Therapists at TTI
Our therapists are experienced, licensed clinicians with expertise in complex trauma, attachment disorders, developmental disorders, grief, loss, and medical trauma. All of our licensed social workers, counselors, and psychologists have advanced degrees and many have training in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, Sensory Integration, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and other therapy modalities.
Dafna Lender, MSW, LCSW
Clinical Social Worker
Certified Theraplay Therapist, Supervisor, and Trainer
Dafna is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapist. Dafna’s area of expertise is helping children with serious psychological problems caused by histories of abuse, neglect, trauma and/or multiple placements. By focusing on developing a child’s secure attachment with his/her caregivers, Dafna helps resolve issues in the child’s traumatic history. Dafna’s other interests include working with siblings of children with special needs, adult attachment issues, teenagers, and the effect on couples of raising children with special needs. Dafna aims to help people believe that there is hope in their relationship and that they can experience happiness and connections that they thought weren’t possible. Dafna earned a Bachelor degree in Political Science from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Bachelor degree in Social Work from Tel Aviv University in Israel, and a Master in Social Work from Yeshiva University in New York. Dafna co-authored two chapters of in the 3rd Edition of the book Theraplay, Building Better Relationships Through Attachment-Based Play. Contact Details
Andrea Bushala, MSW, LCSW, RPT
Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Registered Play Therpaist
Certified Theraplay Therapist and Trainer
Andrea has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Miami University with an emphasis in child development. She obtained her Master of Social Work degree from Loyola University Chicago with a dual specialization in School Social Work and Children and Families. Andrea previously worked at a community mental health clinic focusing on children and young adults experiencing anxiety and depression. Additionally, she has experience in the public school system providing individual and group therapy for children ages 4-6. In her clinical work, Andrea uses a strength-based perspective, incorporating the learnings of trauma and attachment theory. In her free time, she volunteers with Evanston School Children’s Clothing Association, Evanston Day Nursery and D65 Head Start Program.
Allison Levine, MA, LCSW
Clinical Social Worker
Certified Theraplay Therapist and Supervisor
Allison is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 10 years of experience. Allison completed her graduate training at Children’s Memorial Hospital and has several years of experience working as the social worker in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Northwestern Memorial Prentice Hospital. Allison has a deep understanding of the unique aspects of caring for children and families who have experienced trauma. In addition to Theraplay, Allison is trained in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, and Yoga-Informed Psychotherapy. Allison’s areas of expertise and interests include medical trauma, physical and sexual trauma, neglect, adjustment to chronic illness, transition to parenthood, family transition/separation/divorce, and grief and loss. Allison is passionate about helping families through crisis, and her calming, reassuring nature allows children and parents to feel comfortable and understood. Allison earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her Master of Art in Social Work at the University of Chicago. Contact Details
Speaker Topics: Applications of Theraplay for Medical Trauma, The Body’s Response to Trauma, and What is Medical Trauma?
Kristen Borgmeyer, MS, MSW, LSW
Licensed Social Worker
Kristen is a Licensed Social Worker with extensive experience working with children and families in various capacities including Early Childhood Educator, Child Mental Health Advocate, Child Advocacy Worker, Family Support Specialist, and Child and Family Clinician. Kristen holds a Bachelors of Science in Psychology and Communications from DePaul University, a Masters in Child Development from the Erikson Institute, and a Masters in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago. She has specialized clinical training in Theraplay, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress (SPARCS), and Attachment, Regulation, and Competency (ARC). Kristen acknowledges the primacy of building relationships that foster safety and emotional connection as the foundation of her work with children and families. Her primary areas of interest include working with children and families who have experienced trauma or chronic stress in order to facilitate restorative experiences and adaptive child and family development. She has experience providing clinical services embedded within community settings such as schools, shelters, and child development centers where she greatly values building relationships and collaborating with systems to maximize treatment potential.
Sam Bunnyfield, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Sam is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with extensive experience working with children and families who have experienced acute and chronic trauma. Sam has worked for the past three years as a Child and Family therapist within the child welfare system in Chicago, working with children, teenagers, and adults and has previous experience providing therapeutic services for children ages 0-5 in a preschool setting. Sam utilizes a variety of therapeutic modalities to best meet the client’s needs including Theraplay, TF-CBT, non-directive play therapy, art therapy and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy. Sam earned undergraduate degrees in Women’s Studies and History at the University of Kansas and later earned a Masters degree in Social Welfare, also from the University of Kansas. Prior to entering the field of clinical social work, Sam was an early childhood educator for many years.
Sam strives to be an advocate for children and families through her work as a social worker, therapist, and aspiring registered play therapist. She works to create a therapeutic environment in which children, their families, and the important adults in their lives feel free to be themselves, feel empowered to work through their struggles and engage in opportunities to develop healthy attachments.
