*NOTE: I currently have a 4-week waitlist for all new therapy clients. I am providing therapy sessions by telehealth only, statewide.
I currently have a 2.5 month waitlist for all new mobile/virtual veterinary social work services (groups, presentations, webinars).
I would be happy to add you to my waitlist and/or schedule you for the future, if you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete the contact form on my website.
Even though I have a wait list, I am scheduling the free initial 20-minute virtual consultation for all new clients, practices and organizations. (the free initial consultation can be scheduled within 1-2 weeks of contacting me).
*NEWS! The first WEST COAST VETERINARY SOCIAL WORK/MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL CONSULT GROUP will be held virtually on Monday, 9/12/22 from 8 am - 9 am PST.
I AM STARTING/FACILITATING A (VIRTUAL) PROFESSIONAL CONSULT GROUP FOR SOCIAL WORKERS/THERAPISTS/OTHER HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS LOCATED ON THE WEST COAST WHO WORK IN THE FIELD OF VETERINARY MEDICINE OR WITH VETERINARY/ANIMAL CARE PROFESSIONALS. WE CURRENTLY HAVE A WONDERFUL ARRAY OF PROFESSIONALS FROM WA, OR AND CA. FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO JOIN OUR GROUP (including our first meeting in September), PLEASE CONTACT ME.
Welcome! My name is Rachel, and I am the owner of Paws to Connect Counseling, LLC. I practice as a mobile veterinary social worker serving the Pacific Northwest and as a therapist, consultant and presenter.
As a therapist...I believe that therapy is an emotional, psychological and financial investment we make in ourselves for personal growth and well-being to heal and thrive. I would be honored to hold space for you as a witness and guide to help you discover meaning-making and transformative healing through your own unique and beautiful journey.
I offer a highly personalized approach, which is tailored to work in close partnership and collaboration with all clients. My therapeutic style is authentic, relational, integrative and collaborative. I am present and connected to each client’s unique needs and listen with compassion and curiosity, while always working from a holistic lens and offering different perspectives and insights. I believe that each of us have inherent strengths and inner resiliency which are powerful tools for healing, change and recovery. Working from a strengths-based, psychodynamic, and systems perspective, I integrate my knowledge, experience and training in a variety of therapeutic modalities and approaches (such as: narrative, existential, mind-body psychotherapy, trauma-informed, mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy, art and nature-based therapy, and animal-assisted therapy) in order to meet the specific needs of each client. I utilize the best approach that may fit your experience at that particular point in time. Therapy is an evolving process, and what a client may experience in one session may be totally different in subsequent sessions. I meet all clients where they are at - at all times - to build upon their strengths, as well as offer different frameworks and perspectives to help them discover new ways of thinking and being in their life. I also help clients focus on meaning-making in their lives, particularly during difficult, challenging, and life-altering experiences.
As a mobile veterinary social worker...I provide customized mental health and wellness support and therapy services specifically for veterinary staff. I will come on-site to your practice/organization and provide in-person services to your team (roundtable/focus/support groups, individual support or debriefing). I will also provide virtual/live and pre-recorded services for your team. I believe that creating and maintaining a professional life of meaning, centered on heart-work and consistent ongoing growth in different arenas is imperative to sustainability in the veterinary profession. Committing to strong daily self care, your own mental health, healthy boundaries, stress resiliency, being present with yourself and others, letting go of perfection and embracing self-compassion are all absolutely key to happiness and combating the layered challenges endemic to the field of veterinary medicine. Please consult with me to determine the most appropriate services that will fit the specific needs and wants of your practice. I am more than happy to talk through flexible scheduling of services and your needs and challenges to determine a tailored approach and plan of action that will best support your practice's goals and growth.
PLEASE NOTE: for mobile veterinary social work services, there are additional charges for gas/mileage reimbursement and (if applicable) - accommodations/other travel expenses. For virtual veterinary social work services, these additional charges do not apply.
I am a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) in Washington State, a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, Animal-Assisted Therapy professional, and Veterinary Social Worker (VSW-CP) with expertise in grief, loss, 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; and my Post-Masters Graduate Certificate in Veterinary Social Work from University of Tennessee (through the Colleges of Social Work and Veterinary Medicine).
Over the years, as part of my academic and professional training, I completed three internships and two externships: my foundation internships within inpatient residential substance/mental health treatment and community mental health; my advanced internship/externship in hospice and palliative care with a special focus on grief across the lifespan; and my service learning (post-graduate externship) at a large specialty and emergency veterinary hospital. I am also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist with the Grief Recovery Institute, and have certification and professional training in Animal-Assisted Therapy. I am a Practicum Instructor for University of Washington's School of Social Work and provide practicum placement and supervision of foundation and advanced level MSW students within the fields of Grief/Loss and Veterinary Social Work. I have also served as a Practicum Instructor for other accredited universities for Social Work/Counseling students.
