Newsletter: Volume 33, Number 2,  August 2022



Volume 33, Number 2, 

August 2022

President’s Message

Dear Play Community,

It is hard to believe that the year is already more than halfway over! I have never been so impressed with a group of people more than I am with our California Association for Play Therapy volunteer chapter leaders and board of directors. This group has tirelessly worked to get workshops available again in person this year which has been a challenging task, and yet, they have made it happen repeatedly in the first half of the year!

Since our last newsletter, the Sacramento Chapter hosted Shelli Rose and the Orange County Chapter hosted Holly Willard to earn participants 6 contact hours each. Our organization also hosted Dee Ray for the Southern California Conference in May for two days, earning participants 12 contact hours. The amount of joy that I could personally see at the conference made me so grateful to be part of a group who is dedicated to shifting things back in person!

You may notice that I am using “contact hours” a lot in this note to you and it is on purpose! On July 1st, the Association for Play Therapy updated what it means to get “contact hours” and discontinued the Covid guidelines that were in place. This means that you will need to be actively seeking in person trainings as there will no longer be “contact hours” being offered through online forums. You will be able to read up on all of the RPT Standards changes here. On page 8 of the document, you will notice that the only contact hours being offered will need to be gained from an in-person workshop. Of the 150 instruction hours, 75 need to be gained from in-person training! On page 17 of the document, it discusses renewal and outlines that half of the 24 CEs needed for renewal need to be contact hours!

Never fear, though! Your CALAPT volunteers are actively working to get you many many more opportunities to come to workshops in person to keep your RPT™ credentials up to date, including our upcoming Northern California Conference on September 23 and 24 in Rancho Cordova. So, as we continue to march through this year and into 2023, it is truly exciting to see our volunteers celebrate their hard work at our CALAPT sponsored events earning the contact hours they need!

In closing, we are always on the lookout for more volunteers to perpetuate this organization we love so much. If you find yourself interested in becoming part of our CALAPT volunteer group please reach out to me at and we can discuss upcoming openings in the board and local chapters that may be a fit for you.

With playful gratitude,

Sarah Wright, LMFT, RPT-S
CALAPT President

CALAPT Mission Statement: The Mission of the California Association for Play Therapy (CALAPT) is to sustain a community of support for play therapists while promoting an understanding of play therapy and its effective practice through outreach, training and research, with special emphasis on diversity and the developmentally appropriate treatment of children’s mental health.

Featured Chapters


Central Valley Chapter

Central Valley held our first in-person CE event in July since 2019! This was exciting for all as we learned and enhanced our ability to use play therapy with adolescents. Thank you to Aniesha Kleinhammer for donating her time, energy, and knowledge to our chapter, and thank you to Visalia Youth Services for opening their space for us. We are excited to bring more events to our chapter including a virtual training on using play therapy with the 0 to 5 population and another in-person training on using play therapy to work with core issues in adoption. Watch your emails for more information! Finally, Central Valley is always looking for volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering or becoming a future chapter leader, feel welcome to email

Central Valley Chapter Leaders:
President: Cindy Vang, LMFT
President-Elect: Gladys Lopez, LPCC
Past President:  Leticia Lopez, LMFT
Secretary:  MaryCruz Lara, LMFT

Los Angeles Chapter

Hi Play Therapy Community,

We are more than half-way through 2022 and since our last newsletter, the Los Angeles Chapter has not slowed down from the momentum of our February 6.0 training with Leslie Baker and Jessica Stone. In fact, we have another 6.0 in-person training with Althea Simpson on Saturday August 6th on Healing Trauma Narratives and Play Therapy (specifically using lego bricks) with Adolescents. We hope to see your beautiful faces in person. You can register HERE.

On Saturday July 9th we hosted a 2.0 training with Michael Ehrig, LMFT on Therapeutic Gaming in Play Therapy. This was a live webinar and attendees had the opportunity to learn digital play therapy strategies as a way of gaining a better understanding into a child’s world. We are so grateful to have Michael present on this much needed, and growing, topic.

Last, but not least, we want to congratulate our President-Elect, Maria Cervantes on the birth of her daughter, Victoria Ynez Madison (pictured below). Both baby and Mommy are doing well. We welcome Victoria as the newest member to our LA Chapter Leadership Team.

