Advancing the Therapeutic Powers of Play

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Board of Directors

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President: Julie Nash, Ph.D., Registered Play Therapist Supervisor - Dr. Nash is a licensed clinical psychologist and Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor. She obtained her Ph.D. at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey and completed her internship and postdoctoral residency at the Institute of Living in Hartford, Connecticut. Dr. Nash is the author of multiple book chapters on play therapy, with an interest in the development of social skills and using play therapy to treat social skills deficits. She has presented at national and international conferences on play therapy and has been trained in using Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to work with children facing the results of a variety of traumas. The former Foster Care Clinic Coordinator and Training Director of the postdoctoral residency at the Community Health Center, Dr. Nash is now in private practice and teaching graduate level classes in play therapy. Dr. Nash is the owner of Riverside Psychological Associates, LLC in Centerbrook, Connecticut, where she provides individual and family therapy sessions for people across the age range. 

President-Elect and Sparkplugs Coordinator: Jennifer LeFebre, PsyD, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor™ Dr. LeFebre is a clinical psychologist and Registered Play Therapist – Supervisor. She obtained her doctorate at the University of Hartford, and completed her internship and postdoctoral training at the Astor Home for Children. Her clinical and research interests center on the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents, adults and families whose lives have been impacted by complex trauma. She has extensive experience working with young children (0-5), adult survivors of severe childhood abuse and neglect, first responders, and combat veterans. Dr. Lefebre is the clinical director at Healing the Child Within, a holistic trauma center in New Hartford, Connecticut which integrates psychotherapy, play therapy, sensory strategies, and yoga into the treatment of complex trauma. 

Secretary: Joyce Stratton, M.Ed., MS, LCMHC, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor - Joyce is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor and Registered Play Therapist - Supervisor. She specializes in working with children and adolescents with complicated profiles. She is trained in integrating play therapy with evidence based approaches such as Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Child Parent Psychotherapy and EMDR. Joyce received her Masters of Special Education from Plymouth State University and her Masters of Science in Community Mental Health from The Southern New Hampshire University. In addition to being a LCMHC, Joyce also is Certified in Special Education and School Counseling by the New Hampshire Department of Education. 

Treasurer: Mary Anne Peabody, Ed.D., LCSW, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor - Dr. Peabody is currently an Assistant Professor in the School and Behavioral Sciences Department for the University of Southern Maine, a licensed clinical social worker, and a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor. She has provided play therapy or play-based interventions across a number of contexts including: public elementary schools, children's hospitals, nonprofits, and as a consultant in private practice. She has served as Chair of the Association for Play Therapy and currently serves on the APT Foundation for Play Therapy Board. Mary Anne is a graduate of APT's first Leadership Academy group and remains active in APT, participating in committee work and presenting at national and international conferences. Regionally, she was a co-founding member of the APT Maine branch, serving twice as branch president, and helped to co-create the initial play therapy courses at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. Her scholarly publications consist of several articles in the International Journal of Play Therapy and a number of chapters in play therapy texts. Additionally, she is the creator of several therapeutic board games and her most recent interest is as a certified Lego® Serious Play® facilitator which she utilizes in play therapy supervision, consulting with corporate partners and in her research. Mary Anne teaches undergraduate courses that focus on children and families that combine play studies with interpersonal neurobiology and is an active community partner serving in various roles with her local Head Start.

Conference Coordinator: Woody Belt, MA, School Based-Registered Play Therapist - Working with over 250 Pk-6th grade students in a Northern Vermont elementary school, Woody Belt’s title is that of School Counselor. Recognizing the mental health needs of his students and the lack of resources for students and families, he worked toward and became the first School Based Registered Play Therapist in Vermont. Prior to his present position, Woody has worked in a variety of fields such as adventure education and therapeutic wilderness before determining work in a school setting was a good fit, at least for now. He can be heard saying he still does not know what he wants to be when he grows up. When not in the school setting, Woody loves to spend time with his partner and their child engaged in all sorts of travel and outdoor adventures. It is family that keeps him grounded.

Gabrielle Dworkin, M.Ed., LMHC, CSC, CLS, Registered Play Therapist™ - Gabrielle is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Registered Play Therapist in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and has a passion for PLAY! She currently works in two group private practices, seeing children ages 2-12, and hopes to have her own practice one day. She is a member of RIMHCA and MaMHCA and has worked in schools, community mental health centers, hospitals, camps, hospices and theater programs. She has participated in a bereavement camp, led a teen grief group and Expressive Arts groups. She volunteers with Hope Hospice & Palliative Care and the Alzheimer's Association. Gabbi searches for creative inspiration on Pinterest and TeachersPayTeachers. She is a native New Yorker who enjoys performing in community theater in her spare time, as well as game nights and trivia with friends.

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New England Association for Play Therapy is a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization. 

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