is the ultimate creative act, and it is in acting creatively that we discover ourselves and one another." - Dr. Timothy Dukes
Client Portal
Offers Telehealth

I work with children from age 2 - 12 yrs & their caregivers.

Children (and adults) can easily have their nervous system activated by various happenings, and then become reactive to smaller triggers that constantly set off a false alarm in their brain and body. Play has been shown scientifically to re-wire and re-regulate this over-sensitized system that is characterized by neuroplasticity. As children re-enact various events through play, in the presence of safety and connection, they are able to experience the benefits of neuroplasticity, re-wiring neurons and allowing them to integrate into the brain structure rather than remain hypervigilant. As a Registered Play Therapist and member of the Association for Play Therapy, I provide play based counseling interventions. Incorporating playful techniques that have been adapted from multiple psychological theories (including CBT) provide children with a sense of trust, safety, and control. This sense of security in counseling allows children to explore what coping skills work for them in order to handle strong emotions and regulate themselves. I provide support to caregivers as well, which can include family counseling sessions or parental coaching. Please feel free to email me for more information on how play therapy helps children communicate their feelings, modify their behavior, develop problem solving skills, along with empathy for others and improved social skills. You can also learn more about play therapy by visiting: https://www.a4pt.org/page/ParentsCornerHomePag https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/21/parenting/play-therapy.html For FAQ's re: play therapy, visit: https://www.a4pt.org/page/PTMakesADifference I am a Sandplay Associate, currently finishing my requirements for Sandplay Practicioner. Learn more about Sandplay at https://www.sandplay.org/about-sandplay/what-is-sandplay/ I serve as a trainer for the City of Carlsbad GUIDE Program, advising counseling associates on play based techniques to use in working with school based services. I also guest lecture at Cal State University San Marcos on "Therapy with Kids" for Survey of Clinical Psychology (Psych 340) and "Developmental Psychopathology (Psych 328). Videos I recommend: - Andrew's Day: https://youtu.be/D8meTxxXeEw - The Other Letter: https://youtu.be/3dAQ6_gXQy4 - Securely Attached Family with Teens: https://youtu.be/Xiu59tUfnvw - Who Would You Like to Have Dinner With: https://youtu.be/7deoniKHyjI - Play Therapy Innovations w Ed Begley Jr.: https://youtu.be/uB1i-3uaxaI - Sand Tray Explainer: https://youtu.be/kbuDKNGu1x8 Books I recommend for understanding children's regulation and how to best respond: "The Power of Validation" "The Whole Brain Child" "The Yes Brain" "Self Reg" "No Drama Discipline" "Parenting with Theraplay" "I Love You Rituals" Books discussing parenting philosophy: "How to Raise an Adult" "Counterintuitive" by Tyler Durman "The Collapse of Parenting"
Katrina Zeljak
Behavioral Health Therapist

Play, Family or Parent Therapy

  • Anxiety
  • Behavioral Issues
  • Depression
  • Fears/Phobias
  • Grief
  • Parenting
  • PTSD
  • Self Esteem
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Social Anxiety
  • Trauma


  • Play Therapy
  • Sandplay
  • Art Therapy
  • Family Systems
  • Attachment-Based
  • Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Clinical Supervision and Licensed Supervisors

Insurance Accepted

  • Aetna
  • Cigna
  • TriWest
  • Beacon
  • Managed Health Networks (MHN)


  • Intake Appointment: $150
  • 45 min Play Session: $125
  • 45 min Parent/Family Session: $125

Katrina M Zeljak LMFT

Carlsbad, CA 92009