About Us

Small Steps Child Counseling – Albuquerque

Courtney Lewis, MA LPCC RPT-S IMH-E-III

Small Steps Owner, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor, Infant Mental Health Specialist

Courtney Lewis specializes in the treatment of children. Courtney provides administrative and clinical direction, as well as, clinical supervision at Small Steps.  She treats clients through play therapy, infant mental health home visiting, Circle of Security Parenting Classes and Theraplay family treatment.  Much of her treatment has focused on traumatized children and poorly attached children. Courtney has earned credentials through the Association for Play Therapy as a Registered Play Therapist and is Endorsed as an Infant Mental Health Specialist.

Her goal is to help strengthen the mental health of children and families who live in New Mexico and the world.  Taking steps in this direction, Courtney founded the non-profit Small Steps International and is providing parenting education, infant mental health education and child mental health assessment and support to an orphanage and preschool in Haiti.   To learn more about this go to www.smallstepsinternational.org.

Courtney developed the Stepping Out Program to support the development of well trained child therapists in New Mexico.  The program was created to give therapists an opportunity to launch out on their own with the support of Small Steps administrative services and staff.  This allows therapists a smooth transition to fulfill their own dreams and also increases the number of child therapists capable of meeting the ever-growing mental health needs of children and their families in New Mexico.

Cathann Dragone-Gutierrez, MA LPCC IMH-E-III

Baby Steps Clinical Director, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and Infant Mental Health Specialist

Cathann Dragone-Gutierrez has lived in Albuquerque for the last 16 years. In this time she has worked with clients at all life stages including preschoolers in special education classrooms, adolescents in juvenile detention centers, psychiatric hospitals, and the elderly in hospice.  She is currently an Albuquerque Public Schools Counselor where she has worked for the last 10 years.

Cathann graduated from the University of New Mexico with her Master’s Degree in Counseling.  Over 13 years ago she started her training in Sand Tray Therapy.  In this time she has worked with hundreds of children and families using this powerful and effective therapy to help them resolve conflicts. Cathann has been a guest lecturer for counseling graduate students at the University of New Mexico.  She has trained graduate students in various play therapy modalities, as well as topics like ethics and professionalism. She has presented at National conferences across the country on the importance of play and development. She has trained local preschools on child development, classroom management and bullying issues. Cathann is a certified mediator in community, victim-offender and family custody mediations.  She has also volunteered for the Children’s Grief Center where she ran grief groups for school-age children.

Cathann is Nationally Board certified, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor through the New Mexico Counseling and Licensure Board, as well as through the Public Education Department as a Professional School Counselor.  She is currently pursuing her Registered Play Therapist Certification and Infant Mental Health Specialist Endorsement. She was the co-founder and co-director of Albuquerque Play Therapy.

Nicole Holcomb, MSW LCSW RYT IMH-E-III

Small Steps Clinical Director, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Registered Yoga Teacher and Infant Mental Health Specialist

Nicole Holcomb graduated from Highlands University with a degree in Social Work in 2012.

Nicole has always known that she wanted to work with children in some capacity. She utilizes experiential play therapy to help young children and their families heal from trauma and develop stronger, loving connections to move forward from their pasts.

Nicole has specialized training in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and participates in the Infant Mental Health program.

Cheryl Benedetto, MA LPCC RPT-S

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor

Cheryl Benedetto received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology with a minor in human services from the University of New Mexico and her Master of Arts in counseling from Webster University.

She is a national board certified counselor, a registered play therapist, and is currently pursuing certification in sandtray therapy.

Cheryl has been a school counselor, a substance abuse counselor and specialized in working with domestic violence offenders, victims and their children.  Cheryl worked for nearly twelve years for Presbyterian Behavioral Health at the Child and Adolescent outpatient clinic and then as a Pediatric Integrated Therapist with one of their medical groups.  She has over fourteen years of experience.

She offers a variety of evidence-based therapy services such as:  cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness based cognitive therapy, play therapy, sandtray therapy and art modalities.  She stays informed by the latest research in neuroscience and interpersonal neurobiology, integrating this through psycho education.

She works with children, adolescents, young adults and their families; addressing issues regarding adjustment disorders, anger, anxiety disorders, ADHD, depression and mood disorders, divorce, family issues, grief, PTSD, social skills, trauma/ abuse and parenting skills training.

