Hands Holding Each Other
Hands Holding Hands

Janet Vessels

Janet is a doctoral candidate at the University of the Cumberlands, School of Counseling, in the Counselor Education and Supervision Program. Her research areas in clinical use of EMDR, play therapy, and a treatment protocol for children with tic disorders. 

Janet received her master’s degree from Kansas State University in Human Development and Family Studies, with a specialization in adolescence and youth. She is a licensed professional clinical counselor in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. She has over twenty years of experience in mental health counseling with individuals, families and groups. She is a Registered Play Therapist -Supervisor (RPT-S) through the Association of Play Therapy (APT). She uses play therapy with children, 2 years old and older. She is a certified Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) trained therapist. EMDR can be used with children and adults for a variety of problems. Janet is a member of the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) and American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH)

Janet has experience in teaching college level courses as an adjunct faculty member in the Behavioral Science Department of Bluegrass Community and Technical College and University of the Cumberlands. She is currently teaching Child & Adolescent Counseling and Treating Families with Addictions. She's taught courses in child development, human sexuality and general psychology. Additionally, she taught courses in marriage and family, personality theories, and human relations over the past fifteen years. Janet has conducted training workshops in child social/ emotional development, adolescent and adult suicide assessment and intervention, ethics, nature games to enhance self-esteem, marriage enrichment, play therapy interventions, play therapy supervision, using expressive arts in counseling, EMDR, separation & grief, Army Family Team Building, workplace violence, stress management, mental health laws and various mental health assessments: Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, Multnomah Community Ability Scale, and the Clinical Alcohol and Drug Scale. Janet has served as a member of various community advocacy groups to help children, youth, and families. She was appointed at a Kentucky Youth Advocate Fellow in November, 2005. She served as an Advisory Council Member of The Salvation Army’s Boys and Girls Club of the Bluegrass in Lexington from 2003-2008. Janet is the member of the Kentucky Association for Play Therapy (KAPT) and served on the Board of Directors and other volunteers positions for the past ten years. Janet has been interviewed for article in Parents magazine, Generation X, and shared her knowledge on local news broadcasts.

Janet’s approach to counseling is that every person has strengths, resources and resiliencies to help them and their family overcome obstacles and life problems. Counseling will not be a long process if she and the client work together to develop skills to solve current and future problems. She will offer various strategies and goals that focus on education and guidance which are clear, logical and practical. As a mental health professional, Janet has a strong obligation to help her clients to achieve optimal mental health. As a potential client or parent, you want to be confident that any mental health professional you choose is well trained in their primary disciplines and specializations.

Janet believes that play therapy and expressive therapies may be the best modality to treat her children and adolescent clients. Play therapy and expressive therapies involves using puppets, toys, dramatic play, games, art, music, stories, and books (bibliotherapy). Through play therapy, children learn to communicate with others, express feelings, modify behavior, develop problem-solving skills, and learn a variety of ways of relating to others. Play provides a safe psychological distance from their problems and allows expression of thoughts and feelings appropriate to their development. Parents may involved in or encouraged to use similar play therapy techniques and expressive interventions at home as homework or to assist in encouraging positive behavior at home. Janet has worked with the client’s teacher to create tools for a positive school experience. Play and expressive therapies can even be used with adults, parents and families to enhance communication, problem-solving and better cope with crisis. After all, it is a fun, enjoyable activity that elevates our spirits and brightens our outlook on life. Play, itself, expands self-expression, self-knowledge, self-actualization and self-efficacy.

Play relieves feelings of stress and boredom, connects us to people in a positive way, stimulates creative thinking and exploration, regulates our emotions, and boosts our ego (Landreth, 2002). You may visit APT for more information.

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