Mental Health Therapy & Veterinary Social Work
I am so happy you are here! My practice focuses on the intersection of mental health and the human-animal bond. I whole-heartedly understand the importance of the interconnectedness between humans, animals, nature, and the therapeutic value between these relationships. I will honor and support your unique connection with the human-animal bond and how that impacts and enriches your mental health, therapeutic process, and healing at every level. I will companion you in finding hope, growth, transformation, and healing.
I provide therapy sessions virtually (WA state only), in-person at my office, or as walk-and-talk sessions at nearby Bridle Trails State Park. I integrate Animal-Assisted Therapy into sessions with clients, incorporating their unique relationships with their own beloved companion animals into the process. I provide specialized Veterinary Social Work (mental health) services to practices or organizations virtually or in-person.
Practice Days: Monday - Thursday, 10 am - 6 pm.
Practice Offices: Bellevue, WA
Please read below for more information on next steps to work with my practice. I currently have a very limited number of slots for new clients; and I have two wonderful University of WA social work interns on the team, Adriana and Dalena, who are also accepting new clients. To best serve the needs of the community, interns provide reduced fee therapy sessions. Interns are trained and supervised by me within the specific focus areas of grief, trauma, and mental health issues in veterinary medicine.
If you are interested in receiving therapy services, the first step is to schedule the initial required and free 20-minute video consultation. You can do this by clicking the "request appointment" button to see available appointment times in the calendar. The initial consultation is an opportunity for you and I to get to know each other, to discuss and assess your needs and goals, and for me to discuss the process for working together (either with me or one of my interns). Additional details and questions will be answered at that time.
To get started with veterinary social work services and/or work with me as a professional consultant, you can either schedule the initial free 20-minute video consultation or the 60-minute fee-based video consultation. Please know that these types of consultations are not for personal mental health concerns or personal therapy. To schedule one of these consultations, please click “request appointment “button to see available appointment times in the calendar.
Both types of consultations are offered virtually on Tuesdays.
I am a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW), mental health therapist, veterinary social worker, and approved supervisor in Washington State. I also serve as a consultant and presenter on topics relevant to the intersection of mental health and the human-animal bond. I am a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist through the Grief Recovery Institute, and a long-time practicing Animal-Assisted Therapy professional. I have had extensive training in evidence-based best practices and integrative approaches for treating and providing therapy for the intersection of grief and trauma.
I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology/Drug & Alcohol Studies from Washington State University; my Master of Social Work degree from University of Washington; and my Post-Masters Graduate Certificate in Veterinary Social Work from University of Tennessee (through the Colleges of Social Work and Veterinary Medicine). I have worked in the counseling field for the last 25+ years, providing services to a wide variety of clients across the lifespan in different settings, including community mental health, inpatient addictions treatment, school-based, hospitals, and hospice agencies. I have integrated the intersection of mental health/the human-animal bond within different capacities for the last 20 years. I have also been a field instructor/supervisor for masters-level social work and counseling students, interns and externs for 7 years.
I was the Director of Programs/Therapy Animal Program Manager at Pet Partners (formerly Delta Society) for 6 years, leading the program; as well as teaching and evaluating therapy animal teams as a Licensed Pet Partners Instructor and Team Evaluator for nearly 10 years. For 12 years, I integrated my own furry family members - Mia (basset/labrador), Byron (flat-coated retriever), Coach (basset hound), and Clover (rabbit), as Pet Partners trained and registered therapy animals into counseling with clients in clinical, healthcare and school-based settings. Over the years, my beloved therapy animal partners have all passed away from Lymphoma. I am currently working with my calico cat, Cairn kitty, to be my next therapy animal partner!
I was a clinical counselor in community mental health and school-based systems for many years. During that time, I co-developed and co-implemented animal-assisted therapy programs with a focus on co-occurring issues with teens, young adults, and families. I've also trained colleagues on the framework and approaches for integrating animal-assisted therapy with different client populations.
I have been a veterinary social worker since 2015. I was the founder and leader of the veterinary social work program at Summit Veterinary Referral Center, a local large specialty and emergency veterinary hospital, for 6 years. I worked there as an embedded veterinary social worker providing supportive services and counseling to employees and clients, and supervised masters-level interns and another full-time social worker. In my last year there, I worked with senior leadership with the intention to create improvements on positive client experience, culture change, and wellness initiatives for employees. Over the years, I have worked collaboratively and extensively with a variety of general practice, specialty, and emergency veterinary practices.
