My first experience with Play Therapy, has impacted my career 20 years later!

By Sabra Starnes | Nov 8, 2020

I can remember my first experience with play therapy, it was during my second-year placement at an inpatient treatment program for children in Towson MD.  My field supervisor and the other clinicians that I worked with were skilled and trained in play therapy, so fortunate to be able to learn new and different approaches to working with my clients. And I have been hooked ever since in doing play therapy. I became a Registered Play Therapist in 2003 and a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor in 2014.  As I begin my 17th year as a play therapist I still have the same excitement and joy in doing play therapy as I did when I first started. In 2017, my practice became an approved provider for the Association For Play Therapy.

My first training in play therapy was Theraplay®.  I attended the Theraplay Level 1 training at the Theraplay Institute in Evanston, Illinois.  And was by trained by Phyllis Rubin, Co-Founder and Sandra Lindaman, a Senior Training Advisor for The Theraplay®. Two amazing clinicians that I admire and enjoyed getting to learn from. I was thrilled to learn an attachment-based approach of that I could use with families, in using playfulness and the four dimensions, structure, engagement, challenge and nurturance using play-based interventions.

Attachment theory is my theory of practice.  I believe it is so important to use with all clients regardless if I am working with individuals, family or groups.  I think it is so important in building a strong therapeutic relationship through attunement and engagement in ways that bring out the joy of play. As a registered play therapist, and now as a registered play therapist supervisor, I enjoy offering trainings to clinicians to become play therapist.  I am passionate about doing creative, unique and engaging webinars and workshops on play therapy. And for others to discover the power of play therapy using interventions and techniques either using directive or non-directive play therapy interventions.   I honestly believe that the world needs play therapist.

My practice Next Place Therapy Services, LLC in Largo MD where we see children 3 to 14 years old and their families.  I started my practice in 2001.  The name of my practice was inspired by a book that I first learned about during a loss and grief training. The name of the book The Next Place by  Warren Henson.  After reading this book, I decided to name my new practice Next Place Therapy Services to symbolize my  clinical belief that clients  can heal in their own unique way, when we offer different treatment modalities interventions using the power of play, I honestly believe the world needs play therapists!


Play Well!

Sabra Starnes



Sabra Starnes

1 Comment

  1. Sandra Lindaman on March 8, 2021 at 11:55 am

    Hi Sabra, thanks for your comment about Theraplay! I would love to get caught up and talk to you about your ongoing experiences with the model.

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