Certified AAPT Supervisors

In 2017, IIAAPT rolled out its Supervisor Certification Program. Individuals who earn this certification are already certified in AAPT at the therapist level and have a recognized supervisor credential from their governmental licensing body and/or an accepted mental health organization. They then undergo additional supervisor training that focuses specifically on the complexities of supervising professionals and their animals in the conduct of AAPT. This, too, is a full certification based on demonstrated competence. All AAPT supervisors go through a mentorship experience (approximately one year) as well to ensure these competencies. The AAPT Supervision Certification Manual is also available on this website.

(in order that CAAPT-S was awarded)

Risë VanFleet, PhD, RPT-S, CDBC, CAEBC-I

Author Risë VanFleet, PhD, RPT-S, CDBC, co-creator of the field of Animal Assisted Play Therapy with Tracie Faa-Thompson, is shown here with Josie Patches, Murrie, and Kirrie.

Dr. Risë VanFleet is a co-founder and director of the International Institute for Animal Assisted Play Therapy®. She is also the President of the Family Enhancement & Play Therapy Center, Inc., in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, an organization specializing in the training and supervision of child, family, and play therapy professionals. She also provides therapy to families and runs the Playful Pooch Program. She is a Licensed Psychologist (PA), Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor, and Certified Dog Behavior Consultant with 45 years of clinical, supervisory, administrative, and teaching experience. Her specialties include AAPT, Filial Therapy, chronic medical illness in families, disaster mental health, complex trauma and attachment issues. She has trained and supervised thousands of clinicians internationally. She also provides behavior consultation with family dogs, and specializes in highly fearful, traumatized, unsocialized dogs.

Risë is the author of a number of ground-breaking and award-winning books, and she has authored dozens of articles, chapters, and manuals. Books include (but not limited to) Animal Assisted Play Therapy, Filial Therapy: Strengthening Parent-Child Relationships Through Play, Child-Centered Play Therapy, The Human Half of Dog Training: Collaborating with Clients to Get Results, and more. Her materials have been translated into several languages. She is also featured in several video-based online courses and the American Psychological Association's DVD, Filial Play Therapy. She is on the editorial board of two major journals, and is a past president and board chair of the Association for Play Therapy.

Dr. VanFleet has been the recipient of 16 national and international awards, including the PPA's Distinguished Contributions to the Science and Profession of Psychology Award, several awards for her education and training programs such as APT's Play Therapy Professional Education and Training Award, 5 awards (Maxwell Awards and Special Awards from the DWAA) for her writing, and 2 awards for her wildlife photography.

Dr. VanFleet may be contacted at:

Risë VanFleet, PhD, RPT-S, CDBC, CAEBC-I

International Institute for Animal Assisted Play Therapy®

PO Box 613, Boiling Springs, PA 17007

www.iiaapt.org - info@iiaapt.org

Tracie Faa-Thompson, MA, AASW, PGdipNDPT, CAEBC-I

Tracie Faa-Thompson, BA, Social Work; MA, Crim; PG NDPT, Clin Hypno, Cert EAGALA, Certified Animal Ethology and Behavior Consultant-Instructor, and Certified Filial Therapist and Instructor is also a cofounder of AAPT. She is a specialist social worker in adoption working with traumatised children and their adoptive and foster families in the UK. She is a British Association of Play Therapists Qualified Play Therapist who uses a mix of individual play therapy, Filial Therapy, and group filial methods. Tracie is also a practice teacher of social work students and a trainer in Life Story Work and attachment theory. As a clinical hypnotherapist, Tracie incorporates Eye Movement Integration with Emotional Freedom Technique as an effective approach to trauma. She has conducted training programs for professionals on attachment and resilience, life story work, sibling contact in adoption, introductions of adoptive families and children, Filial Therapy, and AAPT.

Hailing from a Scottish/Romany Traveller family, Tracie has grown up with dogs and horses as integral to her native culture. Tracie is a member of the Classical Riding Club and the founder of Turn About Pegasus, an equine-assisted programme for at-risk youth and also for families with a variety of difficulties. She is EAGALA approved for both mental health and equine specialist roles. She is the founder, and for over 20 years, the Chairman of her local Riding for the Disabled Centre until its recent amalgamation with another purpose-built centre.

