Oregon Association for Play Therapy

Board Members

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Julie Lerwick - President

Dr. Julie Lerwick holds a Ph.D. in Counseling from Oregon State University and is a Nationally Certified (NCC) Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Registered Play Therapist (RPT). Her doctoral research, conducted at Oregon Health & Science University Department of Neurological Surgery, was in pre-operative anxiety reduction using a play therapy intervention. Dr. Lerwick has enjoyed academic and clinical work, both nationally and internationally, and is deeply invested in preparing and mentoring new counselors to fulfill their life’s calling. Aligning with her research interest, Dr. Lerwick is a published author in medical journals on the subject of psycho-social aspects of pediatric healthcare. Believing strongly in social justice to children, she volunteers her time providing services to children undergoing medical treatment, creates pediatric psycho-social interventions for healthcare systems, trains healthcare professionals and First Responders to address the psycho-social needs of children. She is Clinical Director and Assistant Professor of Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Northwest University.

Tony Lai - Vice President

Tony is a Mental Health Specialist III for Yamhill County Family and Youth Porgrams in McMinnville, OR. His primary duties include working with children, teens, and families. Tony supervises graduate interns and provides supervision for clinical supervisors. Tony is a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor (RPT-S) and approved supervisor for LPC/LMFT interns on the Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists (OBLPCT) Registry. Tony is currently serving a 3-year Board term with OBLPCT.

Teresa Heesacker - Treasurer

Michelle Pliske - Conference Coordinator

Michelle Pliske is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and the owner and clinical director of Firefly Counseling Services, P.C. She holds a bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of Washington, Department of Psychology, where she studied developmental psychology. She worked on multiple research studies as a post graduate at the University of Washington's Institute of Brain and Learning Sciences and Center on Human Development and Disability. Her research included: infant and child development, childhood trauma, child behavioral disorders and autism spectrum disorder. Michelle received her graduate degree with honors from Portland State University, School of Social Work. Michelle holds certificates of education in Trauma Informed Services from Portland State University, EMDR from the Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Institute and a certificate of education in Play Therapy Practices with recognition as a Registered Play Therapy Supervisor (RPT-S) through The Association for Play Therapy. 

MereAnn Reid - Member at Large

MereAnn is a child and family therapist specializing in adoption and early parenthood. She has a private practice in NE Portland practicing play therapy, sandtray, art, and yoga with clients age 3 to adults. Her clinical focus includes adoption & foster care dynamics, attachment, mindfulness, parent self-care, the power of groups, and the creativity of handcrafts (knitting rules!) as tools for healing. 

Dawn Williamson - Outreach Coordinator

Dawn Williamson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor specializing in clinical practice with those who have experienced trauma. She received her MSW in 1991 from Portland State University where her areas of focus were child sexual abuse and play therapy practice. She originally received her bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Montana and retains a strong foundation in the generalist perspective. Dawn also teaches both at the PSU School of Social Work and the PSU Trauma-Informed Services program. 

Christian Fauerso - Media & Marketing Coordinator

Christian Fauerso is a Mental Health Specialist II at Yamhill County Family & Youth Programs. He works with children, teens, and families. Chris balances his work between carrying a caseload of clients and providing crisis support on the Yamhill County REACH Team. Chris uses filial (play) therapy modalities to help parents become change agents in the lives of their children. Chris holds a Master’s degree in Counseling from Multnomah University and has specific training in recovery from past traumas through EMDR. Chris is a Registered Intern for the State of Oregon under the Supervision of Tony Lai, LPC, RPT-S.