My passion for this work is rooted in the learnings and gifts in my journey and the immense honor of being a witness to others' incredible journeys. I am passionate about the beauty of the human-animal bond and have been gifted to spend my life with such precious animal companions, professionally and personally, who have always been my most profound teachers. I am extensively trained and experienced (professionally and personally) in caregiver fatigue, grief, trauma, and professional moral injury and burnout. There are many twists, turns, and complexities on the road to healing. While it is very challenging and painful work, it can also be incredibly transformative, life-changing, and beautiful. I am here to companion and walk alongside you every step of the way; to witness and support you on your journey along the path to find your way to hope, healing and recovery.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my partner and husband of 24 years and my furry family - Bear the sweet-and-spicy, basset hound, and two incredibly adorable and mischievous sibling cats - Cairn, the sassy adventurous calico and Byson, the quirky gray tiger tabby. I love photography, traveling, reading, meditating, and being in nature - whether that be on the trails, at the ocean, exploring a new National Park, or adventuring to a 'bucket list' destination. I am an empath, a vegan, and very passionate about protecting and preserving our natural environment in micro, mezzo and macro ways.
MENTAL HEALTH THERAPY
• Individual grief therapy sessions for human and animal loss
(all types of grief and bereavement)
• Individual therapy sessions for women's issues, across the lifespan (mental health, physical health, work/life balance, trauma, grief, relational, and familial issues)
• Individual mental health therapy sessions for all types of veterinary/animal care professionals (including diagnosis and treatment of specific mental health conditions, medication referral and collaboration, work/life balance, compassion fatigue/burnout issues)
• Individual therapy sessions for caregivers navigating medical care and/or anticipatory grief for a beloved person or animal with a chronic or terminal illness
• Couples/Partners therapy sessions, specific (only) to grief or caregiving of a loved one
VETERINARY SOCIAL WORK
• For veterinary practices or organizations - virtual or in-person social work services that are clinical in nature (large/small groups and debriefing sessions for teams)
• Contracted services with veterinary practices and organizations, providing individual and/or group mental health therapy sessions to their staff/members
(Confidential/HIPAA compliant and coordinated directly through my practice. Individual staff or members are my clients)
• Self-referrals from veterinary professionals for Individual mental health therapy sessions
*Please note: veterinary social work services are always offered as either clinically-focused individual therapy or debriefing sessions, support/debriefing groups, or skill-based webinars and trainings.
Due to my busy schedule, I am no longer able to provide short presentations or lunch and learns to individual practices.
• I provide consultations to social work/mental health or health care colleagues, veterinary leaders, and all types of veterinary or animal care practices and organizations.
• I am an approved supervisor for social workers and therapists working towards full licensure in Washington State. If you are interested in obtaining approved supervision hours for your licensure, please contact me!
• Support, solution-focused, debriefing, or de-stressing groups. Please check back for offerings hosted by my practice, or contact me about tailored options and pricing.
• For National or Regional Conferences or Organizations. Presentations/webinars and skills-based trainings are offered on a variety of topics for all types of veterinary/animal care professionals (in-person, mobile, or virtual). Please talk with me about tailored options and pricing.
PRACTICUM/INTERNSHIP PLACEMENT & OPPORTUNITIES
(I AM FULL FOR THE 2023 - 2024 SCHOOL YEAR. I AM UNABLE TO TAKE ANY MORE STUDENTS OR INTERNS THROUGH THE 2024 SCHOOL YEAR. THIS IS A COMPETITIVE INTERNSHIP PLACEMENT SITE).
I have been a field instructor and supervisor for masters-level social work and clinical counseling interns, externs, and practicum students for the past 7 years. I am an approved internship site for numerous masters-level academic programs.
*I only accept advanced/specialized Masters of Social Work (MSW) students/interns into my practice.
For more information on current opportunities and requirements/scope of practice and next steps, please contact me in the Spring. At that time, I will be conducting interviews for the 2024 - 2025 school year placement.
RATES & INSURANCE
For 2024 rates, please see below. The time we schedule and spend together is reserved for you. Please know, late cancellations (less than 24 hours) or no-shows for sessions will result in being charged the full fee. There is no fee for cancellations made 24 hours or more in advance. I do not work directly with, accept, or bill insurance. However, I am an out-of-network provider for most insurance carriers. Upon receipt of payment for therapy services, I provide clients with a "Superbill" that can be sent to their insurance carrier for reimbursement. If this is an option you are interested in, please contact your insurance carrier to inquire about insurance reimbursement parameters and options.
Payment is due promptly after each counseling session/veterinary social work service, and my practice accepts all major credit cards and checks. Superbills and insurance reimbursement are not options for individuals working with interns.
CURRENT GROUP OFFERING!
WEST COAST VETERINARY SOCIAL WORK/MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL CONSULT GROUP (runs year-round):
I host a monthly professional consult group for veterinary social workers/mental health professionals in veterinary medicine, who are located on the West Coast. Our group is held virtually every 3rd Tuesday of the month 8 am - 9 am PST. Please contact me for details and to join us. Our group provides a rich, seasoned, supportive experience for members and is continuing to thrive and expand. We have wonderful group members from WA, OR, CA, CO.
Rachel Wright, MSW, LICSW, VSW-CP (pictured with Cairn kitty)
Mental Health Therapist/Veterinary Social Worker