The Association for Play Therapy MD/DC Branch
About The Association for Play Therapy MD/DC Branch
The MD/DC APT Branch has been in existence since 1994, connecting new and established play therapists from a wide array of mental health disciplines with high-quality training and a community of practitioners and researchers dedicated to improving the lives of children and their families through play therapy.
The Association for Play Therapy MD/DC Branch Board is comprised of the following positions and Board Members...
Interested in learning more or joining the board?
Rachel Altvater, Psy.D., RPT-S is the owner of Creative Psychological Health Services, a psychologist at Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education, an affiliate faculty member at Loyola University Maryland, and the Continuing Education Director of Starbright Training Institute. She is the recipient of the 2019 Emerging Leader Service Award from the Association for Play Therapy and the 2018 Outstanding Play Therapy Research Award from the Maryland/DC Association for Play Therapy. Rachel is passionate about spreading awareness and knowledge about play therapy.
Immediate Past President
Niki Picogna, LCPC, RPT-S is a licensed clinical professional counselor, board approved supervisor, and a registered play therapist supervisor in private practice in downtown Bethesda. She has been practicing since 2008 after graduating from Johns Hopkins University's clinical community counseling program. She managed a child and adolescent program, as well as her own private practice in Baltimore, MD. She worked with individuals, families, and supervisees in the hospital, intensive outpatient, in-home, schools, clinic, and in group practice settings. Having a flare for the arts and sports, Niki loves to incorporate right/left brain interventions in her creative therapeutic interventions. She is certified in EMDR and incorporates play with her child clients. In her free time, she enjoys traveling internationally; exploring and teaching some of wonderful play therapy skills she has learned, as well as learning new techniques from mental health professionals from different cultures.
Mimi Ryans, LCSW-C, RPT-S, CCPT is the Owner/Therapist at Lighthouse Center for Therapy & Play. For the past decade, she provides quality mental health services to children and families either experiencing mental health crises and needs. In the last few years, her focus on trauma when addressing children’s mental health needs is imperative to their healing and treatment. Mimi has presented trainings on Introduction of Play Therapy and Trauma, Play Therapy with Children & Adolescents. Mimi is a wife and mom of three. She enjoys reading and traveling with her family.
Lora Wolz, LCSW-C, RP started her journey towards becoming a RPT in 2014. Lora attended her first APT Conference in 2015 in Atlanta, GA allowing her the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge in various play therapy modalities. Lora thrives off of opportunities that allow her to expand her knowledge in helping children, implementing new play therapy techniques, and watching her patients grow and heal through the art of play. Lora received her Masters in Social Work at Salisbury University in 2013 and is currently working as a child and adolescent psychotherapist in Baltimore County.
Julianne Meagher, LCSW-C, RPT, was first introduced to play therapy at College Park Youth and Family Services. She completed her masters degree in social work at the Catholic University of America in 2008 and has since practiced play therapy in the therapeutic foster care and outpatient mental health settings. She previously worked as a clinic and school-based therapist, as well as a clinical supervisor in a public outpatient clinic in Dundalk. She currently works in a public mental health clinic in Anne Arundel County.
Jenny Fleming, NCC, RPT-S, LCPC, is a Professional School Counselor in Montgomery County Public Schools and works at a Private Practice in Bethesda, MD. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a school counseling masters and post masters in play therapy. Jenny is Advanced Sand Tray trained. Jenny is enthusiastic about her craft as a means to support children and always motivated to learn more.
Student Board Member
Victoria Rizzuto, MS, is a Clinical Psychology doctoral student at Loyola University Maryland. Her clinical interests include the preschool population, child-centered play therapy, trauma-informed care, technology’s impact on child development, and working with underserved populations. Victoria is eager to support the branch in spreading awareness about play therapy, aiding in planning community outreach events for undergraduate and graduate students, and growing personally and professionally.
Eastern Shore Rep
Mary Harris, LCSW-C, RPT-S is a licensed clinical social worker and registered play therapist supervisor. She began her clinical experience in the Philadelphia area working in child welfare and behavioral health services. She received her Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work and Play Therapy from Temple University. Mary has been on the Eastern Shore of Maryland since 2016 and works as an outpatient therapist at a local health center with a focus on trauma and attachment issues. She is also trained and working towards certification in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. Mary has a heart for growing the play therapy field on the Eastern Shore, and is happy and excited to be part of the Maryland/DC community.
Outreach and Training Coordinator
Quinn Smelser, M.A., NCC, LPC, RPT is a doctoral candidate in counseling at The George Washington University and licensed professional counselor with specialized play therapy and trauma training. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and her Master’s Degree in Counseling from Texas State University. Clinically, Quinn’s primary background consists of work in grief and loss and trauma treatment for children and adolescents. She has worked in residential treatment, with military families, with at-risk youth in rural Texas, and with youth and families who were experiencing traumatic grief and loss as well as clients in care of hospice. She has had the honor of being supervised by Dr. Eliana Gil, Dr. Linda Homeyer, Dr. Mary Morrison-Bennett, and Dr. Elizabeth Kjellstrand-Hartwig.
Quinn is a Clinical Instructor at Loyola University Maryland where she teaches school counseling students and will begin offering play therapy courses and training. She is a member of the American Counseling Association, the Association for Play Therapy, Chi Sigma Iota, and a volunteer with the Human Rights Campaign and The Trevor Project.
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