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. For 20 years, I worked as an addictions counselor with a focus in co-occurring disorders. I have incorporated my therapy animals, integrating Animal-Assisted Interventions and Therapy into all of these settings. I worked as the Director of Programs and Therapy Animal Program Manager for Pet Partners (formerly Delta Society) for 6 years, overseeing all programmatic aspects of the national therapy animal program and promoting the power of the human-animal bond. For 14 years, I integrated four of my furry family members - Byron (flat-coated retriever), Mia (basset lab mix), Clover (rabbit) and Coach (basset hound) - as registered therapy animal partners, providing Animal-Assisted Therapy to clients. In addition, I practiced as a Pet Partners Instructor/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 calico cat Cairn in the hopes of becoming a therapy animal team for integration into future 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 most profound teachers and guides.
I have worked as a Veterinary Social Worker for the last 7 years within specialty/emergency medicine and general practice settings; and have provided consultations, presentations, counseling and supportive services to practices and organizations on a variety of relevant topics. I was the founder and leader of the Veterinary Social Work program at Summit Veterinary Referral Center in Tacoma, WA where I worked full-time as a contracted, embedded social worker and then as a social work consultant within the areas of client experience, work culture and wellness. In leaving that position, I have discovered the unique ability to passionately support and serve a greater number of individuals, practices and organizations in incredibly rewarding and impactful ways.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my partner and husband of 22 years and my furry family - Bear the sweet-and-spicy basset hound and two incredibly adorable and mischievous sibling cats - Cairn, the calico and Byson, the tiger tabby. I adore photography, traveling, reading, writing (I'm currently writing a book!), camping and being in nature - whether that be hiking on the trails, being at the ocean, exploring a new National Park, or traveling to a 'bucket list' destination. I am passionate about being an empath, a vegan, and protecting and preserving our environment in micro, mezzo and macro ways.
My passion for this work is rooted in my own journey coupled with the honor of being a witness to others' journeys with the human-animal bond, grief, life transitions and caregiving. Over the last 10 years, I have had extensive personal and professional experience with caregiver fatigue, anticipatory loss, grief, trauma and moral injury. I understand the road to healing - while it is very challenging 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 support you as you journey this path to find your way to hope, healing and recovery.
My Practice Days are: Monday - Thursday.
Types of Services:
• Individual grief therapy sessions for human and animal loss (teletherapy)
• Individual therapy sessions for women's issues, across the lifespan - mental/physical health, trauma, grief, familial and relational issues (teletherapy)
• Individual therapy sessions for caregivers navigating medical care for a beloved person or animal with a chronic or terminal illness (teletherapy)
• Couples therapy sessions, specific to grief or caregiving (teletherapy)
• Individual therapy sessions for all types of veterinary/animal care professionals (teletherapy)
• Individual supportive coaching sessions for human service/ healthcare providers ONLY (focusing on integrating your "authentic self" into your work as a helping professional) with your clients and patients (teletherapy, both in-state and out-of-state).
• Individual and group debriefing sessions for all types of veterinary/animal care professionals (teletherapy, virtual, mobile)
• Support, solution-focused or debriefing groups for veterinary practices (virtual or mobile)
• Support groups for clients (grief, caregiving)
• 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. (mobile or virtual)
• Consultations with veterinary practices on developing job descriptions, screening, hiring, and supervising an embedded veterinary social worker. (mobile then virtual)
• For Veterinary Conferences and Organizations: Presentations/webinars on a variety of topics for all types of veterinary/animal care professionals such as "Surviving and Thriving in Veterinary Medicine", "Finding Meaning in Veterinary Medicine", "Building Better Boundaries", "Compassionate Client Communication & De-escalating Difficult Interactions", "Navigating Treatment Decision Making", "Medical Meaning Making in Grief". (pre-recorded, virtual or mobile)
* I offer and encourage a free, non-obligatory 20-minute initial consultation (by video or phone) to all clients, veterinary practices/organizations. This is a good opportunity to ask questions, get to know each other and see if we will be a good fit working together.
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" for services that can be sent to your insurance carrier for reimbursement. Payment is due after each counseling session/veterinary social work service and I accept all major credit cards and checks.
Rachel Wright, MSW, LICSW, VSW-CP (Veterinary Social Work)
Veterinary Social Worker, Therapist & Consultant