I also included a picture of our mascot Paris the Cat in a polka dot dress because- why not? Lol! Hopefully, these pics put a smile on your face =)

As always, we welcome feedback and would love to hear from members about what trainings they’re interested in having in 2023. Please get in contact at

Peace and Love from The Los Angeles Chapter 

Los Angeles Chapter Leaders
President: Safiya Tormo, LMFT
President Elect: Maria Cervantes, LMFT
Past President: Lisa Hernandez, LMFT
Secretary: Dahlia Bagnis, LCSW

Orange County Chapter

Orange county is on fire! We held our first in person 6.0 training in April with the amazing Holly Willard, LCSW, RPT-S, presenting on working with Teens & Tweens. Holly had so many wonderful hands on interventions that all the participants were excited to try with clients. In June we held a family networking event at Irvine Regional park. Participants explored the park together looking for nature items…Peacock and duck feathers, smooth bark, sticks, flowers and leaves all became part of amazing nature collages. Our last 2022 event is quickly approaching and you won’t want to miss out! Hannah Kissack, LCSW, RPT, will be helping us find ways to actively engage parents in the play therapy process during our FREE 2.0 on August 13, 2022. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to re-connect with fellow therapist and get some new, fresh ideas! You can find out more information here

Your incredible Orange County Leadership team has also been hard at work behind the scenes planning our future events so RUN DON’T WALK to your nearest office supply store and grab that 2023 calendar and a highlighter. We are super excited to announce that we have locked in the amazing Mary Ruth Cross, LMFT, RPT-S, on April 1, 2023 to provide the coveted 6 hours of “Law & Ethics” that we all need for licensure. On August 19, 2023 the charming Jennifer Harber, LCSW, RPT-S, will dazzle us with 2 hours of IN PERSON sand tray techniques that we are sure to swoon over!


Orange County Chapter Leaders:


President: Jolvina Zuniga, Psy.D
President Elect: Evelyn De La Rosa, LCSW
Past President: Debbi Orr, LCSW, RPT
Maddisen Espeseth, Psy.D. RPT

San Bernardino Chapter

Visit to learn about upcoming events! 

  San Bernardino Chapter Leaders:

President: Marelis Marrero, LMFT
President-Elect: Jacqueline Lozano, LCSW, RPT
Past President:  Stacy Kahn, LCSW
Secretary: Mary Hoon, AMFT

San Diego Chapter 

Hello! The San Diego Chapter is excited about our upcoming events. In September we will be having a virtual workshop led by the fabulous Kim Vander Dussen. She is very knowledgeable in the play therapy community and has so many interesting things to discuss with other early childhood therapists.

November 5th we will be having our first in person event since early 2020. Jodi Smith will be leading our 6.0 workshop, the title of the workshop is called, Playful Paws: Ethically Incorporating Animals into Play Therapy. We are so excited because this training will be held at the San Diego Humane Society. What a perfect place to learn more about how animals can be beneficial in the therapeutic space.

In August, Amanda Moore President of the San Diego chapter will be presenting to San Diego State graduate students about play therapy and ways to get involved in APT. Excited to get some new play therapists to come aboard our crew.  On December 10th we will be holding our networking event. This will be a good chance to connect with some local play therapists before the new year.

San Diego Chapter Leaders:
President: Amanda Moore, M.S., APCC
President-Elect: Sara Schumacher
Immediate Past President: Esther De La Cruz, LMFT, RPT-S
Secretary: Elma Briceno, LCSW

San Francisco Chapter

Visit to learn about upcoming events!

San Francisco Chapter Leaders:

President:  Karen Wolfe, LMFT
President-Elect:  Suzy Young, AMFT
Past President:  Lorenzo Teixeira, LPCC, NCC, RPT-S
Secretary:  Neslihan Pinar, LMFT

Sacramento Chapter

The Sacramento Chapter of CalAPT has had an exciting year thus far. We had the honor to host, Shelli B. W. Rose in April for our first in-person 6.0 workshop since the pandemic. She presented on Using Polyvagal, Trauma-Informed and Prescriptive Practices in Attachment-Focused Play Therapy. The attendees were able to browse and purchase from books and play therapy resources from Self Esteem Shop. We also offered many raffle prizes donated by local businesses, play therapy authors, and children’s social and emotional organizations.The Sacramento Chapter is gearing up for their 2.0 in-person workshop that will be held on October 8th at the Carmichael Public Library from 10:30am-1pm. The presenters are Rita McCampbell, LMFT, RPT and Shani Thornton, MS, CCLS, RWWP. They will be providing an introductory workshop on Medical Play Therapy: The Antidote to Supporting Children Coping with an Acute or Chronic Illness. Our 6.0 workshop will also be held on Saturday, March 11th, 2023. Our presenters will be Mary Ruth Cross and Leslie Baker on the topic of suicide. The Sacramento Chapter will also be hosting an in-person networking session in the fall.

