West Coast Institute for Gestalt Therapy

with Children & Adolescents LLC

"Knowing What To Do and Why You Are Doing It."

540 Alisal Rd. Ste. 1
Solvang, CA 93463 USA

Train with us and earn professional credit

The West Coast Institute is recognized as a program that can meet the requirement for all (150) training hours by the Association for Play Therapy. The same hours apply toward the required training hours (85) for Certification as a Gestalt Therapist with Children and Adolescents through WCI. The same hours also apply toward licensure requirements for the BBS through CAMFT requirements.

APT Approved Provider
CAMFT Approved Provider
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Click on one of the following links for information about our 2020 Training opportunities.

Conference Presentations

Caxias do Sul, Brasil - 2019

Rio De Janerio, Brasil - 2014

Summer Intensive Training

2019 Summer Intensive

2019 Summer Intensive

I appreciated having this office setting rather than an impersonal conference room.

The training was well organized and paced. Felicia is a wonderful teaching. She was so available to further my professional and personal development. I highly recommend this training.

I would recommend this course for any mental health professional working with change. This intensive course was a life changing experience for me.

Weekend Series begins

September 5th and 6th, 2020

Go to Calendar for all dates

These Intensive programs are designed to build theoretical understanding and clinical skills in working with children/adolescents from the perspective of contemporary Gestalt Play Therapy. The programs of WCI incorporate the principles and practices of playful and creative therapeutic interventions that foster the growth of each client regardless of age. Recent research in neuroscience, attachment theory and relational psychotherapy are presented as confirmation and extension of the Gestalt play therapy approach. Each day includes didactic discussion and experiential practicum sessions which aim at integrating theory with practice while increasing competence in using modalities of expressive play therapy. The focus of this program is the application of Gestalt Play Therapy principles represented in the work of Violet Oaklander, PhD., author of Windows to our Children: A Gestalt Approach to Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy and Hidden Treasure: A Map to The Child’s Inner Self. An emphasis in this training will be on the dynamics of the therapeutic relationship as the heart of treatment and the processes of integration.

This program is limited to 12 participants which allows for interactive, experiential learning.

Participants are asked to read Dr. Oaklander’s books, Windows to Our Children and Hidden Treasure available through http://vsof.org. Other readings will be made available to those attending the training(s).

  • Location: - Online
  • Fees: - $1800
    • A deposit of $300 is necessary to reserve your space. After a deposit has been made, the remaining amount is due on or before the beginning of the training. Please note that the program is limited to 9 people.
  • Presenter:
    • Felicia Carroll, MEd. MA, LMFT, and RPT-S and Core Faculty
  • CEUs: 60 contact hours. 2021 weekends may be non-contact hours

Since I have cut back on giving trainings, I am delighted that Felicia is offering this summer training as well as other programs that will continue my work and the contributions of the Oaklander Model to the practice of child psychotherapy. Her work is intelligent, sensitive and inspiring. I recommend her trainings to everyone.

Violet Oaklander, Ph.D. Founder of the Gestalt approach with children and adolescents who conducted a highly successful summer training each summer from 1981 until her retirement in 2007.

This workshop was incredible. It will change how I practice. I am now inspired!

Very well done, and worth the 3200 mile travel.

Advanced Trainings

The Advanced Training is planned for those wanting to continue with the work of the Intensive Trainings and reunite with friends while doing so.

  • WCI is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. Provider Number 008931.
  • WCI is sponsored by Serra Institute for Contemporary Gestalt Therapy to provide CEU’s for psychologists.
  • A Certificate of Completion will be given upon receipt of the evaluation for the program. No partial credit can be provided. See Refund Policy below.

Another wonderful experience. Excellent!

You made it fun, kept it from becoming heavy.

In-depth understanding of roots, as well as overarching constructs. Will provide me with guideposts in assessment and treatment planning.

Well thought through, lots of depth. Responded to requests to relate more concretely to working with child clients.

