“When One Teaches, Two Learn.”

—Robert Heinlein 


Growth through Play Therapy Trainers (GTPT)

Karen is the co-founder and CEO of Growth through Play Therapy Trainers. GTPT is an approved provider for the Association for Play Therapy; almost all the trainings can be applied to the Registered Play Therapist (RPT) credential or to maintaining it.

Karen has a private practice in Oakland where she conducts intensive, small group trainings in sandtray therapy based on Gestalt Therapy.  These include an in-depth introduction, sandtray for children, the cultural sandtray and using sandtray for supervision. The trainings are limited to 4 to 6 therapists to allow for maximum feedback and personal attention.  Karen is also available to do off site trainings.

In 2017 Karen developed a sandtray model designed to address culture in ways that facilitate personal growth and bypass defensiveness. Her personal and professional experiences with culture, racism and diversity are the motivating factors combined with her experiences with the depth that sandtray provides.  She has found it rewarding to combine culture, diversity and sandtray.

Karen Pernet, LCSW, RPT-S

Karen Pernet, LSCW, RPT-S, SEP is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor & Somatic Experiencing Practitioner. Karen returned to school to obtain her MSW at Bryn Mawr College of Social Work and Social Research in mid-life after a career in child welfare. She is known for her encouraging and down to earth approach and has been described as knowledgeable, supportive and playful.

Karen’s postgraduate education includes certificates in Gestalt Therapy, Somatic Experiencing, and Filial Therapy. In addition she has had intensive training in Child Centered Play Therapy, sandtray therapy, Gestalt Play Therapy, trauma treatment, interpersonal neurobiology and Internal Family Systems.

She has provided professional trainings, consultation and supervision since 2000. From 2006 to 2021 she was a certified Filial Therapy trainer with the Family Enhancement and Play Therapy Center.  

Jeannette Harroun, LMFT, RPT-S
Coordinator and Trainer

3468 Mt. Diablo Blvd
Ste B201
Lafayette, CA 94549

License# MFC51366
Registered Play Therapist – Supervisor # S2473
(925) 890-7478

Jeannette Harroun is a Marriage and Family Therapist and Registered Play Therapist. She has a private practice in Lafayette, CA where she provides psychotherapy and individual consultation and supervision.  Her approach to therapy is described as positive, warm and playful. She works with children, teens and parents in addressing a variety of concerns including self-regulation, self-esteem, attachment, tantrums and impulsivity, parenting/co-parenting/blended family issues, anxiety, depression, school and motivational issues, trauma, and divorce.  She is currently a collaborative supervisor for the Wright Institute. She has been an adjunct faculty member with the University of Phoenix and a workshop provider with John F. Kennedy University.

Her practice is located within the Bay Area Psychotherapy Institute (BAPTI) non-profit and professional community and she has served in several roles on the BAPTI Board of Directors including Marketing Director, Vice President and Treasurer.  She is a member of both the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and the Association for Play Therapy. She was the 2014 President of the San Francisco Chapter of the Association for Play Therapy and served on the SF-CALAPT Board from 2013 – 2015.

Her play therapy training includes child-centered play, sandtray, and filial therapy (both intensive and advanced coursework).  In addition, she has a certificate in Mindful Schools K-12 Curriculum Training and in Neuroscience and Somatic Skill Building.  She is a Positive Discipline Parent Educator and an American Psychological Association Adults and Children Together (ACT) Program facilitator (both parent educator and provider trainer).

Prior to becoming a therapist, Jeannette worked for the University of California where she became known both for her HR expertise and the collection of toys she had in her office which colleagues could borrow and play with for stress relief.  Her slingshot animal collection was particularly popular. She continues to love toys and often adds to her current playroom collection.  In addition, she’s an avid videogamer.

Cristal Alvarado, LMFT, RPT

Cristal Alvarado, MFT, Registered Play Therapist, is a bilingual Marriage and Family Therapist with an MA in Counseling Psychology and Correctional Emphasis. She currently works with at-risk youth and Hayward families at the Hayward Police Department. Cristal previously worked with First Five in East San Jose and has been practicing play therapy for the last 4 years. Cristal provides play therapy trainings to agencies in the San Francisco Bay area.

She has the innate ability to establish rapport quickly, build trust and effectively communicate in both English and Spanish. Additionally, Cristal finds redwood trees to be inspiring and symbolic; she makes the time to venture out and enjoy hikes and walks amongst the old, resilient, giants.

Marion Bayard, LMFT, RPT-S

1134 Ballena Blvd #20
Alameda CA 94501 (adjacent to Oakland)

Marion Bayard has provided services in a variety of diverse settings which include schools, youth and family service organizations, substance abuse programs and private practice. She has extensive training in expressive art therapy, play therapy and sand tray therapy. In 2011, Marion completed training to be a SoulCollage® facilitator with the creator of SoulCollage®, Seena Frost, LMFT. In 2018, she completed the revised facilitator training with Mariabruna Sirabella, LMFT. 

Kimberly Koljat, LMF

Kimberly Koljat has been practicing in both community mental health and private practice for 10 years.  Before becoming a therapist, she worked professionally in musical theatre in regional theatre in Cleveland Ohio, where she grew up.  She attended the California Institute of Integral Studies Drama Therapy program and has since been drawn to understanding the use of play for children, families, and adults. 

She’s run drama therapy groups serving adults with developmental disability, worked in school-based mental health, incorporated drama therapy and play on a skilled nursing unit and Alzheimer’s unit in a hospital setting, provided early childhood mental health consultation in the SF system of care, and supervises creative arts therapists and play therapists.

Kimberly is currently the Associate Director of Clinical Services for the Youth Services Bureau of San Francisco YMCA (Urban Services), the Level One Instructor at I-West Institute for Developmental Transformations, and practices play therapy and drama therapy (Developmental Transformations) in her private practice, incorporating embodiment and self-awareness into relational play.  She has offices in Oakland and in San Francisco.

Kimberly has a lot of great memories of childhood play, but her favorites are playing in the climbing tree in the corner of her front yard with the neighborhood kids and her best friend from across the street, choreographing shows for her parents, and having impromptu parades with streamers on her bike down the street.

Katrinca Ford

Katrinca Ford is a licensed marriage and family therapist and Register play therapist/ supervisor. She has been providing play therapy to children and families in the Bay Area for 20 years. Prior to becoming a therapist Katrinca worked with children in a variety of settings including 15+ years teaching preschool. Currently Katrinca sees children and families in her office in Berkeley and provides parent consultation both in person and online. Katrinca enjoys sharing what she knows about children, child development and play therapy with others. She is known for her lively, informative and engaging trainings.


Many years ago Karen’s father suggested that she would be a good teacher. At the time she vehemently disagreed. However over the last 25 years she has discovered that providing trainings to therapists who work with children and/or are interested in sandtray therapy has been gratifying. Unfortunately her father is no longer around to hear her say “thank you.” When she reminisces about her experiences teaching, she contemplates the Hebrew word lamad which means both to teach and to learn and indeed she has learned so much from the therapists who come to her trainings.

Enhance your play therapy skills!

4 + 5 =

Karen Pernet LCSW, RPT-S

Oakland, CA 94602

I would be glad to hear from you and to share information about my services: psychotherapy, general supervision for pre-licensed therapist, specialized supervision for therapists working becoming  Registered Play Therapists, consultations for experienced therapists and trainings in play therapy and sandtray therapy.