Film: A Monster Calls

Clinical Title:  Stories are Wild Creatures”: A Discussion of Symbolism and Developmental Play Themes

Presenter: Katharine Wenocur, DSW, LCSW, RPT
Date: Saturday, June 29, 2019
Time: 12:00-12:30p – Network and Registration     12:30-4:30p- Film and Discussion | 2 CEs
(Please arrive at noon for refreshments and conversation.)
Location: Conshohocken, PA
(Exact location will be emailed to you once you RSVP.)

Description and Reason for Film Choice:

Based on the novel by Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls chronicles the journey of 12-year-old Conor (Lewis McDougal) as he comes to terms with his single mother’s (Felicity Jones) terminal illness. Conor’s relationships with his grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) and estranged father (Toby Kebbell), and his experiences of bullying/victimization in school further complicate his anticipatory grief process. Throughout the film, Conor experiences a series of dreams and fantasies narrated by an anthropomorphic tree (voice: Liam Neeson) that bear symbolic significance to Conor’s lived experience. In many ways, Conor’s series of fantasies mirror the process a child may undergo in classical, non-directive forms of play therapy. Through this lens, the film provides an engaging introduction to child-centered healing through play and storytelling. Of particular note is the attention the film pays to pace; Conor faces his grief and fear over the course of telling four tangentially connected stories. The film provides a starting point for clinical discussions of the inner worlds of children and the importance of imaginative play.

Theoretical Orientations: Child-centered play therapy, family systems theory, object relations/ Winnicott

Key Concepts: Symbolism in play therapy, developmental grief responses, parentification, multigenerational families, externalizing behaviors


  1. Introduce concepts of analyzing and understanding play themes within the child-centered framework.
  2. Discuss potential symbolic representations of lived experiences through a fictional case example.
  3. Reflect on responses to loss within a family system and discuss the ways that a child’s behavior and play might communicate information about a family’s grief process.

About the Presenter:

Katharine Wenocur, DSW, LCSW, RPT is a graduate of the master’s and doctoral programs in clinical social work at the University of Pennsylvania and holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Bryn Mawr College. A registered play therapist and Certified Animal Assisted Play Therapist ®, Dr. Wenocur works in private practice with children and young families healing from trauma, grief, and other life challenges. She also provides clinical supervision to social workers seeking clinical licensure and teaches a variety of courses at the bachelor’s and master’s level.

Participants who attend this program must be present for its entirety in order to get the continuing education credits.

Cancellation Policy:
PSCSW Members: There is a $5 non refundable administrative fee for any cancellation up to 48 hours prior to this program.
Non Members: There is a $10 non refundable administrative fee for any cancellation up to 48 hours prior to this program.

No refund will be issued if less than 48 hours notice is given for this program.

This program is presented and hosted by PSCSW members. Both the presenter and host put a lot of time and preparation to make sure that attendees are receiving a wonderful program and feel welcome at the program. Just as in your professional life when someone cancels last minute, it has an impact on you. Please be cognizant of this when you register for this program.

Continuing Education Credits:
FOR PENNSYLVANIA SOCIAL WORKERS, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS, AND PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS: This program is approved for credits for professional workshops sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work, a state affiliate of the Clinical Social Work Association listed in Section 47.36 of Title 49, Chapter 47 of the PA Code, State Board of Social Work Examiners. This program is also approved for credits for professional workshops for marriage & family therapists (Section 48.36) and professional counselors (Section 49.36).
FOR NEW JERSEY SOCIAL WORKERS: This program is approved for clinical credits. Attendance at programs or courses given at state and national social work association conferences, where the criteria for membership is an academic degree in social work, are a valid source of continuing education credit (N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.4(c)4).

PSCSW Members - Before you begin any registration, you must log in to the website to pay the member rate. If you register without logging in, you will pay at the nonmember rate. If you need assistance logging in, please contact the PSCSW office at:

  • June 29, 2019
    12:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Details Price Qty
The PSCSW Member CE Requested ($10.00 (USD)) is available to members only. On Sale
The PSCSW Member No CE Requested is available to members only. On Sale
Non Member CE Requested $30.00 (USD)  
Non Member No CE Requested $20.00 (USD)