Jenifer Balch

PhD, LPC-S, RPT-S, CAS

Director of Special Programs & Training

  • Licensed Professional Counselor — Supervisor
  • Registered Play Therapist — Supervisor
  • Certified Autism Specialist
  • Certified Child-Centered Play Therapist — Supervisor
  • Certified Child-Parent Relationship Therapist — Supervisor

Dr. Balch is passionate about working with children and families, especially utilizing play therapy and parent training. She has an appreciation for uniqueness in every individual and works to tailor the counseling process to the developmental needs of each client. Treatment modalities may include play therapy, activity therapy, expressive arts, and/or traditional talk therapy. Additionally, her approach is informed by interpersonal neurobiology, a concept in counseling that uses neuroscience to inform counseling practice. Dr. Balch highly values her relationships with clients, working to build a therapeutic environment where each client feels safe, accepted, valued, and understood.

Dr. Balch is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor in the state of Texas as well as a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor. She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling from the University of North Texas (UNT), where she specialized in play therapy. Dr. Balch has counseling experience with individuals, couples, families, and groups in a variety of settings, including community agencies, schools, and private practice. While at UNT, she served on a psychoeducational assessment team, receiving specialized training and practice in the administration and interpretation of a variety of assessments for children and adolescents.

Dr. Balch has extensive training and experience working with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and feels passionate about advocating for their mental health needs. Her dissertation study examined the effectiveness of play therapy with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This was the first study to be considered an evidence-based design to explore autism and play therapy. As a result of this study, Dr. Balch was awarded Best Practices by the American Counseling Association for contributing to the evidence-base for counseling.

Alongside Twila Farrar, Dr. Balch led the development of counseling services within the UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center and previously served as Counseling Services Coordinator. She supervised all counseling services, consulted with other treatment providers, and provided a variety of counseling services to individuals across the lifespan, including individual counseling, play therapy, family counseling, social skills groups, and child-parent relationship therapy.

In addition to direct counseling services, Dr. Balch enjoys staying actively involved in training future counselors. She works as a Senior Lecturer in the counseling program at the University of North Texas (UNT) and is an Adjunct Professor for the counseling program at Southern Methodist University. Dr. Balch stays active in the counseling field by serving in leadership roles in various organizations and presenting at both state and national conferences. Currently, she serves as Past President for the North Texas Chapter of the Texas Association for Play Therapy.