Rebecca Marianetti, MSW LCSW RYT IMH-E-III

Small Steps Supervisor, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Registered Yoga Teacher and Infant Mental Health Specialist

Rebecca Marianetti has been a Clinical Social Worker for over ten years, working with individuals and families to create positive change in times of immediate and ongoing crisis. She has worked extensively in hospitals in Arizona and New Mexico, helping individuals and families of children deal with chronic illnesses and traumatic events.

In her private practice, Rebecca has worked with adolescents and adults dealing with anxiety, depression, grief, domestic violence, parent-child conflict, and trauma. In contrast to her work in hospitals, where she provides therapy in times of acute crisis, Rebecca has been able to help her clients’ progress through well-established treatment plans.

Rebecca believes strongly in every family’s ability to grow and heal from stressful events. In order for this healing to happen within a family system, however, each person’s well being must be supported so healthy family functioning can develop. Rebecca is now an endorsed Level III Infant Mental Health Specialist and has enjoyed applying this philosophy to relationship-based work with young children and their caregivers.

As a mindfulness-based psychotherapist, Rebecca has also been studying the practice of mindfulness for more than ten years. While she utilizes a number of different therapeutic models in her practice, Rebecca believes that helping people develop an awareness of the present moment will help them cultivate self-compassion, which is a strong foundation for well-being.

A Registered Yoga Teacher, Rebecca is also highly aware of the mind-body connection and incorporates this knowledge into the assessment and treatment plan.

Mindy Cardenas, MA LPCC LPAT ATR-BC

Small Steps Supervisor, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Licensed Professional Art Therapist

Mindy Cardenas believes in the power of creativity, self-expression, and art-making for health and well-being. After beginning life as a fine arts major, she decided to train as an art therapist, and has been practicing art therapy and psychotherapy since 2001. She earned her Master’s degree in art therapy from Vermont College, and continued her training in traditional verbal counseling at Webster University. She is Licensed through the New Mexico Counseling and Licensure Board as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and Licensed Professional Art Therapist. She is a nationally board certified art therapist.

Mindy received supplemental trainings in multiple modalities including medical play therapy, grief, trauma, neurocognitive approaches to psychotherapy, developmental issues in psychotherapy, mindfulness practices,  focusing techniques, positive psychology, end of life issues, and other creative modalities. She specializes in the treatment of trauma, including trauma resulting from chronic health issues and hospitalizations, grief and loss, long term abuse, life-threatening experiences, and more. Mindy is looking to begin training in Somatic processing sometime in the near future.

Mindy has been fortunate enough to work in a variety of settings that have enabled her to gain a well-rounded understanding of the therapeutic process. Most recently, she was in private practice in Madison, WI, where she practiced art therapy, served as a professional board member at Gilda’s Club, and provided trainings for practitioners and agencies about trauma, developmental issues, and art therapy. Mindy also supervised counseling and art therapy students, provided classes centered around self-exploration, and taught art classes in the summer for children. Mindy has experience working with adults and children with developmental disabilities, has worked in the juvenile justice system, was a Child Life Specialist at Children’s Hospital of New Mexico, taught middle school art, worked with community based programs for adults with chronic mental illness, and provided business consultation with a focus on creativity and interpersonal relationships. Mindy maintains a personal art practice.


Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Registered Play Therapist and Infant Mental Health Specialist

Kate Bunch is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor.  Kate is specially trained to work with youth who have caused sexual harm and is working towards her Infant Mental Health Endorsement and becoming a Registered Play Therapist.  Kate enjoys working with children, adolescents and their families to help strengthen connections, build communication skills and establish strong foundations.  All of these help youth to enter the world with a robust sense of self, confidence and resiliency.



Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Art Therapist, Infant Mental Health Specialist

Jodi Rodgers, is an independently-licensed mental health professional specializing in early childhood trauma, loss and disrupted attachment. Jodi skillfully integrates art therapy, play therapy and Dialectic Behavioral Therapy into Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health. Since 2001, Jodi has worked clinically with underserved children, adolescents and adults in hospital, clinic, corrections, shelter, community, home and school settings.