November 13th, 2020

The Adoption Experience in Gestalt Play Therapy

It is not uncommon for an adopted child’s grief to be unseen in therapy. This workshop which is led by an a specialist in the therapy of foster families and adopted children (who herself is an adoptee) will focus on the many issues that become present in therapy, but especially how grief manifests in the behavior, emotions, and the beliefs of self. The approach of Gestalt Play Therapy in this specialized area will be presented through research, theoretical perspective, and case presentation.

  • Location: - Online
  • Fees: - $150
  • Presenter:
    • Janet Nordine, LMFT, and RPT
  • CEU's - 6 contact hours

October 23rd - 25th, 2020

Shame, guilt, introjects and self nurturing: Oaklander Approach

The Advanced Intensive Training is planned for those wanting to continue with the work of the Basic Intensive and reunite with friends while doing so. The focus of the Advanced Training will be on Integrative processes such as working with children and adolescents on core issues of shame and disruptive beliefs about self and others and one’s place in the world. These “introjects” shape the trajectory of a child’s life. The processes of self-nurturing and self-compassion and the writing of a life/trauma narrative can provide a foundation for healing and greater neural integration. How to effectively use these processes in Gestalt Play Therapy with teens as well as younger children will be the focus of this four day training.

  • Location: - Online
  • Fees: - $300
  • Presenter:
    • Felicia Carroll, MEd. MA, LMFT, and RPT-S
  • CEU's - 12 contact hours

Supervision Training

Date: Rescheduled for 2021

The Supervisory Relationship as Collaborative Mentoring

Workshop Leaders are Experienced,Certified Supervisors with California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and the Association for Play Therapy

In all professions throughout time, the relationship between student and mentor has been essential. That relationship can take many forms related to power, authority, responsibility, growth, and competence. In a collaborative relationship both student and mentor grow and develop greater competence as they work together.

Most of us supervise the way that we were supervised. This workshop will offer a fresh perspective on the relationship between the supervisee and the supervisor. Even though there will be play therapy techniques used in this workshop, the focus will be on building a collaborative the supervisory relationship in which both mentor and supervisee develop together as they collaborate on treatment issues. The collaborative mentoring relationship allows opportunities to work through the challenges and rewards of contact with diversity and other relational issues in the supervision. Similarities of supervision in agency and private practice settings and the different responsibilities of mentors in each will be addressed. We will take an enjoyable look at collaborative mentoring in fairytales and other children’s stories. Participants are encouraged to read the Italian version of Pinocchio.

  • Location: - Solvang, CA
  • Fees: - $500
  • Presenter:
    • Rachel McSpadden Tarver, LMFT and RPT-S
    • Felicia Carroll, MEd. MA, LMFT, and RPT-S
  • CEU's - 10 contact hours

Modalities Workshops: Tools for Engagement and Integration

These experiential workshops prepare the therapist to develop their understanding and use of integrative processes using these therapeutic tools as presented by Violet Oaklander in her books, Windows to Our Children and Hidden Treasure.

Sound and Music: Capturing awareness and emotional expression

Music is a universal form of communication, self-expression, and joining with others. This workshop focuses on the use of simple musical instruments as a therapeutic tool for emotional expression, contact with self/other, and attuned communication. Based in the principles of Gestalt Play Therapy, attendees will learn how sound and music can bring deeper meaning and experience to the therapeutic encounters with children and adolescents. Learn something new while strengthening your skills in using music and musical instruments.

  • Dates:
    • Rescheduled for 2021
  • Location: - Clovis, CA
  • Fees: - $250 ($50 due with registration to hold place)
  • Presenter:
  • CEUs: 10 contact hours

Drawings and Clay: Strengthening sense of self through projective process

These integrative modalities offer a therapeutic experience that activates the senses, emotions, creativity, and intellect with children and adolescents in interactive Gestalt Play Therapy. It includes theory and experiential practice in order to better support a depth of understanding when using projective modalities in Gestalt Play Therapy. This workshop will include visual presentation, demonstration, and supervised experiential practice along with discussion of clinical applications with the various needs of children in therapy.

