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Em Robinson

Administrator Extraordinaire

They/Them

If ever there are questions or scheduling needs, this is where you'll start, navigate and finish (mostly).


 Em operates as Office Manager of Willows Counseling. They have been in Colorado Springs for over a decade and are dedicated to fostering a community that prioritizes people’s needs. They provide resources and strive to make the process of dealing with admin as painless as possible. As they usually say: “Thanks for being.”

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Janell Sanders

Marketing Director

She/Her

Janell is our Social Media manager otherwise known as the Marketing Director for Willows Counseling. The power of neurodiversity means everything to Janell as she is an autistic adult who has a passion for learning about and advocating for neurodivergent children! Throughout the week Janell gets the opportunity to support children in a CSD program at the elementary level as a SPED paraprofessional in Colorado Springs. She is currently working towards a BA in inclusive early childhood education in order to continue her  passion of bettering the lives of children while specializing in the education & support of children on the spectrum!

About Us: Team Members

Deandra Sanders

LPC

She/Her

Adolescent & Adult Mental Health Treatment

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Deandra is a culturally aware mental health therapist.  She works with 13-year-olds on up to 30-year-olds that have had experience with trauma that has interfered with the formation of identity. Fair warning: she got in to this field because she is naturally nosy!  Deandra has a solid understanding of the dynamics in domestic abuse and interpersonal relationships. She utilizes a person-centered approach as a fundamental base along with other psychodynamic approaches to help understand the origin of behavior. She will tap in to different therapeutic approaches depending on what the client is needing in the moment. Throughout treatment you'll explore the defense mechanisms that are interfering with the goals you've set for yourself. The clients that work well with Deandra are ones who do not fit into a specific box; but society, peers, family, etc. continually place them into one... or clients who have had a bad therapy experience in the past. Overall, she  provides space to explore who her clients want to be.

Deandra attended the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs to obtain a Bachelor of Arts in psychology in 2014. She received a Master of Arts in counseling from Northwestern University in 2016. Within her journey she received a certification in Nurturing Parenting techniques to help parents navigate their parenting style. She is a Certified Youth Mental Health Specialists and completed her certifications in ADHD and DBT treatment in March 2022.


Professional Memberships: Colorado Counseling Association (CCA)

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Val Bruno

LPC, RPT-S, CAS, ADHD-CCSP

She/Her

Val is passionate about supporting families and children in and through their journey of self discovery.  She is equally passionate about supporting and educating our communities' educators and professionals in order to help them support kids with neurodivergence.


Val specializes in working with children and families who are experiencing challenges with neurodivergent behaviors.  Neurodivergence is a big word that basically means the brain processes information and interacts with the world differently than it might for the majority of others.  Families might recognize symptoms or behaviors of ADHD, Tourette's, dyslexia, bipolar disorder, OCD, synesthesia, sensory processing, or autism, to name a few.

For the past twelve years she has worked primarily with children who have experienced attachment trauma, loss, dependency, neglect, sexual abuse, and domestic violence. She is  experienced with both neurodivergent and neurotypical children.  Val has worked closely the Department of Human Services providing support and therapy to children in foster and kin-like placements. As a military veteran, Val has a knowing and drive to support children and families of both active duty and prior service folks in need of support and guidance on development, empathy, nurture and attachment in the family system. 


Val serves as an expert witness for the 4th judicial district in the areas of child development, attachment, family therapy, and childhood trauma.  She has extensive training in parent child-contact issues, working with families with (unfortunately) high conflict divorce, and completing Parent-Child Interactional Assessments (PCIs).


Val is trained in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), trauma-focused CBT, synergetic play, experiential play, AutPlay® Therapy, directive play and non-directive play therapy modalities. She is a registered Play Therapist Supervisor, Certified Autism Specialist, Certified AutPlay® Therapist, ADHD Certified Clinical Services Provider, and a licensed professional counselor (supervisor). 

Val loves teaching grownups how to love, cherish and connect with their children (and themselves) and help them become functional, thriving, joyful members of our community.  She thoroughly enjoys integrating models of treatment and personalizing therapy for each family she works with.

