Coherence over Calm: Introduction to using Heart Rate Variance in Play Therapy!


Heart Rate Variance (HRV) as a biomarker for health and emotional resilience is becoming more and more popular. Gottman (2012), Seigel (2010), and Schnarch (2018) all explain how using HRV in their practices has enhanced and improved their practices. Schnarch (2018) found that using HRV with clients allowed for greater insight into the clients inner world and sped up the process of healing for families and couples. Even Boston Children’s Hospital utilized an HRV based intervention to treat children ages 10-17 experiencing behavioral problems. Incorporating HRV into a play therapist’s practice has the potential to increase our successes in helping parents and children regulate their emotional process better. This workshop focuses on incorporating HRV based interventions as one additional tool in the toolbox of experienced play therapists.


This workshop will take place in two different locations:

  • Twin Falls, Idaho on August 19, 2023 starting at 11am and ending at 2pm. Specific location details will be provided upon confirmation of 10 registrants.
  • Richland, Washington on September 2, 2023 starting at 11am and ending at 2pm. Specific location details will be provided upon confirmation of 10 registrants.
  • More locations to be added upon request.
  • You can select your desired location when you register.

Registration Details

Total registration fee is $75. Price breakdown is as follows: 

  • 3 hours of contact CE’s for the Association for Play Therapy.

Early Bird Registration (before March 31, 2023) – $60

APT member discount – 10% per person. Must email proof of APT membership in order to receive the coupon code.

Student discount – 15% per person. Must email proof of student status in order to receive the coupon code.

Register Now!

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About the Presenter

Michael Whitehead, PhD, LMFT, RPT-STM received his B.S. in Marriage, Family, and Human Development from Brigham Young University in 2007, his M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Brigham Young University in 2009, and his Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from Michigan State University in 2016. The combination of his training in child development and Marriage and Family Therapy help give Dr. Whitehead a unique view of the family, how problems develop, and are treated. He primarily works with the whole family to find solutions to problems that are manifesting in one or more of the family members. Dr. Whitehead is currently in full-time clinical practice at Aspen Grove Family Therapy in Twin Falls, Idaho. In addition to his therapy practice, Dr. Whitehead teaches part time at National University’s Marriage and Family Therapy program. He has presented at the local and national level on topics ranging from parenting, behavior management, divorce, general family therapy, and play therapy. He also authored and co-authored book chapters on treating disruptive behavior disorders and play therapy. He is an Approved Supervisor and recipient of the Certificate in Leadership from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. He has served in several different state professional board positions. His passion is making sure children with disruptive behavior disorders are treated compassionately and effectively.


This training is for psychologists, social workers, counselors, school counselors, psychiatrists, family therapists, and other mental health professionals who work with children and families. In order to ensure quality education, each training will be capped at 50 participants, with a minimum of 10 participants. If the training fills up, your name/registration will be added to a waitlist in case there are any cancellations.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this workshop participants will be able to:

  • Identify appropriate equipment that can be used in session to measure HRV.
  • Explain how HRV impacts emotional and social interactions with parents and clients.
  • Demonstrate through role-play how to use HRV equipment to down regulate a client in session.

Important Note

This workshop qualifies as 3 Contact hours for APT.


A minimum of 10 participants is required in order for this training to be confirmed. If fewer than 10 participants register, this training could be rescheduled to a later date. Registered attendees will be notified of the need to cancel/reschedule up to two weeks prior to the date of the training and offered a choice of refund or credit toward a future training.


Play Therapy credit will not be awarded to non-mental health professionals.

Cancellation Policy

$25 of the registration fee is nonrefundable. Registrations are on a first come- first-served basis. Fees include 3 hours of training. Written cancellations received 4+ weeks prior to the training will receive the balance of the fees refunded. Cancellations received within 4 weeks of the training will forfeit a total of $45, with the remainder being refunded. Unfortunately, refunds cannot be given within the final week leading up to the training. In the unlikely event that the training is cancelled by the presenter, a full refund will be provided, or credit will be applied toward future or recorded training’s; whichever the registrant chooses.

APT Approved Provider 18-537