Theraplay Board


Marla Clayman, PhD MPH is a Senior Researcher at the American Institutes for Research and the mother of two young children. Her membership on the Theraplay board taps into both of these roles. Through working with the Theraplay Institute, she has gained a stronger appreciation for the role of play in children’s (and adults’) lives. With over a decade of experience in conducting and publishing peer-reviewed research, she plays a part in helping strengthen the evidence base for Theraplay. Marla lives in Evanston, IL.




Vice President 
Rana Hong, PhD, LCSW, RPT-S, an adjunct professor and field liaison of school of social work at Loyola University Chicago, teaches clinical social work practice with individuals and families and advanced clinical practice with children for masters students. A seasoned clinician, she has specialized in treating children and their parents with issues of children’s behavioral and emotional issues including but not limited to attachment, anxiety, trauma, and oppositional defiance. As a certified Theraplay Practitioner, supervisor, and trainer and registered play therapy supervisor, she has been a frequent lecturer and presenter on topics of play therapy modalities in working with children and their families. Her research and scholarship have focused on improving clinical practice and services for children and parents. Additionally, she maintains a group practice in Des Plaines, IL. 

Jessica Richmond is the owner and principal of Richmond Marketing Strategy & Innovation Consulting, and has more than 13 years of experience building brands at consumer goods companies across a variety of industries. Jessica began her career in consulting with KPMG, where she specialized in strategic planning for public sector agencies. She holds a BA in Spanish and Economics from the University of Michigan, and an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. As a mother, a former mentor in a program for at-risk youth in Washington DC, and an active volunteer with the Girl Scouts organization, Jessica has a passion for helping kids reach their full potential, and is inspired by how Theraplay positively impacts children and their families. She currently resides in Oak Park, Illinois with her husband, two kids, and Labrador Retriever.

Benoit Destoppeleire graduated from Law School in Paris, and had a career with an international bank, where he was involved in the management of subsidiaries abroad. He was posted and lived with his family in a number of countries with diverse cultures and ethnic backgrounds. He retired 2 years ago, and lives now in Chicago.





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Chava Alpert, LCSW. Chava has a masters degree in social work and has been in clinical practice for over 20 years. Chava maintains a private practice working with children and families and also serves as a mental health consultant at numerous local early childhood preschools and HeadStart programs. Chava uses TTI's Sunshine Circles at many of her sites and has trained dozens of teacheres in this approach. Chava lives in Evanston with her husband and three children.





Kirsten Cotton, CPA is a Director at FGMK, where she leads the not-for-profit audit practice and is co-leader of the employee benefit plan audit practice.  Kirsten has a BS in accounting and advertising from Arizona State University. She has more than 25 years of  experience working with not-for-profit organizations, including institutions of higher education, social services organizations, civic and charitable organizations.  In addition, she has extensive experience working with audits of employee benefit plans.  Kirsten has served on numerous not-for-profit boards, including the Boys and Girls Club of Elgin, where she serves on the audit committee.  She currently resides in Lake Barrington, Illinois with her family.


Mgougeon picMonique Gougeon has a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work and is a Certified Child Therapist and Play Therapist Supervisor with the Canadian Association of Child and Play Therapy. Monique has extensive experience working with children and families in community agencies and has worked for 20 years in the field of children’s therapy. She is the co-owner of Alloway Therapy Services in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where she works alongside her talented colleagues. Monique has special interests in supporting children who have experienced loss, developmental trauma, and attachment disruption. Her passion for Theraplay began in 2000, when she completed her MSW clinical practicum. She has since certified in Circle of Security Individual and Group models and has continued to learn, pursuing her certification in Theraplay and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy. She regularly facilitates trainings and presentations for caregivers and professionals regarding child trauma and attachment disruption. She is the proud mother of two daughters, 15 and 17 years of age.


Leonard Levine is the owner and president of Levine Venture Partners, LLC and has been successfully involved in various businesses for over 40 years. Throughout his career, some of his specific responsibilities included the roles of chief executive officer, chief financial officer and being a partner in an accounting firm. Len learned about The Theraplay Institute from his daughter who has worked at the agency for many years. Len and his wife live in Riverwoods, Illinois and enjoy spending time with their three children and four grandchildren.



 Michelle McGuinness received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School.  Having previously practiced in large firms in Chicago and San Francisco, she works as a consultant to EconOne, a litigation services firm. She lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband and young daughter.  



Mary Ring, MAMFC, MARE, LPC-S, LMFT-S, RPT-s, is a Certified Theraplay Practitioner, Trainer and Supervisor. She received a B.S. in Special Ed. with Emotionally Disturbed Children from University of Houston in 1973. Since 1991 Mary has worked as a marriage and family therapist. She presently serves The Juliana Poor Memorial Counseling Center at Houston's First Baptist Church as clinical coordinator of the family team and guides practicum students, interns and therapists through the process of a structured family treatment program that is based on family relational interaction. The foundation of this work focuses on using Theraplay with a strong emphasis on understanding attachment/trauma needs of each family situation. Mary has trained and supervised therapists domestically and internationally for the purpose of encouraging them to join the international Theraplay community since 2007.


TTI Board