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MariaElena Jauregui-Cross, LPCC, RPT

Past President

MariaElena Jauregui-Cross is a LPCC, holds an Infant Mental Health endorsement at level 3, and is currently working towards becoming a RPT-S. MariaElena fell in love with Play therapy during her internship and have continued to grow her skills since. There are a number of ways MariaElena spreads the word about Play Therapy. First, she uses it daily with children and families she works with. Second, her agency is a training site for providing an introduction to Play Therapy for bachelors and masters students. Finally, her agency is registered as APT continuing education hour provider and she helps put on an annual conference that enables therapist in NM and surrounding areas to continue to earn CE’s towards their registration. MariaElena is passionate about working with others in the state to continue learning about and advocating for Play Therapy.


Shannon Grant, LPCC, RPT-S


Shannon is an LPCC and a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor. This is Shannon’s second year on the board and she is excited for her new role as President Elect! Shannon has a private practice in Albuquerque where she uses Experiential and Jungian play therapy techniques and specializes in trauma, parental bonding, depression and anxiety with children 3-18. On top of play and art, Shannon has been studying SandPlay since 2006 and is working on her own process in the sand and in a consultation groups in order to apply for the Sand Play Practitioner credential with the STA (Sandplay Therapists of America).


Marrina Alvarez, LMHC

President Elect

Marrina Alvarez, LMHC, specializes in working with children and adolescents. She is a clinical mental health counselor residing in Las Cruces NM, Marrina enjoys working with children, adolescents, and families. Her goal is to provide everyone with a safe and non-judgmental environment for her clients and their family’s needs. She approaches therapy in many different perspectives, but mainly focuses on using person-centered therapy. Her passion is to help individuals and families reach their goals and make positive changes in their lives. 


Meredith Baca, LPCC, RPT


Meredith D. Baca is a LPCC and RPT residing outside of Espanola, New Mexico, where she  was born and raised. Meredith received her degree from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX. Meredith has been a licensed clinician for 5 ½ years. She was a licensed clinician in Texas before moving back to New Mexico. Meredith became a Registered Play Therapist in November 2019. Her love for play therapy began at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX. Meredith has worked with children in a variety of settings such as an inpatient facility, a residential facility and in outpatient clinics. She also has experience with children and adolescents in foster care, children and adolescents who have been adopted, children who have experienced the death of a loved one and at risk youth in the juvenile justice system. Meredith believes in the power of play and strives to spread the message of the Association of Play Therapy.

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Breena Tafoya, LCSW, RPT-S


Breena is the Executive Director at Kids Counseling Inc. in Las Vegas, NM. She has served on the NMAPT Board since 2015 and has been the Treasure for the last 4 years. She has held numerous positions throughout New Mexico ranging from clinical to administrative over the last 35 years. Breena has practiced in the areas of child abuse, attachment, anxiety and infant mental health. She currently specializes in new program development and management.


Alanna Giusto, MSW, LCSW

Member At Large

Alanna Giusto, MSW, LCSW specializes in working with children and adolescents. She is a school counselor at a middle school and provides outpatient clinical services part-time with a private practice group in Las Cruces. Alanna is a New Mexico Board of Social Work Examiners approved supervisor for clinicians. She has a background in counseling individuals of all ages in outpatient settings. Alanna has also worked with children in foster care and with families involved with CYFD/CPS.  She believes in the power of play and creativity and use play therapy techniques with her students and clients. Alanna is excited to continue having fun serving on the NMAPT Board and promoting play therapy throughout New Mexico.


Kelsie Bacon, LCSW-S, RPT

Member at Large

Hi all, I’m Kelsie, LCSW-S, RPT, and I reside in Albuquerque, New Mexico where I work at The Treehouse as a clinical therapist. I got my bachelors in Psychology and Family Studies from the University of New Mexico. I attended New Mexico Highlands University to pursue my masters in Clinical Social work. I began studying play therapy in 2018 and went on to receive my RPT in 2022. I consider myself a prescriptive play therapist and enjoy using approaches including Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy, Narrative Therapy, CBT, DIRFloor Time, Autplay, Experiential Play, Attachment Therapy, Sand Tray, and Child-Centered Play Therapy. I enjoy learning and strive to continue my skills by taking a variety of trainings. I specialize in working with Neurodivergent children, adults, and families. I am currently working on my Level 3 PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance) Certification and my Down Syndrome Awareness Diploma. I also love working with teenagers and find it fulfilling to connect with them and help them feel understood and supported.  I am passionate about working with children from a trauma-informed perspective using nondirective play therapy and sand tray techniques. Additionally, I enjoy working with parents and their children using Theraplay techniques to promote attachment and deepen connections. I pride myself on being someone people can feel safe and understood with. I love play and find that it helps all of us as we journey through life. 


Aretha Amundson, LPCC

Member at Large

Aretha Amundson is an LPCC from Silver City, NM. She began learning about and using play therapy during internship and has continued her training in play therapy ever since. Aretha has worked in multiple settings over the years – a early childhood education center, a federally qualified health center, and most recently, doing contract work for an agency specializing in early intervention and children’s services. Her focus has been on working with children and families living in rural areas with few services and having a wide variety of issues related to mental health, gender identity, intergenerational trauma, and poverty. Aretha is a New Mexico Association for Play Therapy member.


April Lewis-Ramirez, LMHC

Member at Large

Hi! I'm April!  I enjoy working with all ages and backgrounds. I got my bachelors from the University of New Mexico in Sociology then went to pursue my M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of the Southwest. I enjoy using a wide range of approaches including Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, EMDR, Narrative Therapy, CBT, mindfulness, and have a passion for Play therapy with trainings in different play techniques. 
I specialize with Complex Trauma and Anxiety with all ages. Children speak/work through their trauma and anxieties through play. Play can help children process in a way they need with a safe environment. I can help provide that “safe place”. I can also provide parent support and education along the way.​
I strive to make an impact on the community of New Mexico and help individuals with their mental health needs for many generations to come. Remember it’s okay to not feel okay and reach out! We can work on this together! If you or a loved one has any unresolved trauma, current things you want to work on, or certain behaviors you have a concern with, I am here to support you on the journey to wellness. 

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