Rita Pillai

LSW

Rita Pillai (she/her/hers) is a Licensed Social Worker, who completed her Masters of Social Work at Loyola University Chicago with a focus on Advanced Clinical Practice. She received her Bachelor of Social Work with a minor in Psychology at Saint Mary’s College. Rita is trained Level One Theraplay and is working towards her full certification.

Rita has nearly 10 years of experience working with children and families in a variety of capacities. She has cared for and worked with children and adults with disabilities through summer camps, day programs, and respite care at hospitals. Rita is a strong advocate for families, her goal is to assist individuals and families as they go through transformations and transitions in their lives. She believes therapy is an important way to provide tools for her clients to help them learn more about themselves and develop a range of tools to use outside of the session.

Rita has a deep compassion, understanding, and empathy for those who have experienced feeling marginalized. Helping individuals build strong, stable, healthy environments and relationships is her passion. Her strengths-based approach allows her clients the opportunity to build on skills they already have and develop new skills that will support creating stronger relationships.

Rita has also completed her 200-hour yoga teacher certification and believes that can be an effective tool to help clients regulate their mind and body both inside or outside a therapeutic setting.


Back to Our Trainers

Suzanne Baruch Jackson

Child Psychotherapist and Supervisor
Supervisor-in-Training
Psychotherapist, Supervisor, Teacher
Skarpnack, Sweden
She/Her

Suzanne is a Certified Theraplay Practitioner and Supervisor-in-Training who is based in Stockholm, Sweden. She offers both virtual and in-person supervision.

For over 20 years Suzanne has worked at BUP child mental health clinics for the Stockholm local authority. During this period she focused on younger children and their families. This also included working with children with disabilities, both cognitive and physical.

Since 2020, she has been working both clinically and with education at Ericastiftelsen, a tertiary learning institute that also offers therapeutic treatment. Here her work includes supervision for students who are taking a child and adolescent psychotherapy program. 

Suzanne Baruch Jackson received her Bachelor’s degree at Bar-Ilan University, Israel in 1985 and gained certification as a Psychotherapist with a Child and Parental focus at Umea University, Sweden in 2008.

In 2016 she studied to become a Supervisor in Psychotherapy , at Karolinska Instititet, Stockholm, Sweden.  

Theraplay was introduced in Sweden in the early 2000s, and Suzanne was lucky enough to be able to participate in the introduction course at Umea University in 2003, the Intermediate course at Umea University in 2008, and finally became a Certified Theraplay Practitioner in 2012.

Having worked at child mental health clinics, Theraplay has always been a part of her everyday therapeutic work. She has found that Theraplay has been especially beneficial when working with children with physical and mental disabilities, and with their parents.  

Suzanne is fluent in both Swedish and English.


Back to Our Supervisors

Tahirih Herrera

LCSW, SEP, C-EMDR, and C-BSP
Supervisor-in-Training
Tahirih Herrera PLLC
Phoenix, Arizona
She/Her

Tahirih Herrera is Certified Theraplay® Practitioner, and Supervisor-in-Training based in Phoenix, AZ. She currently works out of her private practice in the central Phoenix area.

Tahirih received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in social work at Arizona State University. After graduate school Tahirih worked in community mental health full protocol DBT program and Phoenix Children’s Hospital Oncology clinic. She has worked in private practice since 2019.

Tahirih first trained in Theraplay in 2021 and started supervision immediately. Theraplay, DDP, and Somatic Experiencing are the primary modalities she uses in her practice. She has experience using Theraplay® with children, adolescents, and parents/caregivers who have experienced complex trauma, chronic stress, traumatic grief, and those who have been in foster care or adopted.

Her foundation is attachment-focused, somatic-based, and social justice informed. She strives to decolonize her practice to address racial trauma, chronic stress, and intergenerational healing for families. She is passionate about accompanying others on their learning journey, especially BIPOC practitioners. In a volunteer capacity, she assists Somatic Experience trainings and is also a SE™ Credit Provider to provide personal sessions for beginning and intermediate-year participants.


