Veterinary Social Worker - Therapist - Consultant - Presenter
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Grief Recovery Specialist and Veterinary Social Worker with expertise in grief, bereavement, and the intersection of veterinary medicine, mental health and wellness. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology/Drug & Alcohol Studies from Washington State University and my Master of Social Work degree from University of Washington. I received my Post-Masters Graduate Certificate in Veterinary Social Work from University of Tennessee (through the Colleges of Social Work and Veterinary Medicine) and am a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist with the Grief Recovery Institute.
I have worked in the Counseling field since 1996, providing services to clients across the lifespan (children, adolescents, families, adults, seniors) within a variety of settings including: clinical, community mental health, residential treatment, school-based, human hospitals and hospice agencies. In addition, I worked as the Director of Programs and Therapy Animal Program Manager for Pet Partners for 6 years promoting the power of the human-animal bond, and for many years integrated four of my furry family members as registered therapy animals (Byron, Mia, Clover and Coach) providing Animal-Assisted Therapy to counseling clients. In addition, I practiced as a Pet Partners Instructor and Evaluator for many years, teaching and evaluating handler-animal teams to work in the field of Animal-Assisted Interventions. Over the years, my beloved therapy animal partners have passed away and therefore I do not currently have a therapy animal in practice with me. While I do not currently have a therapy animal partner working with me, my kittens and I are working together in the hopes of becoming a therapy animal team for integration into counseling sessions.
I have always been passionate about the beauty of the human-animal bond and have been gifted to spend my life with such precious animal companions (dogs, cats and rabbits) who have been my constant and most profound teachers and guides.
I have worked as a Veterinary Social Worker for the last 5 years within general practice, specialty and emergency medicine settings; and have provided consultations and presentations to practices and organizations on a variety of relevant topics. I am the founder and leader of the Veterinary Social Work program at Summit Veterinary Referral Center in Tacoma, WA. My passion for my work stems from many experiences with the human-animal bond, wellness integration, grief, bereavement, life transitions, and intensive caregiving for loved ones. I bring these experiences to the table along with extensive professional experience and training to inform my practice.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my partner and husband of 20+ years and my furry family - Bear the goofy basset hound and two adorable kittens - Cairn and Byson. I adore photography, traveling, camping and being in nature - whether that be hiking on the trails, being at the ocean, or exploring a new National Park.
I believe that therapy is an emotional, psychological and financial investment we make in ourselves for personal growth, wellbeing and healing. I would be incredibly honored to be a support to you...to hold space, and be a witness and guide to help you discover meaning making and transformative healing through your own unique and beautiful journey.
My Services Include:
• Individual grief therapy sessions for human and animal loss
• Individual therapy sessions for caregivers navigating medical care for a beloved person or animal with a chronic or terminal illness
• Individual support and therapy sessions for all types of veterinary/animal care professionals
• Individual and group debriefing sessions for all types of veterinary/animal care professionals
• Support groups (e.g., Pet Loss, Caregiver Support, Mindfulness in Grief, Grief Recovery Method)
• Consultations with all types of veterinary/animal care practices and organizations on a variety of topics, including: challenging cases, communication dynamics, client experience, wellness initiatives
• Presentations/webinars on a variety of topics (e.g., Finding Meaning in Veterinary Medicine, Building Better Boundaries, Compassionate Communication with Clients, Coping with Covid-19 in Veterinary Medicine, Navigating Treatment Decision Making with Your Pet, Medical Meaning Making in Grief)
Rachel Wright (pictured with former therapy animal partner, Coach)
Veterinary Social Worker, Therapist & Consultant