Tracie is coauthor of the internationally acclaimed book, Animal Assisted Play Therapy, and author and coauthor of dozens of chapters, articles, and training manuals. She regular conducts AAPT work with all ages as part of her Turn About Pegasus program and conducts training in AAPT throughout the world. Tracie has a lifetime of experience of living and working with dogs and horses and over 30 years of working with vulnerable children and families.

Tracie can be contacted at:


Lucy Llewellyn, CAAPT -S-I, PG NDPT, AASW, NNEB

Registered with Social Work England & British Association of Play Therapists (PSA)

Lucy became a Certified Animal Assisted Play Therapist in 2015. In 2020 she achieved her goals to become an AAPT®️ Instructor and supervisor.

She holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Non-Directive Play Therapy from the University of York, having studied with Dr. Virginia Ryan. Lucy has worked with children and young people for over 30 years since qualifying as a Nursery Nurse (NNEB) in 1981. She went on to study social work and gained the Advanced Award in Social Work in 2001. Lucy is a Certified AutPlay®️Therapist and has also undertaken Advanced Filial Therapy, Level 1 Theraplay and Level 1 Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy trainings.

Lucy has worked within a Child and Adolescent Mental Health team for over 15 years as well as working for Family Service Unit and Sure Start.

She set up “Paws4Play” in 2009 and has worked with her AAPT Approved dog, Lykke, with children who have experienced abuse, neglect and trauma. Lykke is a rescued Lurcher who loves to play.

Lucy is the proud recipient of The Kirrie Award for outstanding contributions and dedication to the field of Animal Assisted Play Therapy®. Lucy attended the very first AAPT training held in the UK, and she has helped in many capacities with subsequent Level 1 and Level 2 workshops held there in more recent years. Lucy is an assistant dog trainer and relief dog walker at Bronte Canine Care. She is based in West Yorkshire, UK.

Contact Lucy at:



Teri works full time as a crisis counselor for Garland ISD, one of the 70 largest school districts in the nation. She is stationed at a high school of 3,000 students, and is one of a 13-member team of crisis counselors for 71 campuses and over 60,000 students. Before his retirement this year her canine therapy partner, Gibbs Theradoodle®, (a goldendoodle) accompanied her to elementary, middle and high schools for both guidance and crisis interventions. Gibbs worked tirelessly for weeks in the aftermath of a rare, winter F4 tornado that decimated the area the day after Christmas in2015.

Teri also owns her private practice where she counsels children, adolescents, and families with Gibbs and her other two canine assistants, Zoe (a red toy poodle) and Khaleesi (a tuxedo parti poodle). Gibbs and Zoe are both registered therapy dogs with Intermountain Therapy Animals, as well as registered Reading Education Assistance Dogs. Both have worked extensively with elementary children in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area at libraries, bookstores, and other programs. Gibbs was the R.E.A.D.ing dog for a pilot program at Literacy Instruction for Texas, and worked at a center in one of the poorest areas in Dallas to help children and their families learn to read. Gibbs Theradoodle® is well known in the DFW area as he has his own theme song and music video, Facebook page, agent and modeling career. He has done print work for Pier 1 Imports, and was also seen on national television in the Adolphus Children’s Hospital Christmas parade. He and Zoe have both volunteered at Dallas Children’s Hospital.

Teri is an licensed instructor and evaluator for Intermountain Therapy Animals, as well as a licensed instructor for Reading Education Assistance Dogs. She is a Certified Animal Assisted Play Therapist-Supervisor with the IIAAPT.

Teri can be contacted at:




Val Miraglia, LPA, RPT-S, CFT-I, Cert AutPlay Therapist, CAAPT-S

After more than 25 years of experience doing child therapy in Anchorage, Alaska, most of that time in private practice, Val Miraglia recently retired from seeing clients. She continues, however, to offer supervision for play therapy and Filial Therapy and is in the final stages of the supervisor certification program in AAPT. Val's background includes work in community mental health and in private practice with children and families and those experiencing disability. She has received advanced training in working with trauma, attachment issues, the autism spectrum, play therapy, Filial Therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, attachment issues, cross-cultural issues, expressive arts therapy, Animal Assisted Play Therapy® and more. In addition to her license and being a Registered Play Therapist-Supoervisor, Certified Filial Therapist-Instructor, and Certified AutPlay Therapist, Val is a Certified Animal Assisted Play Therapist. Dogs have always been a passion, and Luke was her approved AAPT dog (black lab). Recently she added Skye (English Shepherd) to her family.

