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Book Maria Laquerre-Diego

for your Next Speaking or Training Engagement


Would you like a speaker or trainer who can teach participants about play therapy, therapy interventions and techniques, and/or how to integrate pop culture and superheroes into your therapy practice?


Do you need a licensed therapist to speak with your group or organization? Are you looking fun, engaging workshops and trainings?


Maria LaquerreDiego, LMFT, RPT-S is an engaging and informative Marriage and Family Therapist, consultant, trainer and speaker who provides effective, engaging and fun presentations. Maria is an approved CE provider for The Association for Play Therapy (APT) and the New Mexico Counseling and Therapy Practice Board. 


Maria's passion is supporting mental health providers, caregivers, parents, and community members in learning about the benefits of therapy. She provides presentations virtually and in person regarding play therapy techniques and interventions, self care for providers, and most passionately, how to integrate pop culture, superheroes and villains into therapy practices. Her presentations are filled with helpful, fun interventions while participants learn the reasoning and theories behind them.

New Mexico Counseling and Therapy Practi
APT Approved Provider Logo - Feb 2016 (1

"Often our clients do not identify as the heroes of the story. They have often been labeled from a very young age by family, by society, that they are the bad guys. So being able to explore with them that a lot of ‘bad guys’ have redemption arcs, you give the author’s rights back, and they can decide what happens next in their story. They don’t have to stay on this predetermined path"

— Maria Laquerre-Diego, LMFT, RPT-S


Speaking and Training Expertise

Maria specializes in the areas of play therapy history, theory and interventions, self care for providers, and is a thought leader in innovative means of integrating pop culture, superheroes and villains into therapy practices. Below are some popular previously requested topics.


Don't see the topic you're looking for? Maria is happy to customize trainings and presentations to fit your group, organization and vision. Reach out to Maria today to discuss your needs. 

"Maria Laquerre-Diego's presentation on using and conceptualizing villains in play therapy is remarkable. Her deep expertise, engaging style, and empathetic approach makes the concepts accessible, actionable, and fun. She offers powerful insights into how embracing these characters can foster perspective-taking and psychological healing. Highly recommend her for any event seeking a dynamic and affirmative speaker." -

Rachel Altvater, Psy.D., RPT-S

Featured Keynote


Here is an example of Maria's currently must popular training topic with its learning points. 

Unlocking the Power of Villains in Play Therapy

Using origin stories and a trauma focused lens, this unique and engaging presentation delves into the intriguing world of villains in play therapy. It equipts attendees with tools and insights to harness the potential of villains as therapeutic allies in play therapy practice. Learning objectives: > 🦹‍♂️ Understanding Villains: Explore the depths of the human psyche as we unravel the psychology behind villains in children's narratives and their profound impact on emotional development. The significance of viewing villains as complex characters with their own motivations and narratives, offering a fresh perspective on clients' struggles. Gain insight into the connection between a child's perception of themselves or their world and their attraction to hero and villain characters. 🌌 Creating a Safe Space: Learn how to foster an environment where children feel comfortable expressing their innermost fears, anxieties, and emotions through play. 📚 Storytelling and Symbolism: Discover the art of using storytelling and symbolism to help children process complex emotions and experiences through the guise of villains. Practical applications, including the use of sand tray figures and dress-up items, to delve into the duality of heroic and villainous within oneself. Supercharge your play therapy toolkit with innovative approaches to engage and heal children!


"This training was immensely entertaining, relevant and useful. I definitely hope we ask for your future out of the box trainings!"

Training Attendee

Upcoming and Previous  Speaking Engagements & Trainings

Keynote: ‘Addressing Ableism and Dynamic Disability in Play Therapy’.


Maria is presenting a keynote alongside Liliana Baylon LMFT-S, RPT-S™ and Marshall Lyles, LPC-S, LMFT-S, RPT-S™ at the 12th Annual Mid-Atlantic Play Therapy Training Institute Summit on June 5 - 9 2024. Practical strategies for incorporating an awareness of both visible and invisible disabilities into play therapy are discussed to ensure that the therapy space is a welcoming and affirming environment for all.

Maria also spoke at the 2023 Annual Mid-Atlantic Play Therapy Training Institute Summit on the topic of 'Understanding and Using Villains in Play Therapy​

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"The hands on interventions were creative and easily understood. They were insightful and could be used for any treatment population dynamic"

Training Attendee

Podcast Appearances

Listen to Maria on The Synergetic Play Therapy Institute’s 'Lessons from the Playroom' Podcast

In this episode, 'Villainous Revelations: Unmasking Complexity in Play Therapy', Maria shares her experiences incorporating villain characters into therapy, providing clients with a unique opportunity to explore their identities and feel seen.


Maria challenges binary thinking of good and bad and embraces the nuanced nature of traits based on individual perspectives. You are invited to explore your own perceived “hero” and “villainous” qualities with curiosity and without judgment. It’s time to own and celebrate all the parts within us!

Request Maria to be a Guest on Your Podcast

If you would like Maria to be a guest on your podcast, contact

"Maria provided time to actually complete the interventions and interpret them together - that was so valuable and empowers me to be able to do the same with my clients."

Training Attendee

About Maria

A self-described geek, Maria Laquerre Diego, LMFT, RPT-S is a therapist turned CEO. Maria is on a mission to transform mental health accessibility and break down therapy stigma creatively through the use of pop culture's power. Incorporating everything from movies and television shows to superheroes and Disney characters, makes Maria's presentations and trainings both innovative and captivating.  


A sought-after speaker, Maria has spoken about mental health at several local events, has served on professional boards, and trains clinicians nationwide. 

Maria was honored to receive a RPT-S Special Recognition Award from the New Mexico Association of Play Therapy in 2024.


"When we don't have the words or the words are too hard, play is there - and play therapists are listening and helping, even when words fail."

— Maria Laquerre-Diego, LMFT, RPT-S


"As for many, family sessions can be very intimidating at times. This training offered many different tools and activities that can be used to keep families engaged and talking. It allowed me to collect more tools to add to my toolbox when it comes to therapy."

Training Attendee

Request Maria for a Training or Speaking Opportunity

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