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*Please know that our therapists currently have very limited availability.
Thank you for your continued patience, as we do our best to meet the needs
of children and families in the Jacksonville community.
If you are an agency, doctor’s office, or other referring entity,
please fax referrals to 904-746-3321
Providing play therapy for young children experiencing social, emotional,
and/or behavioral problems, and support services for the grown-ups who love them.
Our mission is to provide high quality, developmentally appropriate counseling for children and families.
Play Therapy. Child Parent Psychotherapy. Child Parent Relationship Therapy. Behavior Management Training.
Join Our Team!
We are hiring!
Adults communicate verbally. In difficult times we reach out to those closest to us, because talking to someone who really understands and cares can soften the blow of a painful experience. And the reverse is also true. Sharing positive experiences with those who care actually heightens our joy.
Children, however, have a limited verbal ability to communicate how they think and feel about the world. (You’ll know this to be true if you have ever asked a child to tell you about his or her day at school). They are not trying to annoy us – they simply do not have the cognitive ability to do so. Young children (ages 2-10) process and share emotionally significant experiences though play. Play is their language.
Play therapy requires the therapist to go to the child’s most natural form of communication, instead of asking the child to come to ours. It is a respectful, effective, and developmentally appropriate way of being with young children.
Nature based Play Therapy is a child-centered intervention that takes place in natural environments such as parks, green spaces, and nature preserves. Engaging in nature-based play therapy allows for organic social interaction to occur in the presence of an adult who can act as a social buffer to children experiencing social anxiety. Nature based play therapy may be helpful for many children when clinically appropriate.
Child Parent Psychotherapy
Child Parent Psychotherapy is an intervention for young children from birth through age 5 and their parents/caregivers. It is used to improve the quality of the parent-child relationship and helps families heal and grow after stressful experiences. This approach builds on family strengths, and respects family and cultural values.
Child-Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT)
When children are struggling, their grown-ups suffer. CPRT teaches parents how to use some of the same skills that play therapists use to help children experiencing social, emotional, or behavioral problems.
While play therapy focuses on the relationship between the child and the therapist, CPRT is designed to strengthen the parent-child relationship and empower parents to become the change agent in their child’s life. Due to the emotionally significant role of the parent, CPRT can be more effective than individual therapy with a highly trained play therapist.
CPRT can help parents regain control, discipline effectively, and understand and respond to their child’s needs. Parents experience increased confidence in their parenting skills, see improvement in their child’s behavior, and most importantly, enjoy an improved relationship with their child.
Circle of Security Parenting
Circle of Security Parenting is geared for parents with children 0-10 years old. The program is based on decades of research about how secure parent-child relationships can be supported and strengthened. It helps parents understand their child’s emotional needs, enhance the development of their child’s self esteem, and support their child’s ability to manage emotions.
Active Parenting for Preteens and Teens
Active Parenting provides parents with the skills needed to use effective discipline, teach responsibility, and strengthen communication with their tweens and teens. Parents learn skills for clear, honest communication, concrete strategies to prevent risky behavior, methods of respectful discipline, and gain insight into important issues such as social media, bullying, and depression.
Cooperative Co-Parenting helps parents shield their children from parental conflict and guides them in establishing a long-term relationship with each other for the child’s sake. It educates parents about the impact their conflict has on the children, guides them through parenting after a separation or divorce, and teaches practical skills to manage anger, increase impulse control, and resolve conflict without arguing.
Licensure and Play Therapy Supervision
Anna L. Farrin, LCSW, RPT-S is a Qualified Supervisor for clinical social work interns and others working toward their Registered Play Therapist credential. Contact her directly at email@example.com for rates and availability.
Tayler Papke, LCSW, RPT-S is a Qualified Supervisor for clinical social work interns and others who are working toward their Registered Play Therapist credential. Contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for rates and availability.
Erica Mitchell, LCSW, RPT-S is a Qualified Supervisor for clinical social work interns and others who are working toward their Registered Play Therapist credential. Contact her directly at emitchell@thehealingplayroom.
