Heather Colby, LCSW, RPT-SLicensed Clinical Social Worker, Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of Texas. I provide treatment to children, families, adolescents, and adults managing issues of depression, anxiety, trauma, adjustment, and loss. My expertise is in providing support to children and families struggling with behavior and relationship concerns, including those rooted in early trauma. In that work, I work concurrently with children and parents to provide support.
I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Brigham Young University and then completed a Master’s Degree in Social Work from The University of Texas at Austin. I practiced in Texas, my home state, in agency and private practice settings for more than a decade before beginning practice in Virginia in 2017. I’m enjoying Northern Virginia and the DC area. Faith, family, fitness, and friendship are all invaluable components of my life.
In providing therapeutic support, my earnest hope is to provide a safe space for people of all backgrounds, identities, and experiences – including experiences of injustice and discrimination – to experience healing, empowerment, and validation. I see therapy as a joint effort where the client and I work together to meet their goals, and a space where we talk openly about how we’re doing on that shared effort. It is truly my privilege to be welcomed with trust into people’s lives in such a way that I can see their heart, resilience, and goodness. I work to approach each client’s situation with grace and humility; each person is the expert on their own life experience.
I have a natural and long-standing love for human development, including child development, and enjoy seeing my child clients grow and develop, as well as providing feedback to parents on their child’s unique development. I believe strongly in the power of the individual to come forward within the therapeutic environment in such a way that each person – even and perhaps especially children – find their own answers and come to trust their own inner wisdom, cementing within themselves additional strength that allows expression of their truest selves.
I have specialized training in play therapy, particularly child-centered play therapy through the incredible Center for Play Therapy at The University of North Texas. I am a Registered Play Therapist- Supervisor and delight in being part of the play therapy community.
In working with clients managing trauma and related relationship concerns, I pull from the Trust-Based Relational Intervention® model developed by Drs. Purvis and Cross, in which I have completed comprehensive training to become a TBRI® Practitioner. I also apply TBRI to many other relationship issues.
Association for Play Therapy
Teaching and Presentations
I have taught online as an adjunct instructor for BYU-Idaho since 2013. In that time, I have taught a variety of classes to undergraduate students. My favorites have been The Helping Relationship, Child Welfare, and Family Theories and Dynamics. As a committed lifelong learner, I enjoy this ongoing connection to a university community, and the learning I gain from both my students and my fellow instructors.
Being an active participant in the local chapter of the Association for Play Therapy has been a professional boost for me, in part because it is always fun to be with others who value playfulness so much. In January, 2020 I presented to the Northern Virginia Chapter on The Puzzle Pieces of DSM Diagnoses: Using Play Therapy to Inform Practice. In North Texas, I was fortunate to serve for a year term as secretary for the local chapter.
I have been fortunate to have incredible mentors in my career. In 2011-2012, one of my most influential mentors led our team to develop and facilitate Pathways Training, a two-day intensive, in-person, interactive experience, offering participants an in-depth look at the needs of children who have experienced trauma, preparing them to parent with knowledge and compassion.
A Few of My Favorite Books
The Connected Parent: Real-Life Strategies for Building Trust and Attachment, by Lisa Qualls and Karyn Purvis, PhD
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, Brene Brown
Ish, Peter H. Reynolds
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, Vashti Harrison
Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, Stuart Brown
Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges, Amy Cuddy
The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, Desmond Tutu and the Dalia Lama
The Connected Child, Karyn Purvis, David Cross, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine
The OK Book, Amy Krouse Rosenthal
The Whole Brain Child, Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson