Meet the Heart of Heartbound Counseling

About Shirley Faleer, MA, LPC


I have been working with children and families as a counselor and play therapist since 1996. I began my counseling work in Saginaw at Samaritan Counseling Center and in private practice, at First Light Counseling.  In 2006, I opened my private practice in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan: Heartbound Counseling.

My educational and professional history includes teacher certification and work as a speech pathologist at the Central Michigan Regional Developmental Center for four years. When starting our family my focus was on attachment parenting and volunteer work with the Association for Prepared Childbirth and later with the Vowles Elementary School PTA. In 2005, I initiated the prayer shawl ministry, Knitogether (www.shawlministry.com) and was a contributing writer to "The Crocheted Prayer Shawl Companion" by Janet Bristow & Victoria A. Cole-Galo. 

I have presented play therapy workshops to graduate-level counseling students from Central Michigan University and to the Alzheimer's Association regional care-giving support leaders. In 2018, I taught the Play Therapy undergraduate/graduate course at C.M.U.

Positive communication, connection and compassion have been the foundation, anchor, compass and light in both my vocations and avocations. My extensive post-graduate training in expressive arts and experiential treatment methods has equipped me to work powerfully and effectively in my personal growth and with clients of all ages. 

NHA Certificate

In the fall of 2011, I began my training in the Nurtured Heart Approach® (NHA®) and completed the 5-day certification training the following year followed by the 6-week Foundations in the NHA® webinar.  In 2013, I completed the 5-day leadership advanced training in Norwich, England.  My leadership training in the NHA continued in 2015 and 2017 with 2 more 5-day intensive trainings.

Since integrating the NHA® into my private practice and personal life I have seen and experienced the benefits of a life "upgrade."  The NHA® offers tools for transformation; it provides a skill set that re-visions, and sharpens our inner and outer lens for the greatness that is present in all of us. This "life app" is renewing, sustainable, and is continually updated as I grow, risk and share who I am and what I have learned.

More personally, in the over 40 years that I have been married--as a spouse and mother--I have learned much about unconditional love, both given and received. 

Educational Background

Bachelor of Science: 
Central Michigan University, 1976
Master of Arts in Counseling: 
Central Michigan University, 1996

Licensing / Certification and Professional Affiliations
• Licensed Professional Counselor, State of Michigan
• Member, American Counseling Association; Michigan Counseling Association
• Member, Association for Play Therapy; Michigan Association for Play Therapy
• Member, National Association for Children of Alcoholics
• Member, EMDR International Association
• EMDR, Completed Training Level I and Level II and additional continuing education workshops
• Sandtray-Worldplay Training with Dr. Gisela Schubach DeDomenico; Completed Levels 1-6
• Nurtured Heart Approach® Certified Advanced Trainer

Additional training: Completed Levels 1-3 of the Body-Brain Approach to Sandtray Play Therapy in 2016-2017 and Advanced Level 4 in 2018 with Rita Grayson, LCSW, RPT-S.

About Heartbound Counseling

I provide counseling to individuals, couples, families and groups.  The counseling process and my approach is strength-based and aids clients in becoming increasingly responsible in relationship with self and with others.  Counseling involves a mutual commitment in which the counselor and client work together toward the fulfillment of the client’s goals towards health and growth.

I have specialized training in working with children, adolescents and their family members.  Treatment methods include:  a psychodynamic influence, cognitive-behavioral therapy, animal-assisted therapy, EMDR, trauma assessment/intervention, play therapy, expressive arts modalities and the Nurtured Heart Approach®.


Play therapy provides opportunity for children to employ the “language of play” in order to express themselves, identify their strengths and to develop more effective coping behaviors.  Sandtray-Worldplay therapy is also available and beneficial for all ages.

Gracie, the therapy dog!

Gracie, the therapy dog!

Animal-Assisted Therapy with Gracie, a Yorkshire Terrier-Poodle mix, is an extension of play therapy for all ages.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a treatment approach for reducing trauma and resolving other distressing problems.

The Nurtured Heart Approach® is a parenting paradigm that goes beyond behavior management to heal and strengthen personal and family relationships. The NHA® energizes mind and body with powerful and positive consistency.