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Dr. Elizabeth Kjellstrand Hartwig Reelected to the Association for Play Therapy Board

Dr. Hartwig posing with dog and College of Education signage

Dr. Elizabeth Kjellstrand Hartwig, Associate Professor at Texas State University, has been re-elected to serve on the Association for Play Therapy (APT) Board of Directors for a second three-year term. She has been active in APT since 2009. She is a Past President of the Texas Association for Play Therapy (TXAPT) and served on that board from 2012 to 2013 and again from 2016 to 2019. In 2017, she earned the TXAPT Nancy Guillory Award for Outstanding Service in Play Therapy.

Play therapy is described by APT as the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development

Dr. Hartwig developed solution-focused play therapy (SFPT), a strengths-based theoretical approach to play therapy, that helps children work through challenges and find solutions by identifying and building on internal assets and external resources. SFPT is grounded on the core belief that children already have the abilities they need to solve the presenting problem. As a systemic approach, SFPT values the involvement of caregivers, teachers, school counselors, coaches, band directors, mentors, youth leaders, pediatricians, psychiatrists, and other people in children’s lives who can help them reach their goals. Through the systemic process of SFPT, children are provided with a circle of support to achieve their clinical goals.

Solution-Focused Play Therapy

Dr. Hartwig is a professor in the Professional Counseling Program at Texas State University, where she teaches play therapy, animal-assisted counseling, and marriage and family therapy courses. She specializes in strength-based approaches for working with children and families. Dr. Hartwig is the author of the book Solution-Focused Play Therapy: A Strengths-Based Clinical Approach to Play Therapy and co-author of the book Canine-Assisted Interventions: A Comprehensive Guide to Credentialing Therapy Dog Teams

She is also the founder and director of the Texas State University Animal-Assisted Counseling Academy, a professional training program that promotes the human-animal bond through the study and practice of animal-assisted counseling and play therapy. Dr. Hartwig has a private practice in New Braunfels, TX called Pawsitive Counseling, LLC, where she works with her canine partner, Holly.