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Meet Kelsey D’Amore of Connect to Thrive in Plano

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelsey D’Amore.

Kelsey, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My road to becoming a licensed professional counselor began after I observed group counseling sessions during an internship at the juvenile detention center in Collin County. I worked for a psychiatric hospital in Dallas after graduating from Austin College (located in Sherman, Texas) and started my master’s program at SMU. While in my master’s program, I transitioned to working as a Milieu Therapist in Children’s Health Pediatric Center for Eating Disorders. My passion for working with children and teens was blossoming! I graduated from SMU with my Masters of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and immediately began seeing clients in a private practice setting in Frisco. While acquiring the 3,000 necessary supervision hours for full licensure, I was trained in play therapy, animal-assisted therapy, EMDR, expressive arts therapy, and sand tray therapy. I opened Connect to Thrive with a dear friend, Katherine Dunham, in July of 2018. We were inspired to create a safe space for children, families, and animals to grow and heal.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It hasn’t always been smooth! After I graduated from college, I had no idea what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be. I always anticipated I would attend law school to become a criminal attorney, and it was tough to realize I did not have a passion for it after my internships. The road of becoming a counselor consists of more than just graduate school, and it takes about five years total to be a fully licensed counselor. This includes unpaid internships, working multiple jobs at once to gain experience and pay the bills, and attempting to navigate the counseling career field. Thankfully, these struggles were not the end of my journey. There were many people in my life, such as my parents, Katie Dunham, and countless friends, that helped me along the way. I’m fortunate to have found a strong support system of fellow counselors and friends.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
Connect to Thrive, LLC was founded by myself and Katie Dunham. We offer counseling services to assist individuals and families in times of struggle. We offer various evidenced-based treatment modalities, such as expressive arts therapy, play therapy, EMDR therapy, animal-assisted therapy, sand tray therapy, and talk therapy.

I am a registered play therapist and trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing). Play therapy and EMDR are typically what we are most known for, as these are very specialized treatment modalities.

Our office is most known for our sweet therapy dogs that assist our clients throughout the healing process. My Goldendoodle, Stabler, provides a safe space for clients that are unsure about counseling or struggle to express feelings. We are so proud of our dogs and the joy they bring our clients. Because we offer multiple specialized treatment modalities under one roof, each client that walks through our door receives a treatment plan tailored to his or her needs.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
There are too many people to thank! First and foremost my parents. They have never doubted my abilities, and they always encouraged me to chase after my dreams. When I asked what they thought about opening a practice with Katie at 27, they said: “how can we help?”. I truly can’t thank them enough.

My business partner and best friend – Katie Dunham. We met while doing our 3,000 LPC internship hours and our friendship developed immediately. She is my right-hand gal and the one who kept me sane when taking this huge leap. Thanks for being my person!

My fellow counselor friends – Shannon, Sarah, Uzma, Christine, Diane, Hannah, and Melissa – you guys have provided comfort, laughter, and support through the tough times. I appreciate all of you for being you and sticking around for the long haul!

My professors, teachers, and mentors – Dr. Solt taught me how to be a compassionate, kind, and perceptive play therapist. Judge Cyndi Wheless provided immense support (even after I changed my mind about law school) and continues to be a source of positive encouragement.

And of course – my clients. I learn from them every day. I am constantly in awe of how much I love my job and how blessed I am to be excited about work every day.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Cindy Harder Photography

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