My name is Machen and I am a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) and I specialize in working with children and their families. My goal is to build healthy, attuned relationships with every child I work with so that they feel safe and empowered to heal the hurt and grow into capable, creative adults.
Currently, I am working as a school based therapist, where I get to work with children during their school day. School based therapy provides the opportunity for early detection and immediate intervention, accessible and convenient services, and effective collaboration and coordination between families and schools.
A Cincinnati native, I earned my master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling at Xavier University and my bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Cincinnati. I have been working with children for over 10 years in a variety of settings including teaching first grade, working in an inpatient psychiatric unit at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and counseling children and their families in outpatient community mental health.
I have logged over 125 hours in play therapy specific training and will soon be able to officially call myself a Registered Play Therapist. I am also in the middle of my certification in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics, which is a “developmentally-informed, biologically-respectful approach to working with at-risk children”.
Besides counseling, I love to play ultimate frisbee and chase my dog (and husband) around downtown Cincinnati. I am also an avid Star Wars nerd, amateur baker, and cheese consumer. Often, I can be found drinking (too much) coffee and reading a nice book.
I firmly believe that all children are capable of positive growth and change (in fact, this drive towards self-organization can be found in all of us!). Healing is possible, even for the children who have experienced the most profound abuse or neglect.
I strive to understand my clients at a neurodevelopmental level so that I can target the unique and appropriate needs of each child I work with. Brains development from the bottom up and from the inside out (think less complex to more complex). Children who have experienced early, complex trauma are impacted in the lowest parts of their brain, which in turn causes a disruption to the rest of their development. These children are left with a sense of self that’s disorganized at a foundational level.
Through emerging research into trauma and development and the interpersonal neurobiology of therapy, I able to better understand what is happening with my clients on a brain and body level. My role as therapist is to provide my clients with an attuned, resonant, and present relationship where they are able to begin healing at a neurological level.
With play therapy, I am able to integrate the type of experiences children need to rebuild and repair their foundations. In play therapy, children feel empowered to explore their feelings, behaviors, and challenges in ways that are naturally engaging. I utilize a mix of directive and non-directive interventions the play therapy, always keeping the relationship at the center of whatever activity.
Over time, with safe, attuned, and authentic relationships, children are able to move from a disorganized, dsyregulated state to a coherent, organized, and healthier state. As my clients reach new developmental level, I can change and individualize interventions to meet them where they are and give the child what they need.
Executive Director of Clinical Services & Continuing education
School Based Mental Health Therapist | Catalyst Counseling, LLC.
June 2017 – Present | Hamilton City Schools | Cincinnati, Ohio
Early Childhood Day Treatment Counseling Intern | The Children’s Home of Cincinnati
January 2016 – May 2017 | Cincinnati, Ohio
Michael C. Adams and Associates | Shadowing Dr. Kathryn Blair Plymale, LPCC-S, RPT-S
January 2017 - May 2017 | Florence, Kentucky
Mental Health Specialist | Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center | Adolescent Psychiatric Inpatient
September 2014 – August 2016 | Cincinnati, Ohio
First Grade Teacher | Wilmington City Schools | Denver Place Elementary
August 2013 – May 2014 | Wilmington, Ohio
Xavier university | Cincinnati, OHio University of Cincinnati | Cincinnati, Ohio
M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling B.S. in Early Childhood Education
school based therapy
I am currently working for a school based private practice, Catalyst Counseling, LLC. My office is located in the elementary school where I work. I see clients on a regular basis during school hours and through out the summer.