A Synergetic Approach to Education (A Synergetic Education Institute Program)

This program is for you if you work IN SCHOOLS (as a school counselor, social worker or psychologist, or a school-based mental health professional) or if you COLLABORATE WITH educators or schools!

**For all program details and dates of when this program is offered, please visit the Synergetic Education Institute’s website**

A Synergetic Approach to Education (formerly One Foot in Education: Exploring Education Through an SPT Lens) offered by our sister institute, the Synergetic Education Institute, is a distinct and transformative approach to learning and teaching, working at the intersection of education and mental health! Synergetic educators recognize that the collaborative efforts of educators, students, classrooms, and educational systems produce a more substantial impact than individual contributions.

This approach spans the landscape of working with students and perceived challenges and barriers, considering all aspects of learners and the learning environment. It incorporates neuroscience and nervous system regulation research with empowerment practices to create positive change within the immediate environment while maintaining a broader perspective using integrated and differentiated approaches.

You will delve into strategies designed for educational settings that promote trauma-informed, social-emotional support within schools. You’ll learn to implement these strategies as well as understand the neuroscience behind them, empowering you to support others in deepening their knowledge and awareness.

You will also learn how to…

  • Implement approaches based on neuroscience that support the development of self-regulation skills, including critical skills that are often missing from SEL programming.
  • Support educators in understanding how to prepare brains and bodies to learn, including articulating the links between neurophysiological states and classroom behaviors
  • Identify the dynamics behind complex student-adult relationships and how to shift these challenging interactions.
  • Increase feelings of safety and belonging for students and adults
  • Implement small shifts in daily routines that include explicitly teaching critical skills using both “top-down” and “bottom-up” approaches.
  • Reframe “resistance” to meeting educators at their level of readiness.
  • Embody Synergetic Play Therapy® principles and collaborate with teachers to empower them and shift their perceptions of students

“This course has been life-changing for me personally and for so many of the clients and families I work with! I love that your class applies to clinical practice as well! Judith has a brilliant mind and it was an honor to learn from her. I am so grateful. There are moments in your life that are pivotal and I know my Synergetic Play Therapy (SPT) and SPT in schools are one of those pivotal moments for me as a professional and a mom.”

– Chey Cochran, LPC

Check out the clip below for a sample of what you can expect during live webinars!

Program Prerequisites:

This program requires that you have taken a Level 1 Introduction to Synergetic Play Therapy® program. This includes the completion of one of the following:

If you have not yet completed one of the above programs, you now have the opportunity to meet the prerequisites for A Synergetic Approach to Education by taking the new Fundamentals Course through the Synergetic Education Institute!*

*The Fundamentals Course has been created specifically for individuals who wish to take a Synergetic Approach to Education but have not yet completed a Level 1 Introduction to Synergetic Play Therapy® program. This course will take you through key Synergetic Play Therapy® principles, creating a foundation on which to build.

Please note: This course has been paired down to focus on specific concepts to prepare students for A Synergetic Approach to Education, and, therefore, is not a full replacement for the Level 1 Introduction to Synergetic Play Therapy® program.  Should your goal be to apply for the Synergetic Play Therapy Certification program, you must complete the entire Introduction program.


Program Details:

This 23-hour program is designed for school-based and clinical mental health professionals who work in school environments or collaborate with educators or schools, and who have completed a Level 1 Introduction to Synergetic Play Therapy® program*. The program includes twelve (12) 1.5 hour LIVE webinars and five (5) 1-hour consultation groups. 

*If you are a mental health professional who works in school environments or collaborates with educators or schools, but have NOT taken a Level 1 Introduction to Synergetic Play Therapy® program, you may now enroll in the Fundamentals Course through the Synergetic Education Institute to meet this requirement!

When: Visit the Synergetic Education Institute here to find out when this program is offered next! Registration is open NOW for the 2024-2025 cohort beginning November 5th!

Where: Learn from anywhere! No commute required!

Cost: See website for cost details

*Please remember that you must meet the program prerequisites to enroll in the A Synergetic Approach to Education 2024-2025 program. If you do not currently meet the prerequisites, you may purchase “A Synergetic Approach to Education + Fundamentals Course” option to enroll.

