Malia L. Segal
photo credit: FindOrion Photography
Preferred Pronouns (she/her)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Registered Play Therapist Supervisor
Certified Synergetic Play Therapist
Experienced Public Speaker & Writer
School-Based Mental Health Professional
Born, raised, and educated in New Jersey, USA, Malia is a children's therapist who graduated from Monmouth University's Undergraduate & Graduate Social Work Programs. While there, she knew that she wanted to work with children, particularly in the school setting. The social and emotional challenges today's students face can often interfere with academic performance.
She knows from her own experiences as a student-athlete that connections with positive and caring adults can have exponential effects on the growth and development of a child. A long-distance runner for twelve years, Malia's high school track & cross country coach was able to identify talent and potential Malia had for athletic & academic success and was able to link her with the right resources to pursue both.
*Malia's favorite events included the 5,000m run and road half-marathons.*
Malia's approach with children in therapy is acceptance blended with affirmation for what's going well. This, Malia believes, is the cornerstone of supporting children's growth. Allowing children the psychologically safe space to be themselves, they begin the challenging work of examining their emotional and mental wellbeing and pick up tools that suit them and improve their functioning. Parents will learn tools & techniques too. Believe it or not - the methods you've tried with your child who may be struggling with intense emotions, or challenging behavior - have merit and have likely shown your child that you continue to show up for them, even in trying times. What a gift!
When it comes to working with teachers & staff, Malia knows the immense pressure adults feel in providing children with quality education, while also building meaningful connections. Social skills, thinking skills, and the ability to self-regulate are of paramount importance to meeting these goals.
Teaching and supporting students can be a challenge, and Malia works with staff to facilitate empathy & understanding to ultimately engage student cooperation & success. After working as a school social worker for several years at a demanding charter school in Newark, New Jersey, Malia made the choice to bring her knowledge and expertise back to Monmouth County in a clinical setting. Completing the Play Therapy Certificate Program at New Jersey City University and the Synergetic Play Therapy Certification program, Malia continues to be committed to deepening her knowledge of using play for children's healing.