Maria is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor.  Maria has served on the NMAPT board previously as President-Elect, President and Past President and chaired the Newsletter and Membership Committees. Maria owns a group practice in Las Cruces and has been an active member of NMAPT/APT since 2013. Maria enjoys working with couples, helping individuals recover from trauma, as well as members and allies of the LGBT community. Maria specializes in working with trauma survivors, young children and adults, both individually and in relational therapy with their partner. Maria uses play therapy techniques with children and adults - and enjoys using creative interventions to help others achieve their goals. 

President Elect

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.


Marisol Olivas is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over six years of experience working with children, youth, couples, and individuals. Marisol is committed to providing therapy services that is both compassionate and empowering. Her approach to family therapy is through a systemic perspective with the focus to understand individual behavior within the context of the family. Her approach in play therapy is to help children voice their thoughts and feelings through play therapy and process these in an environment that is safe and non-judgmental. Marisol likes to read and love spending time with her two wonderful boys and her husband. 


Breena is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and is certified as a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor. She has been working with children, adolescents and families for over 25 years. She owns and operates Tafoya & Associates Behavioral Health in Las Cruces, NM and Kids Counseling Inc. in Las Vegas, NM. Breena received her Masters Degree in Social Work from New Mexico Highlands University in 1989 and has extensive post-graduate training and experience in the areas of abuse and neglect, attachment issues, anxiety disorders, and family therapy.

Member At Large

Alanna Giusto is with a private practice group in Las Cruces. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specializes in working with children and adolescents. Alanna has a background in counseling individuals of all ages in outpatient settings. She has also worked with children in foster care and with families involved with CYFD/CPS. Alanna is trained in EMDR to help trauma survivors reprocess disturbing thoughts and memories. Alanna is a New Mexico Board of Social Work Examiners approved supervisor for clinicians seeking to attain their independent or clinical licensure. She is in the process of becoming an RPT. This is her first year on the board she is excited to learn about the process and promote the use of play therapy. 

Member At Large

Jessica Cauthorne is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, who has been a therapist for over decade helping and empowering people who struggle with depression, anxiety, and unresolved pain from their past.  Jessica's view of therapy is that, while often sharing a collective identity, each person's story and struggle are unique to them, therefore she always tailors her approach to meet the specific needs of each client.  Jessica has spent periods of time specializing in adolescent therapeutic treatment and now works with children, adolescents and adults in an outpatient group practice.  Jessica has been a NMAPT member for two years and is actively working towards becoming an RPT.  As a result of her involvement  with NMAPT she utilizes a variety of play therapy interventions and techniques in her therapeutic work with all populations and ages.  

Member At Large

Erika Sears is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and owner of Sears Counseling LLC in Rio Rancho, NM.  She is originally from Las Cruces, NM and earned her Master's Degree in Social Work in 2008 from New Mexico State University.  She is a New Mexico Board of Social Work Examiners- approved Clinical Supervisor, and an EMDR trained clinician.  Erika strives towards learning new therapy modalities, and is actively working towards her RPT certification.  She has extensive experience working with children, adults and families in various settings including schools, medical clinics, client's homes, and the therapy office setting.  She also has experience working with children/families involved with treatment foster care, child protective services, juvenile probation, and the court system.  Erika's areas of expertise include behavioral issues, trauma, depression, anxiety, life transitions, communication, and relationship issues.  She takes a client-centered, strengths-based approach in therapy and works closely with each client to identify their unique needs and approach to treatment.  She also considers the client's environment and support system as a highly influential means for achieving lasting change, and when appropriate works closely with the client and their support system to enhance their relationships, and to teach the use of appropriate interventions in response to client behaviors.   

Member At Large

Shannon Grant is a LPCC and was awarded the Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor credential in December 2019 from the Association for Play Therapy. Her career officially started in October 2006 when she graduated with her Master’s degree in Counseling, after completing 10 months of an internship at an agency learning Experiential/Jungian Play Therapy. Shannon worked at this agency until 2018 when she opened her own private practice in Albuquerque called Hands in the Sand Therapeutics. Shannon specializes in trauma, parental bonding, depression and anxiety with children 3-18.
On top of play and art, Shannon has been studying Jungian Sand Tray since 2006 and am finishing her own process in the sand and in a consultation group in order to apply for the Sand Play Practitioner credential with the STA (Sandplay Therapists of America). Currently Shannon has a play room with 2 sand boxes and a sand tray room with 2 sand trays. Her rooms are always full of sand! 

Member At Large

Amber Dollar is a Registered Play Therapist and working on becoming a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor. Prior to opening her private practice in Roswell, Amber worked for the Chaves County CASA Program for over 10 years. A CASA is an advocate and the voice for children going through the court process. Amber was the Domestic Violence Coordinator when she started there, she helped children find a safe and loving home without the violence present. Amber then became the CASA Volunteer Coordinator, training and working alongside the volunteers to work with foster children going through the court system. During her time as a CASA Volunteer Coordinator is when Amber began to see the huge need for therapists in her community. Amber knew that she wanted to become a therapist if she could become a Sand Tray Therapist. After hundreds of hours of training and three years of driving to and from Corrales N.M. Amber became a Certified Sand Tray Therapist - her passion is sand tray. Amber specializes in grief and trauma. Currently Amber is the Roswell N.M. Children’s Advocacy Center’s Therapist and a Grief Specialist for the Office of Medical Investigator’s. Amber walks alongside the clients after the loss of a loved one by suicide, homicide or motor vehicle accident. Amber is passionate about sharing her passion and love for play with other therapist’s in her community and the communities around NM. 

Member At Large

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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PO Box 91331 | Albuquerque, NM 87199 |

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