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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 co-edited EMDR with Children in the Play Therapy Room (2020). 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.

Ellen Maranca – Corresponding Secretary

Ellen MarancaEllen Maranca, is a licensed clinical social worker and RPT-S who maintains a private practice in Ithaca, NY. Her interests within play therapy are integrative, including both a Child Centered basis and other approaches such as nearing her Foundation level certificate in Theraplay. She is also trained Accelerated Resolution Therapy, a trauma treatment technique.  She describes herself as passionate about play therapy and eager to serve on the NYAPT Board as corresponding secretary especially to promote connection and collaboration among members in these pandemic times and promote access to training in central New York, as well as create a greater sense of community among members.

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.

Camille Arth Boccio – Treasurer

Camille Arth Boccio Camille Arth Boccio works at The Rural Outreach Center in East Aurora, New York serving in several roles.  She is the Director of Care Coordination, Code Blue Coordinator for Southern Erie County, and works in a clinical capacity carrying a caseload of children and adults focusing on attachment-based and trauma treatments. She is currently eligible for her LCSW and is also working towards an RPT-S. Camille has completed Level 1 Theraplay training and is eager to begin the Level 1 Theraplay practicum.  She completed Progressive Counting and will soon complete EMDR.  Camille became interested in serving on the NYAPT board after having been on the conference planning committee since 2019.  She would like to serve on the board, as a young professional, in the hopes of inspiring other young mental health professionals to become passionate about play therapy.

Domonique Garrett – Board Member

Domonique Garrett Domonique Garrett is a licensed clinical social worker and a registered play therapist. She practices in the Hudson Valley, working with children and their families. Domonique works with youth in a foster care agency (the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie) and in private practice.  She specializes in working with children, adolescents, young adults, parents, and expectant mothers. Domonique has extensive experience in a variety of evidence-based treatments, practicing from a person-centered approach. She would like to help shape the future of NYAPT and assist in bringing awareness about play therapy to different parts of New York.

Susan Bundy-Myrow, Ph.D., RPT-S

Susan Bundy-MyrowSue is a Counseling Psychologist who has been a participant and promoter of NYAPT since its early years. She was a Director on the NYAPT Board from 2004 to 2008 and continues to foster play therapy for neurotypical children and those with asynchronous development and their families.  In addition to her private practice, Sue works with Child Psychiatry residents at the University of Buffalo, contributes to professional publications, and provides training, consultation and supervision in play therapy and Theraplay®. For sixteen years, she provided group play therapy, consultation and training to Special Education Teachers and teams.  With her husband, David Myrow, she collaborates in providing educational consultation and inservice training for teachers to help their students “socially connect and emotionally regulate.”   Sue is a native New Yorker who looks forward to representing New York’s talented play therapists once again.

Maria Knickerbocker – Board Member

Maria KnickerbockerMaria Knickerbocker is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of New York(LCSW-R, RPT-S). She is the Director of Counseling Services at the Rural Outreach Center in East Aurora NY.  Maria has over 25 years of experience in social work with emphasis on children, adults, and families.  She worked both in clinical and administrative capacity in Washington DC, Hattiesburg MS, Temple Texas, and Buffalo NY.  Currently Maria carries a caseload of children, teens and adults at the ROC focusing on trauma, loss and attachment.  Maria completed Level One Theraplay ®and EMDR training.   Maria is a clinical supervisor works with students from various Universities guiding them in play therapy principles and various aspects of social work.  Maria is a proud member of NYAPT, and is running for her second term on the Board.


OPEN POSITION – Student Representative


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.