Back to Our Supervisors

Shannon Murphy Cerise

MSW/LCSW
Trainer and Supervisor-in-Training
SMC Counseling Services
Dallas, Texas
She/Her

Shannon’s professional career is centered on helping adults, children and families impacted by trauma, including through adoption and foster care. She leads SMC Counseling Services in Dallas, Texas, a specialized practice centered on helping biological, adoptive, and foster parents and families that are experiencing stress, struggle, and disconnection. Prior to 2014, her clinical work in Louisiana centered on counseling people impacted by Hurricane Katrina and later as a specialized adoption therapist. She was previously the director of a residential and educational program for at-risk youth.

Shannon holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Social Work degree from Louisiana State University. She was licensed in Louisiana (#4300) in 1998 and in Texas (#61433) in 2015. In 2008 she completed a 90-hour post-graduate certification program in adoption-competent practice through Louisiana State University. In addition, she is a Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) practitioner, and she completed the Adult Attachment Interview Training program in 2019. 

Shannon completed Theraplay Level One training in 2015, just as her own children were launching towards independence. Theories and practices presented in that initial training matched so closely with her experiences and learnings in her parenting journey, she was compelled to enter the practicum shortly thereafter. Shannon became a fully certified practitioner in 2018. She principally centers her professional work with parents and children around the Theraplay modality because of the consistent and positive improvements she’s been witness to in the relationships between parents and children she serves.

Regarding training and supervision, Shannon considers herself a life-long learner and approached her own Theraplay training as an opportunity to challenge herself professionally and personally. She enjoys focusing on building clinical skills in working with children and caregivers, seeking to lean hard into authenticity and transparency within the training and supervision process, and continually stretching her capacity to live in the present moment.  Training and supervising clinicians with The Theraplay Institute are only the newest iteration of her desire to learn and grow.

In a volunteer capacity, Shannon serves on the Advisory Board for the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University, the Interracial Healing Task Force in the Diocese of Dallas and is a member and past chair of the Board of Bishop Dunne Catholic School in Dallas. She is a sendee of the Living School, a program of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, NM, where she developed her contemplative practice. Mother to three children, now young adults, she enjoys exercising, reading, puzzling, and making new friends, particularly in her role as the co-founder of Dallas’ Multicultural Women’s Book Group.

If her background and interests resonate with you as a new Theraplay practitioner, Shannon would be pleased to connect with you. She can be reached at [email protected].


Back to Our Supervisors

Kristīne Maže

MA, MEd

Kristīne Maže, MA, MEd, is a certified Theraplay® Practitioner, certified family psychotherapist, and certified supervisor, working in her private practice in Latvia. She received her MA in Family Ministry from Gordon – Conwell Theological Seminary, taught at the Latvian Baptist Seminary. She was a school teacher for 7 years before enrolling in the Systemic Family Psychotherapy training in Latvia and is certified there as a Psychotherapist. She received her Theraplay training in Latvia while extensively translating and supporting Theraplay trainings in Latvia since 2010. She has received her Masters in Pedagogy and qualification of Supervisor from Riga Stradiņš University and is a certified supervisor. Kristine and her husband have four children and are actively involved in their church. She can be reached at [email protected].


