Meet Our Faculty & Administrators

Dennis Wonders, BS, MBA


After 20 years serving his country in the US Navy as a helicopter pilot and then 10  years serving his community as a high school Navy JROTC instructor, Mr. Wonders went on to obtain his MBA degree during the COVID19 pandemic and now serves as the CEO of Mindfulness-based Therapy Training Institute®. Dennis oversees and manages all training institute operations. He also works as an Emergency Medical Services helicopter pilot.

Lynn Louise Wonders, MA, LPC, CPCS, RPT-S™

Founder, Director, and Faculty Chair 

Ms. Wonders has over 30 years of experience teaching mindfulness-based classes as an instructor of meditation, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, and over 20 years as a mental health professional providing counseling to children, families, couples and adults with expertise in human development and relationships. She has been providing play therapy, ethics, and family counseling continuing education, supervision, consultation, and professional mentoring for mental health professionals since 2010. Ms. Wonders is a certified yoga and meditation instructor, certified Synergetic Play Therapist®, a certified AutPlay® Therapist, and a certified Pure Presence® Practitioner. She is a Gottman Institute trained relationship therapist as well. Ms. Wonders is the published author of numerous books, chapters, and professional articles and has co-edited two academic books that support child and family mental health professionals. -

Dr. Janet Courtney, PhD, LCSW, RPT-S™

Advisory Board Chair & Instructor 

Dr. Courtney is the founder of FirstPlay® Therapy and a TEDx Speaker. Since 1997, she has been an Adjunct Professor at Barry University and is the author of multiple books and academic articles. She believes in the power of nature, therapeutic storytelling, and nurturing touch interactions to support healthy growth and development. She is an internationally recognized play therapist and has been invited to speak on the topics of infant and childhood play therapy across the U.S. in Bali, Indonesia, England, Ireland, Morocco, Russia, Ukraine, the Cayman Islands, China, and Africa. Dr. Courtney contributes her expertise to mindfulness-based training courses for child and family therapists working with children for Mindfulness-based Therapy Training Institute®.

Dr. Sarah Harris, LMFT-S, BC-TMH

Advisory Board Member & Instructor 

Sarah Harris is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in NC, GA, and UT. She is a Board Certified Telemental Health Provider (BC-TMH), AAMFT Clinical Fellow,  AAMFT Approved Supervisor and Mentor. She is trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC). Sarah has also co-facilitated a workshop on Mindfulness & Yoga in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), teaching about the use of mindfulness concepts in an EFT approach. She is currently a PhD candidate in Business Psychology where her dissertation study is focused on how Black Leaders conceptualize and implement Self-Compassion in the workplace. Sarah owns a multi-state Group Private Practice with a mission to help make therapy more accessible to marginalized populations, as well as to destigmatize the negative stereotypes that many have about therapy. She is also a writer on mental and behavioral health topics for an online publication

Batsheva (Beth) Hartstein, LCSW, RPT-S™

Social Worker Continuing Education Program Administrator Advisory Board Member

Ms. Hartstein is a licensed clinical social worker, play therapist, and certified FirstPlay Therapist in private practice in Pikesville, Maryland, where she has a reputation for having great success with hard-to-reach children and parents. She has successfully connected with and helped hundreds of families. Ms. Hartstein's work often includes the parents so they are an active part of the process and practice new connection skills to apply at home. Her therapy groups are another creative and popular aspect of her clinical services. She provides continuing education training, consultation, and supervision for clinicians, and oversees the quality assurance of continuing education for social workers at Mindfulness-based Therapy Training Institute®.

Dr. Rosalind Heiko, PhD, RPT-S™

Psychologist Continuing Education Program Administrator,  Instructor & Advisory Board Member 

Dr. Heiko is a psychologist and registered play therapist-supervisor; a Sandplay teacher with the International Society of Sandplay Therapists (ISST) and the Sandplay Therapists of America (STA); and also holds national certification in school psychology. She trains therapists nationally and internationally. Dr. Heiko is an Executive Board Member of the World Association of Sand Therapy Professionals, and has been an Executive Board member of STA. She has worked clinically with children and families for over 35 years. She has edited and published chapters in multiple books as well as being an author of several articles in the Journal of Sandplay Therapy and her own book A Therapist’s Guide to Mapping the Girl Heroine’s Journey in Sandplay.