Gloria Cockerill, MA, LCSW, Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor
Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Registered Play Therapist - Supervisor
Certified Theraplay Therapist, Trainer and Supervisor
Gloria is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Registered Play Therapist – Supervisor. Before training as a social worker, Gloria began her career as an Early Childhood Educator and has focused her work on strengthening children, their families and helping facilitate the healing process from the struggles they may face. Gloria has worked extensively with children and their families impacted by abuse, neglect, issues of abandonment and the traumatic separation from family as well as a broad range of emotional and behavioral problems. She is passionate about helping children and their caregivers find hope and the strength to persevere and heal together forming stronger relationships. Gloria enjoys working with children and families from diverse backgrounds and has experience working with families who have adopted children both domestically and internationally. She is bilingual and bicultural and offers therapy services in English and Spanish.
Gloria earned a bachelor degree from Tufts University in Child Study from the Elliot Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from The University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. As a registered play therapist- supervisor she has completed extensive training in a broad range of play based therapeutic techniques.
Agnieska Dabrowska, MA, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor
Agnieszka is a Licensed Professional Counselor. Her clinical focus is on helping children and families who have experienced a trauma or other balance disturbing event in life. She helps the family in their healing process by building and restoring healthy connections, boundaries, trust, and playfulness. During her clinical internship, Agnieszka gained experience treating effects of trauma and chronic stress on children by providing school-based individual play therapy as well as boys’ anger management groups, incorporating attachment principles. She also worked with traumatized adults, facilitating court ordered parenting classes and domestic violence groups. Agnieszka further expanded her knowledge about psychological trauma and its effects on the brain and behavior when working in an inpatient unit for patients with Eating and Self-Injury Disorders at Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital. Agnieszka continued her work in a private group practice, with individuals experiencing psychological distress related to food, by counseling adolescents in a comprehensive Weight Loss Program. Agnieszka is passionate about the topic of food and the way it affects physical and emotional health. Agnieszka’s additional clinical interests include work with youth and families with behavioral problems at school and home, family conflicts, divorce, anxiety and fear, depression, and work with adoptive families.
Agnieszka earned her Master degree in Clinical Psychology with specialization in Child and Family Studies from Roosevelt University and has been practicing in the mental health field since 2009. She is also trained in Theraplay Therapy, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, Trauma-Focused Integrated Play Therapy, and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Agnieszka is bilingual in English and Polish.
Anita Johanson Maddox, MA, LCPC, DT, RPT
Certified Theraplay Therapist
Anita is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and Registered Play Therapist. Prior to over ten years of work as a therapist at the Theraplay Institute, Anita provided individual and group therapy with adults with chronic mental illness and young families at a Community Mental Health. Anita also worked for thirteen years as a Family Specialist for the Special Education District of Lake County Illinois. Anita has received training in Floortime™, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy©, and Neurodevelopmental Treatment. Anita’s areas of interest and expertise include working with young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Pervasive Development Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, Attachment issues, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, children with medical concerns, and parent-child relationship difficulties. Anita is enthusiastic about partnering with families with young children to help them discover their potential and is excited about the positive results that she has seen using Theraplay. Anita earned her Bachelor degree in Speech at Northeastern Illinois University and a Master degree in Guidance Counseling from Northeastern Illinois University. Anita co-authored a chapter in the book Applications of Family and Group Theraplay. Contact Details
Mandy Jones, LCSW, JD
Clinical Social Worker
Certified Theraplay Therapist
Mandy is a master-level social worker and licensed attorney, specializing in working with children, adolescents, and families. She completed her graduate training at St. Vincent Catholic Charities in their foster care program, where she began her focus in trauma and attachment-related issues. There she provided individual, sibling, and group therapy to children in the Michigan foster care system. Mandy also completed legal training with the Cook County Office of the Public Guardian and the Michigan Attorney General Children and Youth Services Division. In both of those positions, Mandy advocated for the best interest of children in the child welfare system. After earning her master and law degrees, Mandy conducted substance abuse counseling in the adolescent program at Family Guidance Centers, Inc. She then began working as an Adoption Preservation Therapist, where she expanded her knowledge of early childhood trauma and its effect on attachment in working to heal adoptive families. Mandy also has experience working with grief, anxiety, and depression. Mandy earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Loyola University Chicago. She earned her Master of Clinical Social Work and Juris Doctorate from Michigan State University.
Speaker Topics: Legal issues regarding children including Child Welfare and Custody
Tiaira Robinson, MSW, LSW
Level One Theraplay Trained
Tiaira is a Licensed Social Worker with experience working with children and families who have experienced trauma and adoption. She completed her BA in Social Work at Tuskegee University where obtained experience working with foster care families with children with specialized needs and behavioral challenges. Tiaira completed her MSW at University of Pittsburgh with a focus on children, youth and families. During that time, she obtained experienced providing clinical services in group setting with young children with trauma histories. Tiaira has additional training in Theraplay, Trust-Based Relational Intervention, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), and Trauma Affect Regulation Guidelines for Education and Therapy (TARGET). Tiaira has experience providing individual and family therapy to children, adolescents, and families with adoption and trauma histories.