Speakers

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Rachel Altvater

Rachel A. Altvater, PsyD, LCPC, RPT, is a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed clinical professional counselor, registered play therapist, and certified clinical trauma professional. She is a clinician at the Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education in Fairfax, VA and at The Wake Kendall Group in Washington, DC. Rachel has worked with children, adolescents, adults, and families presenting with a wide range of emotional, behavioral, academic, and relational concerns. She completed her dissertation research on technology and play therapy, published two articles on her research in the International Journal of Play Therapy, and has presented in state and national forums. Rachel is a board member and the outreach coordinator for the MD/DC Assn for Play Therapy and serves on the Assn for Play Therapy Leadership Committee.

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Leslie Baker

Leslie Baker, MA, MFT, NCC, has over 25 years of experience as a licensed marriage and family therapist and a national certified counselor. She is the director/owner of the Therapy2Thrive: Ruby Hill Counseling Center in Pleasanton, CA, which provides community counseling services. Leslie is a certified Gottman therapist and integrates play with all ages. She is also a faculty member in the College of Social Sciences for the master's in counseling program at the University of Phoenix, Bay Area. Leslie is the author of Healing Feelings: A Healing Story for Children Coping with a Grownup's Mental Illness and an experienced workshop facilitator.

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Laura Bauder

Laura Bauder, BA, obtained her bachelor's from Cedar Crest College. She’s worked as a freelance artist and workshop facilitator since 2014, facilitating paper-making and bookmaking workshops for individuals, small groups, events, and retreats throughout the Lehigh Valley and Pocono regions in PA. Laura is currently studying art therapy and counseling at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. She has volunteered with the Expressive Therapies Summit since 2013, recently taking on the role of social media coordinator. In 2016, Laura completed her first internship at ArtZ, an art therapy open studio in Quakertown, PA.

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Heather Bryan

Heather McTaggart Bryan, RPT, LPC, a partner at Gil Institute, has worked over the past 20 years in the field of child abuse and neglect in a variety of settings. She provides trainings in complex trauma, cyberbullying, and working with sexually exploited youth. Heather also coordinates closely with schools to enhance children’s learning experiences, especially those with special needs. She has worked with adult and youth sex offenders, and has specialized training in working with very young children with sexual behavior problems. Co-author of a chapter in Play Therapy: A Comprehensive Guide to Theory and Practice, she has also received Level 1 Theraplay training.

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Angela Cavett

Angela Cavett, PhD, is a licensed psychologist who provides assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of children, adolescents, and families. She earned her master's from St. Mary's University and doctorate from the Univ. of North Dakota, and completed a child clinical psychology internship at the Astor Home for Children. Angela is the owner/director of Chrysalis Behavioral Health Services and Training Center. Her work focuses on mood disorders, such as depression, anxiety, abuse/trauma issues, attachment, behavioral problems, and pervasive developmental disorders. Angela is a registered play therapist-supervisor. She has presented internationally on child psychopathology, development, and treatment. Angela is the author of numerous chapters and the book Structured Play-Based Interventions for Engaging Children and Adolescents in Therapy.

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Kimberly Cosgrove

Kim Cosgrove, LCSW-C, is the director of PACT’s Therapeutic Nursery for Homeless Babies, and has been instrumental in developing an attachment-based therapeutic child care program for very young homeless children and their families. She is a home visitor, family therapist, and trainer in attachment and infant mental health.

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Janet Courtney

Janet Courtney, PhD, RPT-S, LCSW, is founder of FirstPlay Therapy® and director of Developmental Play & Attachment Therapies, Inc. She is an adjunct professor at Barry University, a TEDx speaker, chair of the APT ethics and practice committee, former president of the Florida Association for Play Therapy, and serves as chair of the Viola Brody award committee. Janet is author and co-editor of Touch in Child Counseling and Play Therapy: An Ethical and Clinical Guide. She specializes in the clinical and ethical competencies of touch, infant play therapy/mental health, attachment in trauma treatment, and ecopsychology play therapy. Janet offers a certification to practitioners in FirstPlay® Infant Storytelling Massage and Kinesthetic Storytelling®.

