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Professional Workshops

Youth Services offeres free and low cost workshops for professionals and interested community members.
Most Workshops are Fee*: Free presentation— CE clock hours available for social work/counselors (we no longer do CPDU's unless noted). $5.00 charge for CE hours or certificate of completion. This may be paid at the workshop.
Location: Warren Township Youth and Family Services, 100 S. Greenleaf St., Gurnee, IL 60031
*Full day and half day workshops may have a fee to attend and less available registrations.

Using Play to Connect: Developing Skills to Integrate Play into Family Therapy

Donna Gates
Certified Theraplay Therapist and Trainer

October 12th
​Warren Township

  1. Participants will gain a basic understanding of how interactive play impacts the brain and builds social skills.
  2. Participants will gain a foundational understanding of 3 different types of intersubjectivity and how each influences interaction within a family.
  3. Participants will be able to describe 4 dimensions that support good family/ dyadic interaction.
  4. Participants will learn a variety of play activities that build connection and/or social skills within families


Part 1:  Morning
Introduction, plus 3-5 Group Games (with brief processing)
Theoretical base for play
  •   Benefits of play (de-stresses, builds community, builds the social/emotional brain)
  •   Types of play (3 levels of intersubjectivity)
  •   Reparative touch
  •   Example(s) of family play in therapy (video)
Four dimensions for family interaction and play (examples and practice)
Q & A

Part 2: Afternoon
Considerations for when to use play in family therapy.
Videos and discussion re: uses of play
Practice of play activities
  • reducing stress, increasing joy
  • fostering connection (dyad, family)
  • promoting social skills:  cooperation/partnering, turn-taking, co-regulation/synchrony, parents leading/guiding (parental structure), eye contact, listening, care.
Q & A

LUNCH: Lunch will be provided. 

Donna M. Gates, M.A., LCPC, is a Certified Theraplay Therapist and Trainer who worked for the past 20 years in private practice at David L. Gates and Associates in Gurnee, IL and Park Ridge, IL.  Currently, she is Senior Supervisor and Trainer for The Theraplay Institute in Evanston, IL. During the past 20 years, she has done individual, couples, and family therapy as well as domestic violence treatment, anger management treatment for adults and children, and parenting training and consultation.  In the past she has worked as a youth and family counselor with Warren Township Youth Commission, developed a children's program for Families in Touch/Teen Moms in Waukegan, and supervised college students as they worked in that program.  She also worked with the teen moms in the FIT program, teaching parenting skills, life skills, and issues of domestic violence. Donna obtained her B.A. in Theology from Berkshire Christian College in Massachusetts before working with Campus Life/Youth for Christ in New York City. She then went on to obtain her M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL. Donna has also had  training in Dan Hughes’ DDP (Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy) model as well as in TBRI (Trust Based Relational Intervention) training with Karyn Purvis and David Cross of Texas Christian University.  In the past, she has presented at the Theraplay International Conference and has written two articles for the Theraplay Newsletter, one on the use of Theraplay in Domestic Violence treatment groups and the other on the reparative  effects of Theraplay in the treatment of families who have experienced family violence. Donna is the mother of 2 daughters and has 8 grandchildren, all of whom enjoy helping her practice Theraplay activities. Donna can be contacted at:  [email protected]

Date: Friday, October 12 Check In: 8-8:30 am Presentation Time: 8:30 am - 3:45 pm   Cost: $45  CEU: 6 clock hours for social work
Location: Warren Township Youth Services

November 9th 

Warren  Township Youth Services

 Learning Objectives:
  • Increase your overall understanding and ability to help and support
  • grieving children and teens
  • Develop a greater sense of competence in discussing grief related issues.
  • Gain knowledge about tools and activities that can be utilized when working with the expression of difficult grief related thoughts and feelings
  • Address the importance of self-care and discuss a variety of ways we can
  • nourish and replenish ourselves when we begin to experience compassion fatigue

Presented by: Clinical staff from Willow House

Date: Friday, November 9  Time: 10 am - noon Fee: Free CEU: 2 hour Location: Warren Township Youth Services 

Continuing Education: 2 CE Hours for Social Work