Introducing FirstPlay® Infant Play Therapy

Brittani Persha Counseling is excited to announce a new therapy for caregivers and their infants aged 0-2 years called FirstPlay® Infant Storytelling Massage created by Janet A. Courtney, PhD.  Sarabeth Haddad, LCSW-S, RPT-S, PMH-C, is excited to offer this new service to families in our community.  In addition to being one of a small number of FirstPlay® certified clinicians in the Houston community, Sarabeth is also a certified Perinatal Mental Health clinician. She is passionate about enhancing your bond and increasing your wellbeing and confidence as a parent through FirstPlay® (Baldwin, Velasquez, & Cortney, 2020). 

“When I teach the FirstPlay® caring touch storytelling interventions to parents, my heart leaps in awe when I instantly see the positive responses of the infants and children come alive. And, then my heart melts even deeper when I observe the parent’s amazement to their babies and child’s awakening.” 

Janet Courtney, PhD, FirstPlay® Founder 

Parents playing with their infant utilizing firstplay play therapy techniques. Brittani Persha Counseling offers FirstPlay Infant Play Therapy for infants and their caregivers in the Houston and Katy, TX area.

What is FirstPlay®?

FirstPlay® is an Infant Mental Health therapy that incorporates evidenced-based approaches such as infant massage, attachment theory, filial therapy, developmental play therapy, and Eriksonian storytelling (Baldwin, Velasquez, & Cortney, 2020). The first play an infant gets is loving and playful connection with their caregiver(s).  Through a series of sessions, a caring therapist teaches you how to give a massage and tell a story to your infant. The therapist will also teach you additional play activities adding nurturing touch to classic children’s songs and stories.  The therapist demonstrates these activities on a doll while you move through the games with your infant. This allows the opportunity for skill building and support in real time! Through this process, you will learn how to read your baby’s cues and engage in play with your infant that will enhance the connection between you and boost your baby’s brain potential (Courtney, 2015). 

The story, Baby Tree Hug, guides you and baby through a massage that extends from toes to nose (Courtney, 2015)!  The therapist begins each massage session with a guided relaxation to help melt away stress and focus your attention on your little one.  Then you follow along with the therapist and workbook to tell your infant the story and massage their feet, legs, fingers, hands, arms, stomach, back, and face.  You end with rocking and singing to your infant.  The therapist will help you incorporate the massage and play activities into your infant’s routine. FirstPlay® can be completed in as little as eight sessions or can last as long as needed to meet the goals you have for yourself and your infant. 

Who is FirstPlay® For?

FirstPlay® is for any caregiver of an infant ages 0-2 who is looking to enhance their bond with their little one.  It is especially supportive for first time parents, foster or adoptive parents, parents of NICU babies, adolescent and young adult parents, and parents experiencing Postpartum Anxiety and Mood Disorders (Baldwin, Velasquez, & Cortney, 2020; Courtney, 2020; Coutney, Velasquez, & Toth, 2017; Johnson, 2020).  FirstPlay® is for you if you are looking to enhance your bond with your infant or if something is getting in the way of building the bond you want with your infant. 

An infant playing with their two parents while laying down on a couch. Brittani Persha Counseling offers a unique therapy approach for infants and their parernts to connect in the Katy, TX area.

How do i get Started with FirstPlay® Infant Play Therapy in Houston?

Does FirstPlay® sound right for you and your little one?  Do you have more questions about it? Reach out today for a free consultation to learn more and get scheduled. Once you are scheduled, you will attend the first two sessions without your infant.  This will give you an opportunity to get to know Sarabeth and learn more about the benefits and techniques of FirstPlay®.  From there, Sarabeth will guide you and your infant in learning the message and play activities and addressing any personalized goals you have for you and your infant.  

Want to Learn More?

Welcome – FirstPlay® Infant Storytelling (FirstPlay® 

Postpartum Support International – PSI 

About The Therapist

Sarabeth Haddad, LCSW-S, RPT-S, PMH-C is a Certified FirstPlay Therapy Practitioner and Circle of Security Parent Facilitator which uniquely qualifies her to provide therapy and education to parent(s) of infants and toddlers to enhance bonding and attachment. She believes in the power of play for children of all ages and enjoys working with children, their parents, and moms! If you’d like to get started with Sarabeth give us a call at 713-364-8645 or Book an Appointment below!

Book an Appointment


​​Baldwin, K., Velasquez, M., & Courtney, J. A. (2020). FirstPlay® Therapy Strengthens the Attachment Relationship Between a Mother with Perinatal Depression and her Infant. In J. A. Courtney, Infant Play Therapy: Foundations, Models, Programs, and Practices (pp. 84-100). New York: Routledge. 

​Courtney, J. A. (2015). FirstPlay® parent manual. Boynton Beach, FL: Developmental & Attachment Therapies. 

​Courtney, J. A., Velasquez, M., & Toth, V. B. (2017). FirstPlay® Infant Massage Storytelling: Facilitating Corrective Touch Experiences with a Teenage Mother and Her Abused Infant . In J. A. Courtney, & R. D. Nolan, Touch in Child and Counseling and Play Therapy: An Ethical and Clinical Guide (pp. 48-62). New York, NY: Routledge. 

​Coutney, J. A. (2020). Healing Child and Family Trauma through Family Trauma through Expressive and Play Therapies. New York: Norton. 

​Johnson, C. C. (2020). Reflections of Love in the TEACUP Preemie Program®: Strengthening the Attachment Relationships through FirstPlay® Infant Story-Massage. In J. A. Courtney, Infant Play Therapy: Foundations, Models, Programs, and Practice (pp. 157-167). New York: Routledge. 

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