Mental Health Therapy & Veterinary Social Work
I am so glad you are here! My name is Rachel Wright, and I am the owner of Paws to Connect Counseling, LLC. I focus on the intersection of mental health and the human-animal bond in therapy. 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.
ABOUT MY PRACTICE:
I provide therapy sessions, statewide (virtually), in-person at my office, and walk-and-talk sessions at nearby Bridle Trails State Park. I provide veterinary social work services either virtually or in-person (mobile). Practice days are Monday through Thursday. Please read below for more specifics on all services.
My practice is FULL at this time. To be added to the waitlist, please click the "contact" button to email me directly, or complete the contact form.
My practice will accept new clients again starting in early November 2023. At that time, to best serve the needs of the community, my practice will be offering sliding scale counseling sessions and discounted VSW services offered by masters-level social work and counseling interns who are trained and supervised by me within these areas of expertise. These sessions will be offered at a significantly reduced fee and are available to schedule quickly and readily.
If you are interested in either being added to the waitlist or obtaining counseling from one of my interns, the first step is to schedule the initial free 20-minute consultation. (consultations are offered via video). You can do this by clicking the "request appointment" button to see available appointment times in the calendar. This is an opportunity for us to get to know each other, discuss needs, and determine if this feels like the right fit. Additional details and questions will be answered at that time.
To get started with veterinary social work services or work with me as a consultant, the first step is to schedule the free, non-obligatory initial 20-minute consultation (consultations are offered via video). This is an opportunity for colleagues and/or organizations to ask questions and seek initial consulation on relevant veterinary social work topics and for us to determine if this is the right fit.
Due to my current schedule, I am unable to add individuals to the waitlist by phone. Please either complete the "request appointment" button or reach out to me via the "contact" button.
Note: I receive a high volume of requests to write Emotional Support Animal (ESA) letters. Due to professional and ethical reasons, I only write ESA letters for my ongoing clients. I do not write ESA letters for individuals who are not clients.
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, and CA!
ALL THERAPY GROUPS AND EVENTS ARE ON A HIATUS FOR THE SUMMER. PLEASE CHECK BACK IN NOVEMBER 2023 FOR UPCOMING CLIENT/VETERINARY PROFESSIONAL GROUP OFFERINGS!
I practice as a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW), mental health therapist, and veterinary social worker 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 also been a field instructor/supervisor for masters-level social work and counseling students, interns and externs for the last 6.5 years. I have worked in the counseling field for the last 25+ years, providing services to a wide variety of clients across the lifespan in many 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 was the Director of Programs/Therapy Animal Program Manager at Pet Partners (formerly Delta Society) from 2007 - 2013, leading the international program, overseeing all aspects of the program; teaching and evaluating therapy animal teams; and integrating my own furry family members - Mia (bassador), Byron (flat-coated retriever), Coach (basset hound), and Clover (rabbit), as 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!
As a long-time clinical counselor in community mental health and school-based systems (since 1996), myself and a close colleague 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/externs and another full-time social worker. In my last year there, I worked with senior leadership to try to make improvements on culture change, positive client experience, and wellness initiatives for employees.
My passion for this work is rooted in my journey coupled with the honor of being a witness to other's parallel 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 been profound teachers. I have had extensive experience with caregiver fatigue, anticipatory and compounded loss, grief, trauma, and professional moral injury. I fully understand the 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 23 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, camping and being in nature - whether that be on the trails, being at the ocean, exploring a new National Park, or traveling to a 'bucket list' destination. I am an empath, a vegan, and very passionate about protecting and preserving our environment in micro, mezzo and macro ways.
Paws To Connect Counseling, LLC's Practice Days are:
Monday - Thursday.
MENTAL HEALTH THERAPY
• Individual grief therapy sessions for human and animal loss (all types of bereavement - including: compounded, traumatic, ambiguous and complicated grief)
• Individual therapy sessions for women's issues, across the lifespan - including: mental health, physical health, work/life/family balance, trauma, grief, familial/relational issues
• Individual mental health therapy sessions for all types of veterinary/animal care professionals - including diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions, 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 to grief or caregiving
VETERINARY SOCIAL WORK
Mobile (on-site/in-person) or virtual (via video) veterinary social work services that are clinical in nature, for all veterinary or animal-care professionals.
• Contractual work with veterinary practices and organizations to provide individual mental health therapy sessions or individual emotional debriefing sessions to their staff/members
(Confidential/HIPAA compliant, and coordinated directly through my practice)
• Individual mental health therapy sessions (self-referrals, or paid for on a case-by-case by a practice/clinic)
• Group sessions - support, solution, topic-focused, de-stressing, and debriefing (paid for by practice/clinic/organization)
*Please note: veterinary social work services are always offered as clinically-focused individual therapy or group support sessions. Due to my busy schedule, I am no longer able to provide presentations, Lunch & Learns, or CE's to individual practices
• Support, solution-focused, debriefing or de-stressing groups for veterinary practices and animal-care professionals. Please talk with me about tailored options and pricing, and/or check the website for offerings being hosted and facilitated by my practice.
• Support groups for grief, loss and caregiving (virtual and in-person). Please check the website for continued offerings being hosted and facilitated by my practice.
For National or Regional Conferences or Organizations ONLY. Presentations/webinars 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.
I provide consultations to social work/mental health colleagues, veterinary leaders, and all types of veterinary or animal care practices and organizations. Please contact me about scheduling a consultation, or for more information on tailored options and pricing.
I am an approved supervisor for pre-licensure social workers and therapists, located within Washington State. If you are interested in learning more about obtaining supervision with me, please contact me!
PRACTICUM/INTERNSHIP PLACEMENT & OPPORTUNITIES
(I AM FULL FOR THE 2023 - 2024 SCHOOL YEAR. I AM UNABLE TO TAKE ANY MORE STUDENTS OR INTERNS AT THIS TIME. 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 social work and counseling academic programs. For more information on current opportunities and requirements/parameters/scope of practice, please contact me.
RATES/INSURANCE/SLIDING SCALE OPTIONS
For my current 2023 rates, please see below. The time we schedule and spend together is reserved specifically for you. Please note, 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.
I do not currently have sliding scale appointments available. However, starting November 2023 I will have masters-level social work and counseling interns who will provide significantly reduced sliding scale therapy sessions as well as veterinary social work services. Payment is always due after each counseling session/veterinary social work service, and I accept all major credit cards and checks.
Rachel Wright, MSW, LICSW, VSW-CP (pictured with Cairn kitty)
Mental Health Therapist/Veterinary Social Worker