The First Coast Chapter of the Florida Association for Play Therapy meets monthly to provide networking and training opportunities for students, professionals, and all local play therapy enthusiasts. Contact firstcoast@
floridaplaytherapy.org for more information.
Behavior Management Training
Provided by Anna L. Farrin, LCSW, RPT-S for teachers, professionals, and parents/caregivers of children with challenging behaviors. This 2 hour training will teach skills to effectively manage difficult behavior in young children. Participants will learn to respond to behavioral challenges in a way that changes the behavior, and strengthens their relationship with the child. As a result of this training, participants will be able to effectively discipline and limit inappropriate behavior, meet children’s emotional needs, communicate more effectively with young children, and enjoy a stronger relationship with the children in their life.
Contact Anna Farrin at email@example.com for rates and availability.
MEET THE Team
Anna L. Farrin, LCSW, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor
Anna Farrin received her undergraduate degree in Human Development, with a specialization in Health and Human Services, from Vanderbilt University in 1996. While working in the field of early intervention she was struck by the lack of mental health services for young children. Anna attended graduate school at UNC-Charlotte and received her Masters of Social Work degree in 2010, along with a Graduate Certificate in Play Therapy.
Anna is currently a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor, and a Qualified Supervisor for Social Work Interns. She has treated children with a wide range of social, emotional, and behavioral problems in a variety of settings including early intervention, residential treatment, foster care, and most recently in the day treatment program in Duval County Public Schools. She is on the board of the Florida Association for Play Therapy (FAPT), and provides trainings for FAPT, graduate students, parents of young children, local agencies, teachers, and foster parents.
Anna opened The Healing Playroom in 2015 to provide developmentally appropriate counseling to children and families in the Jacksonville community. She has a client-centered approach to working with young children, and especially enjoys strengthening parent-child relationships through the language of play. Anna lives in Atlantic Beach and spends her free playtime at the beach or the yoga studio.
Tayler Papke, MSW, LCSW, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor
Mandy Jo Moldehnke, MS, LMHC, Registered Play Therapist
Mandy Jo Moldehnke received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the College of Charleston in 2006. After obtaining her undergraduate degree, she began working with young children through early intervention work. The passion to continue to help these children further led Mandy Jo to seek and obtain a graduate degree. Mandy Jo attended graduate school at UNC-Charlotte and received her Master’s in Community Counseling degree in 2010, along with a Graduate Certificate in Play Therapy.
Mandy Jo is currently a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Mandy Jo worked as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of North Carolina providing intensive in-home services and outpatient play therapy services for the foster care and child welfare population. Mandy Jo and her family moved to Florida in 2013 and she obtained her licensure in the state of Florida. She specializes in working with children who have experienced trauma, children who have behavioral concerns, anxiety, or adjustment concerns. Her experience has ranged from direct care to a leadership position at the state Medicaid Health Plan.
Mandy Jo values the child-centered approach to working with young children. In her experience, she has witnessed the power of utilizing play together with the therapeutic relationship to provide a safe, consistent therapeutic environment in which a child can experience full acceptance, empathy, and understanding. This partnership opens a child’s potential to move toward integration and self-enhancing ways of being.
Mandy Jo lives in Jacksonville Beach with her husband and two children. She loves to travel in her spare time. “You can discover more in an hour of play than you can in a year of conversation” Plato.
Mandy Jo works at our Palm Valley/PVB location.
Jessica Soto, LMHC, Registered Play Therapist
TraumaPlay Certified Therapist
Jessica completed her undergraduate education at Liberty University where she majored in Psychology. She has a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and received a Graduate Certificate in Play Therapy from Stetson University. Jessica completed her TraumaPlay Certification at the Traumaplay Institute.
Jessica is currently a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the state of Florida and a Registered Play Therapist. She is a member of the First Coast Chapter of the Florida Association for Play Therapy Jessica specializes in working with children and families who have experienced trauma. She has experience providing play therapy for children in the child welfare system and in Duval County Public Schools. As a certified Circle of Security Parenting Facilitator, Jessica is skilled at strengthening parent-child relationships by helping parents understand and respond effectively to their child’s emotional and behavioral needs.
