Josephine grew up in Melbourne, and at an early age had a desire to help people. From the age of 16 she knew she wanted to become a Play Therapist.
She began helping disadvantaged people. From 1988 through to 1995 she helped organise and conduct a number of sailing voyages for disabled people on the Young Endeavour sailing ship. During this time she studied Psychology and Sociology at Latrobe University in Bendigo.
Josephine first started her career in counselling as a youth worker for the Department of Human Services (DHS) and Anglicare in Melbourne. In an effort to expand her experience, she spent the last 6 months of 1996 working as a social worker at Hillside Houses in London, England.
On her return to Australia, Josephine went back to work for the DHS and in June 1997 transferred departments within DHS into the Child Protection branch. While there, she was trained in a variety of fields including Sexual Abuse and Child Suicide counselling.
In November 1998, Josephine took up the role as an After Hours child protection worker. Much of her work included attending and dealing with crisis situations and domestic violence. During her time as a child protection worker, she realised the need for specialist child counselling.
Josephine created a small non-profit business called SSNAP (Supporting Smart Normal Adolescent People) in 1999. The objective of SSNAP was to provide a therapeutic experience away from home for groups of young people aged between 10 to 16 years. These challenging adolescents came from a various backgrounds. During school holiday periods, SSNAP would organise and run a camp for these young people and giving them a chance to express themselves in a safe friendly environment. As part of these camps, Josephine learned a lot about the issues that young children really faced.
Play Therapy Path
While Josephine’s path to do Play Therapy began when she was just 16, when she read the book “Dibs In Search of self” by Vaginia Axline, her training really did not begin until 2003.
Keen to learn Josephine went around the world to learn from other international Play Therapists. Josephine meet therapists in the UK and USA. In 2003 Josephine studied at the University Of Northern Texas (UNT), the leading training facility for Play Therapy in the United States for 3 weeks.
In May 2004 Josephine along with Dr Steve Armstrong (RPT-S) ran Melbourne Play Therapy’s first full day workshop.
Josephine began her Private Practise in September of 2003 and focused on its growth and development and supports the community by providing low cost and no cost sessions.
In June 2004 Josephine spent a further two weeks at UNT’s Summer Institute and was privileged to be one of the 12 world wide participants to do the Summer Intensive program that involves 30 hours of direct Play Therapy work in sessions and supervision.
In November 2004 the First 2 Day Filial Therapy training workshop was held in Australia conducted by Dr Steve Armstrong and Josephine Martin (Downs).
In 2007 Josephine conducted a number of presentations and workshops for Darwin Family Day Care, Breathing Space, and the Northern Territory Department of Health and Community Services with projects to support parents who do not have extended families or other networks to assist them
2012 Saw Play Therapy Northern Territory move to a new commercial Premises,
Josephine was officially recognised as a registered Play Therapist/Supervisor with APPTA.
2012/3 saw PTNT offering more than 350 free Play Therapy Sessions to the community
Founding President of APPTA
Josephine convened The First Australian Play Therapy Conference. Running from the 21st to the 24th of May 2007 with over 100 participants, it was a huge success with a number of Australian and international speakers.
In 2008 Josephine secured Dr Garry Landreth as keynote speaker for the 2nd Play Therapy Conference and at this time she elected President of APPTA (Australiasia Pacific Play Therapy Association) and has worked hard to support the growth of Play Therapy in the Australiasia Region.
The 2009 Bushfires in Victoria provided the opportunity for APPTA to support child victims of this natural disaster, with a volunteer team of counsellors who worked with the children. Josephine and the team worked for a week and assisted 81 children initally; with the longer term team returning to support the children and further assisting 100 children overall. Josephine has had her account of this work supported with publications in APT magazine and recently having had it translated and published in the Dutch Play Therapy Newsletter.
2010 Again furthered Josephine’s quest to put Play Therapy on the map by creating the initiative of having an awareness day for Play Therapy, APPTA members and supporter’s celebrated this day for the first time on the 1st of July 2010.
Josephine also supported and organised APPTA conferences for 2011, 2013 and is working on 2015.
In March of 2005 Josephine, at the request of the Palmerston City Council studied and wrote a report on what the young children of Palmerston liked and disliked about the suburban area they lived in. This studied involved contact with over 225 children.
In 2007 and 2008, Josephine held “Challenging behaviours and on How to be a better play mate” presentations for Breathing Space and Good Beginnings, an Australian family support service.
Josephine regularly participates in Supervision with Dr Brandy Schumann RPT’s. Dr Schumann has been trained by Dr Garry Landreth, one of the leading founders of Play Therapy.
Josephine provides regular Play Therapy Supervision to Professionals within Darwin and the Northern Territory.
Josephine is president and a member of APPTA (Australiasia Pacific Play Therapy Association), She has also been approved by the board as a Registred Play Therapist/Supervisor. She is a member of The American Play Therapy Association. Josephine holds memberships with the Austrlian Insitute of Professional counselling and the Australian Family Therapy Association.
Since 2005 Josephine has been writing articles for the “Top Ender” to assist with parenting advice and behavioural issues for children. For the Australian Defence Force families.
Josephine has also authored articles that have been published in the British Association for Play Therapy Newsletter and also in the American Play Therapy Association (APT) Magazine. And her article on the work done on the Victorian Bushfires has been translated into Dutch for the Dutch Play Therapy Newsletter.
Josephine has presented at several early childhood and Pediatric conferences in the Northern Territory
Josephine presented at the APPTA conference in 2009 on the pragmatics of the use of child parent relationship training.
Josephine presented at the APPTA conference in 2011 on the use of Social Skills Play Therapy Groups.
Josephine Presented at both the APPTA and APT conferences in 2013 on Play Therapy Supervision being undertaken by the use of multimedia.