Kari Whitson-Wilson, LMFT, PPS, NCC (License #: LMFT95993)
As a licensed marriage and family therapist, I have specialized in providing group counseling to adolescents, ages 11 to 19. My professional experience includes over 15 years working as a
- psychotherapist working with children and their parents;
- high school teacher and group counselor; and
- director for a school-based, non-profit program providing mental health
services to adolescents.
In addition to many of years of clinical experience, my work as a middle and high school teacher gives me another unique perspective to deeply understand the challenges adolescents face with peers and academic expectations. I work collaboratively with my client, their family members, schools and other community agencies to optimize opportunities for success. My approach is one based on genuine concern for my client’s well-being, respect, and openness.
My practice specializes in working with adolescents and their families, through individual, family and group counseling. I have extensive experience and training in working with adolescents struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, substance abuse, grief/loss, gang involvement, trauma, divorce and separation, peep-relationship issues, and other behavioral concerns. I utilize evidence-based approaches, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
California State University, Fresno, CA
Master of Science, Counseling, Marriage & Family Therapy Option (2007)
Pupil Personnel Services Credential, School Counseling (2006)
National University, Fresno, CA
Single Subject Teaching Credential in Health Science
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA
Bachelor of Science, Biology (1997)
HONORS AND RECOGNITIONS
California State University, Fresno, Graduated with Distinction (2007)
California State University, Fresno, Excellence in Research (2007)
Graduate Student Recognition Expo, CSU Fresno, Outstanding Work as a Graduate Student (2007)
Fresno County Board of Supervisors, Excellence in the Field of Counseling (2007)
California State Assembly, Outstanding Contributions in School-to-Career Programs (2006)
State of California, DCA, Board of Behavioral Sciences
State of California, Commission on Teacher Credentialing
National Board of Certified Counselors
California Association of Marriage and Family Therapy
California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists – Central Coast Chapter
07/2013 – 06/2014
Marriage and Family Therapist Intern
Women’s Shelter Program of SLO County, San Luis Obispo, CA
In this position, I provided individual and group clinical counseling to women and children affected by violence and trauma, as well as conducted assessments and evaluations of clients to aid in determining treatment interventions and goals. I also offered crisis intervention and referrals for support services to individuals calling the shelter’s 24 hour crisis line. Additionally, I regularly provided consultation to teachers, as well as attended IEP, 504 and Student Study Team meetings with parents, teachers and other school/district staff.
06/2008 – 06/2012
Roots Collective, Inc., Visalia, CA
I was responsible for coordinating, developing and implementing a counseling program for middle and high school students at multiple school sites within Tulare and Fresno counties. My responsibilities also included identifying and recruiting adolescents who met criteria for our support services. I worked with school site staff, administrators, and other community-based partners to find supportive resources for our students. I also conducted trainings for school site personnel on addressing social and emotional issues of adolescent youth.
Marriage and Family Therapist Intern
Synchrony of Visalia, Inc., Visalia, CA
I diagnosed and treated mental and emotional disorders, with individuals, couples, families and children for the purpose of treating diagnosed mental health disorders. This experience also involved the close collaborate with other therapists, doctors, schools, social workers, juvenile counselors, law enforcement personnel and others to strengthen treatment of my clients. I regularly conferred with other counselors in order to analyze individual cases and to coordinate counseling services. I also provided instructions to clients on how to obtain help with legal, financial, and other personal issues, as well as wrote evaluations of parents and children for use by courts deciding divorce and custody cases.
10/2007 – 06/2012
Reconnecting Youth, Inc., Seattle, WA
As an associate trainer, I was responsible for the coordination and set up of training sites. I conducted four-day trainings on the design, research, implementation, and facilitation of the Reconnecting Youth (RY) and Coping and Support Training (CAST) curricula (both recognized as SAMHSA model programs). I also provided assessments of participants for understanding and readiness to implement curricula with fidelity. Participants of these trainings included teachers, mental health professionals, school administrators, as well as law enforcement and social service providers.
RY Teacher/Project Coordinator II
Tulare County Office of Education, Choices Office, Visalia, CA
I facilitated the implementation of the Reconnecting Youth (RY), a SAMHSA approved evidence-based group guidance program for at-risk adolescents in numerous middle and high school settings. I was responsible for running counseling groups daily, using the RY and CAST curricula, as well as provided individual counseling to adolescent students. I was involved in the case management of students, including crisis intervention, linking students and their families with appropriate school and community agencies/programs to assist them with their individual needs. I also work collaboratively with teachers, school counselors, school administration, school psychologists, community mental health agencies, probation officers and a multitude of additional community agencies and programs in order to most effectively meet the needs of each student and their families. Additionally, I reviewed academic records, such as transcripts, test scores, attendance and discipline referrals, in order to assist students in preparing and planning for graduation and college.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy: Basics and Beyond (6.25 hours); Advanced Dialectical Behavior Therapy (6.25 hours); Working with Families Living in Poverty (6.25 hours); Impact of Trauma on Children (8.5 hours); Suicide Prevention (4 hours); Brain Involvement in Addiction (6 hours); Mindfulness Training for Personal Growth and Healing (9 hours); Intervening in Child Neglect (5 hours); Child Abuse Assessment and Reporting (7 hours); Reconnecting Youth Prevention Program (28 hours); Coping and Support Training for Adolescents (30 hours)