Niki Picogna, Psy.D., M.S., LCPC, LPC, RPT-S
Our Founder, Niki, is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor licensed in Maryland and DC, who specializes in child and adolescent mental health, trauma, and working with young adults. She’s a Board Approved Clinical Supervisor in the State of Maryland, as well as a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor and is certified In Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR training through the Child Trauma Institute). Her research interests include the treatment of trauma and anxiety disorders. She enjoys traveling internationally and nationally to train mental health professionals on various play therapy topics. Niki is Past President of the Maryland/DC Association for Play Therapy (APT) and nationally, is an APT Leadership Academy Graduate and a member of the APT International Conference Committee. 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 with her certified therapy dog. Animal-Assisted Therapy services are offered on site on a case-by-case basis.
Niki has over 15 years clinical experience working with children, teenagers, and adults across a variety of settings including school-based mental health, intensive outpatient, and community based therapy, group practice, as well as ER crisis intervention. Before founding the practice in 2016, she managed a child and adolescent school-based and clinic-based mental health program and 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. Additionally, Niki is a Certified Positive Parent Educator, helping parents to work from a strength-based and attuned perspective when responding to 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, neurobiological & trauma-informed, and cognitive-behavioral theory, that is uniquely tailored to each client.
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 3-12. 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 Kids Yoga, Play Therapy, and EMDR, she 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 holds her BS from The University of Maryland at College Park, MS from University of Baltimore, MS from Johns Hopkins University, and Doctorate of Psychology from California Southern University. She 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 various play therapy topics 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 also offered.