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Play is a crucial way that children learn and express themselves. Play therapists are licensed mental health professionals who are trained to use play to assist children to heal and to learn new ways of coping with challenges.
Michelle is a Certified Synergetic Play Therapist®. Synergetic Play Therapists® believe that “the therapist is the most important toy in the playroom.” Through her relationships with child clients, she helps children learn to regulate their emotions and behaviors.
Michelle works with children with a variety of emotional and behavioral concerns. She accepts children up to age 12 as new clients.
She specializes in working with neurodivergent children (children with brain-based differences), including sensory issues, learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism.
Michelle believes that parents and caregivers are experts on their own children, and are thus an essential part of a child’s therapy process. By working collaboratively, the short amount of time that she is able to spend with your child can have the greatest possible impact following therapy sessions.
Michelle provides guidance and support to empower parents to maximize their child’s growth and healing. You can expect to spend 10 minutes with her each time your child comes to an appointment. If your child is unable to wait independently, phone calls or virtual meetings can be scheduled to discuss the progress your child is making. Monthly parent meetings outside of your child’s therapy time are also available.
Sometimes families get stuck in patterns that are not helpful. We may respond to members of our family automatically, without even thinking about how or why.
Michelle provides therapy for families to help them get “unstuck.” By working together to become aware of these patterns and the roles that different members play in keeping them alive, each person can change their behavior and learn new ways to respond to other members of the family.
Michelle uses an approach based on family systems theory, viewing families as one entity or unit where each member is interdependent and connected emotionally to one another.
If you’re interested in therapy for your family, please contact Michelle by clicking this link or the “contact” tab above.
Neurodiversity Parenting: an online class and parent group
If you’d like to discuss what services may best for you, your child, or family, please contact Michelle by clicking this link, or the contact tab above.
Michelle is a fully licensed clinical social worker and Certified Synergetic Play Therapist®. She received her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from the University of Michigan School of Social Work in 1996. She has worked with children, families, and people with disabilities for over twenty years.
Before opening her private practice, Open Minds Ann Arbor, LLC, Michelle worked in early intervention, family preservation, day treatment, residential treatment, and outpatient services. She served as the administrator of a national accessibility and inclusion program, and continues to provide consultation to programs and organizations striving to become more welcoming and inclusive of people with disabilities.
Michelle provides services to children, adults, and families. She is committed to helping kids and families experience greater enjoyment in their relationships, and increased competence and resilience at home, school, and play. She honors diversity in all its forms and strives to make every person with whom she works feel welcomed, affirmed, and respected.
Michelle specializes in working with children with brain-based differences, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and ADHD, and in providing clinical services to parents and caregivers of children with disabilities.
Michelle lives in Ann Arbor with her family and their dog. Being outdoors is very important to her. She loves to hike in the woods with her dog, spend time in her yard and garden, and is a beekeeper.