Athena Drewes – Founder and Past President Emeritus

Athena Drewes - President Emeritus

Athena A. Drewes, PsyD, MA, MS, RPT-S is a licensed child psychologist, certified school psychologist and Registered Play Therapist and Supervisor. She is Director of Clinical Training and APA-Accredited Doctoral Psychology Internship at Astor Services for Children & Families, a large multi-service nonprofit mental health agency in New York. She has over 40 years of clinical experience supervising clinicians and in the treatment of children and teens, specializing in sexual abuse, complex trauma, and attachment issues in school, outpatient and inpatient settings utilizing an integrative, prescriptive, play therapy approach. Dr. Drewes has worked over 20 years with therapeutic foster care children in treatment.

She is a former Board of Director of the Association for Play Therapy (2001-2006) and Founder/Past President of the New York Association for Play Therapy (1994-2000; 20012-2016). She has written extensively about play therapy in journals, book chapters and articles, and has been a frequently sought-after invited guest lecturer throughout the US, England, Wales, Taiwan, Australia, Ireland, Argentina, Italy, Denmark, Mexico and Canada on play therapy. Her edited/co-edited books include School-based Play Therapy (also translated into Chinese); Cultural Issues in Play Therapy; Supervision Can be Playful: Techniques for Child and Play Therapy Supervisors; Blending Play Therapy with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Evidence-Based and other Effective Treatments and Techniques (also translated into Chinese); School-based Play Therapy: Second Edition; Integrative Play Therapy (also translated into Chinese); Integrating Expressive Arts and Play Therapy with Children and Adolescents; The Therapeutic Powers of Play: 20 Core Agents of Change, 2nd Edition. Her most recent book, published by the American Psychological Association, Play Therapy for Children in Middle Childhood (6-12 years) includes a companion clinical video of Dr. Drewes working with a child using her integrative prescriptive play therapy approach.

 Dr. Drewes was Chair of the Child and Adolescent Special Interest Group of Division 56 Trauma of the American Psychological Association and has given numerous workshops at APA conferences on the use of play therapy in the treatment of children’s trauma. She is a Red Cross Instructor and Supervisor, and on the Leadership Team of Disaster Mental Health Services for the Metro New York North branch of the Greater New York Red Cross. Dr. Drewes has assisted with local flooding, snow and fire disasters, at Pier 94 Kid’s Corner after 9/11 and post-Katrina in New Orleans.

She is the author of a Children’s Activity Workbook created for Israeli, Arab and Russian children to use post-traumatic events, through US-AID. She was part of a special envoy to the Dead Sea in Israel through US-AID meeting with Palestinian and Israeli mental health professionals in May 2012.

Dr. Drewes was senior author in 2011, in collaboration with the Institute for Disaster Mental Health at SUNY New Paltz. She created a special training module for the United Nations (General Assembly) International Emergency Preparedness and Support Teams (EPST) for overseas disasters that impact children, youth and families (e.g. loss of a UN worker/parent due to riots, terrorism, etc.) which has since been used around the world.


Maryann Assini – Past President

Maryann Assini - President

Mary Anne Assini had served on the NYAPT board in the capacity of president from 2016-2018 and 2008-2012. Prior to this she held the positions of vice president and corresponding secretary. Mary Anne is a reimbursable licensed clinical social worker and registered play therapist supervisor. She is an outpatient therapist at Ellis Child and Adolescent Treatment Services in Schenectady, NY where she works with children, adolescents and families. She also provides play therapy supervision and training, is an Adjunct Professor at Sage Graduate School where she teaches courses in play therapy and is involved with the The HEARTS (Healthy Environments And Relationships That Support) Initiative.

Mary Anne has over 30 years of experience in the field, and has worked in counseling centers, in-patient programs and educational programs for children with special needs. Mary Anne is committed to focusing on expanding the availability of play therapy trainings throughout the state and to increasing awareness of the importance of working with, and supporting, a family focus throughout the treatment process. Of all her involvements the most important by far to Mary Anne is being a mother to her two sons and a partner to her husband.


