Las Vegas Play Therapy Speakers

Keynote Speakers:

Felicia Carroll, M.Ed., MA, MFT, RPT-S™

"Ancestors, Mentors and Inspirers of Child and Play Therapy"

Description: This Keynote address will present a brief overview of the development of child therapy, play therapy beginning in 1904 with Freud's case of Little Hans and progressing through to contemporary neuroscience. Using the visual of a time line, participants will construct the developments of theoretical perspectives and clinical interventions. This presentation will have a broad scope with a focus on the diversity, and offer an international perspective child and play therapy from one of the Leaders in the field. 


  1. Participants will construct a timeline of play therapy beginning from 1904 through to the neuroscience of 2023.
  2. Participants will be able to name at least three major contributors to the development and practice of play therapy.

Felicia Carroll has studied and been a training co-leader and colleague with Violet Oaklander, Ph.D. for more than 40 years. She has been recognized for her work with children and adolescents as a keynote speaker and presenter at conferences on Gestalt Therapy. She has been published in several books and articles on child psychotherapy and teaches internationally at major post-graduate Gestalt institutes. Since 1991, Felicia has conducted ongoing training programs in Gestalt Therapy with children as well as supervision of trainees and licensed clinicians. She has two master’s degrees, one in educational psychology from the University of Oklahoma, and the other in early childhood education and counseling psychology from the University of California Santa Barbara. In addition to offering training programs, she also teaches university classes at local graduate programs as adjunct faculty. Felicia is the Founder, Program Director, and Advanced Trainer at the West Coast Institute for Gestalt Therapy with Children and Adolescents. Learn more at:

Marshall Lyles, LPC-S, LMFT-S, RPT-S™

Keynote: "Making Room for Ambiguity: Embracing the Stance of Not Knowing in Play Therapy"

Description: Play therapists volunteer right brain to right brain connections with clients. To step into this relationally sacred responsibility ethically, play therapists deserve practices for working with their own person-of-the-therapist themes related to the stance of “not knowing”. This address will explore practices for celebrating the role of ambiguity in healing.


  1. Describe the relevance of working with the person-of-the-play-therapist to healing outcomes for play therapy clients.
  2. Discuss sacred practices for honoring ambiguity in play therapy conceptualization and practice.

Workshop: "Reflectively yours: Understanding the intersection of reflections and reflective functioning in sandtray-based play therapy"

Description: Play therapy prominently features the art of reflecting. However, we can become so accustomed to the language of reflecting that we can lose contact with its intent. This training will look at reflecting through the lens of the attachment theory concept of reflective functioning as applied to sandtray-based play therapy.


  1. Describe the components of different play therapy reflecting skills.
  2. Explain how to offer play therapy reflections with reflective functioning in mind.
  3. Apply attachment-aware reflection skills to the play therapy modality of sand tray.

Marshall Lyles has over 20 years of practice in family and play therapy. Drawing on lessons learned from working with attachment trauma in a variety of mental health settings, Marshall regularly teaches about sandtray therapy, other expressive modalities such as poetry, and attachment-informed family work around the globe. In addition to co-authoring the book Advanced Sandtray Therapy: Digging Deeper into Clinical Practice, he has contributed multiple chapters and articles to publications. You can connect with him at

Tammi Van Hollander, LCSW, RPT-S™ 

"Play Therapy: Creating Pillars of Safety in an Unpredictable World"

Description: “In play therapy, children are given the opportunity to express their inner world, which can often be too complex or frightening to put into words." - Garry Landreth

Discover the power of play therapy in establishing safety and stability in the lives of children amidst today's unpredictable landscape. Explore how play becomes a vital tool in nurturing resilience, emotional stability, and a sense of security, guiding both therapists and families in creating strong, enduring safety structures within the often tumultuous modern world. This interactive keynote kickoff is an opportunity to gain valuable insights into the profound impact of play therapy and its role in shaping a brighter future. Let's kick off this amazing event celebrating our work, our community, and the clients that we serve.

"To the world, you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world." - Dr. Seuss


  1. Understand the role of play therapy in fostering emotional safety and resilience for children in an unpredictable world.
  2. Explore at least 3 therapeutic powers of play to help children and families build enduring safety pillars to navigate today's challenges.

