Meet Our Clinical Director
Dr. Cavett is a Licensed Psychologist, Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor, and Clinical Director at Chrysalis Behavioral Health Services and Training Center in Fargo, ND. She provides psychological evaluation as well as individual, family, and play therapies. Dr. Cavett specializes in trauma, including early developmental trauma/attachment, and mood disorders including Bipolar Disorder. She treats children and adolescents with the following presenting issues: Mood disorders (Depression, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, Bipolar Disorder), Anxiety Disorders (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Separation Anxiety Disorder, phobias), Behavioral Disorders (Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder), Executive Functioning Disorders (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders), Trauma (medical trauma, child abuse/neglect, witness of domestic violence, dog bites, traumatic grief), Autistic Disorder, and Reactive Attachment Disorder.
Dr. Cavett earned her Bachelor of Science degree (1994) from North Dakota State University with a double major in Biology/Zoology and Psychology. During her undergraduate (1989-1994), she worked at Friendship Village with people with developmental disabilities, including autism. Following her undergrad, she worked at the Northwood’s Coalition for Battered Women, in Bemidji, MN, as the Shelter Program Coordinator. She completed her Master of Arts degree (1998) in Counseling and Psychological Services from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. During her graduate program she worked at Children’s Residential Services (residential placement for children with autism) and Shelter Care for Children (residential placement for young children who were unable to remain in foster care due to attachment, behavioral and emotional concerns). Her MA internships were at the Sexual Violence Center of Hennepin County, PRIDE (from Prostitution to Respect Independence Dignity and Equity), and the women’s correctional facility in Shakopee, MN. She earned her doctorate (2002) in Counseling Psychology at the University of North Dakota and completed a Child Clinical Psychology Internship at the Astor Home for Children in Rhinebeck, NY.
Dr. Cavett feels honored to be a witness to the psychological processing that children do in their play, which is why play therapy is one of Dr. Cavett’s life-long passions. The University of North Dakota did not have a play therapy course when she attended graduate school and so she and a professor co-created one and she served as co-instructor for that course. It was the first graduate level play therapy course in the state.
Dr. Cavett was the first credentialed play therapist, Registered Play Therapist, and later the first Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor in the state. She had a leadership role in the creation of the North Dakota Association for Play Therapy (NDAPT) as co-founder of the organization and served on the Branch Organizing Committee (BOC). She served on the Board of Directors of the NDAPT as the first president and as past-president. She also served on several committees for the national APT throughout her career including the Leadership Committee (Chair 2008-9), Research Committee, Dissertation Committee, Key Awards Committee, Registration and Continuing Education Committee, Conference Committee, Nominations Committee, and Assistant Editor for the Mining Reports of APT. She has presented continuing education workshops at the international Association for Play Therapy conference for ten consecutive years. Dr. Cavett was awarded the Association for Play Therapy Service Award in 2018.
She is a member of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Cavett has been a member and served on the Board of Directors of the North Dakota Psychological Association as treasurer, president-elect, president and is currently Past-President and Federal Advocacy Coordinator. She also served on the Conference Committee for several years.
Dr. Cavett has worked with children with Early Developmental Trauma and Reactive Attachment Disorder for 25 years. While a graduate student she was a child care staff in shelters and residential treatment facilities for children with RAD. She trained in Theraplay, an evidence-based treatment for RAD, in 1996 and has pursued ongoing training in this treatment throughout her career. Dr. Cavett was blessed to have direct individual weekly supervision from Phyllis Booth, co-developer of Theraplay. Phyllis Booth had trained with the Father of Attachment Theory, Dr. John Bowlby, when he was alive. Under Phyllis Booth’s supervision, Dr. Cavett earned the highest credential for a clinician utilizing Theraplay, the Certified Theraplay Therapist and was recommended by Phyllis Booth to serve as a supervisor and trainer of Theraplay. Dr. Cavett is a member of the Treatment Collaborative for Traumatized Youth (TCTY) and is certified in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Dr. Cavett developed a treatment approach, the Integrative Attachment Informed Model (I AIM), to attachment problems for children with a history of early development trauma. I AIM is based on the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics and neuroscience. I AIM is a three-tiered model that integrates Family Therapy, Theraplay, and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I AIM has been presented to professional audiences across the US, Canada, and Mexico.
She has been trained in evidence-based treatments including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Child and Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT), Theraplay, Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescent in Chronic Stress (SPARCS), AutPlay, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR). She has completed certification in the following evidence-based treatments: Certified Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, Certified Autplay Therapy Provider, Certified Theraplay Therapist. Dr. Cavett has been trained in Yoga Calm. She has been trained in Beat The Odds, a social/emotional drumming project, developed at UCLA. See uclarts.com for more information on Beat the Odds. Dr. Cavett is in the process of training her dog, Griffey, to be a certified therapy dog.
Dr. Cavett is an Approved Provider of continuing education for the Association for Play Therapy. She provides training internationally on play therapy, trauma/attachment, child psychopathology and treatment.
She has presented for the international conference for the Association for Play Therapy, the American Psychological Association, North Dakota Legal Department/Supreme Court, the Canadian Child and Play Therapy Association, American Mental Health Counselors Association, the Mid-Atlantic Play Therapy Conference (by Eliana Gil), Asociascion Nacional De Terapia De Juego Antej (Mexico) and The University of Chalula in Puebla, Mexico.
