Helping Children, Adults & Families

Margaret Zaepfel is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She obtained her Master of Social Work from Louisiana State University in 1998, and her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Virginia in 1996.  She has been a provider of mental health services as of 1998.  Before joining Riverside in 2006, she spent seven years at Loudoun County Mental Health Emergency Services providing emergency/crisis mental services to the INOVA hospital ER and medical floors, the local detention centers, and local psychiatric and youth residential centers.

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Services Offered

Margaret offers traditional, non-faith based counseling, as well as Christian Counseling, depending on client interest, to children as young as three, teens, adults, and families.  You can find Margaret on the mental health provider panels for both Focus on the Family and New Life Ministries.  She uses Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with adults and mature teens, and specializes in the treatment of:

  • Adolescent-Self-Harm
  • Adoption Issues
  • Anxiety
  • Attachment Issues
  • Behavioral Issues
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Chronic Illness
  • Depression
  • Family Conflict
  • Grief
  • Infertility
  • Parenting Dilemmas
  • Peer Relationships
  • Relationship Issues
  • Self-Esteem IssuesSleep Difficulties
  • Spiritual Issues
  • Stress Management
  • Trauma
  • Women’s Issues

Children and Teens

When children have emotional and behavioral problems, parents need support and validation. Margaret prefers to involve parents of pre-teen children sessions so treatment can be tailored to each child’s unique personality and individual needs.  Behavior Modification is a valuable option for parents of both children and teens.

Most children are not interested in / capable of simply sitting and talking, so Margaret offers Directive Child Play Therapy to children aged 3-11, an alternative avenue for positive cognitive and behavioral change. Directive Child Play Therapy leaves room for free expression by the child, but is more structured than non-directive play therapy. It is more purposeful, goal-directed, and typically generates faster change than non-directive therapy. Margaret may use several techniques to engage your child in the powerful “language” of play, such as therapeutic games with toys, drawing, storytelling, role-playing, writing activities, and bibliotherapy.

Margaret was certified in Texas Christian University’s Trust-Based Relationship Institute (TBRI) in 2010, making her an expert in infant / early childhood trauma (to include medical trauma), adoption issues, and attachment.  To learn more about this program, please visit