Why I Became a Child and Family Play Therapist
After more than a decade of work with non-profit and religious organizations serving children, teens, and parents, I needed to find help for my own child after a traumatic event. He was only 5 and we were all impacted by the PTSD and Anxiety that followed.
I quickly learned how neglected young children are in the field of mental health with few clinicians who know how to help those who can't sit and talk through problems. I eventually made the decision to return to school to become the therapist I wish I could have found for my own child, so that I could start making a difference for other hurting children and their families. We can do better than simply offering talk therapy and behavior management. I believe children deserve the care of a specialist who knows how to help them on their level and in their language, as well as having the help and support their families.
With prior degrees in Bible, Psychology, and World Cultures, I went on to complete training in play therapy, family therapy, family mediation, and trauma to equip me to meet the needs of hurting children and their families as they struggle with behavior, emotions, and relationships that have become challenging.
My commitment to children and families has also led me to teach, train, and supervise others to make more therapists available for our underserved children. I have experience as a Clinical Director and Adjunct Faculty teaching both Play Therapy and Family Therapy on the graduate level.
Education and Training
Leadership Roles and Affiliations
Licenses and Certifications
B.A. Psychology, World Cultures, Bible (Freed-Hardeman University) 1993-1998
40 hr Certificate in Family Mediation (University of Wisconsin Milwaukee) 2015
M.A. Marriage and Family Therapy (Wheaton College) 2014-2016 with additional training in Play Therapy, Bereavement, and Sex and Sexuality
32hr Training in Special Education Mediation (WI Special Education Mediation System) 2017
Gottman Marriage Therapy Training: Levels 1 and 2 and treating Trauma and Affairs in Couples
* Former IAMFT and ILAPT Board Member
* AAMFT Clinical Fellow--American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
* APT Professional Member --International Association for Play Therapy
* IATP Professional Member--International Association for Trauma Professionals
*Former Clinical Director for Child and Family Services practice in the Chicagoland area
*Former adjunct professor teaching Family Therapy on the graduate level
LMFT--Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
CCTP--Certified Clinical Trauma Professional
RPT--Registered Play Therapist
Former APT Approved Provider of Play Therapy CEs
AAMFT Approved Supervisor
Some of My Presentations
When Toys are their Words: Integrating Children’s Voices in Therapy
Identify how clinical play therapy facilitates a child’s full participation in therapy. Discover how play elicits important metaphors to define and transform family dynamics. Experientially learn at least 3 new play interventions which will be useful in their clinical work with children and families.
Activating the Power of Play to Assess, Engage, and Treat Children
Experientially learn the basics of how play therapy is used to effectively assess, engage, and treat children, exploring concepts from scripture, interpersonal neurobiology, child development, and culturally competent practice. Develop a research informed understanding of the various types of clinical play therapy as well as for what ages and problems play therapy is recommended with special attention given to trauma. Discover resources for further developing play therapy skills and options for referring clients for play therapy services.
Powerful Play to Creatively Engage and Assess Families in Therapy
Explore the power of play for assessing and engaging the family system with us in our hands-on workshop. Recent research as well as growth in the field of interpersonal neurobiology have further highlighted the significance of play for children and adults. In this session participants will experientially participate in several play and art-based activities to assess and engage relational and problem dynamics within the family. We will explore books on difficult topics appropriate for family therapy and suggest therapeutic activities to further supplement the material in the books. A bibliography of additional resources for bibliotherapy and further play resources will be provided. Join us for an active session to enrich your practice with the power of play!
Media--The Sexy Lie
Healthy body image for growing girls in a sexualized culture.
Hypersexualized Media: Impacts on Children, Marriage, and Culture
In conjunction with my research and participation in the Wheatley Roundtable on Family, a systemic look at the profound impacts of our hypersexualized media across the lifespan and most particularly on the most vulnerable among us.