The Magic Rainbow Hug© is based upon the principles of the therapeutic technique,


Certification Available

Mental health professionals may obtain certification in CARE Developmental Play Therapy. Those who earn certification as a CARE Developmental Play Therapist are then eligible to become a Certified Practitioner of Kinesthetic Storytelling™. For more information about certification as a CARE Developmental Play Therapist, visit the Developmental Play and Attachment Therapies website

The next CARE Developmental Play Therapy Intensive Workshop is
May 14th to 17th, 2013 In Boynton Beach, Florida

“Thank you so much for the wonderful book! It’s a brilliant idea. I’m sure children
will find The Magic Rainbow Hug and the touch very comforting. Touch is very much
of the present moment, and must help anchor thoughts and feelings in a way that
words alone cannot, both for the child and the parent.”     -Xenia Bowlby

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for visiting this page. Here, I share with you some of the story background, theoretical underpinnings, and important touch-in-practice considerations.

janet_guiding_parent_childThe story of The Magic Rainbow Hug© has evolved over two decades in my play therapy practice and is based upon a therapeutic approach I developed called Kinesthetic Storytelling™ which is a technique that incorporates joyful touch integrated along with metaphoric and imaginative storytelling. Children dealing with a variety of problems have been helped to overcome their fears and anxieties as I guided the adults in their lives to integrate Kinesthetic Storytelling into daily practice. As a result, symptoms in children decreased, and simultaneously the adult-child joyful connection strengthened. I wrote The Magic Rainbow Hug© because I was inspired by the number of telephone calls and emails I received from parents and practitioners sharing their wonderful successes of how children experienced Kinesthetic Storytelling™ in daily practice. I was often asked for clarification regarding a certain hand movement. For instance, “Janet, how exactly does the thunder go again? Or, “What is the hand movement again for the hail?” I have learned that the technique of Kinesthetic Storytelling™ is more than just a metaphoric story. It is also about skill building.

Theoretical Underpinnings

The Magic Rainbow Hug© is based upon three very distinct theoretical paradigms: Ericksonian, Developmental Play Therapy and Ecopsychology. The Magic Rainbow Hug© is a metaphorical story grounded in theory as set forth by psychiatrist, Milton Erickson (Ericksonian) and Play Therapist, Joyce Mills, PhD (StoryPlay®). Metaphoric stories reach a child’s problem at a deeper level of consciousness. In this story, the weather is used to parallel life’s problems and solutions, and the rainbow ~ even since ancient times ~ symbolizes hope and renewal. Indirect positive suggestions act to reprogram a child’s internal perceptions of self and the world around them. Meaning their outer life experience such as abuse, bullying, divorce, domestic violence, foster care, illness, hospitalization, loss due to death (human or pets), loss due to natural disasters (earthquakes, fire, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis), may not change, but how they feel and respond to the problem can change. Herein is the HOPE.


Developmental Play Therapy (DPT) was developed through the work and research of psychologist, Viola Brody, PhD. DPT is an attachment based therapy that intervenes at the level of first-play. First-play activities are early touch and pleasurable games that one might observe between a mother and a young child, for example, “patty cake,” or “peek-a-boo”. Essential to the DPT model is its emphasis on touch as a core principle effecting change in a child. It is touch that ultimately produces the condition for a child to develop an “inner self,” a basic human need for growth. Dr. Brody addresses the significance of touch by emphasizing that contact between a child and adult needs to be joyful. She writes, “It is the pleasure element in this touching relationship, with an adult who is fully present, that helps a child to always have a solid sense of his body—a ‘home’ or ‘centering place’ within himself.”

As global culture becomes more urbanized and technology oriented, practitioners are increasingly searching for strategies to optimize the beneficial aspects of nature into a child’s life. The field of Ecopychology believes that contact with nature is restorative. Weather is at the heart of the story and inspires connection to the evolving cycle of our natural world. The young diarist, Ann Frank believed that nature is the “best remedy” for healing and wrote, so wisely, “I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” Thus, you are encouraged, when possible, to read and practice the story outdoors ~ in nature.(See Dr. Courtney’s Chapter publication that highlights a case presentation which includes the Kinesthetic Storytelling™ process (also called, the Rainbow Weather Massage™) in a practice session with a child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Full reference: Courtney, J.A. (2012). Touching Autism through Developmental Play Therapy. In Gallo-Lopez, L. & L.C. Rubin (Eds.). Play-based interventions for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (pp. 137-157). New York, NY: Routledge.)

Practitioner Touch Considerations

If you are interested in receiving a list of Child Touch Guidelines,
you can contact Dr. Courtney directly and she will be happy to email you a copy.