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David Crenshaw

David A. Crenshaw, PhD, ABPP, RPT-S, is the clinical director of the Children's Home of Poughkeepsie and an adjunct faculty member of Marist College. He is past president of the NY Association for Play Therapy, past president of the Hudson Valley Psychological Association, a board-certified clinical psychologist, and a fellow of APA. David is the author/editor of many books on play therapy, child trauma, and aggression in children, including: Play Therapy: A Comprehensive Guide to Theory and Practice (w/ Anne Stewart); co-author of Termination Challenges in Child Psychotherapy (w/ Eliana Gil); and co-editor of What to do when Children Clam-Up in Psychotherapy (w/ Cathy Malchiodi).

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Mary Ruth Cross

Mary Ruth Cross, MS, MFT, NCC, RPT-S, is a marriage and family therapist and registered play therapist supervisor with over 20 years of experience. She is the director and owner of Treehouse Counseling Services in San Ramon, CA. Mary Ruth provides play therapy training and counseling to her staff and clients. She is co-owner of Connecting to Play Therapy, a training program that helps mental health professionals attain the necessary training to become registered play therapists. Mary Ruth is faculty in the masters of counseling program at the University of Phoenix, Bay Area Campus.

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Teresa Dias
Teresa Dias, MA, is a counselor at Eliot Community Human Services, where she sees at-risk children, teens, and their families. She has her master’s in drama therapy from Lesley University. Teresa has spent over 20 years performing in the U.S. and abroad, including the True Story Theatre, a playback theater in Boston, MA. She co-authored a chapter on the integration of play and drama therapy in a book by Malchiodi and Crenshaw entitled, The Expressive Arts to Promote Attachment. Teresa has presented at several play therapy conferences on the topic of drama therapy and attachment. She is a certified parent educator for the Circle of Security Parenting course and has received advanced education in the field of play, art, and sand therapies.
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Andrea Driggs-McLeod

Andrea Driggs McLeod, RPT-S, LCSW, is a psychotherapist at Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education in Fairfax, VA. She earned her master's in clinical social work from the University of Maryland at Baltimore. Andrea is certified as a child-centered play therapist through the National Institute for Relationship Enhancement, and is a registered play therapy supervisor. She has training in Theraplay, filial therapy, and has also completed extensive training in cognitive behavioral therapy. Andrea works with very young children, elementary school aged children, and teenagers.

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Eliana Gil

Eliana Gil, PhD, ATR, RPT-S, LMFT, is a registered play therapy supervisor, a registered art therapist, and a licensed marriage, family, child counselor. She is former president of the Association for Play Therapy and has worked in the field of child abuse prevention and treatment for over 40 years. Founder and partner at Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education, a group private practice in Fairfax, VA, she was adjunct faculty at Virginia Tech University for over 15 years. Bilingual and bicultural, originally from Ecuador, she has authored numerous books.

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Myriam Goldin

Myriam Goldin, RPT-S, LCSW, certified Theraplay clinician and supervisor, has been in private practice since 2007 and is a founding partner of the Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education in Fairfax, VA. She has spent over 16 years working clinically with bilingual and bicultural children and youth experiencing trauma and educational challenges. Myriam is well versed in attachment-based modalities and incorporates Theraplay and Circle of Security in her clinical practice. She has presented on trauma and its impact in national and international forums. Myriam has contributed writing to two books on play therapy.

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Paris Goodyear-Brown

Paris Goodyear-Brown, RPT-S, LCSW, has 20 years of experience in treating traumatized and attachment disturbed children and families. She is the clinical director of Nurture House, the executive director of the Lipscomb Play Therapy and Expressive Arts Center, and an adjunct instructor of psychiatric mental health at Vanderbilt University. Paris trains therapists, teachers, and parents of vulnerable children worldwide. She has developed several clinically sound, play-based intervention models to treat a variety of childhood problems and provides supervision and consultation to individuals, groups, and organizations. Paris is the author of multiple books, chapters and articles related to child therapy. Her newest books include A Safe Circle for Little U, Tackling Touchy Subjects, Handbook of Child Sexual Abuse, and Play Therapy with Traumatized Children: A Prescriptive Approach.

