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Digital Seminar

Attachment Begins in Utero: There’s No Such Thing as a Blank Slate

Janet Courtney, PhD, LCSW |  Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, RPT-S
1 Hour 31 Minutes
Audio and Video
May 06, 2021
Product Code:
Media Type:
Digital Seminar
Never expires.


New discoveries in neuroscience have shown us just how impactful in utero experiences and the first few years of life are to one’s emotional and social developmental trajectory.

The role of early life attachment relationships for optimal brain development, self-regulation, and addressing developmental trauma, impresses why infant mental health is so crucial for a lifetime of healthy interpersonal relationships.

Join Janet A. Courtney, PhD, LCSW, Founder of FirstPlay Therapy®, an Infant Mental Health & Developmental Play Therapy model to discover new innovations in the infant-parent attachment relationship. New breakthroughs in the neurobiology of touch, will show you how crucial touch is to the attachment relationship. Touch and attachment literally go “hand-in-hand”!

You’ll be introduced to an embodied infant play therapy model of FirstPlay Therapy® to promote nurturing touch to enhance and repair the attachment relationship, increase neuroception of safety, decrease anxious states, and foster co-regulation, and promote attunement to infant cues and body language.



Janet Courtney, PhD, LCSW's Profile

Janet Courtney, PhD, LCSW Related seminars and products

Janet A. Courtney, PhD, LCSW, is Founder of FirstPlay Therapy®, an Infant Mental Health & Developmental Play Therapy model and Founder and Editor of FirstPlay® Café: An e-magazine for parents (womb to six Years). She is a Registered Play Therapy Supervisor, TEDx Speaker and presently Chair of the Association for Play Therapy Ethics and Practice Committee and past President of the Florida Association for Play Therapy and former Chair of the Viola Brody Award Committee. Awarded Third Place overall in the Best Practices Showcase for FirstPlay Therapy at the First 1000 Days Infant Mental Health Summit (Sept, 2018) along with the Children’s Healing Institute.

She is author and editor of Infant Play Therapy: Foundations, Programs, Models and Practice, and Healing Child and Family Trauma through Expressive and Play Therapies: Art, Nature, Storytelling, Body & Mindfulness, and Touch in Child Counseling and Play Therapy: An Ethical and Clinical Guide. New York, NY: Routledge, and her research into practitioner experiences of training in touch and Developmental Play Therapy is published in the American Journal of Art Therapy and the International Journal of Play Therapy. She is a contributing author for the chapter, “Touching Autism through Developmental Play Therapy” inthe book, Play-based Interventions for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders; and has a chapter in the book, Environmental Expressive Therapies (2017), titled: “The Art of Utilizing the Metaphorical Elements of Nature as ‘Co Therapist’in Ecopsychology Play Therapy.” She is also published in the Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture. She offers a certification in FirstPlay Therapy® (including FirstPlay® Infant Massage Storytelling) and provides training to professionals in the Ethical and Clinical Competencies of Touch, FirstPlay® Therapy, Ericksonian-based StoryPlay®, Expressive Therapies, and Ecopsychology Play Therapy.

She has been invited to speak nationally and internationally including Bali, Indonesia, theCayman Islands, England, Ireland, Morocco, Russia and the Ukraine. She is a provider through the Florida state boards of Mental Health and Massage Therapy, and an approved provider through the Association for Play Therapy. She specializes in Infant Mental Healthand Infant Play Therapy, Attachment, and Trauma related issues. Dr. Courtney’s new form of Kinesthetic Storytelling® can be found in her children’s book, The Magic Rainbow. Website: and


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Janet Courtney is the founder of FirstPlay Therapy®, the FirstPlay Café Podcast, and the founder and editor of FirstPlay® Café. She receives royalties as a published author. Janet Courtney receives a speaking honorarium and product royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Janet Courtney is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the World Association for Infant Mental Health. She serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Play Therapy and USABP: International Body Psychotherapy Journal.

Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, RPT-S's Profile

Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, RPT-S Related seminars and products

Clair Mellenthin LLC

Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, RPT-S, is an international speaker, author, psychologist, and Registered Play Therapist Supervisor. Throughout her career, she has specialized in providing play therapy to children, teens, and their families. She is currently the Director of Child & Adolescents at Wasatch Family Therapy. Ms. Mellenthin frequently presents professional play therapy and family therapy trainings on Attachment-Centered Play Therapy, Family, and Trauma issues both nationally and internationally.

Ms. Mellenthin is a sought-after supervisor, training graduate students and interns in play therapy, and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Southern California MSW program. She is the past-president of the Utah Association for Play Therapy and remains an active member on the Board of Directors. She is the author of the books Attachment Centered Play Therapy; Play Therapy: Engaging & Powerful Techniques for the Treatment of Childhood Disorders; My Many Colors of Me Workbook and has authored several chapters and articles. In addition to being an experienced play therapist and professor, Ms. Mellenthin also appears on local and national TV and radio as an expert on children and family issues. She holds a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California.


Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Clair Mellenthin has an employment relationship with Wasatch Family Therapy. She receives a speaking honorarium, recording royalties, and book royalties from PESI, Inc. Ms. Mellenthin is a published author and receives royalties. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.

Non-financial: Clair Mellenthin is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Association for Play Therapy.

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  1. Determine two (2) ways that the neurobiology of touch supports a secure parent-infant attachment relationship.
  2. Demonstrate 3 ways to enhance secure attachments in parent-infant relationships for (or to) - outcome.
  3. Evaluate two ways that FirstPlay Therapy Infant Play Therapy promotes the infant-parent attachment relationship.
  4. Distinguish two differences between pre-symbolic play and symbolic play.


Infant Mental Health and Infant Play Therapy

  • Demystifying infant mental health
  • Busting the misconception that infants don’t experience trauma
  • Culturally sensitive - the Therapeutic Powers of Play

Increase a Neuroception of Safety

  • The parent/infant relationship is everything
  • Understanding an infant’s window of tolerance
  • Supporting co-regulation
  • Attunement to infant cues and body language

FirstPlay Infant Play Therapy

  • Ages birth to 36 months
  • Developmental Play Therapy for nurturing gentle touch
  • Therapeutic storytelling to facilitate a cue-based attuned reciprocal relationship

Target Audience

  • Infant mental health specialists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Play therapists
  • Family therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Social workers
  • School counselors
  • Other mental health and professionals that work with the infants, young children and families

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