(Dana) Maurie Lung, Ph.D., LMHC, LMFT is the founder and CEO of Life Adventures Counseling & Consulting (www.LifeAdventuresCC.org), a community organization that provides adventure-based mental health therapy and consulting. She has over 25 years of experience as a therapist, business owner, author, speaker, trainer, evaluator, and university instructor. She has co-authored two books for mental health professionals as well as a variety of articles about how to experience nature and adventure in order to heal our hearts and restore dignity. Maurie integrates her knowledge and experience of recreation, education, psychology, and evaluation to experientially provide services with a diverse client population. The growth and change she witnesses for youth, families, and adults through this process continues to amaze her and remind her of the power of playful experience. In addition to her experiences as a practitioner and administrator, Maurie provides consultation, coaching, training, and technical assistance to organizations who want to improve their level of organizational functioning or implement a more experiential approach to their services. She also is Associate Faculty at Prescott College teaching graduate courses in mental health counseling and overseeing the Adventure-based Psychotherapy and Ecotherapy programs. (MH8282/MT2261)
Sarah Grace Nadler is a Mental Health Counselor with over seven years of experience working with courageous clients towards wellness in nature. Guided by principles of learner-centered education, ecopsychology, and mindfulness, she specializes in partnering with individuals to find balance in awareness, while exploring internal and external resources for success. Most of her clients are working towards goals surrounding personal and professional development, as well as learning how to THRIVE versus survive with challenges like grief, trauma, relationship difficulties, depression, and anxiety. Sarah Grace has utilized diverse models of psychotherapy with clients across the continuum of human development including but not limited to: adventure-based therapy, animal-assisted therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT), child-centered outdoor play therapy, and school-based treatment for adolescent girls. She enjoys facilitating psychoeducational and therapeutic experiences for individuals, couples, families, and groups, inspired by each client’s unique goals and creativity. Sarah Grace earned her B.S. in Psychology from Eckerd College right here in St. Pete, and her M.Ed. and Ed.S. degrees in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Florida. She is full of St. Pete pride and is ecstatic to continue her adventure in counseling at Life Adventures. Certifications and memberships: CPR and First Aid, American Counseling Association (ACA), Florida Counseling Association (FCA), Chi Sigma Iota International (CSI), and the Animal Assisted Therapy in Mental Health Interest Network (AATMH). (MH15436)
Alex White is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern and brings more than eight years of experience working therapeutically with children, teens, and their families within offices, classrooms, and the natural world. Through both professional and personal experiences, Alex has witnessed the power of human connection as a force for growth and healing. He draws on this as a primary emphasis in his work with clients, striving to recognize and cultivate the profound strength that defines them, even when they struggle to see it themselves. Along with this strengths-based approach, Alex integrates principles of cognitive behavior therapy to offer a nuanced style of counseling that seeks to both validate clients in their own experiences, while also offering new skills, techniques, and perspectives to help them achieve their goals. In addition to traditional counseling practices, Alex specializes in adventure therapy, drawing on intentional activities and direct experiences within sessions to promote growth, healing, and positive change. Adventure sessions are designed specifically to meet the needs, interests, and abilities of each client and can range in levels of challenge, from sitting on a beach to sea kayaking to rock climbing. It is meaningful experiences in the natural world that have comprised some of Alex’ most powerful moments in life, and he is excited to share this passion with the Tampa Bay community through his work as a counselor. At Life Adventures, Alex offers both traditional and adventure-based counseling services, including walking in parks and beaches, hiking in the woods, sailing, sea kayaking, indoor rock climbing, and low and high challenge course experiences. These opportunities may be of benefit for children, teens, adults, couples, families, or anyone motivated to take their counseling experience beyond the office walls. Alex has trained extensively in the use of these modalities therapeutically, and possesses Wilderness First Responder, Lifeguarding, and CPR certifications to ensure not only a meaningful but also safe adventure experience. Alex earned his M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Prescott College, with a concentration in Adventure-Based Psychotherapy, where he now also serves as an instructor. In addition to working as a mental health practitioner and adventure therapist, Alex has coordinated outdoor summer programs, facilitated teambuilding sessions for business and schools, and served as a mentor and advisor for high school students supporting postsecondary success.
Logan Walters is a National Certified Counselor and a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern in the state of Florida. He found his passion for helping people early in life and has 15 years of professionally supporting people in his community. Logan utilizes a client centered strengths approach. This allows clients to build upon their current strengths and interests. Logan believes that interacting in nature and in the community leads people towards positive growth and connection. He conducts his therapeutic sessions on kayaks, boats, along nature/beach hikes, at parks, at challenge courses, in the community, and in the privacy of an office. Logan develops a plan with each individual client, to determine what goals, action steps, and settings he or she believes will be most advantageous for his or her growth. In 2001, Logan started his career helping people reach their goals, through working with nonprofits such as Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity. As his passion for helping people continued to grow, so did his interest in connecting people to themselves and others, through nature and outdoor adventure. For over eight years, Logan was the Director of a wilderness adventure program and an accredited boarding school, outside of Asheville NC. He lead youth, young adults, and their families to identify goals, better communicate with each other, develop a healthy sense of self and self-esteem, and to appropriately cope with their frustrations. In 2014, Logan moved to St. Petersburg and started a mental health and holistic growth practice, working with youth, adults, and families. In addition to his private practice work, he is a mental health advisor and student management trainer for Thompson Island (Boston) Outward Bound and SOAR (Florida Keys), the Board Chairman of ASPIRE Youth & Family, and an adventure facilitator for a St. Petersburg non-profit called Pathfinder. Logan obtained his master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and his master’s in Business Administration with a focus on non-profit management, from Western Carolina University. His certifications include: Red Cross Lifeguard and CPR, Wilderness First Responder, ACA Coastal Kayak Trip Leader, and Advance Diver.
Comrade “Bear”, CGC is proudly Life Adventure’s very own Canine Therapist. Comrade can relate to many of his clients, as he as experienced both trauma and loss, as well as survived cancer! Since Sarah Grace adopted Comrade in 2008, he has thrived as an educational assistant, an Eckerd College Comparative Psychology Lab trainee, and a therapy dog, supporting humans through moments of hurt and development. His keen intuition, his goofy smile, and aptitude for snuggling have made him an instant favorite of everyone he meets. Comrade knows over 50 behaviors and words, he is obsessed with peanut butter and fresh fish, and most of all, he loves adventuring with his family and his clients. Supported by the ancient mutualistic relationship between humans and animals, Animal-Assisted Therapy is a growing wellness intervention that offers a unique set of benefits. Many researchers have hypothesized that animals and nature induce desirable emotions and reduce stress simply because of our innate relationship to the natural world (EO Wilson, 1995). Animals seem to be particularly helpful in facilitating the therapeutic alliance, which we know to be a major part of what makes counseling effective. Other studies have shown that animal-assisted therapy reduces anxiety, decreases blood pressure, mediates loneliness, improves cognitive processing, increases oxytocin (the neurochemical associated with adaptive social traits), and may even help improve empathy and communication with others.
- Animal Assisted Therapy
- Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling (Cynthia Chandler)
- The Effects of Animal-Assisted Therapy on Loneliness in an Elderly Population in Long-Term Care Facilities
- The Effects of Animal-Assisted Therapy on Anxiety Ratings of Hospitalized Psychiatric Patients