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Robert Jason Grant

Robert Grant, EdD, RPT-S, is a licensed professional counselor, national certified counselor, registered play therapist supervisor, and certified Autism specialist. He operates the AutPlay Therapy Clinic in Springfield, MO, and specializes in working with children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Robert has authored several publications and has written five books about play therapy, Autism, and ADHD, including AutPlay® Therapy for Children and Adolescents Affected by Autism.

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Ping Ho

Ping Ho, MA, MPH, is founder/director of UCLArts and Healing - an organizational member of the UCLA Collaborative Centers for Integrative Medicine, of which Ping was founding administrator and is a steering committee member. She was also founding administrator for the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology. Ping has a bachelor's in psychology from Stanford, a master's in counseling psychology from the Univ. of CA, Santa Barbara, and an MPH in community health sciences from UCLA School of Public Health. She is on the Council of Advisers for the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health. uclartsandhealing.org

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Eleanor Irwin

Ellie Irwin, PhD, RDT, TEP, began her career as a drama therapist at the Pittsburgh Child Guidance Center. Currently in private practice, she teaches, supervises, and consults with play and arts therapists, as well as residents, in psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, where she is a clinical assistant professor. A registered drama therapist, licensed psychologist, and certified as a Trainer, Educator and Practitioner in psychodrama, Ellie helped co-found the North American Drama Therapy Association. She is a certified child and adult training and supervising analyst at the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Center, where she served as a past-president. Ellie has taught numerous clinical courses, made films about the creative arts, and has written extensively about aspects of theory and practice in treatment. With Judy Rubin, she co-founded Expressive Media in 1985.

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Mindy Jacobson-Levy

Mindy Jacobson-Levy, MCAT, ATR-BC, DVATA HLM, LPC, is a board-certified, registered art psychotherapist, and licensed professional counselor specializing in treating trauma and eating disorders. She is in private practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Mindy supervises graduate art therapy students and professional art therapists. She has numerous publications including Finding Your Voice through Creativity: The Art and Journaling Workbook for Disordered Eating, Guidelines for Treating Dissociative Identity Disorder in Adults, and articles in Art Therapy.

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Jason Jedrusiak

Jason Jedrusiak, CYT, has been leading laughter yoga sessions in the Boston area since 2010, which he founded through his training in yoga, improv, and therapeutic clowning. He’s spread the laughter to local organizations and institutions, including Harvard University and NUPath, where he's laughed with people living with developmental and neurological disorders. Jason directs Laughing Matters, a nonprofit that brings laughter and improv comedy to retirement homes, homeless shelters, and places in need of the healing effects of laughter.

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Heidi Kaduson
Heidi G. Kaduson, PhD, RPT-S, is a licensed clinical psychologist in New York and New Jersey, registered play therapy supervisor, and director of The Play Therapy Training Institute, Inc. She is also former president of the Association for Play Therapy and served on its Board of Directors. Heidi has trained and supervised play therapists around the globe, and opened the first play therapy clinic in Kuwait (1993) and China (2018). An adjunct professor of play therapy at Fairleigh Dickinson University, New Jersey, Heidi has maintained a private practice for over 25 years and has edited and authored numerous books and DVDs. She specializes in the evaluation and treatment of children with psychological difficulties, and has created many techniques for use with children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and other learning disabilities.
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Peggy Kolodny

Peggy Kolodny, MA, ATR-BC, LCPAT, earned her master’s in art therapy from GWU. She has earned Level 2 certificates in EMDR and IFS. Specializing in trauma-focused art therapy in private practice, she is adjunct faculty for the University of Maryland School of Social Work, and the workshop faculties of the Ferentz Institute trauma certificate program and Chesapeake Professional Seminars. Past positions include vice president of the Maryland Chapter of the American Professional Society on Abuse of Children, chairperson of the Central Maryland Sexual Abuse Treatment Task Force, and president of the Maryland Art Therapy Association. Past faculties include Goucher College and the Maryland Institute College of Art.