Back to Our Supervisors

Glenda Z. Villamarín

MA, LCP

Glenda Z. Villamarín, MA, LCP is from Ecuador (South America). She has a Phase II, trainer, certification for NMT (Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics), and Neurosequential Model in Reflection & Supervision Training from the Child Trauma Academy. She is certified in the Infant-Parent Mental Health Program (IPMHP) at the University of Massachusetts –Boston (2018 – 2019). She is a Certified Theraplay Therapist, Supervisor, and Trainer. She has a Master’s in Cultural Studies from the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar UASB-Ecuador. She has researched Attachment and Culture with her thesis, “Consideraciones culturales sobre la práctica de la psicología: el caso de la Teoría del Apego,” 2017. She is a Certified EMDR Therapy therapist, approved consultant, Facilitator, and Full Trainer of the Iberoamerican Team and the EMDR Institute. She graduated from Universidad Católica del Ecuador – PUCE. She is the current director of “Serendipitá Ecuador.” She is a certified Brainspotting therapist, consultant, and trainer of the Brainspotting® Inc. She conducts training in Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, Chile, and El Salvador and is a senior trainer for Latin America. She is a Therapeutic Psychodramatist certified by APSE (Asociación de Psicodrama y Sociometría del Ecuador), member of the Faculty (trainer in psychodrama) and former President of APSE. She works with children, adolescents and their families with various difficulties including: autism spectrum, adoption, ADHD, abuse, trauma, personality disorders and violence. Glenda was co-coordinator of the III Ibero-American Congress of EMDR and Psychotrauma. Glenda has conducted EMDR Therapy trainings in Ecuador, Colombia, Chile and was the trainer in charge of Bolivia from 2014-2016. Since 2006, he has taught courses in the Postgraduate programs in Health and Environmental Studies, Education and the Andean Program of Human Rights of the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar – Ecuador.


Back to Our Supervisors

Alejandra Grez Valdes

Alejandra Is originally from Chile, where she completed her Master’s degree in Clinical and Educational Psychology at Pontifical Catholic University in 2005. She has worked in Chile since then as a child clinical psychologist with a specialty in early childhood. From 2013 to 2016 she lived in Miami, Florida; where she studied the Early Childhood Education program at the University of Miami and worked as a teacher assistant. 

She is a Certified Theraplay Practitioner and a Supervisor-in-Training under the supervision of Nicole Charney.

Since 2005 Alejandra has worked as a child therapist – at a school as a counselor and in private practice supporting parents and families with Theraplay. She has worked with both individuals and groups. She has provided courses and workshops for psychologists, teachers, parents and other professionals working with children. She is also part of an investigation group called Cuidemos a Nuestros Niños studying the pandemic impact on Chilean children’s mental health. Alejandra can be reached at [email protected].


Back to Our Trainers

Katherine Vincent Lamb

LPC, MAATC

Katherine Vincent Lamb (she/her) is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Theraplay Practitioner with a degree in Art Therapy and Counseling. Prior to returning to school to pursue clinical training, Katherine worked for over a decade in residential and community-based programs for children and youth, providing case management services and later co-directing an after-school program in a Chicago public elementary school. Katherine is certified in the ARC trauma treatment framework and has experience working with children who have experienced personal and communal traumatic events. She supports children and adolescents navigating issues of identity and self-esteem, adjusting to parental divorce or separation, and developing skills in self-expression and regulation. In her therapeutic work, Katherine combines her understanding of art therapy, play-based approaches and sensory regulation techniques to support clients’ growth. In addition to offering caregiver-child therapy and individual art therapy for children and adolescents, Katherine provides support for parents and caregivers as they identify parenting approaches that align with their own strengths, values and goals.


Back to Our Trainers

Sivan Hartman

Psy.D

Sivan is a is a Certified Theraplay® Practitioner, Trainer, and Supervisor.

She is a licensed educational psychologist in Israel with more than 12 years of experience.  

Sivan spent a few years in Evanston, IL, where she trained in Theraplay and studied it deeply. 

Starting in 2018, Sivan returned to her home country, Israel, and became the Theraplay country leader there. She began to create a Theraplay community by doing trainings, presenting at conferences, and giving short workshops.

Besides Theraplay, she also teaches therapists at “Bar Ilan” university and at “Mifrasim” Institute. 

Sivan has a private clinic focusing on young children, using mainly Theraplay as well as Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP), Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) and combining some mindfulness.

Sivan loves Theraplay and also uses it with her four daughters!


Back to Our Supervisors

Phyllis Strauss

Phyllis Strauss is a Clinical Psychologist, Hypnotherapist, EMDR Consultant and Theraplay Therapist.  She has been living and practicing psychology in the public and private arena in Israel since 1986 and has been part of the Theraplay community since 2001.  She holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Yeshiva University from 1992.  She has been involved with Dafna Lender in Theraplay trainings in Israel from 2008.


Back to Our Trainers

Search for: