Supporting the Intersection of Mental Health and the Human-Animal Bond

Specializing in therapy for grief, trauma, caregiver fatigue, women's issues, and mental health in veterinary medicine.
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Mental Health Therapy & Veterinary Social Work

* I am currently away from the office, returning on Tuesday, 8/6/24.* WELCOME! 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, healing, and transformation. I provide therapy sessions virtually (Washington state only), in-person at my office, or as walk-and-talk sessions at nearby parks. I also supervise Masters of Social Work (MSW) interns on my team, who provide therapy sessions at a reduced fee. My next MSW advanced intern begins in the Fall. Therefore, reduced fee options for therapy sessions will be available again at that time. PRACTICE DAYS: (Summer Schedule) - Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays PRACTICE OFFICES: 12221 NE 8th St., Bellevue, WA 98005 AVAILABILITY: My practice is currently full, and I have a waitlist for new clients. To schedule either the free initial 20-minute therapy consultation (required to become a client), or a professional consultation, click the "request appointment" button to go to my calendar. Consultations are currently available for the end of August. New clients will be accepted to start at the end of September. To meet with me as a professional consultant, please reach out via the "request appointment button" and we can schedule either the initial free 20-minute video consultation or the 60-minute fee-based video consultation. These types of consultations are not for personal mental health concerns or personal therapy. THERAPEUTIC FOCUS: My passion for this work is rooted in the growth and gifts from my own personal and professional journey and the immense honor of being a witness to others' post-traumatic hope and healing. My therapeutic approach is person-centered, strengths-based, compassion-focused, collaborative, and empowering. Your strengths and challenges are unique to you; therefore, your therapy should be tailored and specialized to meet your specific needs and concerns. I fully believe in the importance of integrating different yet complimentary approaches that are appropriate for each client. I am extensively trained and experienced in a variety of therapeutic modalities and evidence-based treatments. Modalities and frameworks I draw deeply from are: psychodynamic, attachment-based theory, systems lens, trauma-informed and somatic therapies, experiential (animal and nature based therapies), mindfulness-based, narrative, depth psychology, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT/MCBT), meaning-making reconstruction work, and post-traumatic growth. I embrace an integrative therapeutic mindset at all times to best honor each client and their unique stories, lived experiences, and specific needs and concerns. I whole-heartedly understand that 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, to witness and support you on your unique journey along the path to find your way to hope, healing and recovery. SERVICES: MENTAL HEALTH THERAPY • Individual grief therapy sessions for human or animal loss/bereavement and intersection with other presenting issues/concerns • Individual mental health therapy sessions for women's issues, across the lifespan • Individual mental health therapy sessions for all types of veterinary/animal care and human health care professionals (including - diagnosis, treatment, and medication referral) • 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 • Contractual social work services with veterinary practices and organizations: I provide individual mental health therapy and group sessions (i.e., support, debriefing, skills-building) to employees or members. • Self-referrals: veterinary and animal care professionals seeking individual mental health therapy. *I no longer provide embedded or mobile veterinary social work services.* PROFESSIONAL CONSULTATIONS • 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. (see the 60-minute video consultation option for more information). APPROVED SUPERVISION • I am an approved supervisor for social workers and therapists working towards their full licensure in Washington State. If you are interested in obtaining approved supervision hours for your licensure, please contact me! GROUPS • Support, solution-focused, debriefing, or de-stressing groups. Please see below or check back for offerings hosted by my practice. PRESENTATIONS/CE EVENTS • For National or Regional conferences or organizations only. 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. STUDENT/PRACTICUM/INTERNSHIP PLACEMENT & OPPORTUNITIES I have been a field instructor and supervisor for masters-level social work and clinical counseling interns, externs, and practicum students for many years. I am an approved internship and practicum site for numerous masters-level academic programs. I currently only accept advanced/specialized Masters of Social Work (MSW) as students or interns into my practice. *UPDATE: 2024-2025 Interns have been selected. I am no longer accepting new students or interns (for either pre-practicum or full internship) for the next academic school year.* 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. I do not work directly with, accept, or bill insurance. However, I am an out-of-network provider. 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 ahead of time to inquire if your plan offers reimbursement for out-of-network providers. I cannot guarantee whether your insurance will reimburse you and I don't have a relationship with any insurance company. 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. ABOUT ME: 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 since 1996, 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. For 10 years, I owned Compassionate Canines, a practice focused on integrating animal-assisted therapy into different clinical and health care settings, and dedicated to teaching and evaluating animal-assisted intervention teams. I have owned my clinical private practice, Paws To Connect Counseling, LLC for 8 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 10 years. For 13 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 nationally registered (certified) 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. Currently, my cats Cairn and Byson join me virtually in sessions on a monthly basis to provide feline-assisted comfort and support. I also integrate animal-assisted therapy into sessions by incorporating clients' unique relationship dynamics with their own beloved companion animals into their therapeutic process. I was a clinical counselor specializing in co-occurring disorders 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 began my journey as a veterinary social worker in 2012, when my dog Mia was diagnosed with Lymphoma. Through my own journey and learnings coupled with seeing many gaps and a high need for this work to support clients and professionals, I obtained my post-MSW veterinary social work certificate and began working within this area of practice in 2015. I was the founder and leader of the veterinary social work program for 6 years at a local large specialty and emergency veterinary hospital. 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 for employees. Over the years, I have also worked collaboratively and extensively with many general practice, specialty, and emergency veterinary practices both regionally and around the country. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my partner and husband of 24 years, and my furry family - Bear the 9 year old sweet-and-spicy basset hound, and two incredibly affectionate and mischievous 3.5 year old sibling cats - Cairn, the sassy adventurous calico and Byson, the quirky gray tiger tabby. I love photography, traveling, reading, and spending a lot of time 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. CURRENT GROUP OFFERINGS! WEST COAST VETERINARY SOCIAL WORK/MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL CONSULT GROUP (Virtual, runs year-round): I host a quarterly 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 on the 3rd Tuesday of the month 9 am - 10 am PST. Consult Group dates for 2024 are: 6/18/24 10/15/24 Please contact me for details and to join us. Our group provides a rich, seasoned, supportive experience for members. We have group members from WA, OR, CA, CO. PET LOSS SUPPORT GROUP: Starting again in Fall 2024. This is a free, virtual, drop-in group that supports all individuals navigating the loss of a beloved animal (of any species). Group is facilitated by a MSW student intern. Please check back or submit the contact form for more information or to be added to our list!
Rachel Wright, MSW, LICSW, VSW-CP (pictured with Cairn kitty)
Mental Health Therapist/Veterinary Social Worker


