Jennifer R. Mertz-Turner
M.A., LMHC, RPT-S, MAC, LCAC Licensed Mental Health Counselor / Master Addiction Counselor / Registered Play Therapist – Supervisor
Jennifer incorporates an integrative approach to psychological wellness that includes physical health, emotional stability, healthy relationships and spiritual growth. She has counseling experience in anxiety, depression and mood disorders, adjustment issues, childhood disorders (including ADHD and defiant behaviors), trauma and attachment issues, substance abuse and impulse control disorders as well as issues related to parenting, marriage/divorce, grief/loss and stage of life changes. She has worked with children and families since 2003 and has specialized training in play therapy and sand tray therapy. She has partnered with men and women in recovery of addictions through individual, family and group therapy. She has a MA degree in counseling from Grace College and a BA degree in communications from Valparaiso University. She and her husband, Kyle, enjoy keeping up with the joys and challenges of parenting a teenager and a Goldendoodle.
Jennifer R. Mertz-Turner, MA, LMHC, RPT-S, MAC, LCAC began working with children and families during her graduate program at Grace College in 2004 and while she was a case manager for children with emotional and behavioral problems. Now, as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, she serves a diverse population with a variety of mental health concerns and has specialized training in the areas of addiction and play therapy.
Jennifer is a Master Addictions Counselor, certified by the national NAADAC organization, a Licensed Clinical Addictions Counselor and a Certified Clinical Supervisor certified by Indiana state boards. She has worked with men, women and adolescents in recovery for substance abuse and impulse control disorders. During her time with Vision Counseling, she has enjoyed her work with couples, families and children who have a loved one with an addiction issue as they adjust in the healing recovery process together. Sometimes, the loved one with the addiction is not ready for change and family members often seek counseling for themselves to help them understand and process their own emotions and challenges that addiction plays in their lives. She is also a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and can include spirituality as much (or as little) as the client desires. Areas of special interest in her work with adolescents and adults include: depression, anxiety, self-esteem, anger/forgiveness, relationship conflicts (including dating, marriage, parenting, family and social concerns), grief/loss, and adjustment issues related to a variety of stressors and changes in a
Jennifer’s special passion in counseling is helping children, teens and families through the use of play therapy. She is a member of the National Association for Play Therapy (APT) and the Indiana chapter. She is near completion of the credentialing process to be certified as a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor. Play therapy can incorporate other treatment modalities, such as cognitive-behavioral or Adlerian disciplines. Children often do not have the emotional vocabulary or cognitive development skills to effectively express their feelings and thoughts in the same way that adults may be able to do. Toys, then can become the child’s words and
play is their natural language. In a safe, supportive play therapy session, children are better able to express themselves and be understood as well as learn coping skills to resolve emotional distress, decrease behavioral disruptions, and improve communication with family
or social relationships.
APT defines play therapy as “the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development.” Play therapy may involve meeting with the child individually and/or with the parents or siblings. The parents’ participation (either in parent or family sessions) is important in understanding their child’s emotional needs, the therapeutic process and ways to help the child apply new skills at home or school. Play therapy may be used with children, teens and adults and can incorporate art, drama, sand tray, games, music and role plays. Play therapy can be especially helpful for clients with anxiety, trauma, depression, family stress (such as divorce or death of a loved one), ADHD, impulse control behaviors, bullying, self-esteem and other emotional/behavioral disturbances.