Online: A day of teaching with … Liselotte Grünbaum – 9.06.2023

Let’s pretend. The role of play in psychotherapeutic change.

Play and activity are the communication tools of choice for children and adolescents we meet in our clinical practice. They relate to the child as language does to the adult. During this fourth day of teaching, Prof. Nicole Vliegen (KULeuven) and psychodynamic therapist Drs. Liselotte Grünbaum (Aalborg University, Denmark) will zoom in on this theme, which is so central to the training and work of every child psychotherapist.

For decades, child analysts from Klein to Alvarez have reflected on the role play has in child development and treatment. Play gives us an insight into the child’s experience, which is both revealing and concealing. The layering and enigma of therapeutic play challenges the therapist to be playfully present, thinking and acting. Both the meaning and the level of play require an appropriate attunement that must be found again and again. The connection, created through play, can be a lever for therapeutic growth, change and recovery.

With this study day we hope to reach not only experienced child therapists but certainly also young psychologists who are discovering the power of this medium.

The day will be entirely in English.


9h00 Reception, registration, coffee

9h30 A warm welcome by the chairman

9h45 Play and playfulness at the heart of therapeutic growth and recovery Prof Dr Nicole Vliegen

10h45 Break

11h15 Essential relationship perspectives on the complexity of children’s play in therapy Liselotte Grünbaum, PhD

12h00 Discussion in small groups (only onsite)

12u45 Lunch


13h45 Breaks in child psychotherapy and their relationship with sibling-like figures in play – Liselotte Grünbaum, PhD

14h45 Break

15h00 20 years after the end of child psychotherapy – development, memories and implications Liselotte Grünbaum, PhD

15h45 Discussion

16h15 Conclusion and reception


Nicole Vliegen, PhD, is Full Professor in Clinical Psychology at KU Leuven, where she heads the postgraduate training programmes in Psychodynamic Child Psychotherapy and Infant Mental Health. She is a licensed psychodynamic child psychotherapist and heads the team of psychodynamic child psychotherapists at PraxisP, the clinical centre of KU Leuven.

Liselotte Grünbaum (MSc Psychology Aut., PhD) is currently in private practice in Copenhagen; a teacher and supervisor of the training programme for psychoanalytic child and adolescent psycho- therapists of The Danish Psychological Association, and since 2017 a guest researcher at Aalborg University, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities. She has published widely in Danish and English on child and adolescent psychotherapy. She is first co-author of “Psychodynamic Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy – Theories and Methods (Karnac, 2018), and co-edited Play and Power (2010) in the EFFP Book Series.