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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
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The Association for Play Therapy (APT) is a national professional society established in 1982 and located in Clovis, California. It is a California mutual benefit corporation exempt from federal taxation per Section 501(c)(6) of the IRS Code. Steady membership growth since its inception has allowed APT to develop into a vibrant organization comprised of professionals in all mental health fields across the world.

 

Inception of the APT IDEA Team

In response to the murder of George Floyd and the social injustices experienced by the Black community, APT released a special message of solidarity to its members on June 1, 2020.  Following this release, APT received responses comprised of constructive criticism, personal anecdotes, and calls for change within the organization.

Although the intent was to communicate support for our Black play therapists and the play therapy community at large, in hindsight, our message did not convey our true intentions and for this, we sincerely apologize.

The APT Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Awareness (IDEA) Team was born with the purpose of cultivating organizational change. Through conversations had with members regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I), Kathryn Lebby, President & CEO, proposed the formation of this committee to provide input, review existing programs, and promote ways to address DE&I at all levels of APT.

The team members were selected in line and accordance with all other APT committees, by inviting volunteers to participate. Members of the IDEA team had previously expressed an interest in, and commitment to, the development of a committee focused on promoting and enriching DE&I within APT. Additionally, APT staff members, Claudia Vega, PhD and Yasmin Holt joined the team due to their interest in social justice advocacy.  Since this Team is in essence a management committee, APT’s CEO and COO are ex-officio members as well in accordance to Policy Governance©.

 

IDEA Team Purpose and Actionable Steps

The Team’s purpose is simple: To provide an open, safe space for members of our organization to feel supported and be heard. We are committed to creating an environment where you feel represented, seen, valued and empowered by recommending DE&I informed programs and processes that will result in meaningful and sustainable organizational change. APT realizes that we must stand up, acknowledge, engage, and act.  This is a process; change takes time.  We are committed to this, in this together, and for the long-term. 

Keeping APT’s mission at the forefront, it is clear three areas require our immediate attention; 

  1. Membership: How do we address diversity, equity, and inclusion at the membership level?
  2. Play Therapists: How do we support our therapists of color in their work and as members of the organization?
  3. Children & Families: How do we best educate all therapists on issues faced by children and families of color as they present in play therapy?

Now is the time to turn IDEA’s into realities. With your support, we can do just that.


Meet the Team

APT thanks the following members for their commitment and service to further the mission of APT through the lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Reena Freeman, PsyD, Licensed Psychologist

I am excited to be a part of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Awareness Team, focused on the facilitation and continued understanding and integration of inclusion, diversity, and equity issues with the mission, values, and goals of the Association for Play Therapy and our work as play therapists.

 

Yasmin Holt, BA - APT Coordinator, Credentialing Services

Diversity and inclusion are important to me because I know what it feels like to not have a seat at the table. I’ve made it a priority to make sure everyone does and that they look like me and the world around me. My goal for the IDEA Team is to ensure that our members feel supported and represented, and have the necessary tools to provide the best care to diverse populations.

 

Johnnie Jenkins III, MA, LPC, RPT-S

Play therapy is truly a multicultural form of treatment. Our task is to make APT more inclusive and diverse. Can we do it? We have no choice. Allowing the challenges around race to hinder APT, would limit the best tools to help people at the worst time. I am here to prevent that. Thanks for trusting me with this task.

 

Bridgette Mitchell, MSW, LCSW, RPT-S

I am proud to serve on the IDEA Team as we support APT in its commitment to honor equity, diversity and inclusion within the organization and take actionable steps to promote high-quality, culturally responsive educational standards, programs, and services that meet the diverse needs of today’s multicultural play therapy community.

 

Sheerah Neal, EdS, LMHC, NCC, RPT

I joined the IDEA Team to be a voice against systemic racism and injustice against underrepresented groups. We cannot overcome what we refuse to confront, so I am prepared to do my part. I am committed to having challenging conversations that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within APT and beyond.

 

Kevin O’Connor, PhD, ABPP, RPT-S

As a member of both a privileged and an oppressed group, I am particularly interested in the impact of intersectionality. As the co-founder of APT, I am committed to ensuring the structures and systems within the organization better meet the needs of: 1) a diverse membership, 2) non-dominant culture play therapists, and 3) non-dominant culture children and families in play therapy.

 

Vanessa Sanford, MS, LPC-S, RPT-S

I am a play therapist/supervisor and a person of color. My hope for being part of the IDEA team is for the play therapy community to begin seed-planting collective labor by integrating different populations. Representation matters. Diverse seats at the table matters. Brave, kind, clunky conversations matter. Action matters.

  

Claudia Vega, PhD - APT Clinical Coordinator

As a bilingual, bicultural woman, who fell in love with play therapy and works for APT, I believe I am uniquely qualified to not only speak to issues of diversity and inclusion from personal and professional experience/education, but also have a working knowledge of this organization's policies and programs.

 

Interested in participating on the IDEA Team? Watch your weekly Play Today for updates and volunteer opportunities.

Should you have any questions, regarding DE&I within our organization, feel free to contact us. We are here to serve you!