If you are interested in joining our chapter as a leader, we would love to have you. Please email us at

Sacramento Chapter Leaders:

President: Shani Thornton, MS, CCLS, RWWP
President-Elect: Geneva Knowles
Past President:  Terrah Tillman, LMFT

Secretary:  Annie Adams, MSW

Central Coast Chapter

The Central Coast chapter is on hiatus and is in need of chapter leaders.  If you are interested in volunteering to keep this chapter going, please email

Regional Conferences

Marshall Lyles, LMFT-S, LPC-S, RPT-S lives in the Austin, Texas area and has 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 on trauma, expressive therapies, and attachment-informed family work around the globe. Marshall has also co-authored a book titled Advanced Sandtray Therapy: Digging Deeper into Clinical Practice.

Registration is now open!
For full details and to register click


Marshall Lyles Presenting at NorCal CALAPT Conference

By Lyla Tyler, LMFT, RPT-S

Marshall Lyles, LPC-S, LMFT-S, RPT-S and EMDRIA approved consultant will be coming to Sacramento, Ca for the Northern California Conference hosted by CALAPT. The event will be on September 23 and 24. 

So why choose Marshall Lyles as a presenter for our conference? I’d like to share a few endorsements from people who have attended his workshops:

A good teacher imparts information. A great teacher does, too, and also connects, moves the soul, and inspires. Marshall is a great and humble teacher…. Delightfully profound. ~Eliana Gil

Marshall is one of the best presenters/trainers I’ve experienced… engaging, and practical applicable content.

This was my first introduction to sand tray/play therapy and I thoroughly enjoyed all of it. I can definitely apply this during sessions.

The atmosphere of the training was excellent. Marshall creates fun and safe spaces.

I too have had the honor to attend Marshall’s trainings and see him as a beautiful soul who has so much to offer our play therapy community. This will be a great opportunity for those wanting a deeper understanding of attachment, sandtray and play therapy to gather with other child and family therapists and learn from one of the greatest!

I can’t wait to see you all at the conference in September!

I’d like to end with a poem written by Marshall (yes, he’s a poet too!)

Be brave enough to

Try and then be

humble to repair the

results of an imperfect try.

This is how we move

forward. This is how

we become better.

-Marshall Lyles


2022 Southern California Conference

CALAPT was so excited and honored to have had the amazing Dee Ray, Ph.D., RPT-S present at the Southern California Conference in March! It was so wonderful to spend two days in-person in beautiful Newport Beach playing, learning, and reconnecting with fellow play therapists! Thank you to those that attended!

Play Therapy Outreach

The Women’s Small Business Network of San Joaquin was treated to a short presentation by Carolyn Frances, LMFT and RPT, on April 29th 2022.  The group of women in business, leadership, education, and/or advocacy saw “Introducing Andrew” and experienced a play therapy exercise (experiencing how shifts in body posture impact emotion) and a reframe in thinking from “faking it” to “faithing it.”  There was particular interest in assisting teens in the families of the members during Q&A.  10 women took “Why Play Therapy” pamphlets after the meeting and two women also took a “Join APT” pamphlet.  Tracy’s councilwoman and 2022 mayoral candidate, Eleassia Davis, continues to support the work of play therapy by sharing information about Family Therapy Through Play (Carolyn Frances’s private practice) in her network during small business week.

CALAPT HistoryPast Chapter Leader Spotlight: Monica Fyfe, LMFT, BCBA, RPT-S

 I was fortunate to volunteer and serve as a chapter leader for the Los Angeles Chapter of CALAPT between 2012 and 2015. I served for 3 years as President Elect, President, and Past President. My favorite part was making lots of new lifelong friends and play therapy colleagues like Georgie, Aseye, Christy, Robin, Laia, Jeanette, and Daisy to name a few. Since I did most of my play therapy training on my own back then, not through part of a program or graduate school class, it was so nice to bond and share ideas with these amazing peers!  Another exciting memory was our constant task to search for and secure a venue that was conducive for our awesome trainings and presenters, and pleasant and easily accessible for the attendees! And free was always best!  I am proud to say we made some great community partner connections and held our in-person events at great venues like Loyola Marymount University, Pepperdine University, The Guidance Center, and South Bay Center for Counseling! Fun times! What am I up to now? These days I still continue to volunteer! Most significantly at a charity I founded with colleagues called Our Village, supporting neurodiversity. It has been my passion project for over seven years now, and my board training and knowledge through the LA chapter definitely helped me in creating and maintaining the amazing board of professionals we have at Our Village today! I have grown to become a RPT supervisor, an Adjunct Professor in the field at Pepperdine University and an Instructor in the Play therapy certificate program at UC San Diego. I am authoring chapters and books, and continue my private practice work in Torrance at Play 2 Learn for kids, teens and families! Most importantly I have maintained my work & home life balance raising our two teenagers, helping to take care of my aging parents, And having fun with my hubby, family and friends!This career has afforded me time, choice, and lots of fun playful moments that I will always be grateful for.  I look forward to supporting and volunteering with CALAPT for whatever you all need in the future!

