Theraplay Board



Marla Clayman, PhD MPH is a Senior Researcher at the American Institutes for Research and the mother of two young children. Her membership on the Theraplay board taps into both of these roles. Through working with the Theraplay Institute, she has gained a stronger appreciation for the role of play in children’s (and adults’) lives. With over a decade of experience in conducting and publishing peer-reviewed research, she plays a part in helping strengthen the evidence base for Theraplay. Marla lives in Evanston, IL.



Vice President 
Rana Hong, PhD, LCSW, RPT-S, an adjunct professor and field liaison of school of social work at Loyola University Chicago, teaches clinical social work practice with individuals and families and advanced clinical practice with children for masters students. A seasoned clinician, she has specialized in treating children and their parents with issues of children’s behavioral and emotional issues including but not limited to attachment, anxiety, trauma, and oppositional defiance. As a certified Theraplay therapist, supervisor, and trainer and registered play therapy supervisor, she has been a frequent lecturer and presenter on topics of play therapy modalities in working with children and their families. Her research and scholarship have focused on improving clinical practice and services for children and parents. Additionally, she maintains a group practice in Des Plaines, IL. 


Glenn Baldwin has an M.B.A. in Finance and Accounting from Northwestern University.  He has broad experience in strategic planning, risk management, and the marketing of credit and investment management services.  Glenn co-founded his neighborhood elementary school’s charitable foundation.  He has served on the boards of his neighborhood Local School Council, the local Boy Scout troop, and Regina Dominican High School.  He learned about Theraplay and its benefits through friends.  He lives in Chicago with his wife and family.




Jessica Richmond is the owner and principal of Richmond Marketing Strategy & Innovation Consulting, and has more than 13 years of experience building brands at consumer goods companies across a variety of industries. Jessica began her career in consulting with KPMG, where she specialized in strategic planning for public sector agencies. She holds a BA in Spanish and Economics from the University of Michigan, and an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. As a mother, a former mentor in a program for at-risk youth in Washington DC, and an active volunteer with the Girl Scouts organization, Jessica has a passion for helping kids reach their full potential, and is inspired by how Theraplay positively impacts children and their families. She currently resides in Oak Park, Illinois with her husband, two kids, and Labrador Retriever.


Benoit Destoppeleire graduated from Law School in Paris, and had a career with an international bank, where he was involved in the management of subsidiaries abroad. He was posted and lived with his family in a number of countries with diverse cultures and ethnic backgrounds. He retired 2 years ago, and lives now in Chicago.





Phyllis Booth, MA, LMFT, LCPC, RPT/S, is a Certified Theraplay Therapist, Supervisor and Trainer, and Clinical Director Emeritus of The Theraplay Institute. She received an MA in human development and clinical psychology from the University of Chicago. She was an associate at the Tavistock Clinic in London, England, where she studied under John Bowlby, D.W. Winnicott, and Joyce and James Robertson. Phyllis began her career working with children and parents as a nursery school teacher. In 1967, she was among the first group of psychological consultants to the Head Start program in Chicago, where she began her long collaboration with Ann Jernberg developing the Theraplay method. She helped develop the theoretical underpinnings for Theraplay, and the structure and content of Theraplay training and certification practicum. She is the primary author of the 3rd edition of Theraplay: Helping Parents and Children Build Better Relationships Through Attachment-Based Play which was released in 2010. Since 1993, she has served all but two years on the Board of Directors of The Theraplay Institute, and is the 2003 recipient of the Ann M. Jernberg award for outstanding contribution to Theraplay.

Kirsten Marie Lescher, CPA is a Director at FGMK, where she leads the not-for-profit audit practice and is co-leader of the employee benefit plan audit practice.  Kirsten has a BS in accounting and advertising from Arizona State University.  She has more than 25 years of  experience working with not-for-profit organizations, including institutions of higher education, social services organizations, civic and charitable organizations.  In addition, she has extensive experience working with audits of employee benefit plans.  Kirsten has served on numerous not-for-profit boards, including the Boys and Girls Club of Elgin, where she serves on the audit committee.  She currently resides in Lake Barrington, Illinois with her family.



 Leonard Levine is the owner and president of Levine Venture Partners, LLC and has been successfully involved in various businesses for over 40 years. Throughout his career, some of his specific responsibilities included the roles of chief executive officer, chief financial officer and being a partner in an accounting firm. Len learned about The Theraplay Institute from his daughter who has worked at the agency for many years. Len and his wife live in Riverwoods, Illinois and enjoy spending time with their three children and four grandchildren.





 Michelle McGuinness received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School.  Having previously practiced in large firms in Chicago and San Francisco, she works as a consultant to EconOne, a litigation services firm. She lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband and young daughter.  




 Rebecca Nelson, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical child & adolescent psychologist. She is on the professional staff with NorthShore University HealthSystem Medical Group, Dept. of Pediatrics at Evanston Hospital. Dr. Nelson specializes in several areas of child development: early developmental follow-up with neurodevelopmentally high- and at-risk infants and young children (0-5 years), psychodiagnostics with children and adolescents presenting with a wide range of executive functioning, attentional, learning, and other developmental challenges, consultation, and community education and liaison. Dr. Nelson also specializes in adoption. For over 20 years Dr. Nelson has served in clinical, consulting, and educatory capacities to assist and empower adoptive children and their families locally and nationally. Adopted from South Korea at the age of 5½, Dr. Nelson has a unique understanding of the developmental and psychological complexities that adoptees and their families can encounter across the lifespan. TTI® and Dr. Nelson are united by a shared passion and commitment to child mental health, and fostering healthy attachment relationships for strong families and future relationships. Dr. Nelson is a proud parent of an emerging adult and young teen.

Phyllis Rubin

Phyllis Rubin, CCC-SLP, Psy.D., is a clinical psychologist, a speech-language pathologist, and a Theraplay Therapist, Trainer and Supervisor. Starting out in speech and language pathology, Phyllis learned about Theraplay in the late 1970’s from colleagues, sought out training, and has been “hooked” ever since on building parent-child relationships. Theraplay was the impetus, and Theraplay founder Ann Jernberg, her supporter for going back to school to earn her Psy.D. degree. While still in speech and language and working in public school special education classes, Phyllis developed Group Theraplay and teamed up with Jeanine Tregay to write the first book about Group Theraplay, Play With Them. Phyllis has a private practice in Oak Park, IL, and loves to travel and teach Theraplay with fabulous Theraplay colleagues. Theraplay has really changed her life. 


Lorie Walton is the Founder and Lead Therapist of Family First Play Therapy Centre Inc, in Bradford, Ontario Canada, a centre focused on assisting children and families dealing with attachment, trauma and emotional and developmental issues. She is a Certified Child Psychotherapist Play Therapist Supervisor and a Certified Theraplay® Therapist Trainer Supervisor. Along with her private practice in Canada, Lorie is part of the Theraplay® Institute’s International Training team. She has worked with the Ministry of Education Program Standards Unit (Ontario, Canada) as well as for the Ministry of Community, Family and Children’s Services, Special Needs Branch (Ontario, Canada) as a consultant in developing programming for children with Special Needs. Lorie was the President for Board of the Canadian Association for Child and Play Therapy (CACPT) from 2005 to 2010. 



TTI Board