Therapist Spotlight

Andrea arrives at Cascade Academy after 4 years of clinical experience as a Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist.  Her initial interest in psychology began in her early twenties when she started researching the work of William James, Sigmund Freud, and Carl Jung in an attempt to understand her lucid dreams and nightmares. Andrea has always believed that resilience and self-efficacy are built by using ones strengths and creative faculties to uncover a sense of individual purpose. While working on her undergraduate degrees in Film Studies and English Literature, she acted as a Director of Youth Programs at YouthCity, and as an Environmental Educator for at risk teens with TreeUtah.  In addition, Andrea has maintained a 25 year practice as a massage therapist. On this career path, she developed a nuanced experience that the mind and body achieve wellness when approached as being interconnected in their expression of health: mental, physical, and spiritual.

Andrea began attending Pacifica graduate institute in 2015, and completed two internships treating youth and families. She worked with Utah Family Counseling Center, and then James Masons Center for Recovery. In both environments she embraced experiential and expressive forms of therapy, using sand-play, visual arts, authentic movement, and music, along side more traditional methods like Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), Family Systems, Attachment Theory, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Jungian therapy. Andrea loves to work with teens during the critical stage of identity development. She emphasizes creating a safe environment for self-exploration and learning how the navigate the complex ways emotional experience informs a blossoming sense of self. She has worked with folks across diverse communities and cultures throughout her career. 

In her own youth, Andrea came to understand anxiety and depression in relationship to her grief about environmental issues and family challenges.  She first worked as an activist from the ages of 15-18 at a foundation that raised funds nationally to combat human rights and environmental issues. These years were so charged for her that she learned very early the ways that recreation, yoga, and self-expression can help to resolve our personal wounds. At that time she first leaned into many of her long term strategies for coping with life’s stressors and she continues love to backpack, dance, do yoga, meditate, write, do film and photography, and dive.  It was on a dive trip in Papua New Guinea in 2012 that Andrea decided to become a therapist. The challenges of diving in deep waters require absolute presence. It was during a discussion with one of the dive masters, a veteran who fought in the Kandahar Valley, about the ways that facing difficult emotions in present time experiences resolves trauma. The veteran discussed that his war trauma was resolving based on all of his hours masterfully navigating the underwater experience. The light bulbs went off for her, and Andrea decided to pursue creative therapeutic styles for resolving trauma.  9 years later, Andrea continues the rewarding journey of assisting others in learning to work through their wounds by identifying their strengths and vulnerabilities. She believes when we work with difficulty deeply and openly, our obstacles can become generative, creating a sense of resilience and the confidence to courageously achieve a life of purpose and fulfillment.