Xoxo  Monica

Are you a past CALAPT chapter leader or board member? We’d love to hear from you on where you are now and/or to share a piece of CALAPT history to feature in an upcoming newsletter! Please contact CALAPT Secretary at


Office Space for Lease
Subletting a single, unfurnished office within my suite in Anaheim Hills off the 91. Sublease includes WiFi, electric, in-suite bathroom access, and furnished waiting room access. Regular consultative support is negotiable. Office is in the back of the suite on the second floor; no elevators. Address: 136 South Imperial Highway, Anaheim Hills, CA 92807. Please contact Maddisen Espeseth, PsyD (714-790-4066) if interested. Thank you!

Accepting New Clients
Accepting new therapy clients ages 3-years-old to young adulthood, including fellow therapists. Specialities include trauma, OCD, and depression. I practice from an attachment-based lens and am trained in NMT, IFS, FFT, and Theraplay. I am a Registered Sandplay Practitioner as well as a Registered Play Therapist. Also offering psychodiagnostic testing for clients 8-years and older to assist with the rule-out of ADHD, SLDs, and ID. In-person, out-of-network in Anaheim Hills. Maddisen Espeseth, PsyD: (714-790-4066).

Seeking Therapist Participants for Therapeutic Gaming 

If you enjoyed the recent Therapeutic Gaming training or were interested, but it sold out, this is a possible opportunity for you.  I am looking to do a short group with other play therapists on Saturdays in Tracy using a table-top role play gaming format.   

Most people have at least heard of the game called “Dungeons & Dragons.” This was one of the first games and is still the most popular, however, there are many more available today. They can take place in a fantasy world, a forest, a city, an apocalypse, etc. 

Games use a made-up world as a setting for a story.  This group will use “Root” which is based in a forest.  Participants define their characters (in our case, forest animals) which will live in this world and band together with other participant’s characters to accomplish a goal or quest.  Dice are used to add an element of chance or the unknown. 

This practice group would cost $10 a session for play therapists and a release to use parts of sessions for a future APT conference proposal is requested.  If you want to come play, contact Carolyn Frances at for more information.


Employment Opportunity
Orange County Family Wellness Group (OCFWG), a group private practice in Irvine, is hiring pre-licensed and licensed MFTs/LCSWs/Psychologists. OCFWG is co-led by Registered Play Therapist Supervisors Dr. Parie Faridnia and Dr. Nicole Chavez. We provide competitive compensation, a steady stream of referrals, supervision/consultation, and candidates can work remotely or hybrid. Considered candidates should be independent, driven, bright, collaborative, and enhance our connected, and positive-minded environment. We believe in keeping our knowledge bases strong and open to continued learning and education. We offer a supportive, close knit, playful, and laid back working environment. For more information or to apply, email us and/or submit resume to, or go to We look forward to hearing from you- Drs. Parie and Nicole


Do you have a job listing, office space to lease, or supervision to offer?? Did you know that as a member of CALAPT you can advertise in the newsletter for FREE??

Contact to learn more or to send in your ad for the next newsletter!

2022 CALAPT Board of Directors:

President: Sarah Wright, LMFT, RPT-S
President Elect: Stacy Kahn, LCSW
Immediate Past President: Parie Faridnia, Psy.D., RPT-S
Treasurer: Cristina Minchala, LMFT, RPT-S
Secretary: Rosemarie Minera, LCSW, RPT-S
 Web Administrator Chair:  Carolyn Frances, LMFT, RPT
Southern Regional
Conference Co-Chairs:
Allison Locke, LCSW &
Jennifer Harber, LCSW, RPT-S
Northern Regional Conference Co-Chairs:
Lyla Tyler, LMFT, RPT-S & Rita McCampbell, LMFT, RPT
Outreach and Promotions Manager:
Lindsey Krogh, LCSW, RPT-S
Continuing Education Manager:
Violet Mesrkhani, Ph.D.





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