Niki Picogna, Psy.D., LCPC, LPC, RPT-S
Our Founder, Niki, is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor licensed in Maryland and DC, who enjoys working with clients of all ages. She’s a Board Approved Clinical Supervisor in the State of Maryland, as well as a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor. She is certified In Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and has extensive training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Her research interests include the treatment of anxiety disorders. She enjoys traveling internationally and nationally to train mental health professionals on various play therapy topics. In one of her most valued roles, she served as Chapter President of the Maryland/DC Association for Play Therapy (APT) from 2014-2019, enhancing the status of play therapy in the community by organizing continuing education trainings, networking, and outreach events. She still serves on the local board and Nationally, is a 2019 APT Leadership Academy Graduate and a member of the 2020-2022 APT International Conference Committees. Niki is the proud recipient of the 2020 Outstanding Service Award from the MD/DC Association for Play Therapy. In her free time, she enjoys advocating for child and adolescent mental health, working out, playing tennis, biking, spending time with her family, all things music, and volunteering at a local children’s hospital, spreading joy and smiles with her certified therapy dog. Animal-Assisted Therapy services are offered on site on a case-by-case basis.
Over the past several years, Niki has had experience working with children, teenagers, and adults in school-based, intensive outpatient, and community based therapy, group practice, as well as crisis intervention in a hospital setting. For many years, she passionately managed a child and adolescent school-based and clinic-based mental health program in Baltimore. Throughout that experience, training and supervising developing professionals became one of her passions. She received specialized post-graduate training and certification from the University of Maryland School of Social Work in Trauma Treatment for Children and Adolescents and in Managing and Adapting Practice (MAP), an evidenced- based systems practice that improves outcomes in child/adolescent mental health. She later brought MAP to a local agency by training and supervising agency staff who became certified in the practice. She was both a MAP Certified Therapist and Agency Trainer/Supervisor for several years and still utilizes the evidenced-based treatment protocols with her child and adolescent clients. Additionally, Niki is a Certified Positive Parent Educator, helping parents to work from a strength-based and positive perspective when disciplining their children. Her focus is simple yet essential- to help her clients reach their full potential in a non-judgmental, supportive & nurturing environment while utilizing an array of creative and evidenced-based interventions to meet her clients’ unique needs. Her integrative approach to therapy draws from client-centered, strength-based, trauma-informed, and cognitive-behavioral theory, that is uniquely tailored to each client. Her dedication to continuing education allows for a truly customized approach to counseling.
Niki enjoys and has extensive experience supporting adolescents and young adults navigate and thrive through life’s toughest moments while helping them discover who they truly are. She strives to understand the unique complexities involved in adolescent development and strives to help them navigate such issues related to physical and mental health, body-image, identity, social, academic, and college/career goals.
In addition to traditional talk therapies, Niki offers play therapy services to children ages 2-12. As an experienced registered play therapist-supervisor and trainer, Niki will discuss the best play therapy approach to fit your child’s needs from Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy to Child-Centered Play Therapy. Play therapy is structured and theoretically based and can be used alone or in conjunction with talk therapy. Since having certifications in both Play Therapy and EMDR, she sometimes weaves these modalities together when indicated to help children heal from traumatic and other adverse life events.
Niki comes from a unique background that involved sports and the performing arts and enjoys working with youth to discover their talents and enhance their motivation and performance through CBT and positive psychology techniques. She also enjoys incorporating art, mindfulness, yoga, physical activity, sand, and music into her therapy and has found it to be very helpful with children, teens, and adults.
Niki is a member of several professional associations including: The Association for Play Therapy, The Alliance of Therapy Dogs, The Maryland Counseling Association, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors of MD, and the EMDR International Association. She has been presenting on Introduction to Play Therapy, Play Therapy Skills Lab, and Integrating Yoga and Play Therapy for various organizations and conferences since 2012 when she was invited to present during the International Play Therapy Conference in Jamaica. Clinical supervision, training, and consultation services are offered upon request.