Meet Our 3 Therapists
As a therapist, Macy specializes in working with teens, young adults and adults, LGBTQ teens and adults and persons of all ages connected to adoption and donor conception.
Tara McDonnell, LCSW, RPT
Tara is a Registered Play Therapist and specializes in working with children under six, as well as Gifted and Highly Sensitive Children and those with Sensory Processing Issues.
Macy Oosthuizen, LCSW and Tara McDonnell, LCSW, RPT are both
Adjunct Professors at Florida Atlantic University.
Macy Oosthuizen, co-founder of the Center for Mindful Families, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and one of the few Adoption-Competent therapists that are also adoptees in the state of Florida. She is currently finalizing her official adoption competency certification through Rutgers University in New Jersey. Macy received her Bachelor’s Degree from Ithaca College and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Florida Atlantic University. Macy has training in Play Therapy and specializes in Object Relations and Attachment-Based Play Therapy. Although her certification in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) informs her therapeutic process overall, she approaches therapy from a collaborative perspective and will personalize treatment to help clients/families achieve their therapeutic goals. Mindfulness plays an important role in all her therapeutic work.
Macy is passionate about providing therapy to children, teens, and adults who need help navigating post-adoption issues, grief, trauma, anxiety, depression and stress from life transitions. Macy also specializes in working with LGBTQ teens and adults and has successfully worked with trans children and teens.
Before opening a private practice, Macy began her career with the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel, 4th District as a Forensic Social Worker and policy advisor. In that role, she helped families navigate the dependency system, advised on new and existing policy, lobbied on behalf of the agency, and continues some of her work in a volunteer capacity as a fierce advocate for family preservation. Macy also worked as a therapist with the wonderful organization, Tykes and Teens in Martin County.
As a policy advocate and lobbyist, Macy has testified before multiple state congressional hearings to help adoptees gain access to their original birth certificates. She has also met with many state and National representatives to help leaders understand the impact and importance of post-adoption issues. Macy served on the board of Directors for the national organization, American Adoption Congress
and is a current board member of Florida Adoption Reform & Education (FLARE) and working on current policy affecting adoptees.
In her passion to reach a larger audience, and to help others navigate difficult times, Macy has also created and conducted workshops and seminars for conferences all over the United States. Her workshops and seminars have covered topics such as: understanding attachment and attachment disruptions, post adoption navigation/issues, mindful parenting, understanding your teen, and successful and less stressful college preparation.
Tara McDonnell, co-founder of the Center for Mindful Families, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Registered Play Therapist (RPT) who specializes in working with children under 6. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and Master’s Degree in Social Work from Florida Atlantic University. Tara is dedicated to providing early intervention to help families create a strong and healthy foundation for a lifetime of health and well-being, and has worked successfully with children who have experienced anxiety, attachment issues, depression, divorce, grief and loss, sensory processing challenges, sexual abuse, and trauma, as well as gifted children with social-emotional difficulties.
Before opening a private practice, Tara began her career in mental health at the Center for Child Counseling, the leading social service agency in Palm Beach County serving children under 6, the most critical period in child development. Tara has extensive experience and training in evidenced-based interventions such as Child-Centered Play Therapy, Brazelton Touchpoints, Infant Mental Health, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and utilizing art therapy techniques. Tara is also an HSP-Knowledgeable Professional, specializing in working with Highly Sensitive People (HSP) and Children (HSC).
Tara has provided services in a variety of settings including schools and child-care centers and is certified in teaching yoga to children and families. Tara has also provided professional training in supporting the social-emotional wellness of children and families to police officers, first responders, teachers, school counselors, and pediatricians. Prior to her work in the mental health field, Tara spent her career raising money for nonprofit organizations in the community. Tara is a graduate of Leadership Palm Beach County, Class of 2010.
Jillian Lepera, LMHC
Jillian specializes in working with children, adolescents and young adults in relationship building, communication strategies, and trauma resolution.
Macy is the founder and facilitator of Florida Adoption Connections Truth and Support (FACTS), a South Florida support group that meets monthly for adults connected to adoption and donor conception.
Jillian Lepera received her undergraduate degree from Emory University in Psychology and Dance and her Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling & Behavioral Medicine from Boston University Medical School.
Jillian believes in working with the adolescent-parent dyad using empowering strategies that foster relationship building and communication. She has provided services in many arenas including: community mental health, inpatient residential, outpatient therapy, group therapy settings and pediatric primary care. Dedicated to considering the whole mind, body and spirit in therapeutic work, Jillian brings creativity, self-expression and positive psychology to help individuals create meaningful lives and relationships. Her approach encompasses behavioral, cognitive, dialectical-behavioral and person-centered treatment modalities. She is trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), a therapy effective for trauma resolution. Trained in art therapy techniques and play therapy strategies, Jillian provides creative interventions and modes of expression for her clients. She holds a background in the creative arts and dance, which brings an exciting and unique spin to her work with adolescents.
A Palm Beach County native, Jillian is always seeking an outdoor adventure and plans to build the outdoor therapy arena into the South Florida community. When not providing therapy services, you may find her paddle-boarding, fishing, exercising outside or working on her green thumb.
“Play is the highest form of research.”