Gabriel I. Lomas, Ph.D., RPT-S – President

Gabriel Lomas - PresidentGabe Lomas is a professor of counseling in the department of Educational Psychology at Western Connecticut State University. Gabe is a native of Texas, where he started his career. He has worked as a sign language interpreter, teacher, school counselor, mental health counselor, and professor. In Houston, he owned a private practice in Houston that specialized in working with people with CPS involvement, giving him immense experience in the child welfare system. Having completed over 1000 psychological evaluations for the child welfare system, he is now a frequent consultant to the justice system with regard to high stakes cases across the nation. He has been published widely in literature that focuses on mental health, but especially mental health with deaf people.  Currently, he is the Project Director of a federal grant worth nearly two million dollars. The focus of the grant is to increase trauma training and put counseling interns into integrated primary care settings. Gabe has served on national committees for the APT as well as the Texas and New York state play therapy boards. He is married to Jennifer Freundel-Lomas and they, along with their two children, live in Putnam Valley, NY.


Ann Beckley Forest – Vice President

Ann Beckley Forest - Recording SecretaryAnn is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice in the Buffalo area, but has just returned from a year spent in Beijing, China, where she offered trainings in play therapy in several cities in China and in Singapore. Ann has focused on interventions with children and adolescents throughout her career. She likes to say she became a registered play therapist because she never really grew up and loves having toys in her office! She is a registered play therapy supervisor and approved provider of play therapy education, and her specialties include intervention with very young children, as well as problems of attachment and child and adolescent trauma. She is also certified in EMDR and a faculty member of the Child Trauma Institute, through whom she has had the chance to offer trainings locally, nationally and internationally, and published an article about the use of EMDR in play therapy in the fall 2015 issue of Play Therapy magazine. Ann is committed to raising the profile of play therapy especially in Western New York by offering more trainings to make our play therapy community bigger and by bringing play therapists together for consultation and networking.


Hilary Dusablon – Corresponding Secretary

Hilary Sutliff - Corresponding SecretaryHilary Dusablon received her BA in Psychology from SUNY Plattsburgh and a MA in Counseling and Community Psychology from The Sage Colleges in Albany.   During her final year of graduate school she completed a one year graduate internship with Ellis Child and Adolescent Treatment Services in Schenectady.   It was during this internship that Hilary was first introduced to the New York Association for Play Therapy when she helped to coordinate the 16th Annual Play Therapy Conference in Albany. Hilary has assisted with the NYAPT annual conference registration and coordination each year since that time.  Hilary is currently serving her first elected 2-year term as Corresponding Secretary.  She recently completed APT’s Leadership Academy and would highly recommend this program to any member looking to learn more about the association, as well as about leadership as a whole.

Presently, Hilary is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) working with Northeast Parent and Child Society as a therapist in Schenectady, NY.  She currently holds a supervisory role at this agency, and she thoroughly enjoys teaching, helping her supervisees enhance their clinical skills, and promoting an interest in play therapy.   Hilary is presently working towards becoming a Registered Play Therapist (RPT).

As a board member, Hilary strives to share her passion for the field and fresh insight with both current and future members of the NYAPT. She endeavors to use her strong advocacy skills and dedication to continued professional development to aid in sustaining and increasing the positive impact the NYAPT organization has upon clinicians throughout the state.


Vicki Ann Mast, PsyD. – Recording Secretary

Vicki Mast - Recording SecretaryVicki Ann Mast, Psy.D., is a recently retired school psychologist. She has served her whole career addressing the needs of children having developmental delays and disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders, communication disorders and genetic conditions such as Down Syndrome. Her work focused primarily on children in the birth to 5 age range. Vicki, also a former special education teacher, was responsible for developing intervention strategies related to the learning, attentional, and social emotional needs of young students in day care centers, preschool programs and pre-kindergarten classrooms. In addition, she performed diagnostic evaluations and provided extensive training to teachers and parents through workshops and support groups. Vicki became interested in play therapy in the early 1990s and has throughout her career attempted to increase awareness in schools of the importance of play and the usefulness of play therapy in promoting the emotional well being of young students. She will serve on the NYAPT board as recording secretary.


Ashley Fiore, LMHC – Treasurer

Ashley Fiore - TreasurerAshley Fiore received her Bachelor of Science from Marist College where she also completed a one-year internship in the Emergency Psychiatric Unit at Saint Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, New York. Ashley then went on to complete her studies at Sage Graduate School’s where she earned her Master of Arts in Counseling and Community Psychology. During her graduate studies, she completed a one and a half-year internship at Ellis Child and Adolescent Treatment Services. During this internship, Ashley developed a passion for families and play therapy. Ashley previously worked as a therapist at The Family Counseling Center where she provided outpatient therapy to all ages. In addition, this agency worked closely with local schools which allowed her to provide school based and agency based therapy.

