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 Practitioner, 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 Practitioner 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 learning from trauma-focused psychotherapy, brain development and attachment theory. Andrea is currently completing a two year post-graduate fellowship in Infant-Partner Mental Health.

 

 


Sam Bunnyfield, LCSW, RPT

Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Certified Theraplay Practitioner and Trainer

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 five years as a Child and Family therapist in Kansas City, MO and 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 and 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 Practitioner, 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. 

 


Fernando Gonzalez III, LSW

Licensed Social Worker

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Fernando is a Licensed Social Worker with an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Loyola University Chicago and a graduate degree in Social Work from the Erikson Institute: Graduate School in Child Development. He has past experience providing therapeutic crisis intervention to children and adolescents in residential treatment. Additionally he has experience working with children, adolscents, and families who have been impacted by complex trauma. Specifically, he has focused on providing individual and family therapy to children and families who have experienced sexual abuse. He also facilitiates parenting seminars for caregivers who are interested in gaining additional parenting strategies.
Fernando aims to work with caregivers to create a collaborative treatment approach that best fits the cultural and developmental needs of the child. He has training in the use of Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Attachment Self-Regulation and Competency model, Somatic Experiencing, Motivational Interviewing, Mindfulnewss, Play Therapy, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.

 

 

 


Sandie Johnson, MSW, LCSW 

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Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Theraplay Trained

Sandie is a Licesnsed Clinical Social Worker with experience working with children and families around issues of loss, trauma and transitions. She completed her MSW at University of Illinois at Chicago in the Jane Addams School of Social Work with a focus on school social work. Sandie has 12 years of experience in school social work and now has her own private practice. She began training at The Theraplay Institute in the winter of 2017 and is working towards her certification. She comes with an extra understanding of how complex and daunting the public school system can be and acts as an advocate for children with exceptional needs who might be struggling in school while at the same time working with the child to increase resilience and self-regulation.

 


Mandy Jones, LCSW, JDmandy

Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Attorney

Mandy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and attorney. She has worked almost exclusively with adoptive and foster families since she began her career. Mandy takes a particular interst 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. 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. While in country, she assists with orphanage visits and provides support during birth/foster family reunions. Through her legal work, Mandy 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. 


Cheryl Welsh, MA, LCPC, RPTCherylWelsh

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
Registered Play Therapist

Cheryl is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and Registered Play Therapist. She has an undergraduate degree in psychology from Ohio University. She obtained her Master's in Counseling Psychology, with a specializing in Children and Adolescents, in 2006 from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Cheryl's early career was filled with experience providing therapy services to foster children and their families in Chicago. In these experiences, she served children with complex trauma, significant attachment needs, and variety of other mental health concerns. Cheryl then took a leave from child welfare services to provide full time care for her own two children. In addition to the joys and responsibilites of parenthood, Cheryl currently works at a private practice in Hinsdale, IL. As a registered play therapist, Cheryl's private practice work is grounded in play therapy. Cheryl utilizes a variety of play therapy models and techniques (such as Child Centered Play, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Directive Play, and Mindfulness) based on each individual child's needs. Cheryl enjoys collaborating with parents to help them find renewed joy and peace in their home. She strives to help parents and children build lasting and secure connections while also shaping undesirable behaviors.

Cheryl is trained in principles of Theraplay. She is enthusiastic to join the Theraplay clinical team while pursuing Theraplay certification. Cheryl is constantly learning and values professional education through on-going Theraplay training and supervision. She is also currently participating in professional training of Trust Based Relationship Intervention (TBRI)


j wesolowski2

Julianna L. Wesolowski, LCPC

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

Ms. Wesolowski is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has been a part of theTheraplay community since 2013. She’s experienced in providing therapy and support for children of all ages as well as adults, and is partial to working with young children and their caregivers to encourage healing and growth as well as bonding and resiliency in relationships. Ms. Wesolowski views therapy as a space for children and their parents to experience the connection, understanding, mutual joy, and attunement necessary for positive emotional and behavioral change.

In addition to Theraplay, Ms. Wesolowski uses a variety of interventions adapted to achieve the desired goals of the children and families with whom she works, including Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP), TF-CBT, and Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress (SPARCS). Ms. Wesolowski has received extensive training on child development, early attachment, self-regulation and parenting, as well as issues of child trauma and exposure to violence. She has specific training in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and has a special interest in supporting families following the addition of a new child to the family. Ms. Wesolowski received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Marquette University and a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She has received her greatest education from parenting her two young children.

Aside from her work with The Theraplay Institute, Ms. Wesolowski directs the therapy program at Children’s Research Triangle, which specializes in providing trauma-informed and research-driven assessment, therapy, training, and supportive services for the complex issues that children and families face as a result of stress, trauma, and violence. She has also worked in Englewood and the greater Chicago communities to prevent children’s exposure to violence and trauma by way of community organizing, training and education, and trauma-focused therapy and support services.

Who We Are Therapists at TTI