Cross-trained in a variety of Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health interventions, including Circle of Security, Child-Parent Psychotherapy and Child-Centered Play Therapy, Jodi’s attuned clinical approach currently focuses on restoring resilience and self-regulation to adult and adolescent caregivers and their children ages 0-6. As a reflective clinical supervisor, Jodi has led several highly trained clinical teams in treating dually-diagnosed adult and adolescent parents in relationship to their young children. A significant portion of these cases are court-involved and/or Child Protective Services-referred, including NM First Judicial District Infant Team cases for children in state protective custody.

In addition to her behavioral health experience, Jodi has been a free-lance writer and editor for nearly 30 years, with works published in the New York Times, Miami Herald, South Florida Business Journal, and South Florida magazine. Her marketing experience includes director positions for a non-profit arts promotion firm and a national parenting magazine. She holds a B.S. in Print Journalism (magna cum laude) from Boston University and a dual M.A. in Art Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Southwestern College in Santa Fe, NM.

Leandra Lomosad Anderson, MS LPCC

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor

Leandra Lomosad received her Master’s degree in counseling at Tarleton State University.  Leandra’s work and passion here at Small Steps involves counseling children and their families using modalities of play therapy, Theraplay principles, sand tray expression, art, family work, group work, and elements of dance and movement as a form of expression and engagement in the counseling sessions.

Leandra has always worked or volunteered with youth and families throughout her teen years and into college and graduate school. She has found her strengths as a counselor are best brought out by working with this population. She hopes to use my continued training and growing experience to serve children, help them heal and grow, and create a better life for the generations that follow within each family.

Shunnae Love, MA LMHC

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Shunnae Love is a graduate of the University of New Mexico where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Communications and minor in Special Education. She earned her Masters degree from Webster University in Counseling & General Psychology in 2013 and earned her LMHC.  She has numerous years volunteering at UNM Children’s Hospital assisting both children and parents.  She believes children are the world’s most precious gift and enjoys embracing their humor. Her priorities are multi-cultural awareness and specializes in play therapy and group therapy. 

Marissa Hedrick, MSW LMSW

Licensed Master Social Worker

Marissa Hedrick graduated from New Mexico Highlands University in 2008 with a Master’s degree in Social Work.  She worked as a school counselor in northern New Mexico for six years where she provided individual and group counseling to students with various cultural backgrounds and developmental levels.

Marissa views herself as a navigator in the lives of children and families she works with.  She assists in directing them through difficult times by implementing play therapy techniques, cognitive behavioral therapy, and breathwork.

Alexandrea Floyd, MSW LMSW

Licensed Master Social Worker

Alex Floyd received her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Colorado State University in 2013 and afterword went on to earn her Masters in Social Work from the University of Southern California’s virtual academy, concentrating on mental health with a specialization in military social work.

Alex has always gravitated toward working with children, especially those ages 1 through 10. She has specialized experience working with developmental disorders in children and adults. She utilizes play therapy techniques with a positive psychology emphasis in order to build a healthy relationship with the child from which they can grow and heal. Alex also has training in motivational interviewing, cognitive behavior therapy, and problem solving therapy.

Dylan O. Drusedum, MA LPCC ATR-BC

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and Board Certified Art Therapist

Dylan Ottemiller Drusedum is a clinical counselor specializing in art therapy and work with children and families.  She received her Master’s degree in Art Therapy & Counseling from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA in 2015.

Prior to joining the Small Steps team, Dylan worked with children and families in a residential treatment setting and received extensive training in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT), a neurodevelopmentally-based and trauma-informed approach to mental health. She is currently continuing this training to be able to utilize the unique brain mapping tools used in this model to effectively help families create a map of where treatment needs to begin, based on where their child is developmentally, physically, socially and emotionally. Dylan is also currently in the process of working towards her Infant Mental Health endorsement to specialize in working together with caregivers and their children 0-5 years old.

Dylan’s approach to working with children and families is trauma-informed, neurodevelopmentally driven, attachment-based, and relational in nature. From a family systems perspective, she knows that change does not happen in isolation, and thus works to support and encourage growth for the whole family when possible. As an art therapist, Dylan strongly believes in the healing qualities of art making.  Using art and play, she helps children and families to find healthy ways to regulate their emotions, interrupt and shift unhealthy dynamics, discover strengths and find joy, and build healthy relationships to reach their full potential.

