CMHC, Clinical Director
- EAGALA Certified
- EMDR Certified
- Advanced DBT Trained
- Sand Play Therapy Trained
Aarika completed her undergraduate training at the University of Utah and the University of South Dakota, where she majored in Psychology and minored in Sociology. Following her undergraduate degree, Aarika worked in the field of human services, employed as a caseworker for developmentally disabled adults.
Aarika attended graduate school at Westminster College, a private liberal arts college, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Professional Counseling. While in graduate school, she elected to complete a thesis, a research study examining the relationship between attachment and somatic complaints in children who have been exposed to stressful life events. Her research solidified her passion for attachment theory and working with clients who struggle with attachment disorders.
Aarika has worked with youth across development. In graduate school, she had the opportunity to intern at a therapeutic preschool with toddlers, and at a community based day treatment program, where she worked with youth ranging from ages five to seventeen. She also spent a year working with children and adolescents in a private practice setting, utilizing play therapy techniques, including sand tray therapy. Her experience in these environments have provided her a unique and beneficial perspective of mental disorders spanning the developmental spectrum.
Other clinical interests include working with clients who struggle with anger, reactivity and opposition; attachment disorders, adolescents beginning to exhibit Axis II traits, and somatization. Aarika is trained in both Advanced DBT and Advanced Mindfulness approaches. She is certified in the EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) model, and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) through the EMDR Institute. Aarika is also currently pursuing training for a Sandplay Practitioner certified membership through the Sandplay Therapists of America.
Aarika enjoys running, camping, painting with watercolors, baking, reading and spending time with her husband and daughters. Like many other Alpine Academy employees, Aarika finds that seeing girls grow confident and achieve their goals is the most enjoyable part of the work she is able to be a part of. She has found that when parents are willing to look at themselves in addition to supporting their daughter, the family as a whole is able to experience more growth and success.