Val was nominated for the 1996 Carolyn Frichette Award by the State of Alaska for her work with severely emotionally disturbed children, and honored as the recipient of the "Light of Hope" Community Recognition for her advocacy for Alaska's children in 2003.

Val can be contacted at:

PO Box 243636

Anchorage, AK 99524


Jacqueline George, LCSW, RPT-S, CAAPT-S

Jacque George began practicing Child Centered Play Therapy in 1990 and has worked in preschool settings, in school with severely emotionally disturbed children, in outpatient settings, and currently in a private practice in York, Pennsylvania. She is a LCSW and a Registered Play Therapy Supervisor (RPT-S) who enjoys teaching the next generation of therapists, whether they are interns, graduates working toward their license, or participants at one of the many workshops Jacque leads. Jacque served on the Utah Association for Play Therapy Board of Directors, and she has been involved with the Pennsylvania APT Board of Directors since 2002. She served as President of PA APT for four years and received the Guerney Award from PA APT for excellence in promoting the field of play therapy.

Jacque is passionate about working with children and adults from families of domestic violence and is certified as a Diplomate of Clinical Forensic Counseling in the field of domestic violence. Her work as part of a research project funded by the state of Utah regarding treatment for children of domestic violence was published in The Journal of Emotional Abuse. Jacque also specializes in working with survivors of incest and sexual assault.

In 2015 Jacque became a Certified Animal Assisted Play Therapist (CAAPT), and she has received the Kirrie Award for dedication to the development of the field of Animal Assisted Play Therapy®. Jacque has two cats who work with her: Deyanna, a Ragdoll cat who is very laid back and calm, and Skippy, a gregarious orange tabby who is constantly on the move. Both love being with clients and they add a dynamic element to the therapy process!

Jacque can be contacted at:




Lisa Mink McGowan, LMFT, RPT-S, CAAPT-S

Lisa Mink McGowan is the owner of Therapooch Family Counseling Center in Camarillo, California. She started working with kids 25 years ago as a preschool teacher and often brought animals into her classroom. She graduated with her Master’s degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Lisa has 20 years of experience conducting animal assisted therapy in a variety of therapeutic settings. Her first working dog was Koko, who accompanied her in a variety of therapeutic settings. Lisa and Koko also volunteered at Hospice, Paws for Reading, and other community programs. In 2008 she published an award winning children’s book about Koko. Lisa and Koko opened Therapooch Family Counseling Center in 2009. Lisa designed her spacious therapy office and playroom specifically with AAT in mind. In 2012, her playroom earned runner-up honors as the nation’s (USA) Top Playroom by the Association for Play Therapy (APT). Over the past 10 years Lisa has been presenting on AAT and has been featured in several newspapers and magazines.

Lisa currently works with her two chocolate labs, Mocha ( 8 years old) and Kona (2 years old). They are both AAPT-Approved and have their CGC certificate. Mocha has also earned the Distinguished Therapy Dog title from the AKC. Mocha and Kona both know many tricks and love to play games like hide and seek. They are enthusiastic and playful and love going to work.

Lisa can be contacted at:




Debora McManus, LCSW, RPT-S, CAAPT-S

Debora McManus specializes in helping 3 to 15 year old children and their families. She uses play therapy and Animal Assisted Play Therapy® with her AAPT-Approved dog Keen. They develop activities that are fun and non--threatening to work on specific skills such as anger management, assertiveness training, or managing anxiety. She frequently meets with parents to provide feedback about the therapy process. She has been working in the mental health field since 1988, and has worked in an adult psychiatric hospital, in a school teaching youngsters on the autism spectrum, in day treatment and group residential settings with emotionally disturbed children, and in public preschool and elementary school settings as a school social worker. Deb started her own private practice in 2005, which is now in Lafayette, California.

Deb is a Certified Animal Assisted Play Therapist who works with her AAPT-Approved dog Keen, a Labrador Retriever. Keen loves hiking, belly rubs, food, and tricks training (because she gets food). She understands over 50 cues. Deb is the mother of four children in addition to being a business owner and consultant.

Deb can be contacted at:

Paws and Play: Therapy for Kids and Families
936 Dewing Ave., Suite E1
Lafayette, CA 94549