Mollie Wirtz brings over a decade of experience working with troubled youth, most recently as a mental health therapist in a public school for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities where she has worked for 8 years. She is a licensed mental health therapist in Washington State, and has a master's degree in mental health counseling from Eastern Washington University, studied cognitive psychology and neurobiology at The Evergreen State College, and has a school counseling endorsement from City University of Seattle. Mollie has a passion for outdoor education and therapy, and created the garden therapy program in her school; presenting at the 2013 WAREA conference on her research about the benefits of the outdoors for troubled youth.
Her approach to therapy is cognitive behaviorally based, helping youth identify and challenge unhelpful patterns of behavior or thinking that are creating problems in their life. She encourages youth to recognize how 'thinking errors', are fueling feelings of anxiety, depression or other forms of emotional distress. Skills are explicitly taught and practiced to help youth gain confidence in using them in a variety of stressful situations. During group therapy, youth are encourage to act out typical situations that have caused them problems in the past, and use the newly acquired skills to solve the problems in a more positive manner.
An avid backpacker and hiker, Mollie spent much of her time while attending Evergreen exploring the Hoh Rainforest and Olympic Peninsula and fell in love. She is also very active in her P-Patch - a local community garden, where she has gardened for 6 years. Mollie spends her spare time attending concerts, cooking food using from veg from her garden, and creating art. She might be on the of the few Seattle-dwellers who truly loves the rain, and will happily hike in any weather.