Valerie Smith, LSW
Hi! My name is Valerie (pronouns: she/her). I am an avid animal lover – in fact, I originally majored in wildlife conservation and environmental journalism before switching to social work! I love dogs and cats equally, although I must admit I have a bias for dachshunds and salukis.
In my spare time, you can find me out in nature. I am into paddleboarding and kayaking, birding, trail riding on horseback, and hiking. I am also a certified Forest Therapy Guide which means I do forest bathing/shinrin-yoku. My favorite place is the Kenai in Alaska, where I stayed on the Kilcher homestead (the family from “Alaska: The Last Frontier”), kayaked among glaciers, and witnessed spectacular wildlife. About the Kilchers, yes, I am a major Jewel fan. She has been my favorite singer since I was a child.
I earned my Master of Social Work from the prestigious Fordham University, and my Bachelor of Social Work from Adelphi University. I have volunteered extensively for an organization called Re-Member which is on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, which works to improve the Oglala Lakota people through community development projects. Professionally, I have worked in community mental health and private practice settings as a therapist, program manager and hiring director.
While I love working with many different people and issues, I feel most gravitated toward three populations: adolescent girls and young women who have experienced complex trauma, caregivers of loved ones with chronic or terminal conditions, and young adults who have experienced parent loss due to death, absence, or abandonment. As a millennial who has been there with these same challenges and benefitted from a trusting therapist, I understand the importance of the client-therapist relationship – and I consider it a great honor to partner with my clients as journey toward healing and wellness.