Tammi Van Hollander is a therapist, seminar presenter, international speaker, and play advocate. As a licensed clinical social worker and Registered Play Therapist Supervisor she has spent over 20 years working with children, families, and individuals. She is the author of a multi-sensory, attachment-based children’s book titled, Casey’s Greatness Wings: Teaching Mindfulness, Connection, and Courage to Children,the creator of Casey’s Greatness Sticks & Greatness Cards used in schools, counseling, and in the home. She specializes in attachment, sandtray play therapy & sensory integration working with infants, children, families, and adults of all ages. She is a founding board member of The World Association for Sand Therapy Professionals. You can learn more at

Session Speakers:

Jodi Mullen, PhD, LMHC, RPT-S™

"Play Therapy with Sexually Traumatized Children"

Description: Using the best elements of directive and non-directive play therapy with sexually traumatized children allows for healing and repair of losses like innocence, trust, and boundaries. Participants will learn about the play in play therapy of sexually traumatized children and the special issues including dealing with transference and setting limits.

By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to: 

  1. Identify sexualized play in play therapy
  2. Have experience and replicate techniques suitable in play therapy for children who have been traumatized sexually
  3. Utilize skills to alleviate issues of countertransference.

Dr. Jodi Mullen had her doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision from Syracuse University and her Master’s degree in Human Services Counseling from SUNY Oswego. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Child Centered Play Therapist Supervisor, and a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor. She provides trauma informed lay therapy for all ages in her private practice and provides play therapy supervision and training. Learn more at

Dr Robert Jason Grant, RPT-S™
Tracy Turner-Bumberry, LPC, RPT-S™, CAS

"Ableist, Affirming, or a Little of Both? The Necessary Role of a Neurodiversity Affirming Play Therapist"

Description: This training will introduce participants to the neurodiversity paradigm. Implementing neurodiversity-affirming practices in play therapy will be highlighted. An understanding of how to affirm neurodivergent clients will be presented. Topics such as ableism, masking, the double empathy problem, behavior, communication, play preferences, and social navigation will be thoroughly explained.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify the concepts of neurodiversity and neurodiversity affirming regarding play therapy work.
  2. Understand how ableism can exist in play therapy work.
  3. Describe how play therapists, their theoretical approach, and their therapeutic playrooms can be neurodiversity affirming.

Dr. Robert Jason Grant holds his Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership (with a research emphasis in leadership qualities of counseling center and clinic directors) a Master’s Degree in Counseling, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor, National Certified Counselor, and a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor. He specializes in working with children, adolescents, families, and adults primarily serving neurodivergent individuals (autism, ADHD, sensory differences, learning disorders, and developmental disabilities). He is the creator of AutPlay® Therapy, an integrative family play therapy framework designed to help address the mental health needs of neurodivergent children and adolescents. He is an international trainer and keynote presenter having presented for the American Counseling Association, Association for Play Therapy, American Mental Health Counselors Association, and The World Autism Congress and he is a multi-published author Learn more at

Tracy Turner-Bumberry is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor at her private practice in Milledgeville Georgia. Prior to private practice,  she was an elementary school counselor, and worked as a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor in a children’s psychiatric hospital. In addition to private practice, She is a national speaker and author of several books relating to Play Therapy topics. Although She works with clients of all ages, she specializes in young adult to older adult clients who have recently discovered they are/may be neurodivergent. She is knowledgeable in the IEP/504 process, and works closely with parents to ensure their child’s educational needs are being addressed. She works with neurodivergent children as well, incorporating Play Therapy; AutPlay Therapy specifically into her client sessions. Learn more at

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

Ethical Considerations in Play Therapy with High Conflict Divorce 

Description: This workshop will address the special topic of high conflict divorce when providing play therapy services for children and families. Participants will learn how to navigate the challenges of court-involved cases while preserving the integrity of the therapeutic alliance and provide a therapeutic oasis for children whose parents are embroiled in high levels of conflict.

Learning Objectives:

  1. List 4 specific ethical challenges in high conflict divorce related cases observed during the play therapy process.

  2. Define loyalty conflict and how it impacts children’s mental health. 

  3. Name 5 facilitative play therapy interventions to support children whose parents are embroiled in a high conflict divorce.

Lynn Louise Wonders has over 30 years of experience teaching mindfulness-based classes 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 is the author of When Parents Are at War after many years of supporting children and families in high conflict divorce and custody disputes and serving as an expert witness in over 40 court cases. She has been providing continuing education, supervision, and consultation since 2010. She is a certified Synergetic Play Therapist®, certified AutPlay® Therapist, and a certified Pure Presence® Practitioner. She 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.

