Faculty

Lorri Yasenik and Ken Gardner are the co-founders of the Rocky Mountain Play Therapy Institute and are internationally recognized in the field of play therapy as certified play therapists, supervisors, instructors and presenters.

Lorri A. Yasenik, PhD, RSW, RPT-S, CPT-S

Co-Founder/Senior Faculty

Lorri is the director/owner of Rocky Mountain Play Therapy Institute, an international training institute for the study and treatment of children. She is the past co-owner of Rocky Mountain Psychological services where she was Clinical Director for over 10 years. Lorri has dedicated her professional life to working with children families and individuals. She has over 30 years experience in the clinical field of practice. She is a Registered Clinical Social Work Supervisor, Certified and Registered Child Psychotherapy and Play Therapy Supervisor, Registered Family Mediator, and a Registered Parenting Coordinator-Arbitrator. Lorri is the Past President of the Alberta Family Mediation Society and Past President of AFCC-AB. She is the 2010 recipient of the Dr. John Haynes Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to family mediation in Alberta and the 2016 Monica Hebert Award for Significant Contributions to Play Therapy. Lorri served as a member of the Clinical Committee, a Regulatory Standing Committee for the Alberta College of Alberta for two terms and is a founding member of the Alberta Play Therapy Association.

Lorri has expertise in working with treatment of trauma, high conflict separation and divorce situations and a range of children’s issues. She delivers international training in child and play therapy and children and family law. Lorri completed her Doctoral Dissertation on the topic of, “ Including the Voices of Children of Separation and Divorce in the Legal System”. Lorri has a keen interest in children’s rights.

Ken Gardner, M.Sc., R.Psych (CPT-S)

Co-Founder/Senior Faculty

Ken is a Registered Psychologist with a background in clinical, school and community psychology. Ken has been practicing as a Psychologist since 1989, as a Certified Child Psychotherapist and Play Therapist since 1999, and as a Certified Child Psychotherapy and Play Therapy Supervisor since 2008. Ken specializes in the areas of play therapy for children with emotional and/or developmental concerns, and educational evaluations for students experiencing learning and/or developmental difficulties. As the co-director of the Rocky Mountain Play Therapy Institute (RMPTI) Ken has extensive experience as a trainer and regularly teaches in the area of Child and Play Therapy, both nationally and internationally. He is the co-author (with Dr. Lorri Yasenik) of the Play Therapy Dimensions Model: An Decision-Making Guide for Integrative Play Therapists (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Second Edition, 2012). Ken has also co-authored several chapters on topics such as play therapy supervision, family play-techniques and the use of consciousness in play therapy. Ken is a past executive board member of the Canadian Association for Child Psychotherapy and Play Therapy (CACPT), the Alberta Play Therapy Association (APTA), and the Calgary SCOPE Society. In 2011 Ken was presented the Monica Hebert Award for his contribution and dedication to Play Therapy in Canada.

Program Coordinator

Jenny McClelland
Jenny McClelland, BA (English)

Jenny joined the RMPTI team in 2018 as the Institute Registrar and Program Coordinator. She is typically the first voice students hear, and the person who offers direct support and assistance to our students and alumni. Jenny supports the Director and Instructors/Presenters using her skills in writing, editing, marketing, and planning the training calendar.

As a proud CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) she strongly believes that diversity is strength, and that meaningful work drives the best advancements of humanity. She brings decades of experience working in different industries and happily discovered her most rewarding role at RMPTI as the “helper to the helpers” – the students and faculty at RMPTI are the real reason she loves her job!

Associate Faculty

Jennifer Buchanan, MBA , MTA

Jennifer has been instrumental in the implementation of hundreds of music therapy programs throughout Canada for almost 30 years and has been thrice nominated for the Community Impact Award by the Chamber of Commerce.

She is author of two award-winning books – ‘Tune In‘ and ‘Wellness Incorporated‘ and has appeared as a guest on numerous news and current affairs programs.  She speaks on music therapy and health entrepreneurship at a wide variety of education, healthcare, small business, and corporate conferences.

 

Adriana Sorbo, MA, R. Psych. RPT

Adriana is a registered psychologist with the College of Alberta Psychologists and a registered play therapist with the Association for Play Therapy. Adriana has worked in the area of child and adolescent mental health for over 10 years in numerous settings including non-profit counselling centres, mental health services and private practice. Adriana is currently the owner of a private practice in Calgary where she works with children and their families from a developmental, trauma-informed and attachment-based integrative play therapy lens and where she brings play into her role as a clinical supervisor. Adriana recently co-authored a chapter in an edited book on play therapy process. Adriana spends as much time as possible playing on her yoga mat, in the snow, in her garden, in the trees and with her child.

Natalie Bergman, R. Psych

Natalie Bergman provides counselling for children and families with an emphasis on acting out children and improving family dynamics.

I apply Play therapy and Cognitive-Behavioral therapy to help children with anxiety, attention difficulties, stress, behavioral concerns, bulling, grief and loss, and parent-child conflict.
I am passionate about working with children and families and have experience with play-based therapy, which is a natural way to communicate for children.

I am bilingual and speak Russian and English. I am a writer for Russian newspaper (mostly articles about child development). I am a registered psychologist in a province of Alberta and pursuing a Doctoral Degree in Counselling Psychology. I worked as a Parent Coach at Catholic Family Services and a Counselor at Family Youth Sexual Abuse Treatment Program; I have had 2 years training in Functional Family Therapy. I have had training in Play Therapy, I have had extensive training in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia.

Dr. Mercy Yeboah-Ampadu
Dr. Mercy Yeboah-Ampadu, PhD, RSW

Dr. Mercy Yeboah-Ampadu is a social worker of 21 years currently working in children's mental health. She is also a retired military social work officer and veteran with extensive experience in working in adult mental health populations. She has taught as a sessional social work instructor with the University of Calgary and Red Deer College including course work in research and cultural diversity. She has extensive training in play therapy and has authored two children's books.

Georgina Henderson, Registered Provisional Psychologist

As a registered provisional psychologist, I am  committed to promoting the well-being of the mind, body, spirit and emotions of Indigenous children, youth and adults  through an Indigenous framework that honors the journey and sacred story  of the individual and utilizing the grandfather teachings and the Medicine Wheel as needed.

Being cognizant of the historical and current trauma and its impact on the individual, family and community as an Indigenous therapist allows me to incorporate a variety of  elements to promote balance, healing, and harmony.  

Abigail Ellazar, MS Psych

Abigail Ellazar received her Master’s in Psychology in 2016 graduating cum laude where she focused on specializing in clinical interventions with children. Throughout the years she has worked with diverse populations as a mental health therapist in Hawaii. She has since then narrowed down focus to specializing in behavior interventions and play skills for children with special needs and recently began her practice, Behavior and Play.

Additional Members of the Training Faculty

Senior tutors, who themselves are widely recognized as expert instructors and clinicians, provide the following areas of instruction:

  • Expressive arts
  • Attachment theory
  • Drama & movement
  • Legal/ethical issues
  • Music
  • Family systems work & family play therapy
  • Sandplay
  • Puppetry