Rose LaPiere, LPC, ACS, RPT-S™

Counselor Continuing Education Program Administrator, Instructor, & Advisory Board Member

Ms. LaPiere has a MA degree in counseling psychology. She worked as a certified school psychologist for seven years before going into private practice where she has been providing clinical services for children and families grounded in the therapeutic powers of play, neuroscience, attachment theory, mindfulness, contextual family therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. She is a Synergetic Play Therapist Supervisor, a published author and co-editor of an academic book supporting child and family mental health professionals. Ms. LaPiere oversees the quality assurance of continuing education for counselors at Mindfulness-based Therapy Training Institute®.

Dr. Rachel Altvater, Psy.D, RPT-S


Dr. Rachel Altvater (Psy.D., RPT-S™) is an award-winning, pioneering expert, leader, researcher, international trainer, author, and supervisor in the field of play therapy. She is a Licensed Psychologist in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia, and she holds national certifications as a Registered Play Therapist–Supervisor™ and Certified Clinical Trauma Professional. She is the owner of Creative Psychological Health Services, co-owner of North Star Creations, past president of the Maryland/DC Association for Play Therapy, editorial advisory board member for the International Journal of Play Therapy®, and clinical consultant for Hopscotch. Dr. Altvater authored the book Perspective: Contemplating the Complexities of Our Realities, published her research in the International Journal of Play Therapy on technology use in play therapy, and is a contributing author in numerous scholarly texts on implementing digital technologies in play therapy practice.

Heather Fairlee Denbrough, LCSW, RPT-S, CSPT-S


Heather FD [she/her/hers] is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor, and Certified Synergetic Play Therapy Supervisor. She has worked for 14 years in community mental health at Children’s Center in Vancouver, Washington, where she is currently on the leadership team, a member of the DEE team, and a clinical supervisor. Heather also provides play therapy to children ages 2-13 and their families. Heather’s specialty areas include aggression, developmental trauma, attachment issues, suicidal ideation in young children, and creating deep connections with parents through playful, expressive, and creative modalities. Through Playful Integration, Heather offers play therapy case consultation and teaches workshops for play therapists and others who benefit from education with a play therapy lens.

Katiuscia Gray, LCSW, CCATP-CA, CYT-500


Ms. Gray is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, registered and certified yoga teacher (500hrs), a certified clinical child and adolescent anxiety and treatment professional (CCATP-CA), a trauma therapist, somatic psychotherapist, and and IFS level 1 trained therapist. She is the owner of Mind Meets Movement Counseling Services, an integrative health practice in Lynbrook, New York that focuses on individuals, children, families, adolescents, young adults and adults. She and her team utilize unique and creative methods to help clients get the most out of their sessions, linking mind and body in the process.

Cary Hamilton, LMHC-S, CMHS, RPT-S™, CDWF™


Ms. Hamilton is Licensed Mental Health Counselor- Supervisor, Child Mental Health Specialist, Registered Play Therapy Supervisor, Certified Daring Way Facilitator™. Cary is the Director of Play Therapy at Antioch University Seattle, Owner of a Group Practice Clinic, Olympia Therapy, and Past-President of the Washington Association for Play Therapy 2022-23 and 2015-16. She is a published author and international presenter on the topics of Play Therapy Theory, Skills & Methods, Trauma, Neurodiversity, Sensory Sensitivities, and Play Therapy.

Joelle Harrison, LPCC, RPT-S™

Joelle Harrison is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in the state of New Mexico and is also a Registered Play Therapist/Supervisor. She is the owner of Giving Tree Counseling, LLC and has been practicing child therapy for over 25 years in the Albuquerque community in multiple settings including outpatient, partial treatment, residential treatment, and inpatient hospital environments. She holds an advanced certification in Mindfulness-Based Play-Family Therapy and specializes in working with children ages 3 – 11. Joelle currently uses play therapy, therapeutic art activities, sand tray therapy, and parent education in her work with children. Joelle has also published two Children’s books – Simon Slows Down and Nola, the Nightmare Warrior.