Rhayna Walizer, MSW LMSW

Licensed Master Social Worker

Rhayna Walizer received her Master’s in Social Work from New Mexico Highlands University in spring of 2015.  Rhayna has 11 years professionally working with children, teens, and adults with special needs with Camp Rising Sun (UNMH CDD) and Albuquerque Public Schools.  Rhayna has been practicing social work since April of 2016 and spent one year working in a Tribal Community for the Pueblo of Acoma Behavioral Health services as a Mental Health Clinician providing individual sessions for adults and children mostly mandated for services by the Tribal Courts and Social Services.  By joining the Small Steps team, Rhayna has returned to her passion for working with children and families in New Mexico.

Melani Gallegos, MSW LMSW

Licensed Master Social Worker

Melani Gallegos received her undergrad in Social Work at New Mexico Highlands University in 2015, as well as her Master’s degree in Social Work in 2016.  Melani has had the opportunity to work with adults of various backgrounds. Melani’s passion has always been working with children and adolescents. She has worked with children struggling with a variety of issues such as divorce, anger, depression, anxiety, trauma, grief and loss and self-esteem.  Through play, she helps children express themselves which is a child’s natural way of communication. Melani’s overall goal is to enhance the well-being of both children, adolescents, and families.

Allyson Randall, MA LMHC

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Allyson Randall graduated from the University of New Mexico with a bachelor’s degree in Family Studies in 2012.  Allyson recently graduated from New Mexico Highlands University with a dual degree in School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She has a passion for working with all individuals, but especially children and adolescents. When working with older individuals she utilizes the tenants of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and believes that sometimes we need to work on how we think about our worlds to change how we feel and behave. When it comes to working with children, Allyson understands that play is the best way to communicate. Allyson wishes to expand her knowledge and skills in the area of play therapy through trainings, continuing education, and hands on experience. Allyson’s biggest belief that guides her practice is that every individual, at one point or another, could use a helping hand to achieve mental wellness. She wants to provide that help by creating a supportive, safe, and understanding environment for her clients.

Kyrsta Astilli, MA LMHC

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Kyrsta received her MA in Art Therapy and Counseling from Southwestern College.  As a clinician, she strives to meet her clients where they are at.  Kyrsta believes the creative process is a powerful guide assisting children, youth, adults and families through their own unique process of self-discovery, empowerment and transformation.  She has diverse experience working with children in schools, as well as with adults recovering from stroke.  Before entering the counseling field, Kyrsta taught yoga classes specifically designed to promote relaxation and lift the spirit.

Talia Montoya, MSW LMSW

Licensed Master Social Worker

Talia Montoya obtained her bachelors degree in social work from New Mexico Highlands in 2014. Talia initially started at Small Steps as a play therapy intern while working towards obtaining her masters degree. Talia was offered a position with our team upon graduating from New Mexico Highlands in 2017 with her Masters Degree in social work.

As a clinician, Talia firmly believes individuals and families hold the capacity to heal when given adequate tools and support. Talia enjoys incorporating mindfulness modalities when working with her clients. She believes through consciousness of breath and body people can start to navigate and heal from trauma they have experienced.

Lauren Martell, MA LMHC

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Lauren Martell received her Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Criminology at the University of New Mexico in 2013. She went on to earn her Masters in Counseling with an emphasis in Children’s Mental Health at Southwestern College in 2017. Lauren has always been passionate about working with children and families having volunteered at Big Brothers Big Sister’s of Central New Mexico and working as a Behavior Management Specialist with at-risk families.

As a clinician, Lauren believes in a person-centered approach that focuses on the client and their world as the center for therapeutic change. Lauren believes that play is the most natural way for children to express their experiences and feelings. When working with families, Lauren utilizes an attachment-based, trauma informed approach to help repair ruptures and develop or rebuild an emotional secure relationship.

Lauren wishes to expand her knowledge and skills in the area of play therapy and sand tray therapy through trainings and continuing education with the goal of becoming a registered play therapist. Lauren’s ultimate goal is to help her clients achieve mental wellness by providing a safe, supportive and creative environment.



To schedule an appointment or inquire about our services please contact us by phone at (505) 933-4639, or by email at julie@smallstepschildcounseling.net