Play therapy association honors Hudspeth

Dr. Franc Hudspeth, chair and assistant professor of counselor education at Henderson State University, was awarded the National Service Award by the National Association for Play Therapy (APT). The presentation was made at the association’s annual conference in Atlanta October 10.

Hudspeth is director of the Institute for Play Therapy at Henderson, which was established in 2013 and was the first approved center for play therapy in Arkansas.

The APT presents the annual award to members for their outstanding achievements, contributions, and service to play therapy. This is Hudspeth’s second service award.

“Dr. Hudspeth has already solidified an internationally respected place in clinical mental health counseling and play therapy,” said Dr. Judy Harrison, dean of Teachers College, Henderson. “He brings knowledge, experience, energy, and vision to his department, Teachers College, and Henderson.”

Hudspeth shares his experiences and research through various publications and presentations. He serves as editor of the International Journal of Play Therapy and is president of the state branch of the Association of Play Therapy.

 “Since play is naturalistic, we bring children into a room set up with a specific set of toys that will allow the child to express basically anything,” Hudspeth said. “Immediately, you give them control, they get used to the room, and whatever issue they have, they start playing it out.

“You use that replay as a way to help set limits on what they’re doing and redirect them in something positive. We use it to help substitute better coping skills.”

Play therapy is currently offered as elective courses at Henderson, and Hudspeth is working toward a graduate certificate program. He said Intro to Play Therapy is required for school counseling.

“We graduate 25-30 students each year,” Hudspeth said. “At least two-thirds end up working for agencies that do school-based work.”