Dr. Jennifer Hayes, PhD, LMFT, RPT-S™


Dr. Hayes is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in KY, TN, and FL. She is an AAMFT Approved Supervisor and a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor. As a neurodivergent provider Dr. Hayes works also with other neurodivergent families.  She holds a PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy with a specialization in child and adolescent therapy. Dr. Hayes is an AAMFT Clinical Fellow, an AAMFT Approved Supervisor and an Assistant Professor of Psychology at UMass Global. She maintains a telehealth practice predominantly serving rural Kentucky. She currently serves as Research Chair on the AAMFT Kentucky FamilyTEAM.

Dr. Matt Hersh, Ph.D, DCEP


Dr. Matt Hersh is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in the Boston area. He integrates mindfulness, self-compassion, values work, and Energy Psychology into his therapeutic work for teens and adults. Matt is a diplomate of Comprehensive Energy Psychology, a certified teacher for the Mindfulness Institute for Emerging Adults, a YogaBody® Certified BreathWork coach, and a consultant presenter for the Massachusetts Partnerships for Youth. Matt is the founder of The Thriving Therapist, an online resource for mental health practitioners’ self-care support and burnout prevention. From this platform, he has created courses and given talks on self-care to both practicing clinicians and mental health professional trainees. Matt is the author of a recently published book, The Thriving Therapist, that aims to promote sustainable self-care for psychotherapists. He was the 2023 recipient of the Mid-Career Practitioner award through APA’s Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy.

Susan Kerley, LPC, RPT-S™, CPCS, NCC


Ms. Kerley is a licensed professional counselor, registered play therapy-supervisor, certified professional counselor supervisor, a nationally certified counselor and a certified AutPlay© therapist. She is the Owner of Marietta Counseling for Children and Adults in Georgia where she leads a team of professionals dedicated to supporting clients of all ages in her community. Ms. Kerley has maintained a commitment to studying and practicing both Adlerian Therapy (Individual Psychology) and Adlerian Play Therapy. Mindfulness and meditation are core values and she has had a dedicated personal yoga practice for many years. She has co-authored a chapter about conceptualizing and treatment planning using Adlerian Play Therapy. Susan has also been featured in numerous articles and in Robert Jason Grant’s ADHD Guidebook, released earlier this year.

Maria Laquerre-Diego, LMFT, RPT-S™


Ms. LaQuerre-Diego, a self-professed geek, is a licensed marriage family therapist and registered play therapist-supervisor, and the CEO and founder of a play therapy program to provide all of the requirements to be eligible for certification as a Registered Play TherapistTM with the Association for Play TherapyTM. In addition to supporting mental health providers, Ms. Laquerre-Diego takes an active role in addressing the continued stigma of mental health services through the use of pop culture. She has spoken about mental health at El Paso ComiCon, has served as an officer on the New Mexico Association for Play TherapyTM and the New Mexico Association for Marriage and Family Therapist boards and has provided training to clinicians all over the country.

Janet Nordine, LMFT, RPT-S™


Ms. Nordine is a licensed marriage and family therapist and registered play therapist supervisor. Her specialties include Gestalt Play Therapy, Interpersonal Neurobiology, and Sand Tray Therapy. She is an adopted person and Nevada foster care alumna and is a sought-after trainer in the area of providing Adoption Competent and Compassionate Therapy.  Ms. Nordine is a Core Faculty Member of The West Coast Institute for Gestalt Play Therapy with Children and Adolescents. She is a Trust Based Relational Intervention Practitioner, trained in Theraplay TM and is a Certified Synergetic Play Therapist. Ms. Nordine is the owner of Las Vegas Play Therapy, Experience Courage Therapy and Consulting, and co-owner of The Center for Connection -



Mr. Oster, LBS, LICSW, LCSW, ACSW, CCTP, BCD, RPT™ is an author, clinical social worker, educator, entrepreneur, and humanitarian who devotes his time to presenting throughout the international community on essential topics such as youth civic engagement, LGBTQ+ mental health, disaster preparedness, and emergency management. As the CEO of VonOstir Innovation Services, LLC, his practice serves children, adolescents, young adults, and their families who are LGBTQ+, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Neurodivergent, or working through Trauma. He is a Licensed Behavioral Specialist (LBS)-PA and a triple Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)- States of AL, FL, & TX. He is also a  Member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW), a Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work (BCD), and a Registered Play Therapist (RPT)™. He holds advanced certifications in ADHD, Autism, Trauma, and Integrative Mental Health Practice. Mr. Oster has a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Urban Studies from Rutgers University, a Master in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Pennsylvania, and several other graduate degrees.