I will help you through...

  • Grief & Loss
  • Traumatic Bereavement
  • Intersection of Grief & Trauma
  • Caregiver Support & Fatigue
  • Women's Issues
  • Family of Origin Wounds
  • Life Transitions
  • Veterinary Medicine & Mental Health
  • Mood Disorders
  • Compassion Fatigue
  • Moral Distress/Moral Injury
  • Perfectionism
  • Burnout


  • Integrative Therapy
  • Psychodynamic Therapy
  • Strengths-Based
  • Systems Lens
  • Attachment-Based
  • Trauma-Focused
  • Somatic Experiencing (SE)
  • Internal Family Systems (IFS)
  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
  • Narrative Therapy
  • Animal-Assisted & Nature-Based Therapies
  • Clinical Supervision and Licensed Supervisors


  • 20-minute initial consultation (all services): $0
  • 60-minute individual therapy session: $175
  • 60-minute reduced fee therapy session (interns only): $87.50
  • (topic specific) 60-minute couples therapy session: $225
  • 60-minute approved supervision: $150
  • 60-minute professional consultation: $100
  • presentations (starting rate): $250
  • groups (starting rate): $300
  • skills-based trainings (starting rate): $500


Bellevue, WA

12221 NE 8th St.
Bellevue, WA 98005-3113

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