Now enrolling for A Therapeutic Expressive Support Group for Children

About Adapt to growth therapy

Karla Mancero, MA, LMFT (She/Her)

Karla Mancero, MA, LMFT, at Playground

Mission Statement

I seek to provide a therapeutic relationship with children and youth in a healing space that invites self-compassion, self-acceptance, and self- mastery through play and creative expression.

When helping and healing children and youth I believe that lasting change comes from a family systems perspective. The family is the child’s support system and when the family’s needs are considered then the child’s needs will be met more effectively. 

My hope is to help families communicate better within barriers and to develop solutions that honor the unique strengths of the family.

Therapeutic Role

I am a child and family therapist with skills that will help to engage your child in this new world of therapy. If you are looking for a therapist who can utilize the expressive arts, play therapy techniques, and can adapt these skills to fit your child’s needs then I am a great fit for your child. I have worked as a Child and family therapist in the mental health community for four years. Before my journey of becoming a therapist, I worked with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and adolescent girls in a residential therapeutic setting. Overall, I have over 20 years in the mental health field.

Therapeutic Approach

I am a client centered therapist which means that your child or teen will direct the session by bringing into the room their story or expression of self. Children often express themselves through play which may look like throwing a ball back and forth or playing a board game. Teens often will talk about what they are interested in which may involve social media or youtube videos. My approach is to make observations, reflections, and also model ways to self regulate. This may involve teaching specific skills as well as naming feelings in the body or thoughts that are being expressed through art. I have many tools in my toolbox that I invite young people to try out. When working with caregivers, I do my best to help you through this process and involve you in learning to co-regulate with your child. This may look like coaching when you are in session with your child while they are playing and I will invite you to name feelings you are experiencing and model ways to regulate those feelings. The main objective is to help support you and your child build stronger connections through co-regulation.

Educational Background


NW Creative & Expressive Arts Institute  September 2019- June 2020 – Obtained Professional Certificate in Expressive Art Therapy.  

Antioch University Seattle  April 2012 – June 2015
Master of Arts in Psychology – Couple and Family Therapy

York College of Pennsylvania September 1995- May 1999
Bachelors of Science in Sociology

Experience and Skills


Work Experience
Compass Health February 2016- June 2020
Everett, WA

Position: Child and Family Therapist, Intensive outpatient Clinician II

Duties: Provide child, youth, and family therapy, provide outreach, collaborate with a treatment team to provide interventions utilizing multiple systems.

Valley Cities Counseling and Consultation September 2013 –March 2015
Auburn, WA

Position: Intern Clinician

Duties: Provide clinical services to children and families in a community mental health setting. 

Experience: Applied academic and experiential knowledge to the practice of becoming a family and child therapist. Utilized feedback from instructors and onsite supervisor to increase quality of care to clients. Gained clinical experience involving treatment planning, crisis intervention, and facilitating community support with clients.

Abilities Network November 2004 – March 2012
Towson, MD

Position: Behavioral Support Specialist

Duties: Worked on goals one-on-one with children with autism in their homes and in the community.

Experience: Learned to work with families to create collaborative goals for child. Learned to adapt activities to meet the needs of children with a developmental disability. Furthered my experience in recognizing strengths of family involvement in treatment implementation.

Good Shepherd Center December 2001 – October 2004
Halethorpe, MD

Position: Behavioral Support Counselor

Duties: To be part of a team that managed and assisted adolescent females in a residential treatment setting.

Experience: Received training in crisis prevention invention and nonviolent crisis intervention techniques. Learned to work on treatment team as a direct support staff. Gained understanding regarding issues unique to adolescent females. Learned to develop rapport with adolescents.

Holcomb Behavioral Health Systems January 2001 – November 2001
Upper Darby, PA

Position: Therapeutic Support Technician

Duties: To assist children with special needs one-on-one in the home, school, or at after school activities. To model and prompt individual children in social interactions in order to help them adapt better to their environment.

Experience: Increased my knowledge of ethical boundaries in a therapeutic setting. Increased my ability to coordinate and collaborate with multiple services in the community.

Bell Socialization Services July 1999- August 2000
York, PA

Position: Residential Counselor

Duties: To manage a group home for adults diagnosed with a mental illness. To organize activities and meals for residents of the group home. To assist individual residents with daily task.

Experience: Increased my knowledge of group home settings and understanding of people diagnosed with mental illness. Strengthened my skills for managing individuals in a residential group setting.


  • Expressive Arts Therapy- 10 month certification program completed in June 2020
  • Play therapy – Studied and utilized various play therapy techniques with children and families. Attended conferences in 2015 and 2017. 
  • Poetry therapy – Utilized poetry and storytelling to externalize trauma experiences. Received training in poetry therapy for one year, September 2002- March 2004. Peggy Heller: Instructor. Attended poetry therapy conferences in DC, Summer 2002 and Summer 2003. 
  • Psycho-education groups– Led groups that were structured to increase social skills for children and developmentally delayed adults. Facilitated a Love and Logic parent training course.