About the Trainers

About the Trainers

Our trainers are Certified Theraplay Therapists who have shown above average aptitude in the practice of Theraplay and who have demonstrated superior presentation skills.  Each has completed at least three Level One Theraplay trainings under the guidance and direction of The Theraplay Institute senior training staff.

For more information about individual trainers click here.

About the Trainers

Our trainers are Certified Theraplay Therapists who have shown above average aptitude in the practice of Theraplay and who have demonstrated superior presentation skills.  Each has completed at least three Level One Theraplay trainings under the guidance and direction of The Theraplay Institute senior training staff.

For more information about individual trainers click here.

United States

Phyllis Booth18719Phyllis Booth , MA, LMFT, LCPC, Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor, is a Certified Theraplay Practitioner, Supervisor and Trainer, and Clinical Director Emeritus of The Theraplay Institute in Evanston, Illinois, USA. She received an MA in human development and clinical psychology from the University of Chicago, and completed an internship in clinical psychology at the University Of Chicago Hospitals Department Of Psychiatry in child and adult treatment. 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. In 1981, she completed a two-year training program in family therapy at the Family Institute of Chicago. She spent a year at the Anna Freud Centre in London. 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. In 2010, she rewrote and published the third edition of Theraplay: Helping Parents and Children Build Better Relationships Through Attachment-Based Play. She is also the author of numerous articles about Theraplay. She has trained professionals across the U.S., Canada, England, Finland, and South Korea, as well as presented at many conferences. Since 1993, she has served all but two years on the Board of Directors of The Theraplay Institute, currently serves on our training committee, and is the 2003 recipient of the Ann M. Jernberg award for outstanding contribution to Theraplay.

Sandra LindamanSandra Lindaman, MA, MSW, LISW-CP, is a Certified Theraplay® Practitioner, Supervisor and Trainer, and the Senior Training Advisor for The Theraplay® Institute in Evanston, Illinois, USA. She has a master’s degree in social work from Loyola University-Chicago, and completed a one year clinical externship in the Family Systems Program at the Institute for Juvenile Research, University of Illinois-Chicago. She also has a master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Northwestern University and worked in that field for many years. Sandra has been with The Theraplay® Institute since 1990, served as Executive Director from 1993 to 1999, and currently serves on our research and training committees. She co-authored three chapters in the 2010 third edition of Theraplay: Helping Parents and Children Build Better Relationships Through Attachment-Based Play. Sandra has published other chapters and journal articles about attachment, adoption, reunification, selective mutism, autism and the neuroscience foundation of the Theraplay model. She is the first editor of The Theraplay Handbook: Applications, Implementation and Guidance from Theraplay Experts, which will be published in 2019. Sandra has been very involved in the training and supervision of professionals in the Theraplay model throughout the United States, Canada, England, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong. In 2004 she received the Ann M. Jernberg award for outstanding contribution to Theraplay. She can be reached at sandra@theraplay.org 

Dafna Lender, MA, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker and is a Certified Theraplay Practitioner, Trainer and Supervisor. She holds the position of Training Director for The Theraplay® Institute, and is a member of our training committee. Dafna received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University of Illinois and worked as a policy analyst in the Illinois State Senate. She then returned to Israel, her country of origin, and earned a B.S.W. from Tel Aviv University. Dafna earned her M.S.W. from Yeshiva University in New York. In her previous professional roles, Dafna was a foster care case worker for specialized children and a therapist for children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and orphanage neglect. Dafna’s main area of interest is in children with serious psychological problems caused by histories of abuse, neglect, trauma and/or multiple placements. Dafna co-authored two chapter’s in the 3rd edition of the Theraplay book on working with traumatized children and working with adoptive/foster children in Theraplay. Dafna’s focus is children’s development of a secure attachment with their caregivers while resolving issues in their traumatic history. She also is a certified Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapist®. The treatment method focuses on affectively processing the child's traumatic history in the presence and help of his primary caregiver. She wrote the chapter “Therapeutic Use of Self in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy” in Creating Capacity for Attachment. Theraplay as well as Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy are the treatment models which are the basis for Dafna’s work with children and families. 

phyllis rubin 2 croppedPhyllis B. Rubin, CCC-SLP, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist, licensed speech-language pathologist, and Certified Theraplay® Practitioner, Trainer and Supervisor, is in private practice in Oak Park, Illinois. She co-authored Play With Them: Theraplay Groups in the Classroom. Phyllis has written chapters on Theraplay and on Theraplay and DDP in Theraplay: Innovations in attachment-based therapy by Munns, Creating Capacity for Attachment by Becker-Weidman and Shell, and Applications of Family and Group Theraplay by Munns. Phyllis has led Theraplay and Group Theraplay trainings across the U.S., Europe and Australia, and has presented at numerous conferences. She is working on a new book about Group Theraplay, co-authored by Marlo Winstead.  Phyllis served as president and member of The Theraplay Institute board of directors for 25 years.

Eliana GilEliana Gil, PhD, Adjunct Theraplay Trainer is in group private practice at Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery & Education, in Fairfax, Virginia (www.gilinstitute.com) where she provides therapy, consulting, supervision, and training services. Dr. Gil is Director of Starbright Training Institute for Child and Family Play Therapy where she provides three and four-day trainings on family play therapy and specialized therapy with youth (and their families) who experience childhood trauma. In the last decade Eliana has directed two child sexual abuse treatment programs in Northern Virginia (Inova Kellar Center and Childhelp Children’s Center of Virginia) and she has worked in the field of child abuse prevention and treatment for the last forty years.

