Maryke Smulders - Therapist

Maryke's passion to work with children and her heart for helping others in need, motivated her to pursue a career in Social Work.

Throughout the years she gained extensive experience in rendering child and family protection services in poverty stricken areas in South Africa. She came to witness the negative effects that trauma and neglect had on the psychosocial functioning of the child and realised that she wanted to part of the therapeutic side of social work and pursued a Master's degree specialising in Play-based Intervention.

Maryke joined a play therapy practice in 2015 and provided child coaching and play therapy to children with socio-emotional challenges, making use of animal assisted therapy (horses) in the therapeutic process. Simultaneously she worked as a counselling social worker where she provided in-company therapy sessions to employees and implemented employee wellness programmes at corporate companies.

In 2017, Maryke moved to the Netherlands with her husband and has since then worked as a social guidance counsellor with undocumented refugees, providing psychosocial support services in a residential setting in Leiden. Her ambition to start the play express was finally realised in 2018 enabling her to further pursue her passion of working with children and families.


  • Master of Social Work Play-based Intervention

  • Bachelor of Social Work