Thank you, Michelle for your time on the board! You will be missed. We wish you all the best on your next adventure in life!

My name is: Michelle Hammel

What I do for the board:

 I assist wherever there is a need.  One of my favorite things to do as a board member is to help with the planning and implementing of our annual conference. 

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” ― Charles Dickens


Why and when I joined the board:

I began attending board meetings in 2017.  I became a board member in May, 2018. I became a board member because I feel it is important to support each other as play therapists.  I am very passionate about play therapy and I feel it is important to be able to have a state chapter that encourages personal and professional growth.

I play at (where I work and what I do for fun):

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Register Play Therapist providing outpatient therapy to children and adolescence at Primary Health Network in Altoona, Pennsylvania.  I enjoy spending time with my husband, Jim. I also love to travel. Some of my favorite travel destinations are Michigan and California to see my children and grandsons. The beach is my favorite vacation spot and happy place.


Where I learned to play (school/trainings):

I earned my Bachelor of Social Work from Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania and my Master of Social Work degree from Temple University in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  While in my master’s program, I worked at Arrow Child and Family Ministries providing services to children and families. My supervisor, Wendy Burket, introduced me to play therapy.  I knew within a short time that this was where I wanted my focus to be. After my graduation from Temple, I began trainings at Harbor House, LLC with Jean Camberg and AnnJane Ross. In May, 2017, I became a Registered Play Therapist.   This June, I applied to become a Registered Play Therapy Supervisor. I enjoy attending play therapy trainings and growing as a play therapist.


Why play therapy:

The power of play therapy in working with children continues to amaze me!  Play therapy provides children with a safe, therapeutic setting to process their feelings and make sense of their world.  

“Play is a child’s work and this is not a trivial pursuit” – Alfred Adler

My favorite play therapy book (why?):

Garry Landerth’s book, “Play Therapy The Art of the Relationship”; has been a valuable resource in my play therapy practice.  It was one of the first books that I read as a play therapist. While I have read more books over the years, I like the fundamentals that this book offers.


My favorite children’s book:

I have lots of favorite children’s books!   A few are: “Eggbert The Slightly Cracked Egg” by Tom Ross, “A Terrible Thing Happened” by Margaret Holmes and “Jonathon James and the Whatif Monster” by Michelle Nelson-Schmidt.

My favorite play therapy technique:

I primarily use Child Centered Play Therapy.  When providing directive play therapy, I enjoy using expressive art techniques (ie. color my heart, memory boxes/frames).


My favorite play therapy quote:

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson  

“Enter into children’s play and you will find the place where their minds, hearts, and souls meet.”

– Virginia Axline

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