Sunday, January 5, 2020

Play Therapy Trainings in the UK in 2020

 Harnessing the Dragon....
           Helping Children Heal from Trauma

Using theory, case material and experiential process, this day long intensive explores a highly successful and dynamic approach to working with traumatized children. 
Dennis has worked as a psychotherapist for 45 years, and developed a unique approach to working with children described in several books and numerous articles, including “If You Turned into a Monster... Transformation through Play”. 
The dragon is the penultimate symbol of life force for the child. When dysregulated due to trauma, neurology or the many issues that children often struggle with, it can cause enormous problems. When harnessed in the context of a safe therapeutic relationship, it helps the child resolve these issues and move forward in their lives 
Dates for 2020: 
Manchester: Friday 25th September Sheffield: Saturday 26th September Colchester: Monday 28th September Swindon: Tuesday 29th September 
Cost: £160 inc. VAT 
For more information, or to book yourself on the training, please email: 

Saturday, August 24, 2019

"The Heart Leaps Up..." workshop series in the Greek islands

Sculpture of Pan - Francesco Rivera

Exploring Anima Mundi - the Soul of the World
... a creative retreat in the Greek Islands

This week-long retreat for personal growth on the Greek island of Paros, is an opportunity to explore Greek myths in the setting where they arose. Using the expressive arts - play, dance, clay, and dream work - in the context of Greek myth and the four elements - earth, water, fire and air we will explore the ancient belief of Animism – that there is Soul in everything, even our creative acts, and that this Soul connects all living things. This belief is at the core of ancient Greek philosophy, as well as Buddhism, Daoism and Jewish mysticism. The ancient Greeks saw divinity in all things. Pythagoras described Cosmos as “a single living creature which encompasses all living creatures within it.”

Various gods and goddesses will make an appearance including Gaia, Poseidon, Dionysos, Persephone and Apollo. Children love Greek myths as they describe unbridled life force. Carl Jung based many of his psychological theories on Greek myth and Greek philosophy.

Each day begins with morning meditation (optional), followed by dream sharing and conversations about anima mundi, and then sandplay on the beach. Each evening we will meet to consider Greek myths and the four elements as they relate to us, using the expressive arts. Gioia Timpanelli will regale us with mythic stories and folk tales. Days include time for swimming in the Aegean sea, walking the ancient Byzantine Road with its thousand year old olive trees, or getting lost in the labyrinthine streets of the medieval villages. The setting for our workshop is perfect for creative exploration and inspiration.

Our base, the Lefkes Village Hotel, nestled in the mountains with the sea shimmering in the distance, is like an incubator for relaxation and transformation. As we have been going there for many years it quickly feels like home. We will also take a day trip to a more remote Greek island. This workshop offers a sorely needed sense of renewal. Join us!

With storyteller Gioia Timpanelli, flutist Steve Gorn and psychotherapists Kate Macairt and Dennis McCarthy.

June 12 – 19, 2020

"In the pure light of Greece, the mind slips sideways, the heart leaps up..."

Cost = $1850. includes room (d/o), breakfast, two dinners, shared car rental, day trip and workshop costs. Single room supplement is available. Space is very limited. Registration at

Leader Bios:

Gioia Timpanelli is today considered one of the world’s foremost storytellers – widely respected as both a master and scholar of the ageless art. She has performed her improvisational telling of ancient and modern stories and given talks in collaboration with respected masters of other art forms- especially in the world of poetry and letters such as Joseph Campbell, Robert Bly, James Hillman, Nor Hall, and Gary Snyder. She won the American Book Award for “Sometimes the Soul”. She has co-lead numerous The Heart Leaps Up…” workshops in Greece.

Careful living in a specific place is the foundation of our old folk tales; this mountain, that tree, this badger, that golden fish, Eagle, the women coming in with the baskets, the North Wind, March, the stars, and on and on and wondrously on. One story holds us among the many things of the world. It does this while nurturing the Imagination, which is not a superfluous gift but a necessity for seeing with the material into the structure of our real lives. What seems both outside and inside are experienced in the same place; what seems small and hidden is an entire world. - Gioia

