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Denise Gilstrap

Director, Loyola Center for Counseling and Education


  • Counseling


Originally from Texas, Dr. Gilstrap is a proud resident of New Orleans. She received her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from The University of Mississippi (2016), where she specialized in play therapy. She also completed a Master of Science in Counseling from Texas A&M University-Commerce (2009) and Master of Arts in Teaching (2006) and Bachelor of Arts in English (2004) from Texas Woman’s University. She holds credentials as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), National Certified Counselor (NCC), Registered Play Therapist, and Professional School Counselor (Texas). Dr. Gilstrap has clinical experience as a school-based mental health therapist, family therapist, crisis counselor, and assessment therapist. Prior to becoming a counselor, Dr. Gilstrap worked for seven years as a middle school language arts and reading teacher in Dallas and New Orleans. She also has training in EMDR and applied behavior analysis. Her research interests include school-based trauma-informed practices, play therapy, youth behavioral interventions, family therapy, and counselor preparation and supervision. She has presented at various state and national conferences on these topics. Dr. Gilstrap has been inducted into Chi Sigma Iota (2009) and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society (2014). She’s also a former ACES Emerging Leader (2015) and graduate of the Association for Play Therapy Leadership Academy (2018).