Dr. Gil consults and trains locally and across the country and she is an adjunct faculty member at Virginia Tech’s Family Therapy Department. She is a Registered Play Therapy Supervisor, Registered Art Therapist, and a licensed Marriage, Family, Child Counselor who received her doctorate in family therapy from the California Graduate School of Family Psychology in San Rafael, California. She has served on the Board of Directors of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children and the National Resource Center on Child Sexual Abuse. She is also a former President of the Association for Play Therapy.  In the last two years, Dr. Gil completed a two-year individual certification process in the Neurosequential Model of Therapy.  Dr. Gil is also a Certified Parent Education for Circle of Security (www.circleofsecurity.com).  In 2012, Dr. Gil received the Association for Play Therapy's Lifetime Achievement Award and has received honors from the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children as well as the American Academy of Family Therapy.

Her most recent books are Helping abused and traumatized children: Integrating directive and non-directive approaches and Helping Children Heal from Interpersonal Trauma: The Power of Play. Other books include Cultural issues in play therapy (with Dr. Athena Drewes); Treating abused adolescents; Systemic Treatment of Families who Abuse; The healing power of play; Play in family therapy; and Sexualized children: Assessment and treatment of sexualized children and children who molest (with Dr. Toni Cavanagh Johnson). Several of her books have been translated to other languages, including Spanish.  Dr. Gil recently collaborated with Dr. Jennifer Shaw to co-author a book for children called "A kid's book about touching, touching problems, and other stuff."

Karen1021WebKaren Doyle Buckwalter, LISW-CP, is Director of Program Strategy at Chaddock, a multi-service agency providing a range of residential, educational, and community-based services for youth, birth through age 21, and their families. While at Chaddock, she has been instrumental in the development of an innovative residential program for adolescents, ages 8 – 16, with Reactive Attachment Disorder and Complex Trauma. One of the only programs of its kind serving older adolescents, Chaddock’s Developmental Trauma and Attachment Program (DTAP) has served youth from 26 different states in the U.S. originating from 11 different countries. Karen is a Certified Theraplay® Practitioner, Trainer and Supervisor. Her energetic and interactive style make Karen a sought-after speaker and trainer, and she has presented at numerous national and international conferences, including the International Theraplay Conference, the National ATTACh conference and the Association for Play Therapy annual conference. She has taught Theraplay Courses in England, Wales and Australia. In January of 2011, as part of a mission trip team, she spent 14 days in Liberia educating teachers, pastors and orphanage workers on the impact of trauma on children and how to provide support for traumatized children and adults. Karen has a special interest in adult attachment styles and the transmission of attachment patterns between parents and their children. She is currently involved in a special project examining this issue with Drs. Howard and Miriam Steele from the Center for Attachment Research at the New School for Social Research in New York. Karen has over 500 hours of training in working with attachment and trauma issues with children including Play Therapy, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, Trust-Based Relational Intervention, Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Child Parent Psychotherapy and Infant Parent Psychotherapy.

Susan Bundy-Myrow, PhD, is a psychologist in private practice and Clinical Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Psychiatry, State University of New York at Buffalo. She has included Theraplay in her work for more than twenty years, and is particularly interested in family and group Theraplay for children with developmental disabilities. Her writing has focused on Theraplay for children with autistic spectrum disorders and children with self-regulation problems.

Sam Bunnyfield, LCSW, RPT Sam is a Certified Theraplay Therapist, Trainer, and Supervisor with extensive experience working with children and families who have experienced acute and chronic trauma. Sam has worked for the past six years as a Child and Family therapist in Evanston, Chicago, and Kansas City, working with children, teenagers, and adults and has previous experience providing therapeutic services for children ages 0-5 in a preschool setting. She also served as the Clinic Manager at The Theraplay Institute in Evanston, IL for three years. Currently, in addition to running her own private practice in Chicago, Sam is also a Core Field Consultant for The University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration. Sam utilizes a variety of therapeutic modalities to best meet the client's needs including Theraplay, EMDR techniques, non-directive play therapy, narrative 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 Master's 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.

Andrea Bushala, MSW Candidate

Andrea Bushala, LCSW, RPT 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, brain development and attachment theory in her work. In addition to Theraplay, Andrea is trained in Dyadic Developmental Psychology, narrative work and art therapy techniques. Andrea is a Certified Theraplay Practitioner, Group Theraplay Trainer and Supervisor-in-Training. She can be reached at andrea@theraplay.org

Gloria Cockerill, LCSW, Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor, 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.  

Rand ColemanRand Coleman, PhD, is a graduate of Hahnemann University, where he obtained his training in clinical psychology, specializing in neuropsychology. After completing a two-year fellowship in the Department of Neuropsychiatry at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, he worked in Green Bay, WI, providing support services for individuals with developmental disabilities. During this time, he and his wife, Anne, did emergency foster care, eventually transitioning to long term foster care, and adopting two children. He is trained in EMDR, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, and attachment-based therapy and parenting techniques. Work for the Devereux Foundation in Pennsylvania has focused on care and treatment of children with autism, intellectual disability, and severe behavior problems. Family therapy work has used the Theraplay model in the service of helping families develop better relationships with their autistic children/siblings, and is integrated with other modalities, such as picture communication programs (e.g., PECS), teaching of daily life skills, positive behavioral supports, and community integration practice. Now in private practice, Rand's time is split between providing therapy, doing neuropsychological testing, and conducting trainings. Rand can be reached at randcoleman@gmail.com 

Donna GatesDonna Gates, MA, LCPC, is a Certified Theraplay Practitioner and Trainer in private practice at David L. Gates and Associates in Gurnee, IL and Des Plaines, IL. For the past 14 years, she has done individual, couples, and family therapy as well as domestic violence treatment, anger management treatment for adults and children, and parenting training and consultation. In the past she has worked as a youth and family counselor with Warren Township Youth Commission, developed a children's program for Families in Touch/Teen Moms in Waukegan, and supervised college students as they worked in that program. She also worked with the teen moms in the FIT program, teaching parenting skills, life skills, and issues of domestic violence. Donna obtained her B.A. in Theology from Berkshire Christian College in Massachusetts before working with Campus Life/Youth for Christ in New York City. She then went on to obtain her M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL. In the past, she has presented at the Theraplay International Conference and has written an article for the Theraplay Newsletter on the use of Theraplay in Domestic Violence. treatment groups. Donna is the mother of 2 daughters and has 8 grandchildren, all of whom enjoy helping her practice Theraplay activities.

