Heart to Heart Child and Family Center for Counseling, LLC is unlike any other clinic, because we offer a specialty team for families that meets the needs of each individual within the family unit. Our passion is to strengthen families to achieve their highest potential. With great professionalism, care, and experience, Dr. Kathleen and her team will work tirelessly for you and your family. As a parent and a professional, Dr. Kathleen brings a heart for the success of every family to her work. 


Dr. Kathleen has a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) in the state of Minnesota and a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor (RPT-S) through the Association of Play Therapy. She completed her dissertation on Secondary PTSD transmission, and has co-authored a myriad of books and articles on topics such as issues of attachment, grief, loss, and early trauma for children, PTSD, as well as articles on physical and sexual abuse.

Counseling Training
  •  Permanency and Adoption Competency Certificate (2017)
  •  Experiential Play Therapy (2012)
  •  Theraplay: Level One (2017), Level Two (2019)
  •  Yoga Calm (2018)
  •  Somatic Expressions (2018)
  •  Virtual Reality (2019)

Counseling Experience
Dr. Kathleen has been counseling children for thirty years. Dr. Kathleen has co-authored six books and has published numerous articles in professional journals and reference books, and is a professor at the University of Northwestern - St. Paul teaching Counseling Children.

Publications: Books
  • Amy Elizabeth goes to Play Therapy.
  • Caleb’s Healing Story: An interactive story with activities to help children overcome challenges arising from trauma, attachment issues, adoption or fostering.
  •  A Safe Place for Caleb: An interactive book for kids, teens, and adults with issues of attachment, grief and loss, or early trauma. .
  •  Allergy Busters: A Story for Children with Autism or Related Spectrum Disorders Struggling with Allergies. 
  •  Sensory Smarts: A Book for Kids with ADHD or Autism Spectrum Disorders Struggling with Sensory Integration Problems. 
  • Generational Transmission of PTSD in Military Families. 


Counseling Options

click for descriptions

Heart to Heart Child and Family Counseling specializes in play therapy. The clinic houses two playrooms specifically designed to benefit the growth and recovery process of the children. The clinic also employs video monitors and a one-way mirror enabling viewing of playrooms for the benefit and inclusion of parents/guardians.

Play therapy is a form of counseling used to help children ages 2 to 12 years of age use their medium of expression to explore their thoughts, feelings, and life circumstances through play. The goal of play therapy is to help children learn to express themselves in healthier ways, become more respectful and empathetic, and discover new and more positive ways to solve problems. Parents/guardians meet with the therapist immediately following the session our clinic’s team approach is family focused. Review blog posts below for more information.
We use both directive and non-directive approaches: Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Attachment, Regulation Competency (ARC), and Experiential Play Therapy. We also have an one-way mirror so parents can view counseling sessions.

Heart to Heart Child and Family Counseling provides a variety of services for families. The clinic creates a welcoming and fun environment complete with games, snacks, and engaging activities designed to provide helpful tools for the development and growth of family relationships and resolution of conflict.

Heart to Heart Child and Family Counseling provides counseling services for teens and adults. Unlike children who experience change through play therapy, teens and adults are given the opportunity to engage in one-on-one talk therapy with a trained professional.

Heart to Heart Child and Family Counseling provides Theraplay as a supplement to other therapies. Theraplay is designed to promote bonding in the parent-child relationships. It builds and enhances attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. It is a beneficial tool for families with adopted children.
Theraplay interactions focus on four essential qualities found in parent-child relationships; Structure, Engagement, Nurture, and Challenge. The therapist guides the parent and child through playful, fun games, developmentally challenging exercises, and tender, nurturing activities.
Theraplay sessions create an active, emotional connection between the child and parent or caregiver, resulting in a changed view of the self as worthy and lovable and of relationships as positive and rewarding. 

Heart to Heart Child and Family Counseling offers group counseling for clients who have the same or similar life challenges. Group therapy is guided by a professional and provides a supportive environment in which multiple individuals are able to encourage and learn with and from one another. Drumming is also used during groups!

Heart to Heart Child and Family Counseling utilizes trauma informed yoga as a supplement to other forms of therapy or counseling. This technique develops skills in regulation, breathing, and increased body awareness. Research has demonstrated that yoga is beneficial for clients of all ages, particularly for individuals who have experienced trauma and struggle with emotional regulation.

Heart to Heart Child and Family Center for Counseling  recently opened a Virtual Reality Therapy Clinic (from Psious) that is housed at our office. It has more than 70 virtual environments designed to treat a variety of problem issues such as ADHD, Anxiety, Eating Disorders, Specific Phobias/Fears (such as driving, flying, test taking, needles and more), PTSD, trauma. It also has the capacity to engage clients in exercises involving Relaxation, Mindfulness and Distraction of Pain, utilizing techniques such as EMDR. See https://psious.com/environments/ for more information.
Great news! We have a sensory room for clients of all ages at Heart to Heart!
By utilizing sensory materials in a therapy setting, we can drastically help the child break the old trauma connections in their brains and rebuild them with healthier connections. A sensory room is a great tool for helping children process their current sensory reactions and explore new sensory connections in a safe and regulated environment. Utilizing tools in a sensory room can help individuals learn to self-regulate, feel grounded, repair attachment relationships, understand emotions, and recreate healthy brain patterns in response to sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures. See more information in our blog at the research behind sensory rooms!

Dr. Kathleen is a Registered Play Therapist - Supervisor, certified by the Association for Play Therapy and is a LPC/LPCC MN Board Certified Supervisor. She provides play therapy supervision to clinicians who are working towards their credentialing as a Registered Play Therapist and supervision for clinicians working towards their LPC or LPCC licensure (working with all ages of clients). Dr. Kathleen can provide supervision via a variety of methods including long- distance via doxy.me. Heart to Heart also have internships available. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Kathleen.

Heart to Heart is also accepts interns. Please contact Dr Kathleen at drkathleen@hearttoheartfamilycounseling.com or call her at 651-335-8219 for an interview.

Meet Our Team

Dr. Kathleen Chara, PhD, LPCC

Owner, Therapist

Lyndsie Standerwick, LMFT


Jenna Taylor, M.S.


Lilly Tolen


Tasha Lehner, M. A.

Intake Coordinator, Researcher, Product Designer, Blog Writer


Counseling: Most major insurances are accepted with the exception of Health Partners.
Call the center for insurance verification.



Please fill out the following: a). Heart to Heart Comprehensive Informed Consent, b). Sensory Room Accident Waiver and c). Intake form (pick 1 based on age) before your first session.

a). Heart to Heart Comprehensive Informed Consent.pdf

b). Sensory Room Accident Waiver and Release of Liability Form.docx

C). Pick Intake form below based on age of client -- must be saved in a pdf before emailing to show all answers

Child Intake.pdf

Teen Intake.pdf

Adult Intake .pdf

Release of Information Form


  • 127 County Road C, Little Canada, MN, USA
  • Suite 6

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