach rather than avoid their fears
    • Collaborate with parents and school personnel to augment the child’s therapeutic progress
    • Storytelling with young children to facilitate gradual exposure
Innovative Activities to Treat the Toughest Cases
  • Signs and symptoms of phobias, separation anxiety, perfectionism, and selective mutism
  • Sample gradual exposure plans to treat complex anxiety disorders
  • Creative games, stories, art, and more to equip children with essential skills to face their fears

Target Audience

  • Counsellors
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Play Therapists
  • Educators
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Speech-Language Pathologists


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