lydia headshotLydia Glibota, LMSW, is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Michigan and Certified Theraplay Therapist and Trainer. Lydia has a private practice in South East Michigan. She provides outpatient treatment for children, families, parents and adults who struggle with mood and anxiety and/or have a history of complex relational trauma with disrupted attachment. Lydia incorporates modalities such as Theraplay, DDP strategies, EMDR, and mindfulness practices. Lydia earned her Honors BA in Psychology from York University, her Bachelor of Social Work from University of Windsor and Master of Social Work degree from Wayne State University. She began her career as a family service worker for the Children's Aid Society in 2004. The following year she joined the outpatient treatment team at Windsor Regional Hospital as a crisis intervention worker providing emergency room assessments, single session and brief therapy services. She was liaison for the community adolescent mental health beds and provided therapeutic intervention for adolescents discharging from the mental health bed assessment program. Prior to moving exclusively to her current private practice Lydia joined the specialized treatment team at Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare Regional Children's Centre, serving families and their children with complex needs. Lydia can be reached at lydia@dfactherapy.com 

myriam goldinMyriam Goldin is a founding partner of Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education, LLC and Director of Starbright Institute, LLC. She provides evidence and practice informed mental health services for children, youth, and adults impacted by trauma. She earned her Master's Degree in Clinical Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University and her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from George Mason University.

Mrs. Goldin received specialized post-graduate training in the field of trauma, attachment, and the expressive therapies (art, sand, and play therapy). She is a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor (RPT-S), a Certified Parent Educator in Circle of Security Parenting Groups, and a Certified Theraplay Practitioner and Supervisor, an attachment-based family therapy approach. She has worked in various clinical and educational settings in the Northern Virginia area supporting bilingual and bi-cultural children experiencing socio-emotional and educational challenges as well as traumatic histories. Her career has focused on providing reparative experiences for high-risk youth.

Mrs. Goldin was a contributing author for the book, Working with Children to Heal Interpersonal Trauma (2010), and co-authored a chapter on Integrated Play Therapy for a book edited by Crenshaw and Stewart. Mrs. Goldin has presented workshops on the issue of trauma and its impact on learning locally, nationally, and internationally. She was an Adjunct Professor at the graduate school of Social Work at the Northern Virginia Campus of Virginia Commonwealth University. 

 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 Practitioner, 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. She does supervision in person and on-line, and can be reached at: rana@theraplay.org or 224-715-7755. 

mandyMandy Jones, LCSW, RPT, JD 
is a Certified Theraplay® Practitioner, Trainer, and Supervisor-in-Training.  She is also the Training Director at The Theraplay Institute. Mandy has worked almost exclusively with adoptive and foster families since she began her career.  She takes a particular interest in helping families with young children form strong attachments and work through sensory concerns. Mandy is also experienced in helping adopted individuals with identity, loss, and anxiety concerns throughout their lifespan.  Mandy provides ongoing therapy to anyone touched by adoption. Over the past few years, she has developed a specialty in helping children with FASD. She is also adjunct staff for The Ties Program, Adoptive Family Travel. In this capacity, she provides logistical and mental health support as adoptive families re-experience birth culture.  She also assists with orphanage visits and provides support during birth/foster family reunions. While Mandy doesn’t regularly practice law, through her legal work she has advocated for children in both Illinois and Michigan’s child welfare systems. She continues to use her legal knowledge and advocacy skills to help families gain Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and other essential resources for children.  Mandy earned her BA in Political Science and her BS in Psychology from Loyola University Chicago. She earned her Masters of Clinical Social Work and Juris Doctorate from Michigan State University. She is further trained in TBRI and ARC. Mandy can be reached at mandy@theraplay.org.

Carol JosefsonCarol Josefson, MA, LCPC, is a Certified Theraplay Practitioner and Trainer, and is currently a therapist with Catholic Charities in Decatur, IL where she works in the Therapeutic Services Department doing individual, couples, and family therapy. She obtained her B.S. in Nursing and worked for fifteen years as a school nurse in a public high school in Decatur. Carol went on to obtain her M.A in Clinical Psychology from Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL in 1998. She began her work at Catholic Charities as the therapist for the treatment foster care program. She provided assessment and treatment planning, individual, group and family therapy for two years until the foster care program closed and she began serving community clients. Carol has three adult children and four grandchildren. Her husband is a chemistry professor who has adapted the dimensions of Theraplay to his work with students.

Annie Kiermaier, LCSW, RN, is a certified Theraplay Practitioner, trainer, and supervisor.  She holds an MSW from the University of Maine at Orono, an A.D. in Nursing from the University of Maine at Augusta, and a B.A. from Earlham College in Richmond Indiana.  Annie authored Chapter 7 of the 3rd edition of the Theraplay book, "Theraplay for Children with Regulation Disorders."   Annie has a lifelong passion for helping parents and their children have healthy, joyful attachment relationships.  After a 10 year career as a registered nurse, Annie provided home and office-based mental health therapy to families of young children in Mid-Coast Maine for 23 years, working with a wide variety of problems including families with attachment and trauma histories. She has been a full time Theraplay trainer since 2013. She can be reached at annie@theraplay.org.