She is presently working towards becoming a Registered Play Therapist (RPT) and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). Ashley currently works full time at Forest Clinical Services and provides psychotherapy to individuals, families, and couples, working with individuals of all ages. Ashley approaches treatment from a systems perspective and additionally utilizes the therapeutic powers of play in her work with parents, families and children.


David Schatzkamer – Board Member

Photo of David SchatzkamerDavid Schatzkamer is a licensed mental health counselor and clinical supervisor, with distinguished knowledge in providing play therapy and counseling to children and their family. David has obtained incomparable training at the University of North Texas where he was a participant of the Intensive Play Therapy Supervision Program. He continuously receives play therapy supervision by a world known play therapist (Alan Gonsher, LCSW, RPT-S). David has also facilitated a play therapy group supervision group, which used to meet monthly. This work, as well as his ongoing training at the Family & Play Therapy Center in Pennsylvania, has helped him facilitate change in the lives of countless children struggling with ADHD, ODD, conduct disorder, abuse/trauma, and depression and family issues. He specialized in ADHD while working at the NYU Child Study Center and provided counseling to children suffering from post-9/11 trauma at Columbia University. David served as the Director of Clinical Services at a local Brooklyn, NY non-profit. David currently has a private practice (Center4PlayTherapy).


Paola Cummings, LCSW-R – Board Member

Paola Cummings - Board MemeberPaola has an undergraduate degree from Siena with a major in psychology.  She later went on and received her Master’s Degree in Social Work at SUNY ALBANY.  She worked as a clinical psychotherapist for 13 years at Samaritan Counseling Center, working primarily with children, teenagers, and families.  She utilized play therapy with families, as well as structural family therapy and Filial Family Therapy.  For the last three years, Paola has worked in the Mohonasen School District as a social worker in Draper Middle School.  She works predominantly with the special education population in the middle school, yet is accessible to all students.  Paola continues to utilize play strategies in her work with middle schoolers as well as Pet Therapy.  She has a 3 year-old goldendoodle that the students love!  Paola continues to attend trainings to work towards her RPT.


Linda Moyer, LCSW-R, RPT – Board Member

Linda Moyer - Board MemberLinda is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of New York (LCSW-R). She has a Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW). She has over 20 years experience working with children and parents in school, hospice and outpatient mental health settings. Her extensive experience consists of Child Centered Play Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy and Parent Coaching to include parenting skills, support, Filial, Theraplay principles and behavior management. Linda is a member of the National Association of Play Therapy (APT) and is a Registered Play Therapist.


Stephanie Deyo – Student Representative

Stephanie DeyoStephanie Deyo is a graduate student at the School of Social Welfare, University at Albany, SUNY.  She obtained a Bachelor of Science with a minor in Psychology from the School of Social Welfare in May of 2017. Stephanie currently works as a Student Assistant for the Surrogate Decision Making Committee under the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs advocating for individuals rights to timely medical care. Stephanie has over 7 years of experience working with children and aspires to one day own a private practice specializing in family and marriage counseling and play therapy. This academic year, Stephanie will be interning at Ellis Medicine’s Child and Adolescent Outpatient Treatment Services where she will continue to expand her knowledge of working with children and families through direct practice. In addition, she will be serving as the Student Representative of the New York Association of Play Therapy. Stephanie recognizes the importance of utilizing play therapy interventions and she aspires to pass on this knowledge by networking with other others through her role. When she has free time, Stephanie enjoys hiking, being around her family, cooking, and reading


Ashley Martin – Student Representative

Ashley Martin - student representativeAshley is a native of Cortland, New York. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2015, and is now heading into her second year of graduate school studying Mental Health Counseling and Play Therapy. Ashley has been working with children since 2011 in summer camps, daycares, preschools, and elementary schools. She is currently interning at a private practice that works with children, teens, and adults, and her main approach to working with children is child-centered play therapy. Ashley plans to move to North Carolina after finishing graduate school, and hopes to become a registered play therapist and play therapy supervisor.



Photo Gallery – Board Induction Ceremony
2017 Annual Play Therapy Conference