Heather Fairlee Denbrough, LiCSW, RPT-S™, Certified Synergetic Play Therapy Supervisor

"Suicidal Ideation & Self-Compassion in Play Therapy"

Description: This workshop will address the neuroscience of suicidal ideation (SI), how to manage SI with children and parents, and the healing power of embodied self-compassion in the playroom. A framework for understanding what’s going on in the playroom when SI shows up, resources, tools, and interventions will be provided.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify how suicidal ideation presents in the playroom
  2. Feel more confident in their practical skills for working with children experiencing SI and working with parents on this issue
  3. Implement the Visual Stress Management Chart with children and families to reduce suicidal ideation & build long term resilience to suicidal thinking/actions
  4. Use a powerful meditation tool with children and adults of all ages to increase self-compassion
  5. Understand the reflection and embodiment of self-compassion as an integral part of play therapy & implement language and strategies toward this goal

Heather Fairlee Denbrough is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor, and Certified Synergetic Play Therapy Supervisor. She has worked in community mental health for 14 years. Her specialty areas are children ages 2-9 years, early childhood trauma, attachment, parent-child relational issues, and parent training/coaching/inner work. She practices reflective play supervision and case consultation. She has created and led trainings for therapists on topics such as: Introduction to the Nervous System, Young Children & Suicidal Ideation in the Playroom, Authenticity in Parent Work/ Supporting Parent Shadow Work, Working with Families of Faith, Unusual Presentations of PTSD in Young Children, and more. Heather also provides playful spiritual support to play and expressive arts therapists.

Mary Beth Murray, LCSW, RPT-S™

"Supporting Gender Euphoria in Transgender and Gender Expansive Clients Using Play and Expressive Arts Therapy"

Description: This workshop is for participants who want to go beyond basic principles of gender-affirming care and dive into the concept of promoting gender euphoria for transgender, non-binary and gender expansive youth.   Gender euphoria is a term to describe the feelings of joy, comfort, safety, and belonging that transgender people feel when they are seen and celebrated.   Attendees will learn directive and non-directive play therapy and expressive arts techniques to support gender euphoria in trans and non-binary youth based on their unique developmental needs, and drawing from humanist, queer, narrative, strengths-based, empowerment, attachment and systems theories.  This will be an active workshop with ample time for experiential processes in a positive environment.


This workshop is for participants who want to go beyond basic principles of gender-affirming care and dive into the concept of promoting gender euphoria for transgender, non-binary and gender expansive youth. Gender euphoria is a term to describe the feelings of joy, comfort, safety, and belonging that transgender people feel when they are seen and celebrated. Attendees will learn about this paradigm of celebrating gender, why it differs from standard assessments of gender wellness, and explore ways that play therapy and expressive arts techniques can support gender euphoria in trans and non-binary youth. This will be an active workshop with ample time for experiential processes in a positive environment.

Topic area – Cultural and Social Diversity

Learning Objectives:

1. Describe at least three components of gender euphoria for transgender, non-binary and gender expansive youth.

2. List at least three theories, skills and materials that are appropriate for supporting gender euphoria in play therapy.

3. Demonstrate three play therapy and expressive arts therapy techniques to explore, express and celebrate gender identity.

Mary Beth Murray, LCSW, RPT-S is a queer-identified child and family therapist, Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor and play therapy trainer. She owns New Moon Therapy and has worked with children and families for 25 years with a focus on resilience against stress and trauma. She specializes in helping child therapists understand their and their clients’ identities for inclusive, effective practice.

Peggy Ceballos, PhD, NCC, CCPT-S, CPRT-S  
LaKaavia Taylor, PhD, LPC-S, RPT™ 

"Play Therapist’s Cultural and Advocacy Competencies"

Description: This experiential workshop seeks to expand the multicultural and social justice

competencies of play therapists. Through engaging in self-awareness activities, in-depth discussions of oppression and privilege, and case studies, participants will enhance their multicultural skills. The presenter will discuss the concepts of cultural humility, broaching, social justice advocacy, and cultural responsiveness as well as their application to the play therapy process.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explain ways that the discussion increased their awareness of issues of oppression and privilege relevant to the children and parents they serve as play therapists
  2. Describe ways that the experiential activities increased their self-awareness regarding their intersectionality of identities; including how their identities affect their therapeutic relationships
  3. Conceptualize the impact that their clients’ intersectionality of identities has on the presenting problem and how this impact can affect treatment
  4. Discuss specific ways in which they can integrate cultural humility, cultural responsiveness, and broaching in their work as play therapists
  5. Explain social justice advocacy competencies
  6. Describe at least two ways in which they can integrate advocacy into their treatment plans as play therapists

Dr. Peggy Ceballos earned her Ph.D. in Counselor Education from the University of North Texas in 2008. She earned a Master in Education from Southeastern Louisiana University in 2002 and her Bachelor's from the University of New Orleans in 1999. Learn more here.