 EKonrath headshotElizabeth Konrath is a certified Theraplay ® therapist and a Registered Play Therapist- Supervisor. Elizabeth spent five years in community mental health providing therapy for children in the foster care system in Washington D.C. before moving into private practice, where she specialized working with children who had relational trauma and attachment issues. She has been in private practice since 2011, both in the D.C. area and since relocating to Boulder, Colorado. She has extensive training in trauma, particularly working with children, adolescents, and families whose lives are affected by physical abuse, sexual abuse, family violence, neglect, bullying, and attachment issues related to adoption. Elizabeth values the importance of working with the whole family system to heal from trauma, improve mental wellness, and adjust to changes in the family dynamic.

Lori A. Losen, LPC, Registered Play Therapist is a certified Theraplay Therapust. Lori currently works in private practice in Mountain Top, PA. She specializes in working with children, adolescents, and families. She has a special interest in working with families with children with chronic illness. Lori received her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Edication and proceeded to work as a kindergarten teacher in Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and Honduras. Upon returning to the United States and while raising her three children Lori returned to school to obtain her Master's degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Scranton. She began her counseling career working in a community nonprofit with children and adolescents who had experienced trauma. Lori is also the Luzerne County Head Start Mental Health Consultant. She provides trainings on trauma informed care to teachers and staff. She also works with parents/guardians to provide parenting classes and support. When not working Lori can be found traveling and hiking with her husband and dog. Lori can be reached at LoriLosen@gmail.com

David MyrowDavid Myrow, PhD, is a Certified Theraplay Practitioner, Trainer and Supervisor with a private practice in the Buffalo, New York area. Dave has been involved in Theraplay from its beginnings, from his days as a college student to after he became a psychologist. He was supervised by Ann Jernberg and many of the other pioneers, including Phyllis Booth. Dave has worked in private practice since 1983. He and his wife, Susan Bundy-Myrow, have done training both in the U.S. and internationally. Dave’s special interest is in working in an outpatient setting with school-age children and young teens. For more information: www.theraplace.com

Dianne NicholasDianne Nicholas, MS, LMFT Dianne Nicholas, MS, LMFT, is a licensed marriage family therapist and a Certified Theraplay Practitioner and trainer.  She holds a master’s of science degree in counseling from California State University, Northridge and a BA in psychology with a minor in developmental psychology.   She has worked extensively with children and families in the child-welfare system and specializes in attachment focused treatment for childhood trauma and abuse. Dianne has completed intensive training in Dyadic Development Psychotherapy with Daniel Hughes, PhD, trained in Trauma Focused-CBT, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization (EMDR). Dianne held the position of Clinical Director and Supervisor at a non-profit Agency until recently taking on a position as a Consultant to Children & Family Services with the objective of promoting Trauma- Informed Best Practice within the Agency.  Dianne resides in Ventura, CA where she has a private practice.  She views Theraplay as an integral component toward developing the relationship bond between the children and caregivers she sees in therapy.  Dianne can be reached at dnicholas7@yahoo.com.

CindyCindy Perkins, MA, LCPC is a retired school teacher, administrator and counselor of 32 years. She is a certified Theraplay Practitioner, certified Theraplay Trainer and a certified Thraplay Supervisor. She has been in Private psychotherapy practice since 1997. She specializes in Attachment and Trauma issues, and school and learning issues. Cindy works with all ages using Theraplay, DDP, Music, OT activities and the Listening Program in her practice. She trained at Lesley College in Clinical Psychology. Cindy can reached at cmperple@mac.com.

Mary Ring

Mary Ring, MAMFC, MARE, LPC-S, LMFT-S, RPT-S is a Certified Theraplay Practitioner and Trainer. She received a B.S. in Special Ed. with Emotionally Disturbed Children from University of Houston in 1973. She taught school for various ages and grade levels during 1976 to 1981, before earning her Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling. Mary worked as a marriage and family therapist with the Union Baptist Association for 7 years and since 1999, has worked as a Marriage and Family counselor for The Juliana Poor Memorial Counseling Center at Houston’s First Baptist Church. She is clinical coordinator of the family team and guides 8 therapists through the process of a structured family treatment program developed over the last 10 years. The work of the team has expanded to include hosting family camps (both biological and foster/adoptive). This has extended into a ministry of providing training for those going on mission from Houston’s First Baptist Church to support orphan care all over the world. Mary is trained in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy and took training under Drs. Karyn Purvis and David Cross in Trust-Based Relational Intervention. Mary has led workshops for parents and therapists using Theraplay, Play Therapy and Play Parenting materials here in the United States as well as overseas in Latvia, United Kingdom and South Africa. She will soon complete the certification of Theraplay Supervisor. Mary has completed Basic EMDR training and is now in the process of being certified. She is in the certification program for Bruce Perry’s Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics. Most important of all, she and her husband Earl, married for forty-three years, have three grown children, two of whom are married. They thoroughly enjoy the times they get to spend with their six grandchildren.

Michelle Robison, MSW, LCSW, is a Certified Theraplay Practitioner and Trainer and the Associate Director of Clinical Services at Chaddock, a multi-service agency providing a range of residential, educational, and community based services for youth, birth through age 21, and their families. Michelle is a member of the team that developed Chaddock’s innovative residential treatment program for adolescents with trauma and attachment based problems. She has presented on the topics of Attachment and Theraplay® at both local and national levels. Michelle is a co-contributor to the recently published book, “Creating Capacity for Attachment”. Michelle has 11 years of therapeutic experience, the last ten of which have been at Chaddock. Michelle has a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa and a Masters of Social Work Degree from California State University, Long Beach. Michelle is a wife and mother of three children. She is active in her church, loves to sing and to travel with her family.


kay headshotKay Schieffer, M.A., M.Ed., is a special education teacher with over 25 years of experience in early childhood education. She is a Certified Theraplay Group Specialist and Trainer. Kay's work has focused on children with developmental disabilities, children with emotional and behavioral disorders and children at risk for academic failure. She has provided training for Sunshine Circles and Group Theraplay to teachers and related service providers who work in schools with children with special needs. Kay wrote Sunshine Circles®: Interactive Playgroups for Social Skills Development and Classroom Management, the teacher's manual that accompanies the Sunshine Circles training. She has led Group Theraplay trainings and has presented at state, national, and international conferences. Kay is also The Theraplay Institute's Executive Director. You can reach Kay at kay@theraplay.org

JessicaWJessica Weidel, M.Ed., LMHC, LCPC is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in WA and a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in IL..  She earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from John Carroll University and a Master of Education in Community Counseling degree from Loyola University Chicago.  Jessica is a Certified Theraplay Practitioner and Supervisor and is trained in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, Trust-Based Relational Intervention, and ARC: Attachment, Regulation, & Competency. 

