Theraplay Board


rana hong2President 
Rana Hong, PhD, LCSW, RPT-S, is a Certified Theraplay® therapist/supervisor/trainer, Certified Parent-Child Interaction therapy® (PCIT) therapist/Level 1 trainer, and Certified Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing® (EMDR) therapist. Rana has specialized in treating children, adolescents, and families with issues of attachment, anxiety, autism, oppositional defiance, and trauma. Recent publications include Facilitating Transformation in Workforce Training: Using Clinical Theory to Understand Psychological Self-Sufficiency (Hong et al., 2018). Becoming a neurobiologically informed play therapist (Hong & Mason, 2016), and Play Therapy with Children and Adolescent in Crisis in Webb, N. (Gilbert & Hong, 2014). Currently, she is associate director/senior research associate at Center for Research on Self-Sufficiency at Loyola University Chicago while running group practice-Playful Healing Center in Des Plaines, IL.


Vice President 
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.

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Chava Alpert, LCSW. Chava has a masters degree in social work and has been in clinical practice for over 20 years. Chava maintains a private practice working with children and families and also serves as a mental health consultant at numerous local early childhood preschools and HeadStart programs. Chava uses TTI's Sunshine Circles at many of her sites and has trained dozens of teacheres in this approach. Chava lives in Evanston with her husband and three children.




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Monique Gougeon has a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work and is a Certified Child Therapist and Play Therapist Supervisor with the Canadian Association of Child and Play Therapy. Monique has extensive experience working with children and families in community agencies and has worked for 20+ years in the field of children’s therapy. She is the co-owner of Alloway Therapy Services in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where she works alongside her talented colleagues. Monique has special interests in supporting children who have experienced loss, developmental trauma, and attachment disruption. Her passion for Theraplay began in 2000, when she completed her MSW clinical practicum. She has since certified as a Theraplay Practitioner, She is also certified in Circle of Security Individual and Group models and has continued to learn, pursuing her certification in EMDR and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy. She regularly facilitates trainings and presentations for caregivers and professionals regarding child trauma and attachment disruption. She is the proud mother of two daughters, 17 and 20 years of age.


Kirsten Cotton, 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.


Profile Photo of Pip McGirlPip McGirl earned her Doctorate in Educational Psychology from the University of Bristol, England. She worked as a specialist educational psychologist in the UK for 10 years before moving to Chicago in August 2010. The focus of Dr. McGirl's work has been on increasing accessibility of mental health services for children and adolescents through the development of community model of mental health delivered in the schools, working in partnership with Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and Social Care. As project manager for the UK government funded Targeted Mental Health for Schools (TaMHS) initiative she developed training in 'Mental Health Skills for Schools' and established a team of school based counselor/therapists and family workers. Dr. McGirl is an advocate of multidisciplinary working and has been involved in a number of projects focused on developing parenting programs and pathways for multidisciplinary, ecological assessment and personalized intervention for children and young people with behavior difficulties arising from complex neuro developmental conditions. She has provided training for schools in cognition and learning, and promotion of social and emotional well-being for pupils with ADHD, ASC, Attachment Disorder, and PDD.

 Dr. McGirl is the lead for Child & Adolescent Concentration in the Counseling. Dr. McGirl completed her Post Doctoral Fellowship with the Department of School Psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, before joining The Counseling Department in 2011.

 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 Vega Economics, a litigation services firm. She lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband and young daughter.  



Mary Ring, MAMFC, MARE, LPC-S, LMFT-S, RPT-s, is a Certified Theraplay Practitioner, Trainer and Supervisor. She received a B.S. in Special Ed. with Emotionally Disturbed Children from University of Houston in 1973. Since 1991 Mary has worked as a marriage and family therapist. She presently serves The Juliana Poor Memorial Counseling Center at Houston's First Baptist Church as clinical coordinator of the family team and guides practicum students, interns and therapists through the process of a structured family treatment program that is based on family relational interaction. The foundation of this work focuses on using Theraplay with a strong emphasis on understanding attachment/trauma needs of each family situation. Mary has trained and supervised therapists domestically and internationally for the purpose of encouraging them to join the international Theraplay community since 2007.


chrisy schmidtChrisy Schmidt, Psy.D, LCP, has spent her career focusing on providing trauma informed care to high-risk populations of children and families, and has worked at non-profits for 16+ years. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Miami University and went on to receive her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Illinois School of Professional Psychology. Since taking her initial Theraplay training in 2003 the ideas and principles of the modality have truly informed all of her clinical and consulting endeavors, whether it be direct work with children and families or agency consulting and training. Her main goal is to continue to help Theraplay grow around the globe, as well as prosper right here in our own community of Illinois and the Chicago-land area. 

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