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Meet Katherine Dunham of Connect to Thrive in Plano

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katherine Dunham.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Katherine. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I have always known I wanted to work with children and families, but it evolved as I gained insight into my values and strengths. Going into my undergraduate program, I planned on being a nurse. As it turns out, I cannot receive a shot, give blood, or do anything involving seemingly minor amounts of pain without significant encouragement and support.

During my first semester at Texas State, while in the student health center with a cold, it became glaringly clear that I was not fit for the medical side of healing. Fortunately, that same semester, I took a course on Family and Child Development. I was immediately intrigued and hooked. I changed my major to study children and families, adding a minor in psychology.

Towards the end of my bachelor’s degree, I began the search for the answer to “What’s next?” after I graduated. In one of my classes, I learned about a specific type of mental health counseling that meets children at their developmental level to work through big feelings and events in their life, called Play Therapy. Instantly, everything I learned about Play Therapy made sense to me. I explored graduate programs and ultimately chose to attend the University of North Texas at Denton, the largest play therapy training program in the world.

Moving to Denton felt like uprooting my life, as my family and friends were all in Houston. Fortunately, I felt incredibly welcomed by the city, university faculty, classmates, and the play therapy community. My years in the graduate program at UNT were filled with immense professional learning, personal growth, and invaluable friendships and mentors. I’m extremely grateful for the people I connected with at UNT and continue to lean on them to this day.

After graduate school, I worked to complete the required 3,000-hour “internship” to obtain my Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). I reached out to private practices throughout the metroplex and decided to support children and teens at an office in Frisco, TX. During this time, I worked to gain advanced training in play therapy, animal-assisted therapy, expressive arts, sand tray, and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). During my internship, the universe put Kelsey D’Amore into my path and we realized our values, dreams, and love of dogs were destined to be intertwined. In July of 2018, Kelsey and I opened Connect to Thrive in Plano, TX to implement our vision of supporting children, teens, and families as they grow and heal.

Has it been a smooth road?
There have been highs and lows. The process of getting into graduate school and my experience at UNT was super smooth. I felt like I was exactly where I was meant to be. A tough part about choosing to be in a helping profession is balancing the desire to help others with the necessity of meeting my own needs (felt a sense of safety, self-care, sleep, finances, etc). I worked a full-time job providing accounting support at a management office throughout graduate school and for a large part of my LPC-internship hours to be able to make ends meet. This meant working long hours with little to no time off. I initially struggled with finding my balance and had to learn to prioritize my goals, advocate for what I need, and take risks to achieve my dreams. It is a constant process that I still have to work at to this day. I cannot imagine getting through the tough parts without my village.

Eternal gratitude to my husband, Jordon, my parents, Kelsey, Shannon, and my incredibly supportive family and friends for their continued guidance, kindness, and patience as I continue striving to live my best life.

Please tell us more about your business.
Connect to Thrive is run by myself and Kelsey D’Amore. We wanted to create a safe, welcoming place for children, teens, adults and families to come to heal, connect and grow. We are trained in several evidenced-based treatment modalities, including child-centered play therapy,EMDR, expressive arts, sand tray, and animal-assisted therapy.

From a child’s perspective, we are “feelings detectives”. We work with individuals to help them identify, express, and process feelings that are overwhelming, stuck, or simply too heavy to carry alone. Our specialties are EMDR, play therapy, and incorporating animals into therapy. My Goldendoodle pup, Mosby, is a senior feelings detective and likes to play, show off tricks, and provide humor with clients in therapy.

I believe what sets us apart from other practices is our holistic approach to counseling and our advanced training. We can weave in different modalities with clients depending on their specific needs. We love to coordinate with schools and other professionals (GP, NP, Psychiatrist, Nutritionist, etc.) in the area to ensure our clients are fully supported. We have another amazing therapist who works in the office with us, Shannon Kouser, who is trained to see teens, adults, couples, and families. Between the three of us, we can support families in all stages of development.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love the DFW area because of its diversity. Everyone I meet is not going to be exactly like me and I love that. I love hearing others’ perspectives and continuing to learn and grow. Also, there’s easy access to live music and yummy food!

My least favorite thing about our city is the Dallas Cowboys and all the hype surrounding them (reminder: the last time they won a super bowl was when the original Toy Story was released). I’m a Houston transplant, so the closest I will come to support the cowboys are frequenting the shops and restaurants at the Star in Frisco.


  • For private pay or out of network clients, our session fee is $125 per session

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Cindy Harder Photography

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