Jessica has a particular interest in trauma and attachment, and enjoys working with adoptive and foster families. She uses a variety of therapeutic interventions (including Theraplay, Lifebook work, and Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control) to support children, adolescents, and families in forming healthy relationships and in healing from trauma. Jessica is skilled at providing education to help families understand the impact of trauma and disruptions in early attachment, and in working with parents to learn new ways of addressing extreme behaviors that can result. Jessica can be reached at weidel.jessica@gmail.com

In Illinois, Jessica worked as a therapist with the Theraplay Institute as well as an Adoption Preservation Therapist at Metropolitan Family Services in Chicago.  She also served as an infant mental health consultant for Healthy Families, an early intervention program. Jessica has been teaching Theraplay to parents and professionals as well as providing Theraplay supervision to professionals since 2013. She recently moved to Washington state, where she plans to begin working directly with clients in the near future.

Marlo Winstead

Marlo Winstead, MSW, LSCSW, RPT-S is a certified Theraplay Practitioner and Trainer. She is currently a Ph.D. student and Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Kansas, a faculty member and clinical supervisor in MidAmerica Nazarene University’s Play Therapy Program, and is the CEO of Enriching Families, LLC.  Marlo has served in a clinical capacity with birth, foster, and adoptive families who have experienced trauma and loss, individuals suffering from eating disorders, adults with severe and persistent mental illness, Head Start violence prevention programs, and urban youth. Marlo is a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor and has extensive training in various therapeutic modalities. Including Non-Directive and Directive Play Therapy, Filial Therapy, Theraplay, Sandtray, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, Circle of Security, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Narrative Therapy. She has been working with children, adolescents and families in a range of settings and environments for more than a decade. 

In addition to research and direct practice Marlo provides supervision for clinicians around the world seeking professional and personal growth. Some supervisees are working toward licensure, others obtaining their RPT or Theraplay Certification, and professionals focused on increasing the efficacy of their practice. Marlo is an active member of the National Association of Social Workers; she served on the National Child Welfare Committee for two terms. She is a member of The Theraplay Association and The Association for Play Therapy. Marlo is a graduate of APT’s Leadership Academy, served as chair of the Leadership Committee (2010-2011), and has been a member of the Registration and Continuing Education Committee for almost five years. Marlo is currently serving a three year term as a member of the The International Journal of Play Therapy Editorial Board. Marlo currently resides in Tallahassee, FL and can be reached at EnrichingFamiliesLLC@gmail.com.

* The following trainers are currently inactive:

  • Paula Mercer, MSW, LCSW;
  • Jessica Mroz Miller, MSW, LCSW
  • Margery Rieff, Ph.D.



Evangeline Munns

Evangeline Munns, PhD, C Psych, RPT/S, is a certified clinical psychologist and Theraplay Practitioner, Trainer and Supervisor. She is also registered with the Canadian Association for Child and Play Therapy as a Trainer and Supervisor. She has given numerous workshops on play therapy and Theraplay across Canada, United States and internationally. In recent years, much of her time has been spent in training and supervising therapists in Theraplay and /or nondirective and Filial play therapy including teaching as a guest lecturer at Western University in London, Ontario and Sir Wilfred Laurier in Kitchener, Ontario. With over forty years of experience working with children and their families, she offers a rich knowledge in the children’s mental health field. Dr. Munns has written numerous articles on Theraplay and has edited two books entitled “Theraplay: Innovations in Attachment-Enhancing Play Therapy”(2000) and a second book “Applications of Family and Group Theraplay”(2009). In the past she received the Monica Herbert award from the Canadian Association for Child and Play Therapy (CACPT) for “an outstanding contribution to the field of play therapy in Canada”.

Lorie WaltonLorie Walton, MEd, is a Certified Theraplay Practitioner, Trainer and Supervisor and is the Founder and Lead Therapist of Family First Play Therapy Centre Inc, in Bradford, Ontario Canada, a center focused on assisting children and families dealing with attachment, trauma and emotional and developmental issues. She is a Certified Child Psychotherapist Play Therapist Supervisor. She has extensive training in working with adopted and foster care children who experience attachment related issues and trauma. Since becoming a Certified Trainer and Supervisor, she has had the privilege of bringing Theraplay to communities across Canada, England, and the United States. Lorie was the President for the Canadian Association for Child and Play Therapy (CACPT) from 2005 to 2010 and is currently the Past-President. She provides clinical consultation and play therapy clinical supervision to several agencies in Ontario and to Theraplay Practitioners and Child Psychotherapists all over the world.

Joan WilsonJoan Wilson, M.Ed., is a certified Theraplay Practitioner and Trainer and a Registered Play Therapy Supervisor with almost three decades of experience working with children, adolescents, and their families. As well, she is a site reviewer for Children’s Mental Health Ontario. She has a B.A. in Psychology with Distinction from York University, and an M.Ed in Counseling Psychology from the University of Toronto. Joan has trained extensively in dyadic developmental psychotherapy with Daniel Hughes. In her private practice and as a team leader with a children's mental health agency, Joan focuses her efforts on attachment and trauma work using Theraplay and DDP. Play therapy, expressive arts, narrative, and brief solution-focused modalities add to the range of services she offers to children and families.