Jessica’s specialty in play therapy allows her to work with children as young as 3 years old, but she also enjoys working with children under the age of 3 with active involvement from a parent, family member, or caretaker. Jessica lives in Jacksonville with her two children. In her free time, Jessica enjoys reading on the beach and traveling.
Jessica works at our Palm Valley/PVB location.
Erica Mitchell, LCSW, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor
Erica completed her undergraduate education at the University of North Florida where she majored in Psychology with a minor in Gender Studies. She went on to complete her master’s degree in Clinical Social Work at Florida State University. Erica also received a Graduate Certificate in Play Therapy from Stetson University.
In addition to her play therapy expertise, Erica is also trained in Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) and Circle of Security Parenting. She has worked in partnership with the Early Childhood Courts to serve some of our most vulnerable populations, including children 0-5 and their grown-ups involved in child welfare/dependency. Erica is also a member of First Coast Chapter for Florida Association for Play Therapy.
While Erica’s specialty in Play Therapy allows her to work with children as young as 3 years old, she can also work with children under the age of 3 with the use of Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP), as long as a parent, family member, or caretaker is actively involved in the treatment process. The primary goal of CPP is to support and strengthen the relationship between a child and his/her caregiver as a vehicle for restoring the child’s cognitive, behavioral, and social functioning.
Erica works at our Riverside location.
Kelly McCandless, LCSW
Kelly has always had a passion for working with children and families. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Jacksonville University and received her Master’s in Social Work from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2020. In 2022 she received specific play therapy training at Stetson University. Kelly has a background in pediatric integrated care, early intervention services, and counseling – specializing in maternal, infant, and child mental health. After completing her graduate program in Denver, Kelly moved back to Jacksonville and worked as a therapist for children and families involved in the foster care system.
Kelly has utilized various therapeutic modalities with children and found that play therapy is the most effective and developmentally appropriate way to foster meaningful and lasting growth with child clients. She believes that the playroom is a space where the child can be fully accepted and understood for who they are and in turn can begin to make changes. She particularly enjoys getting to know her families to share in their successes and join with them to overcome challenges. She understands that there is a lot of pressure on parents to be perfect and raise happy, well-adjusted children; she also understands the vulnerability and courage it takes to ask for help. Kelly has strong experience providing trauma-informed care and is passionate about providing culturally-appropriate services that meet and support the unique needs of her families. She has worked with children 2 – 18 with trauma, emotional regulation, anxiety, life changes, and grief.
Kelly is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and working toward the Registered Play Therapist credential. When she’s not working, Kelly enjoys reading at the beach, playing video games, and spending time with her partner and two cats.”
Kelly works at our Neptune Beach location.
Shawna Rohrer, MS, RMHCI
Shawna Nelson received her undergraduate degree in child psychology and development with a minor in early education from the University of North Florida in 2014. She recently graduated from Wake Forest University, with a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
Shawna is passionate about child development, character education, and parent outreach. She is a credentialed Montessori guide with 5 years of classroom experience, and has worked as a parent partner for children ages 0-10 years for the past decade. Her ardent belief in the wonders of childhood led her to create The Wise Child, an educational resource and collaborative program for children and parents which promotes the development of autonomy, emotional resilience, a sense of purpose, and community.
Shawna lives in Atlantic beach with her husband and 3 dogs. She is an avid meditator and a lover of philosophy—stoicism in particular. She enjoys literature, music, nature and being of service.
Shawna works at our PVB/Palm Valley location.
Laura Contess, LCSW
Laura completed her undergraduate degree in both Child Psychology and Sociology from the University of North Florida in 2016 and received her Master’s in Social Work from Florida State University in 2020. While finishing her graduate degree, Laura completed her final internship at The Healing Playroom and is happy to be back!
Prior to receiving her master’s degree, Laura worked with children in Jacksonville who were involved in the dependency system. After receiving her graduate degree, Laura began providing therapy to children through the Duval County Public Schools Full-Service Schools program, helping those who experienced problems relating to adjustment, self-esteem, grief and loss, anger management, and trauma.
