Plato stated, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Play is a language and for most children growing up, this is their more dominant way of communicating. Keeping this in mind, if play is a child’s language then the toys are their words. When a child enters my playroom, she is able to choose which toys to play with and how she wants to play. For some children this might be the first time that they are able to choose without the influence of a parent, caregiver or sibling.

A typical client that presents for clinical services is 4-8 years old and is the survivor of

abuse. The client uses the art of play to work through their abuse, by acting out the

abuse in the play room using the toys. I remember one client who witnessed family

violence; she saw her mother being physically assaulted by her older brother. The

police were called and the brother was arrested for the assault. During my first session

with this client she put handcuffs on me and told me I was “going to jail for hurting

mommy,” while she also pretended to call the police. After a few sessions she had

processed the assault and was able to move on.

There are two forms of play therapy – directive and non-directive. Directive play therapy

is where the therapist directs the client; it is often associated with Cognitive Behavioral

Therapy as it is more problem-focused and action-based. Non-directive is the form

where the child directs the play. Non-directive is associated with Psychodynamic Therapy as its goal is to reveal the unconscious conflicts of the child.

Play Therapy is a modality used to treat a variety of conditions. Here at the Children’s Advocacy Center it is used with clients showing symptoms of the effects of abuse, particularly anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress. 

 —Adam Colando, Assistant Clinical/Prevention Director, MS, LMHC-S, MCAP, RPT-S, NCC 

Thank you to Dennis Battles, who responded to the notice in our last newsletter asking for donations so we may have a professionally-produced public service announcement created for us. A few months ago at a local professional event, we won the door prize of 30 free airings for 30 days of our own PSA on local cable channel CTN10 Family Television Network. Dennis’ $1,000 donation means we can now have the PSA fully produced for us--including script consultation, voice over and editing. It is then ours to use on our website, FB page, etc. Dennis and his adorable dog Ginger are one of our dedicated pet therapy teams in our Beesley’s Paw Prints Pet Therapy Program. Thank you so much Dennis for your generous donation and continued belief in our mission!


Our clothes closet could use new clothing for boys, sizes 4-5 up through sizes suitable for 10-11 year old boys—tee shirts, shorts, elastic waist long pants. We could also use pajamas for boys and girls, toddlers through junior high. Thank you!



Ho, Ho, Ho...Christmas is Coming!

Pine Manor's Got Talent & East House School Party

Believe it or not, Christmas will be here before you know it. Which means it’s time to play Santa for those clients of ours who are most in need of help around the holidays. Please consider participating in our Adopt A Family or Angel Tree programs...both are guaranteed to bring out the joy of the season within you!

Every year our staff identifies those families most in need of help during the holidays. Once again we are asking for gifts (unwrapped) for these children, or a cash donation which we will use to purchase gifts. In many instances, we can provide you with a wish list from the family (which might include something for the parents, too) to use as a guide. In general, any new gift for a boy or girl will be appreciated. For teens, gift cards work great!

If you are a business and would like to do an Angel Tree instead, we will provide you with red and green paper angels to hang on your tree, with the gender and age of the child to buy for. No need to wrap the gift, super easy. We’ll even come pick up the items when you’re ready!

This is a wonderful way to  spread the joy of the season. If you are interested in helping, please contact Lisa Rizzio, CAC Development Director, at 239-939-2808 or Thank you!


Copyright 2017, Children's Advocacy Center of Southwest Florida.

Notice of Privacy Practices. All Rights Reserved.

If you know of or suspect child abuse, call 1-800-962-2873. Caller information is kept confidential.

Accredited by the National Children's Alliance and the Council on Accreditation. CAC is proud to be a United Way partner agency.

The Therapeutic Power of Play

The children in our Pine Manor summer camp held their second annual talent show, and it was a day to remember. There were singers, dancers and even a  comic or two. A big thanks to all the parents and family who attended—it was a packed house. We can’t wait to see what the kids have in store for us next year!






Last month we also held our annual Back to School event at East House for approx. 150 children. Thank you to Kiwanis Club of Fort Myers Gateway to the Islands for its annual donation of backpacks--you make so many children happy, which means a successful event! And to Southern Stars 4H Club for its donation of school uniforms and to Frank’s Roofing & Spraying for donating food for the event.





Random Acts of Kindness