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Ali Cliffe, BA Hons, EYPS, PGCert, is a certified Theraplay Practitioner and trainer and an associate supervisor. Ali specialises in providing child and family Theraplay interventions with children 10 years old and under. Ali has completed an MA module in Attachment and Learning with Bath Spa University and a Postgraduate Certificate in Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Wellbeing with Tavistock and Portman where she completed a dissertation on thinking psychoanalytically and systemically on a Theraplay intervention with an adoptive family. Ali is currently studying Infant Observation and Psychoanalytic Studies with the Severnside Institute for Psychotherapy. Ali has over 20 years of experience of working with children and families in a variety of capacities including child minding, respite care for disabled children, emergency foster care, home education for children on the autism spectrum, Flying Start practitioner and Theraplay practitioner. Currently Ali is employed by Bright Start Children's Centres providing Theraplay interventions for children in their pre-school year who are at risk of not successfully managing the transition to school due to emotional and behavioural difficulties, attachment disruptions or experience of early trauma. Her role also includes running Peer Support Sessions and supervision to Theraplay-informed and Foundational Level practitioners. Ali works within schools and Early Years settings modeling Group Theraplay and Sunshine Circles as well as promoting the role of a Key Adult in supporting children who have experienced disrupted attachments and trauma. Ali can be contacted for peer support and supervision at alison_cliffe@bathnes.gov.uk

Helen maundHelen Maund is a HCPC Registered Senior Social Worker and a Certified Theraplay® Practitioner.  Helen has also completed her DDP level 1 training and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Play.  Helen has worked in social work with children and families for 16 years, working in child protection, family support and in a residential setting but for the last 11 years has specialized in adoption.  Helen works for Norfolk Adoption Service providing therapeutic interventions for children in foster care and adoptive families.  Since completing the level one training in 2007 Helen has worked with individual children and foster or adoptive parents providing Theraplay.  Helen helps to inform all Norfolk’s prospective adoptive families on the benefits of using play to build strong relationships. In addition, Helen provides advice, guidance and consultation to parents, careers, schools and other professionals on the impact of trauma on children and on parenting approaches.   Her clinical experience includes helping children who have experienced trauma through abuse and neglect and also children with additional complexities including children with pre-natal exposure to drugs and alcohol and sensory processing disorders.  Helen can be reached at helenmaund@hotmail.co.uk

Roberta Manners is an Associate Theraplay® Practitioner. She has a BA Hons degree in Social Science from University of East Anglia (1975) and NVQ Level 3 in Group and Foster Care. Roberta has a background in social action training and research and 18 years experience in foster care, family support and adoption services. She has recently left her post as an Adoption Support Worker in Norfolk County Council, Adoption Support Team and is continuing to work part-time as a freelance therapist, trainer and parent mentor. Roberta can be reached at roberta.manners@gmail.com


DDr. Vivien Norrisr. Vivien Norris, DClinPsy, DipMusicTh is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist and Music Therapist. She is also a Certified Theraplay® Practitioner and accredited in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy®. Vivien has been working as a Clinical Psychologist within the NHS in the UK for over twenty years specialising in therapeutic work with families and in the area of fostering and adoption. She has a longstanding interest in trauma and has worked in various roles in the field, in therapeutic communities with adolescents and leading national research into the impact of the Asian tsunami.

Alongside part time NHS work, Vivien is Clinical Director of The Family Place www.thefamilyplace.co.uk, an independent organisation providing flexible therapeutic interventions for families. Her main area of interest is in children with severe difficulties in forming relationships, arising from histories of abuse, neglect and trauma. Her clinical approach centrally includes foster carers and adopters in interventions and combines approaches to address complex difficulties. Vivien has many years experience delivering training. She has contributed to publications in the area of self-harm and the impact of trauma. Vivien can be contacted at info@thefamilyplace.co.uk 


fiona peacock2

Fiona Peacock is a BACP Senior Accredited Counsellor and Certified Theraplay® Practitioner, Trainer and Supervisor.  In the past she worked in a highly specialised CAMHS team for Looked After and Adopted children as well as working in Education settings.  Now she has a private practice providing psychotherapy and Theraplay to children whose early experiences of attachments have been disrupted as well as consultation, supervision and training to other professionals in this field.  She also provides generic schools counselling.  She is a Teaching Associate at University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education teaching Psychotherapeutic Counselling for Children and Adolescents up to MEd level.  She is a contribution author to McLaughlin & Holliday (2014) Therapy with Children and Young People and to two of the modules in the MindEd programme (https://www.minded.org.uk) and co author of Fostering Good Relationships (Richardson & Peacock 2016).  Currently she is also studying for an EdD at Cambridge researching into the experience of Theraplay.  Contact details: fiona@peacockcounselling.com


jo williams

Jo Williams M.A. Dramatherapist, Counsellor, certified Theraplay Practitioner, Supervisor and Trainer, Transpersonal and Integrative Supervisor Trainee: working for Northamptonshire County Council as their Therapy Services team manager. Jo has a wealth of experience in a variety of settings, working for 20 years in Adult Mental Health before moving to Children's services in 2003.

As Therapy Manager she has firmly established Theraplay services in Northamptonshire, especially in a number of Primary Schools settings. Her continuing initiative is to spread the Theraplay knowledge and skill base. She leads numerous learning events and conferences, has devised team building events and supervised the professional development of teams and colleagues. Jo is held in high regard for her enthusiastic style and has been the catalyst for many service departments for Northamptonshire. She supports local professionals and organisations in developing their Theraplay skills base and assists their desire to develop Theraplay as a leading edge practice initiative.