  • Dates:
    • October 9th - 10th, 2020
  • Location: - Online
  • Fees: - $250 ($50 due with registration to hold place)
  • Presenter:
  • CEUs: 10 contact hours

Movement, Art, and Creative Experiment: Awakening the senses

"All our knowledge has its foundation in our senses" - Leonardo Da Vinci.

Through movement, art, and creative experiment, we will connect and make contact with ourselves and our environment in a safe space. We will explore and stimulate creativity for our own well being, and to expand our capabilities as healers. No movement or art experience is required.

Introductory Workshops

November 6th, 2020

Introduction to Gestalt Play Therapy Oaklander Approach

The Introductory Workshop in Gestalt Play Therapy is designed to introduce the theoretical principles and clinical skills that distinguish Gestalt Play Therapy from other approaches. This day is experiential which aims at integrating theory with practice while using the tools of expressive play therapy. The emphasis of this program will be on individual psychotherapy and the application of Gestalt Therapy principles represented in the work of Violet Oaklander, Ph. D., author of Windows To Our Children and Hidden Treasure: A Map to the Child’s Inner Self. In this training we will examine closely those factors that bring about change and growth for a child or adolescent through the therapeutic process of Gestalt Play Therapy. An emphasis in this work will be on the dynamics of the therapeutic relationship as the heart of play therapy.

International Training

Warsaw, Poland

Hong Kong

Czech Republic

The trainings of WCI are available internationally upon request of a local organizer. This is an exciting and educational exchange for everyone. The goal is to provide adequate training so that qualified persons at each location can eventually take on the training for professionals for their locales.

Felicia Carroll travels internationally providing workshops/trainings to groups of therapists interested in learning more about Gestalt Play Therapy with Children and Adolescents as developed by Violet Oaklander, Ph.D and other leading child clinicians. Many of these training programs evolve into training programs either through Gestalt Institutes around the world or more independent clinical programs.

Trainings include.

  • Basic Training: The Oaklander Model (4 days)
  • Shame, Introjects, and Anger (4 days)
  • Integrative processes and Writing Life Narratives with Children and Adolescents (3 days)
  • The Gestalt View on Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment Planning (3 days)
Other issues/topics can also be addressed as the program is tailored for each group and cultural needs.

Upcoming International Trainings

2019 Trainings
  • Caxias do Sul, Brasil - Basic and Advanced, November 3rd - 10th, 2019

Many more dates are being planned for 2020.

Please contact Felicia for more details.

Instituto de Therapia Juego Gestalt Ninos and Adolescentes
  • Trainer: Susana Millan Cruz
  • Location: Leon, Mexico
  • Contact: sumillan60@yahoo.com.mx
Tembusu Training and Therapy Institute
  • Location: Singapore City, Singapore
  • Website: www.tembusu.com.sg
  • Contact Person: Lee Sock Kuan
Re-Criar Centro
  • Location: Caxias do Sul, Brasil
  • Website: www.recriar.net.br
  • Contact Person: Claudia Clair Pasa Tessari
Playful Healing Center
Symbolon-Institut fur Gestalttherapie
Postgraduate Training
  • Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Contact Person: Simon Pevec
  • Location: Uruguay
  • Contact Person: Andrea Acosta Sarasola, Ph.D.
The Relational Institute Australia

3rd International Trainers Symposium 2021

Participants from the 1st Symposium were from the USA, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, and Uruguay.

2019 2nd Trainers Symposium

2019 Countries Represented

  • Hong Kong
  • Brazil
  • Slovenia
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Mexico
  • Uruguay
  • Canada
  • United States

The 2019 Symposium was an international event and the focus was on updating our theory and training materials. Gordon Wheeler, Ph. D. noted author and trainer who has contributed to Gestalt theory in child development and child clinical practice was the 2019 guest presenter. In appreciation he received the first WCI Honorary Award as a Certified Gestalt Therapist with Children and Adolescents. Violet Oaklander was contacted through SKYPE and each attendee spoke directly with her about how she had influenced their clinical work. Another highlight was hearing from our colleague Anum Malik in Karachi, Pakistan about her training program with child therapists in Pakistan via SKYPE with Felicia Carroll. The Symposium group enjoyed food, wine, countryside, and entertainment from the Santa Ynez Valley.


