Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

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Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Grant to support LCCE play therapy center

Nursing+text+books+stacked+on+top+of+one+another.+Loyolas+College+of+Nursing+and+Health+was+awarded+a+grant+to+expand+therapy+services.
Anna Hummel
Nursing text books stacked on top of one another. Loyola’s College of Nursing and Health was awarded a grant to expand therapy services.

In a testament to the commitment to mental health and healing, the Loyola Center for Counseling and Education within the College of Nursing and Health was recently the beneficiary of a $2.5 million grant.

Awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, this grant will focus on expanding trauma-informed care and play therapy services for children in the Greater New Orleans area.

Loyola’s Department of Counseling and the LCCE is also home to a Play Therapy Center for Education and Research, with Loyola students often presenting at nationwide and international play therapy conferences.

Established in 2015, the center’s primary mission is to facilitate student and faculty contribution of research to the play therapy field, while optimizing educational opportunities for graduate students. The center provides pro-bono consultation and education in the New Orleans area through local non-profit collaboration, as well as opportunities for professional education and collaboration outside of the city.

According to their mission statement, Loyola’s Play Therapy Center hopes to offer more children, adolescents, and adults healing through play by providing quality learning opportunities for students and practitioners.

“Looking in our city that has such a prevalence of mental health issues with youth and children who’ve experienced trauma through community violence through family based trauma and intergenerational trauma. We get sought out for play therapy a lot.” Said Denise Gilstrap, a registered play therapist and the director of the Loyola center for counseling and education.

According to Gilstrap, play therapy provides young children with a method of communication that isn’t difficult for them, whereas talk therapy could be.

They express themselves through play, because that is their natural language. So, play therapy is a very methodical approach to providing therapeutic support to children in their own language.” Said Gilstrap

The $2.5 million grant was the first grant awarded to the program since 2015, when the Play Therapy Center received an endowment of $50,000 from the Heebe Family Fund at Touro Infirmary. This money went primarily towards training and educational workshops for healthcare professionals, chiefly mental health counselors who focus on families struggling with life-threatening illnesses. The money from the Heebe Family Fund was also intended for a play therapy library.

“That’s the beauty of this grant.” Said Gilstrap.

The grant is earmarked for the LCCE, propelling its mission to expand trauma-informed care and play therapy services for children in the Greater New Orleans area. With the money, the Center for Play Therapy expands the provided services to older children up to age 12, which fills a gap in terms of accessibility to evidence-based counseling within the New Orleans community.

“The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant will enable the Loyola Center for Counseling and Education to expand the critical and invaluable trauma-informed care and play therapy services that the Center has been providing to the New Orleans community for many years,” said Michelle Collins, dean and interim director of the School of Nursing.

Furthermore, the grant will hire a case manager to help families in need, as well as help the Center provide aid to clients with Medicaid who have been unable to gain access to these therapy services prior, according to Gilstrap.

“This also benefits students of the Counseling program via the addition of learning opportunities supervised by the very talented and gifted faculty of the Counseling department of the College of Nursing and Health,” said Collins.

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About the Contributors
Eloise Pickering, Worldview Editor
Eloise Pickering is a current freshman and the Worldview editor. She is a mass communication major, and her favorite movie is Spotlight. When not doing homework or working at the Maroon, Eloise can often be found pondering philosophically in Audubon Park. She has often been dubbed “The Thinker.” Eloise can be reached at [email protected].
Anna Hummel, Photo Editor
Anna Hummel is excited for her position as Photo Editor. Anna is a senior mass communication major with a concentration in public relations and a minor in business analytics. She is passionate about telling stories through photos. In Anna’s free time she enjoys swimming, reading and art.

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