Endowment for excellence in play therapy methods created in University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work

AUSTIN, Texas—An endowment for research and scholarships in play therapy methods has been established at The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work.

Norma (Loo Yau Chee) and Clay Leben of Pflugerville have given $25,000 to create the Norma and Clay Leben Endowment for Excellence in Play Therapy Methods. Clay’s mother, Mrs. Margaret Hofer Leben of Wooster, Ohio, has contributed an additional $10,000 to the endowment. Margaret is a 1937 graduate of the university.

Clay Leben received his Ph.D. from the School of Social Work in 1985. Norma Leben is a registered play therapist supervisor and creator of such publications as “The Feelings Wheel Game,” “Directive Group Play Therapy: 60 Structured Games for the Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Low Self-Esteem and Traumatized Children” and “The Smiley System for Compliance and Responsibility Training for Children.” She also instructs teachers, social workers and parents on the beneficial use of play therapy in treating children with attention deficit disorder at workshops around the world, particularly in Hong Kong, where she grew up.

The endowment will be used for play therapy curriculum development, student scholarships for play therapy study, play therapy training seminars, play therapy research and salaries of faculty who teach play therapy.

The Lebens intend to provide additional gifts during their lifetime and through their estate to add to the endowment. Norma also plans to donate her toy collection of puppets, stuffed animals and therapeutic aids she uses in her play therapy practice.

In addition to alumni ties, the couple said they chose to set up the endowment at the university’s School of Social Work because of its reputation in school social work and research in mental health programs.

“I’m glad our efforts in this field are being recognized,” said Dean Barbara White. “This will really allow us to move forward.”

For more information contact: Nancy Neff, 512-471-6504.