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Education:

  • Ph.D. in Counseling with a specialty in play therapy, University of North Texas

    • Dissertation: Play Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Single-Case Design

  • M.S.Ed. in Educational Psychology with a specialty in community counseling, Baylor University

  • B.A. in Psychology, Baylor University

Additional Advanced Training:

  • Play therapy

  • Child-Parent Relationship Therapy

  • Administration of the Gesell Developmental Observation-Revised (GDO-R)

  • Gottman Couples Therapy, Level 1

  • Psychoeducational Testing and Evaluation

  • Autplay Therapy

  • Distance Therapy (Telehealth)

Awards:

  • Best Practices Award, American Counseling Association, 2016

  • Chi Sigma Iota, Rho Kappa Chapter, Outstanding Doctoral Student Award, 2013

  • Chi Sigma Iota Leadership Fellow, 2013-2014

  • Texas Association for Play Therapy Dan E. Homeyer Research Grant, 2013

  • College of Education Grant, 2013

  • Chi Sigma Iota, Rho Kappa Chapter, Outstanding Research Award, 2012

  • Cambridge Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals, 2010

Specializations:

  • Anxiety

  • Assessments

  • Attention Difficulties/ADHD

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Depression

  • Developmental Disorders

  • Divorce & Family Conflict

  • Grief and loss

  • Intellectual Disability

  • Marital and Premarital

  • Obsessive-Compulsive (OCD)

  • Parenting

  • Relationship Concerns

  • School Issues

  • Separation Anxiety

  • Self Esteem

  • Sexual Abuse

  • Stress Management

  • Suicidal Ideation

  • Testing & Evaluation

  • Trauma and PTSD

  • Women’s Issues

DR. Jenifer Balch

Licensed Professional Counselor - Supervisor

Registered Play Therapist - Supervisor

Certified Autism Specialist

Certified Autplay Therapy Provider

Certified Advanced Child-Centered Play Therapist Practitioner/Supervisor

Certified Advanced Child-Parent Relationship Therapist Practitioner/Supervisor

Dr. Balch is passionate about working with children and families, especially utilizing play therapy and parent training. She has an appreciation for uniqueness in every individual and works to tailor the counseling process to the developmental needs of each client. Treatment modalities may include play therapy, activity therapy, expressive arts, and/or traditional talk therapy. Additionally, her approach is informed by interpersonal neurobiology, a concept in counseling that uses neuroscience to inform counseling practice. Dr. Balch highly values her relationships with clients, working to build a therapeutic environment where each client feels safe, accepted, valued, and understood.

Dr. Balch is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor in the state of Texas as well as a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor. She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling from the University of North Texas (UNT), where she specialized in play therapy. Dr. Balch has counseling experience with individuals, couples, families, and groups in a variety of settings, including community agencies, schools, and private practice. While at UNT, she served on a psychoeducational assessment team, receiving specialized training and practice in the administration and interpretation of a variety of assessments for children and adolescents.

Dr. Balch has extensive training and experience working with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and feels passionate about advocating for their mental health needs. Her dissertation study examined the effectiveness of play therapy with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This was the first study to be considered an evidence-based design to explore autism and play therapy. As a result of this study, Dr. Balch was awarded Best Practices by the American Counseling Association for contributing to the evidence-base for counseling.

Alongside Twila Farrar, Dr. Balch led the development of counseling services within the UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center and previously served as Counseling Services Coordinator. She supervised all counseling services, consulted with other treatment providers, and provided a variety of counseling services to individuals across the lifespan, including individual counseling, play therapy, family counseling, social skills groups, and child-parent relationship therapy.

In addition to direct counseling services, Dr. Balch enjoys staying actively involved in training future counselors. She works as an Adjunct Professor for the counseling program at Southern Methodist University and previously worked as a Senior Lecturer in the counseling program at the University of North Texas. Additionally, Dr. Balch has served in many different leadership roles in various organizations and presents at both state and national conferences.

Recent & Upcoming Speaking Engagements
  • Supporting Neurodiversity in the Playroom: Play therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder - University of North Carolina Charlotte Multicultural Play Therapy Center Conference - June 2024

  • The Play Therapist Goes to court: Review of Documentation, Subpoenas, Testimony, and More - Texas Association for Play Therapy annual conference - April 2024

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder: An In-Depth Understanding - Lunch N’ Learn for Sigma Mu Chapter of Chi Sigma Iota at Southern Methodist University - March 2024

  • Why Do They Act That Way?: Understanding the Adolescent Brain - Adolescent Symposium of Texas annual conference - February 2024

  • Play therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Benefits and Adaptations - Center for Play Therapy Fall Multicultural Webinar Series - October 2023

  • Ethical Counselor Supervision - Southern Methodist University Counseling Department - December 2023

  • The Ethical Play Therapist: An In-Depth Understanding of Complex Processes when Working with Children - Center for Play Therapy annual summer institute - June 2023

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