Jay Vaughan, MA, HCPC Dramatherapist, DDP, SEP is a State Registered Dramatherapist, a Certified Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapist, a Theraplay Practitioner, Supervisor and Trainer as well as a Somatic Experience Practitioner. Jay is a Clinical Director at Family Futures CIC, a Voluntary Adoption Agency based in London and is also the Agency’s Responsible Person.

Family Futures specializes in the assessment and treatment of traumatized children placed in foster families, adoptive families or kinship care. Family Futures offers an assessment and treatment program entitled Neuro Physiological Psychotherapy, which integrates Somatic Experience as part of the assessment and treatment approach. Jay, as Clinical Director, still carries out some direct work with families and children.

Jay has been working with traumatized children since qualifying as a Dramatherapist in 1989, and passionately believes in the use of arts, play and body-based approaches in helping traumatized children and their families heal. She has contributed to articles and books over the years and continues to consult and train around the UK on behalf of Family Futures.  Jay is a mother of two children and two step-children as well as a proud grandmother to her first grandchild. She can be contacted on jay@familyfutures.co.uk

Trainers in Chile



Nicole Charney, MA, is originally from Chile, where she completed her Masters in Clinical Psychology and works as a child clinical psychologist. She is a Certified Theraplay® Practitioner and Trainer. Nicole has worked in a child clinic for 15 years, and also spent 10 years in the United States where she trained and specialized in the topic of child brain development. She has been applying Theraplay in her work with emotionally disturbed children, in early childhood prevention programs and in community playgroups. Nicole was employed as a Behavioral Specialist at San Diego Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego, CA before returning to her home country of Chile in 2011 where she has organized Level One and Level Two Theraplay trainings, and also formed supervision and consultancy groups. She can be reached at nicocharney@yahoo.com




Marie Olsen-KludtMarie Olsen-Kludt, M.A., is a Certified Theraplay Practitioner, Trainer and Supervisor and a Specialist in Child Psychology and Clinical Psychology.

Marie has specialized in NeuroAffective Developmental Psychology, an approach developed by psychologist Susan Hart, bridging theories of emotional development with brain research, and creating new ways to understand psychotherapy with children and families. Marie is one of the driving forces of introducing Theraplay in Denmark, and is working on establishing The Danish Theraplay Association together with a group of other Danish pioneer Theraplay practitioners. She has written a chapter about the Marshack Interaction Method in a publication about attachment based assessment methods edited by the two Danish psychologists Susan Hart and Rikke Schwarz. She teaches and supervises professionals and gives workshops all over Denmark. 

Before Marie became a psychologist, she was a schoolteacher, and has a broad experience within the educational area. After she obtained her degree of psychology in 2002, she worked within the local Educational Psychology Department of Counseling for several years, and since 2007 she has had her own private practice in Copenhagen. Contact info: marie@kludtpsyk.dk / www.kludtpsyk.dk / www.theraplay.dk

Sanne Lundberg is a psychotherapist MPF and an Internationally Certified Theraplay Practitioner, Theraplay trainer and on the verge of becoming a Theraplay supervisor. She is highly experienced and has explicit knowledge in the field of attachment and the treatment of interaction with special focus on children aged 0-3 years. Furthermore, she possesses an expertise in the field of pregnancy, motherhood and babies. She has taken this into the Theraplay treatment and has acquired a profound knowledge. In addition to this she is a trained nurse followed by an education as a health visitor.

Sanne is a member of a group of other Danish pioneers headed by Marie Olsen Kludt working on establishing The Danish Theraplay Association. She lectures Theraplay at Danish psychologist Susan Harts Institute bridging Theraplay and Susan Hart’s NeuroAffective Developmental Psychology.



Jukka Mäkelä, MD, founding member of The Finnish Theraplay Association
Lotta Lassenius-Panula, MD, founding member of The Finnish Theraplay Association
Sinikka Savola, Early Childhood Specialist, founding member of The Finnish Theraplay Association

Ilona VierikkoIlona Vierikko, founding member of The Finnish Theraplay Association, SOS Childrens Villages Finland

Eira Eklund-Mikola
Riika Korja
Päivi Korkeaoja
Minna Laakso
Hanna Lampi
Saara Salo, Executive Director, The Finnish Theraplay Association
Pirjo Tuovila



Virginie Vandenbroucke: I got my first degree in clinical psychology in 1985. I worked in child motherhood prevention service (PMI) as well as in the child welfare service (ASE) with children who were neglected or maltreated mainly with young children. In 1997 I graduated in perinatal haptonomy and haptopsychotherapy, which uses emotional touching to develop the child-parent relationship since pregnancy and in psychotherapy, and I then practiced as a psychotherapist in a public consultation depending on the hospital. (CMP)
Then for 20 years I stopped working as a psychotherapist to take care of my 3 daughters but I continued my activity of support of prenatal parent-child relationship with haptonomy. In 2014, at the same time as taking up a private practice, I got a degree in theory of attachment. In 2016 I discovered Theraplay. I am one of the first Theraplay therapists certified in France, passionate about this form of work that combines my theoretical understanding underpinned by my university degree and my clinical practice carried by haptonomy. I practice with babies, children and adolescents and their parents. I am also certified since January 2019 as Theraplay Supervisor which allows me to develop my pleasure of transmission and my enthusiasm for Theraplay. You can contact me at psyvirginie.vandenbroucke@gmail.com



Ulrike Franke

Ulrike Franke, SLP, RPT/S, founder of The German Theraplay Institute

Karin BlockKarin Block






Markus HoetzelMarkus Hoetzel

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Angela SiuAngela Siu, PhD, RegPsychol. (Clin), CPT-S, RPT-S is our first Theraplay Trainer in Hong Kong. She has extensive experience working with children and families in various education and clinical settings in Canada as well as in Hong Kong. She started to apply Theraplay principles in her work after her first Theraplay training in 1995 in Canada. In 2006, she was certified as a Theraplay Practitioner. She is currently serving as an assistant professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Angela has written a chapter on using Theraplay for Chinese families in Applications of Family and Group Theraplay by Evangeline Munns. She has also published research studies on Theraplay in the International Journal of Play Therapy.