Frequently presented workshops include:
Integrated Attachment Informed Model (I AIM)
Beyond Bubbles: Relaxation and Regulation for Children and Adolescents
Playful Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy
Socrates in the Play Therapy Room: Using Play-Based Interventions to Enhance Socratic Thinking in Children and Adolescents
Early Developmental Trauma and Attachment Disorders: Integrating Literature, Research, and Practice to Inform Parenting, Educating, and Play Therapy Treatment for Children with Attachment Problems
Treasure Trove of Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy Techniques
Rainbows after the Storm: Play Therapy with Child Survivors of Suicide and Homicide
Enhancing Trauma Narratives through Play Therapy
Dr. Cavett wrote her first letter to a politician when she was 8 years old and her passion for social change through advocacy has persisted throughout her lifetime. Dr. Cavett is committed to collaboration and advocacy for people with serious and severe mental health concerns. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health (2007-2008) and Prevent Child Abuse ND. She has lobbied at the North Dakota State legislature as well in Washington, DC on issues related to behavioral health. She was invited to the Leadership Conference through the American Psychological Association and the Practice Organization in Washington, DC. At a state level, she has presented on “Bridging Behavioral Health Gaps through Collaboration” at the North Dakota Psychological Association. She is developing a quarterly discussion group, “P3 Behavioral Health Advocacy”, (Prayer, Politics, Partnerships), for multidisciplinary collaboration focused on improving the behavioral health services of those in our community.
Dr. Cavett is a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor. (For more information on the credentials to be an RPT-S see She provides supervision to licensed mental health professionals interested in earning their Registered Play Therapist or Registered Play Therapist Supervisor credentials. She is Clinical Director of a multidisciplinary team at Chrysalis with whom she co-creates a therapeutic environment at Chrysalis Behavioral Health. She is invested in developing the skills and clinical acumen of her clinical staff others pursing their RPT/S.
Dr. Cavett is the author of over 30 book chapters and articles and the book Structured Play-Based Interventions for Engaging Children and Adolescents in Therapy and Playful Cognitive Behavioral Techniques for Children (2010).
Cavett, A. (2017). Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy for Children with Medical Trauma. In: Handbook
of Medical Play Therapy and Child Life: Clinical Interventions for Children and Adolescents. Taylor & Francis/Routledge.
Cavett, A. (2015). Cognitive-Behavioral Play Therapy. In: Play Therapy: A Comprehensive
Guide to Theory and Practice Eds. David A. Crenshaw and Anne L. Stewart. New York: Guilford Press.
Cavett, A.M. (2015) Playful Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for School-
age Children. In Drewes, A.A. & Schaefer, C.E. (Eds.) Play Therapy in Middle Childhood. Washington: APA.
Cavett, A. (2013) Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy. In Crenshaw, D & Steward, A. (Eds.) Handbook of Play Therapy. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Cavett, A. (2014). Stress Inoculation In: Schaefer, C. & Drewes, A.A. (Eds.) The Therapeutic Powers of Play: 20 Core Agents of Change. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Cavett, A.M. & Drewes, A. (2011). Play applications of trauma-specific TF-CBT components for young children. In: Cohen, J.A., Mannarino, A.P., Deblinger, E. (Eds.) Adaptations of Trauma-Focused CBT for Children and Adolescents.
Drewes, A. & Cavett, A.M. (2010). Play applications of TF-CBT skills components for young children. In: Cohen,J.A., Mannarino, A.P., Deblinger, E.. (Eds.). Adaptations of Trauma-Focused CBT for Children and Adolescents.
Cavett, A.M. (2011) Jack in the Box. In Lowenstein, L. (Ed.) Assessment and Treatment Activities for Children, Adolescents, and Families Volume 3: Practitioners Share Their Most Effective Techniques. Toronto: Champion Press.
Cavett, A. In Review: Book review of Drewes, A.A. & Schaefer, C.E. (2010). School-based play therapy 2nd Ed. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Association for Play Therapy Magazine, 5 (2) p. 24.
Cavett, A. M. (2010). Family Strength Genogram. In Lowenstein, L. (Ed.), Creative Family Therapy Techniques: Play, Art, and Expressive activities to engage children in family sessions. Toronto: Champion Press.
Cavett, A. M. (2010). The Royal Family. In Lowenstein, L. (Ed.), Creative Family Therapy Techniques: Play, Art, and Expressive activities to engage children in family sessions. Toronto: Champion Press.
Cavett, A. M. (2010). Our Family Life Scavenger Hunt. In Lowenstein, L. (Ed.), Creative Family Therapy Techniques: Play, Art, and Expressive activities to engage children in family sessions. Toronto: Champion Press.
Cavett, A. M. (2010). Anger Menu. In Lowenstein, L. (Ed.). Assessment and Treatment activities for children, adolescents, and families. Volume 2: Practitioners share their most effective techniques. Toronto: Champion Press.
Cavett, A. M. (2010).Putting the puzzle pieces of resiliency together. In Lowenstein, L. (Ed.). Assessment and Treatment activities for children, adolescents, and families. Volume 2: Practitioners share their most effective techniques. Toronto: Champion Press.
Cavett, A. (September 1, 2009). Playful Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Traumatized Children.
Cavett, A. (2009). Playful Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Maltreated Children and Adolescents Play Therapy 4(3), p. 20-22.
Dr. Cavett loves children, horses, butterflies, gardens, photography and treehouses. She lives in West Fargo, ND with her husband and daughters and their Golden Retriever, Griffey.