What You Will Learn?

A Synergetic Approach to Education 2024-2025 Learning Objectives by Class:

Class 1 – Who Are You in the Lives of Educators?

  • Explore your role in supporting educators and schools
  • Begin to build a foundational knowledge base to share with educators that supports your role as counselors and therapists working with and in schools

Class 2 – The Neurobiology of Behavior from an Educational Lens

  • Gain insights into deepening educators’ understanding of the neuroscience of learning and behavior
  • Learn strategies for supporting educators using a regulatory lens to look beneath students’ behaviors

Class 3 – The Process of Developing Self-Regulation: Adding the Missing Elements

  • Help educators understand how missing programming elements may prevent students from using skills independently
  • Learn ways to shift daily routines to include critical components of developing self-regulation and reflection

Class 4 – Brain-Aligned Strategies and Practical Neuroscience

  • Discover brain-aligned strategies and how to use the “right strategy at the right time.” 
  • Explore the neuroscience behind why specific strategies are more effective and when to use top-down or bottom-up approaches, as both are vital

Class 5 – Developmental Mindsets Paradigm

  • Learn about the game-changing Developmental Mindset Paradigm and its implications for supporting educators as we reframe “resistance” to meeting educators at their level of readiness

Class 6 – Creating Regulatory Environments from a Multi-Tiered Lens

  • Discover ways to support educators in explicitly teaching students how to access doses of regulation throughout the day
  • Support the implementation of universal approaches in classrooms while offering higher levels of support when necessary

Class 7 – Obstacles and Perceived Adult Challenges

  • Learn ways of empowering adults to recognize their own dysregulation
  • Introduce the concept of the Set-Up, or Offering, to educators and how to use this as a tool in the classroom

Class 8 – Obstacles and Perceived Student Challenges

  • Explore individual differences such as sensitized stress reactions and working with perceptions
  • Examine challenging dynamics that often inadvertently reinforce negative beliefs and behaviors

Class 9 – Moving Through Perceived Challenges

  • Help educators understand the main causes of escalation and how being an external regulator supports moving through challenging moments
  • Examine a support continuum that includes setting boundaries without leading to feelings of shame

Class 10 – Shifting Paradigms: Utilizing a Regulatory-Focused Approach

  • Examine differentiation and the discrepancies in how we approach academic vs social-emotional and behavioral support
  • Develop layered social-emotional behavior support plans that match the neurophysiological states of students

Class 11 – Our Role in Shifting Perception

  • Identify and address common barriers when working with educators and schools and facilitate new layers of understanding
  • Model balancing challenge and support to create new neural templates for educators to help them adopt this approach

Class 12 – Tying it All Together

  • Examine ways to integrate the material in authentic and meaningful ways to you and your setting
  • Develop empowering relationships by applying Synergetic Play Therapy® tenets in our work with educators and schools

“This class has added the piece I felt I was missing from my Synergetic Play Therapy® training, which was how to do this in a school setting with Learning Tools, Behavior support plans, and discovering how to partner with my colleagues. This information will improve how we meet our students’ needs in a school setting. The resources were invaluable!”

– Kyle Berg, School Counselor

Online Consultation Groups: Throughout this program, you will be supported in applying everything you are learning to your classroom or educational setting through group consultation. Upon registering for the program, you will have the opportunity to complete a questionnaire to choose your consultation preferences.

Instructor: Judith Norman, MA, MS, LPC, RPT-S

Judith is licensed as both a Professional and School Counselor. Judith is a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor and is also Certified as a Synergetic Play Therapy® Teacher and Supervisor, and in EMDR therapy, along with being trained in Mindfulness in Education. She has been utilizing the tenets of Synergetic Play Therapy® in educational settings for the past 10 years, leading to the development of social-emotional, trauma-informed programming to support students and educators.

SPT Credential Renewal/Recertification Credit: This program meets FULL SPT CE Credit requirements for Recertification of the Certified Synergetic Play Therapist/Certified Synergetic Play Provider credential!

Continuing Education Credit: Participants receive a Certificate of Completion at the end of the program and can also earn up to 3 Graduate credits from Colorado State University.

* This course is sold by the Synergetic Education Institute®


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