Professional Memberships: Association for Play Therapy (APT), Colorado Association for Play Therapy (CAPT), American Psychological Association (APA)

About Us: About Me
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Rae Blaisdell

LMFT, RPT

They/Them

Attachment based therapy for children, youth, adults, & families

"Growing up in a diverse family, I found myself drawing meaning and values from many places. I was taught to see beauty and strength in the midst of great difficulty and diversity. A tree growing from a stone is as beautiful to me as murals in impoverished neighborhoods and the strengths of those creating and loving in lives full of struggles. People seeking support or change should have a place they are welcome to bring their issues, needs, fears and dreams. Together we can explore the strengths hidden beneath your struggles and breathe life into the story you would prefer to live for."

Rae works with ages 2 to Ancient, as individuals, couples, and families. They specialize in attachment, intergenerational trauma, play therapy, trans and non-binary and LGBTQIA+ populations, parenting after trauma, childhood trauma, and perinatal mental health. ​Rae primarily uses narrative therapy, Jungian Play Therapy, Child-Centered Play Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy, depth psychotherapy, and multicultural approaches. ​

Rae has a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy, a certificate in Depth Psychotherapy, and is working towards credentials as a Registered Play Therapist. They have served as an expert witness in the 4th judicial district in the areas of attachment, family therapy, play therapy, and child development related to trauma.

Professional Memberships: American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT), The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), APT, CAPT

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Desiree Pedraza

LPCC

She/Her

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Desiree obtained her Bachelors degree in 2015 in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. Desiree then earned her Masters degree in Marriage and Family
Therapy with an emphasis in Licensed Professional Clinical Counseling while graduating Magna Cum Laude.  She has worked in an outpatient and residential setting working with children and adolescents throughout her career. She is currently a LPC Candidate working towards full licensure.

Desiree is person centered and integrative in her approach as she includes family to work on attachment and relationship building along with various modalities that best fit the need of the client. Desiree believes great things take time and will meet each child and family where they are at and tailor her approach as needed. Desiree works with kiddos ages 2 to 18 years old while incorporating sensory, play, and art in session. Desiree is trauma informed and has worked with children with extensive trauma in various roles throughout her career.
“Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving”. -Albert Einstein

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Stina Blake

LPC

She/Her

Children, Adolescent, and Adult Mental Health Treatment

Stina specializes in treating trauma, including complex and intergenerational trauma hindering developmental progression and primary relationships in both children and adult populations. Her therapeutic style varies depending on the needs and the developmental stage of the client.  Stina firmly believe that you are the expert of your own life. Her role is to help you sort through the jumbled pieces in a way that makes the most sense to you, and to use those pieces to facilitate living a less encumbered and more fulfilling life for yourself and your family. Her theoretical approach is person-centered/child-centered, though she utilizes some aspects of Adlerian, psychodynamic, synergetic, and Gestalt approaches.
Stina will challenge you!  Although she holds the integrity of the therapeutic relationship above all else, she feels most productive when she's candid with her observations and pushing you to achieve what you’ve come to treatment for.  Stina also provides coaching to parents, particularly those with their own history of trauma who are looking for ways to heal and form healthy relationships with their children.

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Lanae Hartzler

Intern Clinician

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As a counselor, I see life as a butterfly's journey. Just as a butterfly emerges from its cocoon, we too must overcome challenges to reach our full potential. My own struggles have taught me resilience and empathy, driving my passion for guiding others. In therapy, I offer a supportive space where clients can explore and grow. Join me on this journey of self-discovery and transformation. Together, we can unlock the beauty and potential that lies within each of us, just like a butterfly spreading its wings for the first time.

Lanae obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs with Cum Laude. Lanae is an intern currently working through her Master’s degree in Counseling and Clinical Mental Health to become a Play Therapist in the future. Lanae has been selected to be a member of the Chi Sigma Iota Counseling Academic & Professional Honor Society International. She takes a person-centered approach while integrating with families when needed. Lanae believes each client is unique and therefore utilizes different modalities to honor each client’s differences. Lanae has experience with neurodivergent children and works with ages 3 to 13 incorporating sand tray therapy, sensory, play, and art in sessions.

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