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Hi! I'm Cherie Spehar, LCSW and Certified Trauma Consultant-Supervisor. I am a clinician, educator, speaker, and dedicated to children, women & families.

Cherie Spehar's Bio:

Our Mission at Smiling Spirit Pathways: The Apex Center for Trauma Healing LLC is to support your growth and development as you navigate all of life's transitions by providing compassionate, trauma-informed personal consultation and counseling, innovative, empowering and engaging learning opportunities and unique resources. We are a recognized Trauma-Informed Center where our aim is to help you find the light on your path, and to help you find happiness in all areas of your life.


Cherie Spehar is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Facilitator, Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor, and Certified Trauma Consultant-Supervisor.   A sought after national speaker and trainer, Cherie provides trauma-informed trainings across the country, and has served as the Keynote Speaker for several organizations including the NC School Social Worker's Association.  In 2012, she was awarded the National Trauma Consultant of the Year Award from The National Institute for Trauma and Loss.


A clinician since 1994, she has dedicated her life to the well-being and healing of children, women and families. With her extensive clinical background, her professional path has found her in longstanding roles such as Executive Director of The Child Abuse Prevention Center in Raleigh, NC and Training Coordinator and Developer with the North Carolina State University Social Work Department.


Now, she can be found at her Trauma Treatment and Training Center, Smiling Spirit Pathways: The Apex Center for Trauma Healing LLC, where she has developed a haven for consultation, trauma services, community debriefings, mentorship and education. Specializing in trauma-informed care, life transitions, grief, and attachment, her healing approach is highly focused on resiliency principles, particularly child-caregiver connections from birth through the lifespan. Her noted expertise in these areas brings her to wonderful opportunities to supervise, teach, train, and speak on these areas locally and nationally. An author of multiple training curricula, she is currently involved in several exciting projects at Smiling Spirit Pathways, including the writing of a parent publication on supporting children in the aftermath of trauma, and a course Trauma Journaling.


Cherie works in close collaboration with The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children and serves as their Lead Blogger, Certified Department Trainer, and is engaged in multiple projects with this leading organization in best practice trauma services.


Cherie considers herself an avid, daily student of life and finds the people with whom she has held the privilege of sharing the healing journey to be her greatest, most humbly inspiring teachers.

Cherie Spehar's Experience:

  • Certified Department Trainer, Lead Blogger, Weekly Columnist at The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children

    *Serve as Lead Blogger for international clinical professionals on topics related to Trauma-Informed Practice. *Certified Department Trainer *Presenter of TLC Programs and various specialty topics. *Serve as Facebook Administrator, Moderator for organization's professional page. *Created and author the TLC Thursday Three - Practical Points for Parents and Professionals *Online Curriculum Author/Instructor *Provide revisions and updates of Trauma Intervention Programs. *Serve as Liaison for creation of partnerships with other organizations and trauma-related materials for therapeutic play. *Provide consultation and assistance as requested.

  • Topic Expert Contributor at

    Contribute monthly Topic Expert articles on Play Therapy, Trauma, and Child/Adolescent Issues.

  • Emotional Wellness Advisor at The Monsters in My Head, LLC

    Serve as the company's Emotional Wellness Advisor Author of "A New Woo Lives With You" - A Guidebook on working and playing with the Worry Woo Monsters Provide consultation and information on child wellness and development, trauma, and emotional safety Involved in idea generation, direction for therapeutic concepts Provide consultation to customers seeking understanding or ideas Liaison role for connections to other organizations using the Worry Woo Monsters in their programs

  • Founder, Director, Lead Clinician at Smiling Spirit Pathways - The Apex Center for Trauma Healing LLC

    A trauma healing center providing child and family therapy, education, training and support for those involved in all life transitions. Play Therapy, Traumatic Stress, Developmental Trauma, Grief Adjustment Support, Women's Emotional Health & Wellness, Attachment, Child-Parent Relationships are my areas of interest and specialty.

  • Clinical Social Work Therapist at New Leaf Behavioral Health

    Providing play therapy, child and family mental health therapy for children and adults. Group therapy.

  • Sr. Trainer, Training Coordinator & Curriculum Developer at North Carolina State University-Social Work Department

    Professional Senior trainer and curriculum developer in pioneer model of Child and Family Team Meetings. Specialized in clinical care and inclusion of children, traumatized children, and abuse/neglect family dynamics. Coordinator of the Family-Centered Meetings Project. Trained 1000+ social workers, mental health clinicians and community service providers from all 100 NC counties, and nationally, in this highly specialized, acclaimed and family-driven model. Multi-systems liaison for model integration and coordination. Internal professional development for project staff. Supervisor of many, trainer of more, champion of family strengths throughout.

  • Volunteer Child Mental Health Therapist at St. Michael the Archangel

    Provided free mental health services for complex trauma and grieving children and families.

  • Executive Director at The Exchange Child Abuse Prevention Center

    Executive Director - Managed five clinical child abuse prevention programs. Supervised program clinicians and coordinators. Clinical Director/Supervisor. Fiscal responsibility for Center operations. Board of Directors liaison. Public relations speaker, Fundraising Coordinator and event chair.

  • Mental Health Therapist at Baker Victory Services

    Provided outpatient child and family therapy, play therapy for children ages 3 and up and their families.

  • Child and Family Therapist (Residential Units) at New Directions - Randolph Children's Home

    Sr. Clinical Social Worker, Clinical Team Leader for 3-4 units, including high-risk. Trained in and provided play therapy on a daily basis; trauma-focused care. Unique dual responsibility of therapist and county social worker. Social Work Intern Supervisor.

  • Mental Health Counselor at Olean General Hospital

    Provided emergency mental health evaluations and crisis counseling in Emergency Dept; provided mental health counseling on Psychiatric Unit

  • Examiner, Therapist Assistant at Cattaraugus County

    Worked with disadvantaged populations to secure assistance, provided assistance to mental health therapists, interfaced with child welfare unit.

  • Daily Living Counselor at Southern Tier Environments for Living

    Counseled and cared for consumers diagnosed with serious mental illness in a group home setting.

Cherie Spehar's Education:

  • State University of New York College at Buffalo

    Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • SUNY

    Concentration: Counseling Psychology
  • Jamestown Community College

    Concentration: Human Services, Psychology

Cherie Spehar's Interests & Activities:

Neuroscience, Mindfulness, Spirituality, Trauma, Health, Writing, Journal Therapy, Play Therapy,

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