"Think of your grief as a wilderness—a vast, inhospitable forest. You must journey through this wilderness. To find your way out, you must become acquainted with its terrain and learn to follow the sometimes hard-to-find trail that leads to healing.
And even when you’ve become a master journeyer, and you know well the terrain of your grief, you will at times feel like you are backtracking and being ravaged by the forces around you. This, too, is the nature of grief. Complete mastery of a wilderness is not possible. Just as we cannot control the winds and the storms and the beasts in nature, we can never have total dominion over our grief.
In the wilderness of your grief the touchstones are your trail markers. They are the signs that let you know you are on the right path. When you learn to identify and rely on the touchstones, you will find your way to hope and healing."
~ Dr. Alan Wolfelt
Welcome! My name is Rachel Wright, and I am the owner of Paws to Connect Counseling, LLC. I practice as a mobile veterinary social worker, therapist, consultant and presenter. I am a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) in Washington State, a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, and Veterinary Social Worker (VSW-CP) with expertise in grief, traumatic 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; my Master of Social Work degree from University of Washington; 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 am a Practicum Instructor for University of Washington's School of Social Work, providing practicum placement and supervision of foundation and advanced level MSW students within the field of Veterinary Social Work. I have served as a Practicum Instructor for other universities for Social Work/Counseling students as well.
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. And, I worked as an addictions counselor with a focus in co-occurring issues for 20 years. 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 - Byron, Mia, Clover and Coach - as therapy animal partners, providing Animal-Assisted Therapy to 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 all passed away and therefore I do not currently have an animal partner in practice with me. However, I am working with my kitten Cairn in the hopes of becoming a therapy animal team for integration into counseling sessions.
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, presentations and supportive services 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 and work with their hospital on a contractual and consultant part-time basis.
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.
My passion for this work is rooted in my own journey and being a witness to others' journeys with the human-animal bond, grief, life transitions, and intensive caregiving for loved ones over the years. In 2020, I was faced with a near-death experience which resulted in surgery and extensive recovery, and then shortly thereafter I lost 3 of my beloved furry family members. I understand the road to healing from grief, loss and trauma; while it is challenging and hard work, it is also transformative and beautiful. I am here to companion and walk alongside you every step of the way to support you as you journey through this terrain and find your trail markers on your path to hope, healing and recovery.
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, the calico and Byson, the tiger tabby. 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 am passionate about being vegan and protecting and preserving our environment in micro, mezzo and macro ways.
I believe that therapy is an emotional, psychological and financial investment we make in ourselves for personal growth, well-being and healing. I would be 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.
• Individual grief therapy sessions for human and animal loss (teletherapy)
• Individual therapy sessions for caregivers navigating medical care for a beloved person or animal with a chronic or terminal illness (teletherapy)
• Individual support and therapy sessions for all types of veterinary/animal care professionals (teletherapy or mobile)
• Individual and group debriefing sessions for all types of veterinary/animal care professionals (teletherapy or mobile)
• A range of different support groups for the veterinary community and clients such as grief and loss, compassion fatigue, etc. (teletherapy or mobile)
• Consultations with all types of veterinary/animal care practices and organizations on a variety of topics, including: debriefing the emotions of challenging cases, communication and team dynamics, mediation techniques, wellness initiatives, client experience. (video or mobile)
• Presentations/webinars on a variety of topics for all types of veterinary/animal care professionals such as "Finding Meaning in Veterinary Medicine", "Building Better Boundaries", "Compassionate Communication", "Navigating Treatment Decision Making", "Medical Meaning Making in Grief". (video or mobile)
*I am an out-of-network provider for most insurance carriers. Payment is due after each session, and I accept all major credit cards and checks. I do not bill insurance directly, but would be happy to provide you with a Superbill for services that you can send to your insurance carrier for reimbursement.
TO SCHEDULE YOUR FREE INITIAL 20-MINUTE CONSULTATION OR YOUR FIRST FEE-BASED SESSION THROUGH MY CONFIDENTIAL/HIPAA COMPLIANT ONLINE PLATFORM, PLEASE CLICK THE "REQUEST APPOINTMENT" BUTTON ABOVE TO VIEW MY CALENDAR FOR OPENINGS. AS PART OF THE CONFIRMATION PROCESS, YOU WILL RECEIVE THE VIDEO LINK AS WELL AS REQUIRED PAPERWORK/FORMS TO COMPLETE. IF YOU DO NOT SEE ANY OPENINGS, PLEASE CONTACT ME DIRECTLY. THANK YOU!
Rachel Wright, MSW, LICSW, VSW-CP (Veterinary Social Work)
Veterinary Social Worker, Therapist & Consultant