Animal Assisted Counseling of Colorado
Allyson Shuldberg MSW, AASW
Allyson is a registered psychotherapist in the state of Colorado. She received her Bachelors of Social Work from Metropolitan State University of Denver. She then went on to receive a Masters of Social Work and Certificate in Animal Assisted Social Work (AASW) from the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver (GSSW).
Allyson is currently pursuing certification in Veterinary Social Work (VSW) through the University of Tennessee’s College of Social Work and Veterinary Medicine, with expected completion of October 2018. She was drawn to VSW due to a personal experience of losing one of her family pets years ago that cost unnecessary stress and expense. At that point, she knew there was a need for better understanding in Veterinary medicine. Twenty years later, with the support of an incredible mentor, education and program support from the universities, she has the resources and skills to follow her passion. Consequently, Allyson is filled with gratitude every day for her work.
Over the past twenty-five years, Allyson worked in the public and private sector with government and non-profit organizations as a macro practitioner. The combined experience provided her with a full 360-degree view of how to help serve community and individuals. She has experience in areas of management, research, evaluation, administration, and grant writing. Having worn both hats, as a provider and an administrator, allows Allyson to ultimately support and provide assets to our team.
Allyson is a Native Coloradan. She lives on ½ acre called Fenton Pond with her dog, a large pond with numerous goldfish and koi and plenty of wildlife (some, uninvited, skunks!) She enjoys gardening, cooking, and arts and crafts in her free time. Allyson and her dog; Dr. Seuss (Doc) received certification as an AASW therapy team through Professional Therapy Dogs of Colorado.
Carri with her three canine co-therapists: Noah, Ranger, & Hope.
Dianne and her canine co-therapist Pirate
Allyson and her canine co-therapist Doc
Lindsay Rojas LSW, MSW, AASW
Lindsay earned her Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver in 2017. She was previously an intern for Carri and still does administrative work for AACC and PTDC. Lindsay current works in private practice and community mental health. She and Dante became a PTDC team in 2018.
Carri King-Bussard MA, LPC
Carri earned her Master’s degree in Counseling from Webster University in Albuquerque, NM in 1998. She is currently a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Colorado, earning her undergraduate degree in Science from Saint Mary’s College in Winona, MN in 1991. She earned a Certificate in Animals and Human Health: Animal Assisted Therapy and Learning from Denver University’s Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) in 2007, and is an adjunct professor in GSSW's Animal-Assisted Social Work certificate.
In 2006, Carri was recognized by 9NEWS and the Denver Post for her work in establishing the B.A.R.K. Program, a collaborative program between the Denver Dumb Friends League and the Mental Health Center of Denver to enhance youth's coping skills, empathy, and understanding of the humane treatment of animals. She also has written articles on animal-assisted therapy for the Rocky Mountain Dog Magazine and the American Mental Health Counselors Association. In 2016, Carri was interviewed by the Associated Press for her work with small mammals in therapy, and was also interviewed by the Aurora Sentinel about her private counseling practice.
She has almost 25 years of clinical experience working within the systems of child protection/welfare, juvenile justice, mental health and the public school system. In her work, she has utilized the strength of the human-animal bond while working with a variety of people in a variety of settings. She has extensive experience working in the community with high-risk youth and their families. Carri is trained and utilizes evidenced based practices to include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma Focused CBT, Motivational Interviewing and principals of Multi-Systemic Therapy. Carri is also trained in the Anicare-child treatment model that addresses the assessment and treatment of animal abuse. She also co-founded another business, Professional Therapy Dogs of Colorado, in which she trains mental health professionals who are interested in integrating animal-assisted practice into their work.
She is the proud mother to three canines (Hope, Ranger, and Noah), four guinea pigs (Pumpkin, Nugget, Kiera, and "Little Dude" Seuss), and three rats (Decker, Domino, and Blaze).
Dianne Arthur LCSW, MSW
Dianne earned her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice and began her career as a probation and parole officer. After having her first daughter, she took time off to be a stay home mom. Several years later, she continued her education and earned a Master’s degree in Social Work from Florida International University. Originally, from Miami, Florida, she worked as a middle school social worker for eleven years in the Dade County School System.
