Dakota Becker, LPC, is passionate about play. Her Lucero avatar is a steady, hard-working turtle, but she knows how to have a good time, too! As one of the lead therapists crafting content for the Lucero app, Dakota’s expert advice helps us make self-care fun for tweens and teens. She sees play as a powerful tool for healing and emotional regulation. Learn more about Dakota’s contribution to Lucero below.
1. What is your professional background?
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor, Registered Play Therapist™, National Certified Counselor, and Institute of Play Therapy Certified Sandtray Therapist. I received my master’s degree in counseling from the University of North Texas through their nationally known play therapy program and my bachelor’s degree in child development. I currently serve as a senior therapist and DEI coordinator at Ensemble Therapy, where I work with children and adolescents. I specialize in working with children with developmental disabilities, grief and loss, and emotional, relational, and behavior concerns.
2. What is your role with Lucero?
I support content creation and review, specifically for the Spark and Missions app features.
3. What led you to become a youth-focused therapist?
I have always enjoyed working with youth. I believe that if youth feel heard and seen, it can provide lasting positive impacts on how they view and accept themselves.
4. What’s one area of expertise or a passion that you are excited to share with others?
I’m very passionate about my work as a play therapist. Play therapy uses the therapeutic powers of play to support children in making sense of their experiences and providing a safe space to grow, develop coping strategies, learn to navigate challenges, increase confidence, and so so much more. Play truly heals!
5. Do you have an avatar in the Lucero app? If so, describe it and how it reflects your personality.
My avatar is a turtle, which represents being hard-working, steady and careful. This is true to my personality, as I value hard work and view myself as loyal and consistent in my relationships and my passions.
6. What about your personal life and interests? What makes you unique?
I take time to really get to know people. I love asking questions and hearing people\’s stories. I’m usually the one in my family and group of friends to know the random stories or facts about others that most people don’t know about.
7. What’s one thing that people are surprised to learn about you?
I spent time living in Romania in a small village. It was such an amazing experience immersing into the culture, building relationships, and supporting youth.
8. What’s one of your favorite emotional regulation techniques?
I love doing the five senses technique. It helps me focus on the present and silence any other worries or stressors so that I can feel more grounded.
Here’s how to do it:
- 5 (sight): Look around you. What do you see? Say five things out loud.
- 4 (touch): Feel your body and what’s around you and say four things you can feel (like your hair or clothes, the breeze on your skin, etc.)
- 3 (listen): What do you hear? Listen and say three things out loud.
- 2 (smell): Breathe in through your nose. What are two things you can smell? If you can’t smell anything, say two of your favorite smells.
- 1 (taste): Name one thing you can taste, like your toothpaste. If you can’t taste anything, say one of your favorite tastes.
- Take a deep breath and notice if you feel more calm.
9. If you could take a cross-country road trip with any three people, who would you choose and why?
My partner, my son, and my grandmother. When I’m with them my cup always feels full, adventures are abundant, and smiles never cease.
10. If you could share one important message with every tween and teen, what would it be?
You are not alone. You are seen and you are loved. I know from personal experience that sometimes things feel really challenging, but it does get better. Reach out for help if you need it.