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"The experience of puppet therapy with adults has successfully provided a means to disarm client's resistance in a quick and easy fashion. There seems to be regression in the service of the ego, which facilitates adult play. The experience of puppet therapy with children flows naturally from the ability of the child to play and to transfer his/her own world onto the puppet, providing deep insight and meaning to the healing work. The client's healing is literally at the counselor's fingertips."

-- Dr. Joanne Vizzini


Puppet Therapy Institute

Meet the Puppets

Client, Clinicians, & School Children Reactions: Puppets

Discarding Defenses

Yoga Therapeutics Presentation

Press Reviews



View the Being Mean isn't Cool Puppet Session at Elmer Wolfe Elementary

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Dr. Joanne Vizzini, is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and a Nationally Certified Counselor.

She received her Master’s of Science Degree from Loyola University, Columbia, Maryland in September 1997. She completed her Doctor of Philosophy Degree from Loyola University, Columbia, Maryland in January 2003.

Currently Dr. Vizzini is an adjunct faculty member in the graduate program of Pastoral Counseling at Loyola University, Maryland. She also supervises Master's level interns.

Dr. Vizzini offers workshops and puppet therapy sessions for groups, individuals, or families. Dr. Vizzini developed the workshop Accessing Inner Voices: Successful Use of Puppet Therapy With Adults for the 2000 American Counseling Association’s International Conference. Her workshops provide clinical data for use of puppet therapy with adults whose diagnoses includes depression, bereavement, anxiety, schizophrenia. posttraumatic stress disorder, issues of co-dependency, substance abuse, and/or adjustment disorder. Participants experience a live demonstration and view videotaped clinical vignettes. Hands-on practice with puppets can aid the beginning puppet therapist. Workshop attendees receive a helpful packet of information regarding the practice of puppet therapy.

Dr. Vizzini presented "Effective Use of Puppet Therapy Across the Ages" for the 2001 American Counseling Association's International Congress. She expanded her information to include working with youth and children. In the spring of 2003, Dr. Vizzini presented her doctoral research at the American Psychological Association's Mid-Winter Religious Research Conference regarding use of her puppet therapy model at Hazelden, an inpatient chemical dependency center.

Dr. Vizzini has used puppet therapy in adult residential intensive outpatient and outpatient settings. Private and public school counselors may benefit from using puppet therapy with children and families. Dr. Vizzini blends her 30 years as a puppeteer with her creative means of reaching clients with puppets who act as the therapist (Vizzini Puppet Therapy Model © 2001). The gentle disarming and humorous approach of puppetry is a tool to bypass resistance and aid the client in exploring issues that may be difficult to share. The healing potential is literally at one’s fingertips.

Dr. Vizzini is currently working in private practice in Mount Washington and Columbia Maryland. She can be reached by phone at 443-831-1948.

Freedom through Psychotherapy - Specialties Freedom through Psychotherapy - Puppet Therapy