After her youngest daughter graduated high school, Dianne decided to make the move to Denver, to experience the four seasons. For the past nine years, she has been a middle school social worker in Jefferson County Schools. In 2017, Dianne received her Animal Assisted Therapy Certificate from The University of Denver.
Her professional therapy dog, Pirate was trained at Freedom Service Dogs in Englewood, Colorado. In addition, he participated in the Cannon City Prison training Program. Dianne and Pirate partnered in June of 2017.
Each day, she is lucky enough to bring Pirate to her middle school and facilitate animal assisted therapy groups with students who are resistant to traditional therapy. In the groups, she focuses on the five CASEL competencies, social awareness, self-awareness, self-management, positive relationship skills, and positive decision-making. It is her belief that adolescents need to have these important competencies, in order to be successful at school, home and in the community.
When she has free time, she loves to hike with her dogs, bike, travel to warm places, and spend time with her four grown daughters and three grandsons.
Terri and her canine co-therapist Bizzy
Rachelle Matossian MAEd, MASC, MBA, LPCC
Rachelle is a Colorado Native and loves spending time with her dogs outdoors. Rachelle has spent the past 16 years in Brighton, Colorado. Her education resume includes a Bachelor’s in Psychology, K-6 Teaching license, a Master’s in Education-Curriculum and Instruction, Master’s in School Counseling (K-12), and a Master’s in Business Administration. She also earned her ECE certificate through Wildwood. Among her honors and awards, she received the Who’s Who
Among American Teachers, participated in the Eisenhower Grant Program, is a member of Mortar Board and Phi Theta Kappa, and is presently working on her 2000 hours towards her LPC license. During her Master's internship, Rachelle ran Divorce Support, Grievance, Anger Management groups as well as facilitating groups to help others exhibit compassion and kindness.
She has worked to develop PBIS systems in three schools which helped improve behaviors and recognize positive choices. She has aided students with diverse backgrounds and various needs. Rachelle loves working with kids, helping build belief, teaching problem-solving and coping skills, building leadership skills as well as promoting self-development using various
resources which helps with persevering through challenges. Rachelle is well versed in the Mind-Body-Health field and utilizes some of these modalities into her practice. These include: Healing Touch Therapy, Cellular Release
Therapy, Biofeedback, Hatha Yoga, Tai Chi, Aromotherapy and many others.
Outside of her work in education, Rachelle owns her own Travel Business, volunteers with multiple organizations including building schools in Guatemala with Hug It Forward. In her spare time she loves going to the movie theater, hiking, exploring new countries, and spending time with friends and family.
Lindsay and her canine co-therapist Dante
Terri Learned LCSW , MSW
Terri earned her undergraduate degree from Colorado College followed by a Masters Degree from the University of Denver School of Social Work. She has been a licensed clinical social worker for twenty years in the Denver metro area. Terri spent many years working and training at the Veteran's Administration Hospital. While working at the VA, she had vast experience with individual, couples and families struggling with a variety of problems and issues.
Her clinical work is rooted in psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy but realizes that for some families, a more creative approach is helpful. While she was managing a transitional housing program for homeless woman, she realized the therapeutic benefits of a dog interacting with clients. The combination of the healing of others, love of dogs and exploring a more creative approach is why she began her training in Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT). Her work shifted to working with children and adolescents in combination with AAT.
For the past few years, she has been trained and certified in Animal Assisted Therapy through the Institute for the Human-Animal Connection at the University of Denver. Her co-therapist, Bizzy, has been certified through Pet Partners of Denver and Professional Therapy Dogs of Colorado. Together, Terri and Bizzy have worked with many children helping with many treatment goals from resolving severe trauma in children to reducing and understanding anxiety issues. It is very magical watching the increased motivation of children who have the opportunity to work with animals. Terri has also worked with clients and their own family pets in an effort to work on personal goals. She is always eager to adapt the plan to the needs of individuals and their families.
Terri also brings expertise and training in stress reduction through Mindfulness Practice. Her ultimate goal is to collaborate with clients and their families to identify struggles and develop paths to strengthen individual and family systems. Since every child and family are unique, it is important to be creative with therapy and treatment to reach positive outcomes.
Terri has lived in Denver for over 30 years with her husband and two daughters. They have had many dogs over the years but currently are the proud owners of three dogs; Bizzy, Leo and Nala.
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