It is my greatest desire to help families heal by empowering mental health professionals to learn how to integrate play therapy and expressive arts using the therapeutic powers of play into clinical practice with confidence and nurturing hearts so they can …
- become experts in their field working with children, adolescents, and families
- create a thriving business helping families
I’ve enjoyed a long career of helping children and their families since the early 1980’s first as a special educator for children with emotional and learning challenges and then as a mental health professional. Since childhood, I dreamed of helping families overcome life’s challenges to learn how to thrive. This desire to help children and their families led me to pursue my professional goals to become a mental health professional focused on helping children, teens, and their families to heal.
Over the course of my career working with children and their families as a special educator and mental health professional working in outpatient and residential settings, I have worked with children, adolescents, adults and families who struggled with anxiety, depression, trauma, abuse, attachment issues, adoption, divorce/separation, grief/loss, major life transitions, behavior problems, anger problems, and relationship issues. Now, at this point in my professional life, one of my favorite things to do is to allow my “inner psychotherapy nerd” to share what I’ve learned with other mental health professionals through consultation, supervision, and teaching.
My vast experience has allowed me the privilege of helping other professionals to increase their skill level to more effectively help their clients. As a licensed clinical social worker and Registered Play Therapist Supervisor (RPT-S), I’ve supervised mental health professionals seeking to learn and implement play therapy and expressive arts to help them achieve this goal. I’ve provided clinical consultation to organizations working with juvenile offenders and traumatized families. I’ve worked with community based organizations to better understand and address the mental health needs of children and families through workshops and consultation. As a life long learner, I’ve found that as I share my knowledge with other mental health professionals it challenges me to continue learning as I also learn from others I meet along the way.
Consultation provides the ability to improve your skills in specific areas more quickly and ethically that simply taking trainings or reading books. As mental health professionals, it’s imperative that we continue our learning to ensure we are keep up with current research and learning effective strategies to hep our clients. To do that well, we need to consult experts in their field to help us learn and use these new skills. The more we learn, the more we realize how much more there is to learn and using help from experts is key to that learning journey.
My expertise with play therapy and expressive arts modalities has helped mental health professionals implement successful strategies to help their young clients and families resolve their challenges in a developmentally supportive manner. I have worked with foster care/adoption and CPS agencies, community based agencies addressing the mental health impact of trauma and homelessness, schools and parents, and juvenile justice agencies.
Play Therapy Supervision
Working with children in treatment can be challenging for most mental health professionals due to their unique social, emotional, and cognitive needs. And yet, children are an underserved population in the mental health field because most graduate programs do not teach students how to work effectively with children. Play therapy provides one of the most powerful ways to work with children and adolescents. Plus, it has the added benefit of being fun! Play therapy and expressive arts allows clinicians to engage in ways that help to build therapeutic rapport with their clients while also helping to overcome their emotional difficulties.
I’ve been an active member in the Association for Play Therapy (APT) since 2003. I am a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor through APT and have provided play therapy supervision to many mental health professionals since 2007.
One of my favorite play therapy modalities to teach therapists is attachment-based family play therapy using a model I developed to help parents become the therapeutic agent of change for their children experiencing social-emotional challenges. This attachment-based model teaches parents specific attachment-based skills using Family SPACE and the Three R’s of Relationship skills. It’s been my experience that many therapists shy away from family play therapy because they feel ill-prepared. This treatment model provides a structured framework to help therapists work effectively with clients and their families. It’s my firm believe that children heal best within a treatment process that safely incorporates their caregivers and siblings. After all, these are the people with whom they will be with them for the rest of their lives.
My experience and training also includes Child-Centered Play Therapy , Filial Therapy, Using art and sand tray therapeutically as well as numerous directive play therapy interventions for individual, family and group therapy sessions.
Clinical Licensure Supervision
You’ve completed your master degree in clinical social work and now you begin the often daunting task of learning to use the skills you learned in graduate school with clients. This can often seem overwhelming and even terrifying for new clinicians. Working with an experienced clinical supervisor to help guide you in the next phase of your professional journey is a critical part of professional development. Finding a supervisor with whom you feel comfortable and who has the necessary skills and expertise is an important part of choosing a clinical superisor.
It has been a privilege to work with numerous mental health professionals pursing their clinical license. As a life long learner, I love sharing ideas and research with professionals that I supervise. I am currently licensed as a licensed clinical social worker in Utah and Nevada. My family and I relocated to the area in 2016. While living in Virginia and owner of a small mental health outpatient clinic, I supervised numerous master’s level interns and clinician pursuing their clinical licensure. My expertise includes helping mental health professionals professionals provide individual, family and group counseling to children, adolescents, adults and families. I utilize a predominately attachment theory approach and integrate additional theory models, such as CBT, DBT, trauma and neurobiology informed modalities, and play/expressive arts to help professionals find solutions that work effectively with their clients’ specific treatment needs.