*Joanna Fortune (MICP; MIFPP; CTTTS; Reg Pract APPI; Ap Sup PTI) is a Clinical Psychotherapist and Attachment specialist specialising in child and adolescent Psychotherapy with over 15 years experience working with children and families. She is a Supervisor with Play Therapy International for over 7 years. She is also a Theraplay Practitioner, trainer and supervisor (World Theraplay Institute) and has trained in all areas of attachment work including SSAP (Story Stem Assessment Profile)/CAI (Child Attachment Interview)/MBT (Mentalisation Based Therapy) with the Anna Freud Centre. Joanna has completed an 18 month infant observation program. Joanna was previously a member of a child psychoanalysis clinical supervision group with members of Espace Analytique from Paris. She is a guest speaker and regular media contributor in the field of child development and psychology. Joanna has seen the benefit of early intervention and loves working with children and teens where she strongly believes small changes can make a big difference in young lives. Her practice and philosophy is based on the premise of less tears and more laughter. Joanna believes that parents are the experts in their own children and works in a dyadic way with parents and young children together in sessions.




Miwa TakaiMiwa Takai, MA is a Certified Theraplay Practitioner and Trainer. Miwa received her bachelor’s degree at the University of the Sacred Heart in Tokyo, Japan, in early childhood education and worked as a Kindergarten teacher. She received a master’s degree and is completing a doctoral degree at Sookmyung Woman’s University in Seoul, Korea, in child psychotherapy. Miwa worked at the Theraplay Counseling Center in Seoul, Korea and at a center for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Sapporo, Japan. In 2011, Miwa opened the Theraplay Counseling Center Tokyo. miwatakai@naver.com



Bettie Sleeuw

Bettie Sleeuw received her Master’s degree as a developmental psychologist at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands and completed a post-graduate training as a parental therapist. She has worked in several institutions as a psychologist for children and adults with special needs and is specialized in children with autism and low IQ. For several years she worked in a child psychiatric clinical and daycare centre and at the moment she has a private practice, where she provides Theraplay, parent consulting and psychological assessments.  She became one of the first certified Theraplay® Practitioners in the Netherlands and spends a lot of time promoting Theraplay in her country. Bettie is a Certified Theraplay® Trainer, and is in training to become a Certified Theraplay Supervisor. Bettie can be reached at bettie.sleeuw@praktijkdb.nl.

judithblaauw headshotMy name is Judith Blaauw. In 2000 I graduated as an Art therapist and worked with children and their parents ever since-- first as a groupworker with mentally disabled children in a residential institute and with children with psychological problems in a day care treatment center. Later on as an art therapist, in 2012, I joined the Theraplay training Level 1 and in 2015, with great joy and pride, I received my certificate: Certified Theraplay Practitioner. In January 2016 I started my own practice and play with children and their parents almost every day. In 2017 I participated at the DDP1 training with Dafna Lender.

In 2014 and 2015 I was an assistant trainer with Marja Appel for the Level 1. And at this moment I work with Bettie Sleeuw, as a supervisor in training and trainer in training at The Theraplay Academie in the Netherlands.

You can look at my website and contact me at: www.judithblaauw.nl / info@judithblaauw.nl 



Linda Stam is a SKJ Registered Social Worker, Certified Theraplay® Practitioner,  Associate Theraplay Trainer and  Theraplay Supervisor in training. Linda has also did the DDP level 1 training and completed a Post-Graduate Certificate as a Child and Youth Therapist. Linda works as a social worker in a psychiatric treatment center for children with low IQ in the age of 5-12 years where she provides parent consulting. And she works as a Theraplay Practitioner in a policlinical psychiatric setting for youth in the age of 5-18 years old. Linda provides advice, guidance and consultation to parents and has experience in working with adoptive parents and foster parents, parents with low IQ and parents with autism. Her clinical experience includes helping children with trauma through abuse and neglect as well as children with autism. As an Associate Trainer she was co-trainer for the level I Theraplay Training  in The Netherlands since 2015 and  is a Theraplay Supervisor in training since 2016. Linda can be reached at lindastam70@gmail.com.

South Korea

South Korea

Young Mi-WonYoun Mi-Won, PhD, is a Certified Theraplay Practitioner, Trainer and Supervisor. She is President of the Alliance for Theraplay in South Korea, and Youn’s Theraplay Counseling Center in Seoul.

hyunjung shinHyunjung Shin(Ph.D) is a certified Theraplay Practitioner and Trainer. She earned a Ph.D studying social welfare, child welfare, and child psychotherapy at Ewha and Sookmyung University. She has been interested in phenomenology and interaction, and has published qualitative research ("General transmission in nurturing that have experienced as child counselor-mother" et al.) She is a trainer for Gestalt therapy for children and adolescents, and a professor and dean of student counseling center of Yeonsung University in South Korea.

Sunju parkSunju Park is a certified Sunshine Circle trainer and Theraplay Practitioner. She is also the first certified Sunshine Circle Leader in South Korea. She completed the doctoral course at Kyunghee University. Her major was in the study of children and families. She has worked with children in childcare centers for 20 years, applied Sunshine Circles into infant group, group for father-child, mother-child, and experienced the effectiveness of it. The theme of research is an "Application on Sunshine Circle groups for change of withdrawn children." She also opened "Park Sunju Theraplay Center for Children" in November 2014 and has tried to become a certified Theraplay trainer and supervisor.



Britta SundbergBritta Sundberg
, Psychologist, Umeå University, Umeå

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