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Jennifer LeFebre

Jennifer Lefebre, PsyD, RPT-S, is a licensed child psychologist, registered play therapist-supervisor, and adjunct faculty at several universities, where she teaches and serves as a supervisor. She is a certified TF-CBT therapist, and is completing EMDR certification. Jennifer has over 15 years' experience with trauma, attachment, and neurodevelopmental disorders. She is also a Reiki Master and a trauma-sensitive yoga instructor.

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Carole Norris-Shortle

Carole Norris-Shortle, RPT-S, LCSW-C, LCMFT, is a faculty member of the Secure Starts: Center for Infant Study at the University of Maryland Psychiatry Department, the senior mental health consultant at PACT Therapeutic Nursery for Homeless Babies and their Families, a licensed family therapist, and a registered play therapist-supervisor.

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Sarah Pitkin

Sarah Pitkin, ATR-BC, MAC, CSAC, LCPAT, received her master's of fine art in painting and her master's in art therapy from GWU. For 10 years, she has used art and art therapy with children coping with chronic medical conditions, such as autism spectrum disorders, Tourette's syndrome, neurofibromatosis, and epilepsy. Sarah has worked with active duty military personnel suffering from traumatic brain injury and PTSD. She has also worked with adolescents and adults recovering from substance abuse disorders, as a certified substance abuse counselor. Sarah currently works at Turning Point Wellness Center, and has helped expand the Center's services in order to bring art therapy and substance abuse treatment to individuals struggling with opioid and other addictions.

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Dee Preston-Dillon

Dee Preston-Dillon, MA, PhD, founder of the Center for Culture and Sandplay, has committed four decades to clinician education and the projective process of sand therapy. Her research into cross-cultural, indigenous aspects of Jungian Sandplay anchored her development of Narrative Sand Therapy. Dee has presented at over 40 conferences on symbols in sand, including theory, ethics, and clinical practice. Her current study maps an existential landscape in sand therapy. In collaboration with College Park Youth Services, Dee designed a certificate program that supports clinician immersion in sand scenes and case exploration to deepen insights and extend therapists' capacity to resonate with client representations in sand. She is on the graduate counseling faculty at GWU and Johns Hopkins University, the art therapy program at GWU, and the Ferentz Institute.

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Deborah Ross

Deborah Ross, CJT, LPC, has had a psychotherapy practice in Northern Virginia for 20 years. She studied interpersonal neurobiology at the Mindsight Institute with Dan Siegel. Deborah recognizes the healing power of expressive writing and believes that this practice can change the way our brains work so that we experience a deeper sense of well-being and greater resilience. She is credentialed as a certified journal therapist through the Therapeutic Writing Institute. Deborah offers journaling instruction through workshops and private consultation.

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Judy Rubin

Judy Rubin, PhD, ATR-BC, HLM, began her career as an art teacher and has done art therapy for over 50 years. A licensed psychologist and board-certified art therapist, she is on the faculties of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Center. An art major at Wellesley College, Judy earned a master’s degree at Harvard, a PhD at the University of Pittsburgh, and completed training in Adult and Child Analysis at the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Institute. She is a past president and honorary life member of the American Art Therapy Association. Judy was also the Art Lady for the first three years of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” on public television. Author of six books and creator of 13 films, she is currently developing a Training Film Library through Expressive Media, which she co-founded with Ellie Irwin in 1985.

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Lisa Saldaña

Lisa Saldaña, MS, is a licensed mental health counselor and a registered play therapist-supervisor in Miami. She has provided therapy to children, adolescents, and families since 1989, and she’s been teaching and providing play therapy consultation and supervision since 1994. Past president of the Florida Association for Play Therapy, as well as past president of the Association for Play Therapy, Lisa served on the APT board, 2002-2007. After many years working in community mental health and at a large children’s mental health agency, she retired at the end of 2017. Lisa still provides training to community agencies in South Florida and maintains a small practice working with children, adolescents, and adults who have experienced trauma and loss.