Louise Shanagher, MSc, PgCert Play Therapy, Certified Mindfulness Practitioner

Guest Instructor and Content Contributor 

Louise Shanagher is a mindfulness teacher, children's therapist and author from Co. Roscommon, Ireland. Louise has a BA and MSc in Psychology and further qualifications in Mindfulness, Psychotherapy and Play therapy. Louise originally trained as an Organizational Psychologist and went on to specialize in teaching mindfulness and mindful self-compassion. Louise is the author of Ireland's first series of mindfulness books for children the "Mindfully-Me" series, the new "Kindfully-Me" series and is the co-author of Ireland's first mindfulness curriculum "The Mindful Heart" curriculum. She is also the creator of "Creative Mindfulness Kids" Practitioner Training. Louise is deeply passionate about sharing mindfulness and compassion practices with others and has introduced tens of thousands of people to these practices. She wholeheartedly believes that mindfulness and compassion practices have the potential to transform people's individual lives and society for the better. Louise passionately believes that all children should have the opportunity to learn mindfulness and compassion based practices and feels this will help them lead happier and healthier lives.

Yvonne Power, BSc, Accredited Play Therapist, Founding Director of IPTCA, Clinical Creative Supervisor, Certified Sandplay Therapist, Parent Consultant and Training provider

Guest Instructor and Content Contributor 

Yvonne has worked with children and families for 30 years across many different sectors, within the community as a part of her social care role, working with underprivileged families and addiction services. She worked in the disabilities services as a program developer and managed residential care homes for young children. She also worked in a nursing home caring for the elderly. Yvonne has had a private practice in play therapy and parent consultation since 2009. She began lecturing in 2013, providing training in two universities in Ireland, teaching the certificate level of the masters program in play therapy and creative approaches to social care practice. She provides her own trianing for professionals with their work with parents and provides training directly with parents with a mission to empower as many parents as she can, to parent mindfully with ease and confidence.

Irish Play Therapy Community Association

Jackie Flynn, EdS, LMHC-S, RPT-S™

Guest Instructor and Content Contributor 

Jackie is a licensed psychotherapist, registered play therapist supervisor, EMDRIA-certified EMDR therapist, EMDRIA-approved consultant and trainer, and a certified Safe and Sound Protocol provider. She hosts Play Therapy Community®, where clinicians from around the world gather to share resources and inspire each other. She is the host of the Innovative Child Therapy Symposium. As a co-host of the Neuroscience of Play Therapy and Playful EMDR Summit, and the founder of EMDR and Play Therapy Integration Support, she supports countless clinicians internationally in learning about the power of PLAY through training and consultation.

Jackie is also the author of several influential books and her work is dedicated to integrating play, expressive arts, and neuroscience in therapeutic practices. She has a special interest in mindfulness and nature in therapy, enhancing her approach to healing and regulation.

LeNaya Smith Crawford, LMFT, ERYT500

Guest Instructor and Content Contributor 

LeNaya Smith Crawford, The Holistic Therapist™, is a Holistic Mental Health and Healing Educator, Licensed Therapist, Business Mentor, Holistic Healer, and Wellness CEO on a mission to make Holistic Mental Health and Healing accessible, inclusive, and relatable by training and empowering the Therapists, Healers and Organizations that make this work possible. She teaches Therapists, Entrepreneurs, and Healers how to work more holistically, prioritize their healing, and expand beyond private practice for more life balance, joy and freedom. 

With over a decade of experience in the mental health and wellness space, LeNaya takes a science-and-soul approach to healing, and she is the creator of The Holistic Therapist Academy™, The Healers Retreat and is the Co-Owner of Seviin Yoga Studio + School, in Atlanta, Georgia.

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