Dr. LaKaavia Taylor earned her Ph.D. in counseling with a specialty in play therapy and psychoeducational assessment at the University of North Texas. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor, National Certified Counselor, Registered Play Therapist, Certified Child-Centered Play Therapy Supervisor, and Certified Child-Parent Relationship Therapy Supervisor. For over a decade, Dr. Taylor has provided counseling services to children, adolescents, adults, and families in various settings including community agencies, public schools, private practice, and university clinics. Her specialty is multicultural counseling and trauma-informed practices.Dr. Taylor's lifelong commitment is to reduce mental health barriers for individuals and families from marginalized and underserved populations. She has delivered numerous presentations at professional conferences, published chapters and research on play therapy, and engaged in social justice advocacy in her leadership positions in national counseling organizations. Learn more here.

Lunch and Learn: 

Dr Lauren Martin, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC

"Stop, Collaborate, & Listen:  The Year of the ZFG Applications, Outcomes, & Original Research"

Description: Want to improve client outcomes? Become an expert in interdisciplinary collaboration. Learn how to care and achieve more, by caring less! Review and learn collaborative applications and techniques. Explore examples in real-world settings, and case studies, and review original research!

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand that evidence-based research shows improved client outcomes with increased interdisciplinary collaboration.
  2. Explore the various roles of collaborative team members.
  3. Understand how to use leadership skills and tools to enhance collaboration.
  4. Review real-world case studies and examples of effective and ineffective interdisciplinary collaboration.
  5. Exploring original research as a support for collaboration within teams.
  6. Understanding team dynamics and interpersonal biases, and how to overcome them.

Dr. Lauren Martin DNP, APRN, PMHNP-BC, FNP-BC has spent the last 25 years working in the mental health field in various capacities. She has Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Nursing from the University of Utah. She spent much time training and working at The University Neuropsychiatric Insititute (now Huntsman Mental Health Institute) in Salt Lake City, Utah. She received her Master's Degree from the University of Utah College of Nursing in their Family Nurse Practitioner program in 2008. After completing her program's residency in urgent care and psychiatry/mental health, she began her practice as a Nurse Practitioner.  She received her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certification from Liberty University. Dr. Martin has a passion for working with kids and adolescents. She focuses her practice on helping to heal the mind and body as a dually certified practitioner. Her focuses of research include exercise for improving mental health and the benefits of collaborative care.  Dr. Martin has spent the last 10 years working with children and adolescents who have experienced trauma and are affiliated with the child welfare system.  She is a fierce advocate for improving mental health access for children and has led trainings for the Clark County School District and other agencies/community partners in the Las Vegas valley.  Dr. Martin works in outpatient, inpatient, and partial-hospitalization settings. She is lover of learning and has spent time as an adjunct faculty member for Salt Lake Community College's Nursing program. She currently precepts nurse practitioner students and serves as a supervisor for new nurse practitioner graduates. 

Janet Nordine, MS, LMFT-S, RPT-S™

"Play Therapy with Children who are Adopted: An Adoptee Perspective"

Description: This workshop, which is led by a specialist in the therapy of children who are adopted, and who herself is a person who is adopted, will focus on the many issues that become present in therapy, including how grief manifests in the emotions, reactions, and beliefs about the Self of the child who is adopted. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants can list 5 common Core Issues in a child’s life who is an adoptee.
  2. Participants will gain a broader understanding of adoptee positive language  
  3. Participants will be able to name and describe 3 play therapy interventions appropriate for supporting children in expressing their experience of being adopted.


Janet has lived in Las Vegas her entire life.  She has worked in various non profits, agencies and practices with a focus on women's issues and child focused therapy.  In a “previous life,” she worked in the Las Vegas hotel industry and understands the city's unique culture.  She has interests in the local food scene, live Theatre, and travel and loves to read, write and explore life through lived experiences.

She raised her own children in Las Vegas and understands the local school district from a personal and professional lens.  She has worked with children in the foster care system for the past 10 years and as a foster care alumnus herself, has a heart and passion for supporting their experiences. and 

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