Steve Gorn is a world-renowned master of the bansuri flute; his music is said to be a portal into the inner world of dream and the unconscious. He is featured on the Grammy winning recording, “Miho – Journey to the Mountain,” with the Paul Winter Consort, the Academy Award winning Documentary film, “Born into Brothels,” and recordings with Paul Simon, Jack DeJohnette, Coleman Barks, Krishna Das and many others. His journey to Paros, over 50 years ago, initiated a musical career of performance, composition and education; an ongoing exploration of sound, sonic landscape, and the relationship of light, place, and personal awareness.

my music….a continual journey to reveal
’the right sound, at the right time, and in the right place,’
This is not thought - it is breathing in the word - anima mundi……
so alive in Greece, where the brilliance of the natural world and
age old mythology bring forth music, alive and in the moment. - Steve

Kate Macairt has over 30 years’ experience working with children, young people and adults as expressive arts teacher, play therapist and counsellor. Kate taught the Post Graduate Diploma course in play therapy for the UK organization APAC in UK, Hong Kong, New Zealand and South East Asia for over 10 years. Her passion for outdoor play and nature connection is the foundation for her most recent development; LandPlay Therapy which focuses on the essential life-enhancing power of Great Mother archetypal energy.

Children understand the mystery which is anima mundi; the world soul. When I was a child I knew that the big old oak tree in my garden held a presence which was comforting and strong. When I watched the wood louse at the bottom of the garden I was aware that their lives had purpose and they went about their business with determination. The inner child remembers the deep sense of connection and the adult heart yearns to rediscover the state of 'flow' . To dance on sand, to sing with the birds, to swim in the gentle waves ... our soul expands when we embrace the soul of all living thing. - Kate

Dennis McCarthy has worked as a psychotherapist with children and adults for 45 years. He developed a unique approach to play therapy that is body centered and imagination driven, and greatly influenced by Greek myth. He has been traveling to the Greek islands for 40 years and has been leading "The Heart Leaps Up..." workshop series for 25 years. He has authored several books including “If You Turned into a Monster...Transformation through Play”.

The Greek islands are the embodiment of the elements – the shimmering sea, the solid olive tree clad islands, the vision inducing sunlight and the myth laden air. In this setting the mind slips sideways, the heart leaps up, the soul feels seen and renewed. - Dennis

         Paros is consistently rated one of the most beautiful  islands in Europe! 

Registration deadline is 2/31/20.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Dennis McCarthy Bio

Dennis McCarthy LMHC , DMT-R  

    Dennis has worked in the field of psychotherapy for 45 years. He trained initially as a dancer and a dance therapist, receiving a dual masters degree in Counseling and Dance Therapy from Antioch Graduate School, under the supervision of Dr. Mara Capy. He went on to study Bioenergetic Analysis and was in supervision with Dr. Alexander Lowen and in treatment with Anthony Rullo. He also studied Jungian analysis for many years and was in treatment with Dr. Sherry Salman.   He has created a unique and dynamic approach to play therapy that has been described in numerous books and journal articles. His work with adults uses dreams and personal story in a body-centered approach. Dennis maintains a large private practice and supervises and trains psychotherapists at his office in Kingston, NY and at workshops and seminars in the U.S. and abroad.

   He has lead a biannual workshop series for many years in the Greek islands entitled "The Heart Leaps Up..." using Greek myth, movement and dreams.
                Dennis can be reached at


Friday, June 8, 2018

Play Therapy in Spain

The Treasure Map to the Self –
Fostering Ego Development in Children through Sandplay


Using Erich Neumann’s map of ego development as a guide, this two day training focuses on understanding and facilitating the stages of play that help children resolve trauma, become better regulated, handle big emotions and individuate.  These stages are manifest in the imagery and energy of the sandplay process.
           In his classic book The History and Evolution of Consciousness  Neumann re-envisions ego development using mythology – creation myths, hero myths and transformation myths.  When the child is fully engaged in the sandplay process we may witness Neumann’’s stages in action… and both psyche and body transform, defense systems reorganize and the individuation process resumes, following Neumann’s map.  This training is also influenced by the work of Bowlby, Winnicott, Jung and Erikson and will use theory, case material and experiential process. Recommended for both seasoned therapists and those new to the field.
Dennis has been using sandplay in his therapeutic work with children for 45 years, described in books, keynotes and articles here and abroad.
Led by Dennis McCarthy LMHC/DMT-R

A two day training in play therapy in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. May 1st and 2nd, 2020 . Led by Dennis McCarthy. For more info contact Joaquin Blix Formoso at