Kristýna Richards, MS, RMFTI
Kristýna has spent over a decade working alongside and supporting families & children in youth development, education and foster care programs. She received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Project Management from Seattle City University in 2014. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she moved to Peru for 3 years. There she volunteered with an NGO supporting Kids in Peru, which provided social services and education programs to socioeconomically discriminated children and mothers in El Porvenir, Peru.
While volunteering and working in Peru she realized her passion for mental health and decided to become a Marriage and Family Therapist. Kristýna earned her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Seattle Pacific University in 2021. Kristýna has been a practicing therapist since 2019. As a community mental health clinician she worked in partnership with the Bellevue School district to provide on-site therapy services to students. She is skilled in providing therapy to children who are experiencing the effects of trauma, adjustment issues, grief, anxiety, depression, developmental delays, family conflict, divorce, low-self esteem, divided attention and hyperactivity.
Kristýna is currently practicing as a Registered Intern under supervision and working toward full licensure as a LMFT, and plans to become a Registered Play Therapist. When she’s not working, Kristýna enjoys going camping with her husband in their camper van, exercising and trying new arts & crafts.
Tracey Errico, LCSW
Tracey completed her undergraduate degree in Social Work at Christopher Newport University in 2016, and received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of North Florida in 2020. Tracey has a background in school-based clinical counseling and is passionate about the mental health needs of children and their families.
After completing her undergraduate degree, Tracey moved to Jacksonville to complete two years as a middle school teacher in Duval County Public Schools through Teach for America. After her experience in the classroom, Tracey realized her passion for mental health and decided to earn her Master’s in Social Work. She then worked as a school-based clinical counselor for two years, providing therapeutic services for children ages 5-15. Tracey has worked with children and families from diverse backgrounds experiencing intergenerational trauma, grief and loss, attachment challenges, behavioral concerns, family conflict, low self-esteem, and management of mental health diagnoses. Tracey uses a holistic approach, understanding the importance of the involvement of a parent/guardian when working towards healing.
Tracey is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and plans to become a Registered Play Therapist. When Tracey is not working, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband, daughter, and dog. She enjoys nature, music, coffee, and loves working with children.
Molly Mesiano, MS, RMHCI
Molly Mesiano received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Miami in 2016. While completing her bachelor’s degree, Molly joined a research team that explored the impact of child and teacher interactions on childhood development. Through this experience, Molly came to recognize her passion for working with children. Molly attended graduate school at the University of Central Florida and recently received her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
Molly has worked with both adults and children with a wide array of mental health concerns in many settings, including residential, outpatient, and school environments. Molly is passionate about utilizing non-directive, child-centered practices to provide children with a safe space to process their emotions. She believes that children possess an innate ability to seek out what they need. She recognizes that children require the space and support to meet these needs. In this environment, she has seen children begin to develop higher self-esteem, self-efficacy, and independence. Molly is passionate about meeting her clients and their caretakers where they are with genuine, unconditional acceptance and empathy. She views her role in the therapeutic process as a partner in healing and adapting more effective ways of being.
Molly is currently practicing under supervision and working towards full licensure as an LMHC. She plans to become a Registered Play Therapist. Molly is a lifelong Florida native and moved back to Jacksonville after graduate school to be closer to family. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her dog, baking, kickboxing, and reading.
Kourtney Baker, MS, RMHCI
Kourtney Baker received her undergraduate degree in 2018 at the University of North Florida in Psychology. After graduation Kourtney became a Registered Behavior Technician where she worked with young kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder helping them with behavioral difficulties. This experience, as well as other experience working with families, inspired Kourtney to continue her education and she received a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of North Florida in 2021.
Kourtney has experience supporting children with developmental disabilities and other mental health concerns. She is passionate about working with children and helping them reach their fullest potential by being patient, compassionate, and empathetic. Kourtney has worked with children and families from diverse backgrounds, providing counseling in community mental health settings and the Full Service School Program in Duval County. Kourtney has experience helping children and families struggling with trauma, grief and loss, low self-esteem, and behavioral difficulties.
Kourtney is currently practicing as a Registered Intern and is working under supervision toward licensure as an LMHC, and a Registered Play Therapist. When Kourtney is not working she is traveling and spending time with family and friends