The mission of the West Coast Institute is to provide to qualified professionals training and support in Gestalt Play Therapy with Children and Adolescents. The Certification Process offers those who want to develop a specialization in Gestalt Play Therapy with Children and Adolescents the structure and guidance in studying theory and applying the perspectives of Gestalt Play Therapy to work with their younger clients and their families WCI also provides in-depth training and inspiration to encourage those who are WCI Certified therapists and practitioners to provide competent training programs in their countries, vicinities, towns, and villages. We welcome the diversity, creativity, and aliveness this brings to all of us. A Trainers’ Symposium is held every two years. We gather together to share ideas for training programs and new play and expressive interventions. Those who attend build an international network of dynamic and committed colleagues.

This symposium is offered to those who have attended the Intensive trainings or a full International program, and want support to become trainers in their own community/country. Preference will be given to those who are working towards certification through WCI. Participants will develop the following.

  • Build international community with other Trainers and potential Trainers of Gestalt Play Therapy with Children and Adolescents.
  • Share theoretical developments, research, therapeutic activities and modalities
  • Support program development

  • Location: - TBA
  • Fees: - $1200
  • Hosted By: Felicia Carroll, MEd. MA, LMFT, and RPT-S
  • CEU's: 18 contact hours (may not be accepted by APT towards RPT credentials)

Disclaimer Statements


All levels. Learning Objectives for each program is available upon request.


Marriage and Family Therapists, Social Workers, Play Therapists, School Counselors, Psychologists, Students and Interns. Also, any professional wanting to know more about Gestalt Play Therapy with Children and Adolescents. Training hours apply for licensure through BBS and registration as a Registered Play Therapist through APT.


Certificate of attendance documenting acquired CEU’s will be provided after the receipt of the program evaluation on the final day of each training. No credit is given for partial attendance.


Fees can be paid through the WCI website through PayPal or made out to West Coast Institute and mailed to 540 Alisal Rd. Ste. 1, Solvang, CA 93463. Scholarship information will be sent upon request after registration to the training. A non-refundable deposit for each program needs to be paid with registration and in necessary to reserve your space. The remaining balance is due on or before the training begins.


Costs for travel, lodging, and food are not included in training fee. Information regarding lodging will be sent to each registrant.


The registration fee is non-refundable but can be applied to another WCI program. Cancellation notices must be received in advance of the program starting date. For the all trainings, cancellations must be made within two weeks of the training. Notification must be in writing to WCI. With this notice other paid fees can be refunded or applied to a future program. If for any reason, WCI cancels a program all fees will be refunded. WCI is not responsible for any travel or lodging expenses due to cancellations.

Conflict of Interest

The programs of the West Coast Institute have no conflict of interest with any parties nor receive any commercial support.

Non-Discrimination Statement

All trainees are welcome without regard to gender, race, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religion, or disability. The West Coast Institute complies with all local, state, and federal regulations including the American’s with Disabilities Act. Please indicate on your registration or contact Felicia Carroll if you have questions regarding special accommodations. All presentations and written materials are in English. No translations will be provided by WCI.

Grievance Policy

The West Coast Institute for Gestalt Therapy with Children and Adolescents (WCI) is fully committed to conducting all activities in strict compliance with all legal and ethical responsibilities to be non-discriminatory in promotional activities, program content and in treatment of program participants. If any registrant has special needs, please make those clear at the time of registration. WCI will do its best to anticipate problems and, if they present themselves, will work to alleviate or resolve complaints as quickly as possible. Direct communication of any difficulties to the workshop leader or the WCI assistant is requested and will be respectfully attended to.

Additional Information

Information regarding financial assistance, schedule of trainings, lodging, and transportation to and from airports will be provided to all registrants with confirmation of registration.

WCI maintains responsibility for this program and its content.