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Jennifer Shaw

Jennifer Shaw, PsyD, RPT-S, is a clinical psychologist and a founding partner at the Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education. She treats children/adolescents with a history of trauma. Jennifer specializes in children with sexual behavior problems, using a family-focused approach. She co-created the manual (w/ Eliana Gil), Assessment of Sexual Behavior Problems in Children, and a 12-session treatment protocol, Boundary Project, a family-focused, evidence-informed treatment approach for children with sexual behavior problems. Additional collaborations include A Kid’s Book About Private Parts, Touching, Touching Problems, and Other Stuff, and Working with Children with Sexual Behavior Problems. She provides workshops on a variety of topics related to childhood trauma, abuse, and the use of expressive arts in treatment with children and families.

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Quinn Smelser

Quinn K. Smelser, MA, NCC, RPT, LPC, is a doctoral candidate in counseling at GWU and licensed counselor in Texas, DC, and Virginia. She earned her master’s in counseling from Texas State Univ. and her bachelor's in psychology from UT-Austin. Quinn has worked with children and families who experienced trauma, grief, and loss. She is a therapist at The Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education, supervises master’s level clinicians, and is an instructor at GWU. Past work experience includes working in residential treatment, hospice, and home-based therapy in rural Texas. She is a member of the American Counseling Association and the Association for Play Therapy.

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Sharon Strouse

Sharon Strouse, MA, ATR-BC, LCPAT, is a board-certified and licensed clinical professional art therapist with 30 years' experience with adults in group and individual settings. A year after her 17-year old daughter Kristin ended her own life, she immersed herself in the creative process of collage, which became the foundation for her book, Artful Grief: A Diary of Healing. Additional published works in Neimeyer’s Techniques of Grief Therapy: Creative Practices for Counseling the Bereaved and Thompson and Neimeyer’s Grief and the Expressive Arts: Practices for Creating Meaning. Sharon leads national workshops and art therapy circles for survivors of loss.

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Susan Taylor

Susan Taylor, CMA, LCSW-C, RPT-S, implements mindfulness and movement approaches in trauma-informed, body-based and talk therapies at PACT’s Therapeutic Nursery and The Women’s Growth Center in Baltimore. She has taught parent-child attunement, attachment, and education, using multiple modalities across a wide variety of populations and settings. A certified movement analyst, Susan has taught clients, clinicians, actors, elders, families, scholars, individuals, dyads, and groups across the nation using music, movement, rhythm, and humor. With specialized expertise in LGBTQ issues and undoing racism, she has published on subjects including parent-child attachment, mindfulness, and the use of movement with adolescents.

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Risë VanFleet

Risë VanFleet, PhD, RPT-S, CDBC, is a licensed psychologist, registered play therapist-supervisor, and certified dog behavior consultant. She is the president of the Family Enhancement & Play Therapy Center and founder of its Playful Pooch Program in Boiling Springs, PA. Internationally known for her conference presentations, intensive workshops, many books, articles and DVDs about filial therapy, play therapy, and trauma, Risë has been involved for the past decade in the development, research, and professional training and supervision in the field of Animal Assisted Play Therapy™. She has over 45 years of experience in a variety of settings, and she has worked extensively with traumatized and attachment-disrupted children and their parents/caregivers.

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Sarah Vollmann

Sarah Vollmann, MPS, ATR-BC, LICSW, is a licensed clinical social worker and a board-certified art therapist. She earned her master's in art therapy from Pratt Institute and her master's in social work from Columbia University. Sarah works with adolescents at Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, MA, and with bereaved patients in her private practice. Her 20 years of experience have spanned a variety of settings, including a pediatric medical hospital, a residential treatment facility, and a mental health clinic. Sarah worked with 9/11 families, has published on grief and loss, and has presented on art therapy, grief, and bereavement.

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