Judith Norman, LPC, LSC, RPT-S

Co-Founder, Lead Trainer

Judith is an educator, trainer, coach and clinical supervisor. She is licensed as both a Professional and a School Counselor and has worked at the intersection of education and mental health for over 20 years. Judith trains clinical and school-based mental health professionals and speaks and consults internationally on creating trauma-informed schools. As a District-Wide Social Emotional Learning Coach Judith led her school district in implementing a Kaiser Permanente “Thriving Schools Grant,” aimed at advancing social emotional wellness and behavioral health in school districts.

Judith is a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor and is a Certified Synergetic Play Therapy Teacher and Supervisor. She is a Parent Educator, Certified in EMDR Therapy and is trained in Mindfulness in Education. She has been utilizing the tenets of Synergetic Play Therapy in educational settings for the past 10 years. Her experience has led to the development of social-emotional, trauma-informed programming to support students and educators in schools.

Judith Founded the Braindrops Play Therapy Wellness Center where she synthesized trauma-informed practices with child-clients, family education and support, along with Rhythmic Movement Training.

In her words, “Co-Founding the Synergetic Education Institute is a coalescence of all that feels purposeful to me, I’m inspired to have the opportunity to share what I love.”

Learn more about Judy’s story and her journey that led her to create the Synergetic Education Institute here.

Lisa Dion, LPC, RPT-S

Co-Founder, Trainer

Lisa Dion is the founder and President of the Synergetic Play Therapy Institute. She is an international teacher, the creator of Synergetic Play Therapy®, host of the Lessons from the Playroom podcast and webinar series and author of Aggression in Play Therapy: A Neurobiological Approach for Integrating Intensity. She is also the 2015 recipient of the Association for Play Therapy’s Professional Education and Training Award of Excellence.

In addition to Lisa’s work with mental health professionals, she has also been training teachers and educators about children’s behaviors, the neuroscience of dysregulation and regulation and what it ultimately takes to help develop children’s capacity for regulation for over 15 years. Through her knowledge of mindfulness, attachment, child development, interpersonal neurobiology, and neuroscience, she has been able to help bridge a gap between the world of mental health and education offering teachers and educators new possibilities in their work. Lisa has also had the privilege of working directly in the schools as a school counselor supporting children therapeutically.

Learn more about Lisa and the Synergetic Play Therapy Institute here. 

Michelle Malvey, ED.S.


Michelle has 30 plus years of educational experience including administration, teaching, District RtI Coordinator and as a school psychologist working at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

Michelle has presented on many topics at the local, state and national level including SEL, MTSS, Trauma-Informed Schools, discipline through a mental health lens, and advocating for children, youth and families. While serving as an elementary principal, she assisted in the acquisition of a Kaiser Permanente Thriving Schools grant and worked closely with the District Social Emotional Learning Coach and other principals to create and implement an SEL framework which resulted in increased academic results, decreased disciplinary incidents and an overall increase in positive connections with the school community.

Michelle believes that social emotional wellness is critical to the educational setting for everyone involved including students, staff, families and the community.  Her focus is on systematically teaching, supporting and coaching these skills much like we do with reading and math. Her favorite quote is, “Challenging behavior occurs when the demands being placed upon a child outstrip the skills they have to respond adaptively.”~Unknown

Learn more about Michelle’s story here.