Christy Donley is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) and a Registered Play Therapist (RPT) with a background in elementary special education. With 20 years’ experience working with children, Ms. Donley has spent the last 12 years working with students with autism. Her eclectic approach focusses on child-centered play therapy and cognitive behavior therapy, with an emphasis on parent involvement and communication. Ms. Donley co-leads Unstuck and On Target groups with Monica Adler Werner at CAAT, runs friendship groups and assists with the PEERS for Preschool program with Ms. Harris-Black and Dr. Gates-Ulanet.
Priro to joining CAAT, Ms. Donley worked as a Mental Health Professional in the Model Asperger Program at the Ivymount School in Rockville, MD with students in 1st-8th grade. At Ivymount she taught groups on: emotional regulation, mindfulness, Social Thinking (modeled after the teachings of Michelle Garcia Winner), team building, and sibling support. She also provided individual and group therapy.
Ms. Donley is also a dog lover and is pursing licensure as an Animal Assisted Play Therapist. At Ivymount she saw the benefits of a therapy dog to help students overcome personal challenges and looks forward to expanding her practice to include Animal Assisted Play Therapy (AAPT), the integration of play therapy with animal-assisted therapy. Ms. Donley has also helped children and adults overcome their fear of water utilizing a combination of more traditional therapeutic strategies including behavior modification, self-actualization and relaxation techniques, but also by getting into the water with clients to do the exposure therapy with them and share the physically and emotional experience with them as their CBT coach. By using in-office therapeutic techniques, CBT homework, and in-water exposures she has been able to successfully treat others who have a fear of water.