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Penny Phares - MSN, ARNP, RPTS  

Penny L. Phares, MSN, ARNP, RPTS is licensed for advanced practice in nursing in the state of Florida as a Clinical Specialist in Child and Adolescent Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing. Educated at Michigan State University and the medical College of Virginia, she has been trained in individual and group therapy practice and family therapy. She is board certified in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Mental Health nursing and is a Registered Play Therapy Supervisor.

Formerly a nurse case manager for children with severe disabilities, Penny and her husband, Ray Phares founded the Isaiah Foundation in 1984. This organization provides for respite care and caregiver training for families who have children with developmental disabilities, mental retardation and autism. She is a member of the American Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honorary and the Association for Play Therapy.


A personal message from Penny Phares

My focus in counseling begins as a resource for my patients. As a nurse I often refer to my clients as patients because that is a term, which defines my own role in the health care system. A nurse is one who focuses on the human response to disease or traumatic circumstance. Because of nursing's knowledge base in child development, physiological human stress response and human behavior, I see my role as an advisor to facilitate change.

As a Christian, I believe that people are made up of body soul and spirit. As such I keep in mind issues of physiology, psychology and spirituality. It is my desire to provide qualified professional psychotherapy as well as sound Biblical counsel, and I will discuss spiritual matters when appropriate, but with full knowledge and consent of my patient.

I look forward to providing professional counseling services. When children are referred to me for play therapy my initial visit should be with the adults who are providing care. It is during this session that we can talk freely, apart from the child about behavior, trauma and family circumstances. Also at this meeting I, as a psychiatric nurse and play therapist can explain the reason for the behavior as well as the treatment process so parents can decide if this is the treatment of choice for their child and circumstances.

CP Links

Association for Play Therapy

Florida Association for Play Therapy


The phone number and address to verify licensing is as follows:

Department of Health
Division of Medical Quality Assurance
Client Services
2020 Capital Circle SE, BIN #C01
Tallahassee, Fl 32399-3251