Play Therapist of the Year

The play therapist of the year award is selected for play therapists who consistently promote and provide play therapy, continue to engage in and support others’ efforts in learning about play therapy, and expands play therapy in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

2024 Recipient

Samantha Long

Samantha is a dedicated, knowledgeable, and experienced play therapist who has made significant contributions to the field of play therapy over the years.

Sam first began to work with VAPT through her time as a student board member. She assisted greatly in the membership committee and welcomed new members into VAPT. After a year, she transitioned into the role of the Northern Virginia Regional Co-leaders with Michelle Walker. She and Michelle work tirelessly to bring play therapy trainings and networking opportunities to the community.

In addition to her leadership roles in VAPT, she also serves as a supervisor for students interested in working with children through play at the George Washington University. She serves as the clinic director of the GWU CHD clinic and supports students as they grow and are introduced in their play therapy journey. She also provides play therapy to community members in need. She assists a local nonprofit in developing an inclusive and effective play therapy program.

She also engages in significant research in the field of play therapy. She conducted a meta-analysis of the impact of CCPT with childhood trauma and is examining psychologists’ perceptions of play therapy.

All of these things for play therapy, she has done while working toward her doctorate in counselor education from The George Washington University. She successfully defended her dissertation earlier this year, which focused on enhancing RPT™ supervision and training, especially for those involved in trauma work.

Samantha’s volunteer work with the VAPT board and her leadership role with the Association for Child and Adolescent Counseling demonstrate her dedication to promoting play therapy and supporting underserved populations. Her clinical focus has been on trauma exposure, anxiety, attachment, and adjustment-related issues, which she showcases her dedication through her strong advocacy for her clients and commitment to meeting their needs.

2023 Recipient

Kim Hines

Kim is a leader in the field of play therapy who has dedicated her career to providing a safe healing environment to children and adolescents. Kim is thoughtful, passionate, and unmatched in her play therapy expertise. She is a mentor to multiple play therapists and offers support and guidance whenever required. Kim is a dedicated play therapist who serves her community.

Past Recipients

2022: Michelle Walker, LCSW, RPT-S

2021:  Amy Reamer, LMFT, RPT-S