I earned my PhD in Counselor Education & Supervision at the University of Florida. I earned both my B.S. and M.Ed. at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. I was a school counselor for nine years at rural high poverty schools in North Carolina (most of those years were at a pk-3 school) before heading to UF for my PhD. I’m a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (Indiana), a licensed school counselor (Indiana), and a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor. I’m active in the American Counseling Association and the Association for Play Therapy, and am president of the ACA division Association for Child & Adolescent Counseling.

I taught and coordinated counseling programs for 8 years at Indiana State University. I’m now the research director for The Theraplay Institute (www.theraplay.org). It’s located in Evanston, IL., but I’m live in Terre Haute.

My play therapy education began in North Carolina, with two courses taught by Elaine Wittman. Elaine is primarily Jungian in her approach to play therapy, and also does beautiful work with sand tray therapy. I have an ongoing interest in sand work, and have had the honor of learning from Gisela de Domenico and Eliana Gil. I’ve also trained at the NIRE institute, Jean Baker Miller Training Institute, Chesapeake Bay Seminars, and extensively with The Theraplay Institute in the Chicago area. My approach to therapy is heavily informed by attachment theory, neuroscience, and empathetic presence.

Work with clients

In my private practice, I use primarily the joyful, relationship-based play method known as Theraplay. It’s been around since the 1960’s and has a large community of practice in over 60 nations. I’ve been practicing Theraplay in various formats since about 1998. I sometimes also add in arts-based work or talk therapy, especially with adolescents and adults. I use EMDR for clients with trauma, phobias, and anxiety.

I also write about children’s mental health. My book with Dr. Sondra Smith-Adcock, Counseling children & adolescents: Connecting theory, development, & diversity, is now on sale. My next book, on counseling young children and their families, is due from Routledge Publishing in the winter of 2017. I’ve also written several book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles.


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