Sharon was born and raised in East Detroit, Michigan, but has called Arizona home since 2008. Sharon has always had a heart for helping people, and it seemed to be evident at an early age to everyone around her. She began taking nursing co-op classes in high school and worked in a hospital as a nurse’s aide.
While working in the corporate world for Chrysler Corporation as a Quality Control Technician, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resource Development in 1992. After adopting twin daughters and being a stay-at-home mom for 10 years, Sharon went on to complete her master’s degree in Social Work in 2003 at Wayne State University in Detroit, focusing on family systems and the individual client. She began working with foster children and adoptive families in a private practice that she opened in Rochester, Michigan.
In 2008, she moved to Arizona to be with her aging mother. She became and Licensed Master Social Work and spent 11 years working in adoptions and foster care. She received her Certificate Clinical Trauma Specialist in 2019 through the Arizona Trauma Institute. At Spring Ridge, Sharon has come back to her clinical roots and is excited to be serving her favorite population of clients—teenage girls.
In her spare time, Sharon sings in the Prescott Chorale and at her church. When she is not listening to one of her many audiobooks, she enjoys hiking, golfing, skiing, watching movies, and walking her two dogs.
Tara grew up in New York State, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from SUNY Cortland and her master’s degree in Special Education from The University of Albany. Tara developed a love of teaching with special needs children of all ages. She decided to move to Arizona in 1999 to be close to her parents and continue teaching. Tara taught in the field of Special Education (K-12) for 20 years. She decided to become an Exceptional Student Coordinator, which involved leading a team of professionals dedicated to supporting students with unique needs. Her love of interacting with students and their families led her to pursue a degree in counseling.
Tara obtained her master’s degree in Addiction Counseling in 2013 from Grand Canyon University. After, she worked as a therapist at a rehabilitation center with clients of all ages who struggled with various addictions, trauma, and mental health issues. As a mental health therapist, she utilizes a holistic, integrative approach. Tara is a life-long learner who has completed several classes in Somatic Experiencing Therapy and is looking forward to continuing her education, as well as working toward her independent licensure.
Tara believes in living by example. She is thrilled to be at Spring Ridge Academy and to be part of a team that is committed to empowering teens to cultivate resilient life skills and shine their best selves.
In her free time, Tara loves spending time with animals and enjoys hiking, biking, and anything outdoors.
Jay Lowden grew up in Lakeland, Florida and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2003 as a Combat Medic. He served as a medic for 6 years and with a 15-month deployment to Iraq. As a psychology technician, he worked with active-duty soldiers for the U.S. Army and participated in assisting with the annual Marne workshop which brings together military and civilian providers to discuss treatment strategies for both active duty military and their families. In 2016, he moved to Prescott, Arizona to pursue professional development, working with Northern VA Health Care System administering testing for the Neuropsychology Department.
Jay attended Chaminade University in Honolulu, earning a Bachelor of Art in Psychology. He received a Master of Art in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, with a focus on both crisis intervention and trauma therapy, from South University in Savannah, Georgia. During his graduate program, he was the president of the Student Association of the Licensed Professional Counselor Association. He has returned to South University several times to present on the use of mindfulness in developing post-traumatic growth. He continued his education by attending the US Army Medical Department Center and school for Behavioral Health for substance abuse counseling.
Jay has worked in both inpatient and outpatient clinical settings. He became a National Certified Counselor in 2015. As a counselor, he uses an integrative approach in therapy, focusing on the client as the expert and agent of change. He specializes in trauma therapy utilizing EMDR.
Jay is a husband and father of five wonderful children, who help him to rediscover the world through their eyes. In his spare time, he is a photographer and has been in several exhibitions across the world.
Starr grew up near Los Angeles, California, then moved to Sedona, Arizona in her late teens to pursue her educational goals. She earned a BS degree from Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Zoology/Chemistry which led her to a career in the Animal Behavior and Training field for 30 years.
She enjoyed training animals for movies, service animals for people with disabilities, and consulting for rescues and sanctuaries. She found her passion for helping others while working in the sport of equestrian vaulting (gymnastics and dance on the back of a moving horse), and volunteering with helping young people with physical and mental difficulties in Malibu, CA.
She obtained her BS in Psychology from NAU and her MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Prescott College specializing in trauma-focused therapy with a concentration in experiential and animal-assisted mental health.
As a licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Starr uses an integrative holistic approach in therapy focusing on the client’s whole person while treating the client as an integral member of the treatment team. Starr’s specialties include working with those struggling with trauma, mental health issues, addiction tendencies, and life skill difficulties. Her goals are to motivate clients, have fun in therapy, and develop a client’s willingness and passion for healthy life-change.
She is owned by several animals including dogs, a pig, horses, and a parrot. She has a wonderful teenage daughter who inspires and teaches Starr daily.
Melissa grew up in upstate New York and attended Siena College, obtaining a bachelors of science in social work. Her career in counseling began with inner city adolescents in residential settings. Melissa moved to Arizona to obtain her masters degree in social work with a concentration in children, youth and families.
After, she began working with families dealing with substance abuse and mental health challenges. During her time with these families, Melissa honed her skills of navigating multigenerational challenges through a family systems perspective.
Melissa utilizes many trauma informed modalities in her practice including trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, Trauma Release Exercise, Post Induction Therapy and Motivational Interviewing . Her years of experience in the residential setting has allowed her to deepen her understanding of attachment related struggles.
As a life- long learner, she is continuously researching and engaging in professional development to best fit the needs of her clients. She is currently a Licensed Master of Social work and is actively working towards independent licensure.
Veronica began working with battered women as a volunteer over 22 years ago, which prompted her interest in psychology. She began her education at Sonoma State University, where she received a BA in psychology.
At the same time, Veronica cut her teeth in the streets of some of the roughest towns in the San Francisco bay area counseling at risk adolescents, and managing programs at a non-profit clinic for youth in the criminal justice, and foster care systems. Veronica loves working with teens because they embody the process of transformation from caterpillar to butterfly.
Wanting to practice a holistic approach to counseling, Veronica pursued a MA in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology from J.F.K University where she developed skills in Gestalt, Jungian, psychodynamic, and attachment theories. SRA is the perfect fit because her background aligns with the philosophy and mission of our community.
Belle is so inspired to work at Spring Ridge Academy with a team of experts who share her same passion for helping young women and their families heal. With 12 years of experience working as a licensed therapist in residential treatment prior to SRA, she continues to be grateful for the life-changing transformation this level of treatment and expertise provides.
Belle was born in England and moved to Greenwich, Connecticut when she was six. She moved west at 18 to begin Prescott College where she attained an undergraduate degree in Experiential Learning. She earned her Master of Counseling degree from the University of Phoenix and has been licensed in Arizona since 2008.
Belle is currently Licensed at the independent level (LPC) in Arizona since. She has spent most of her career working in therapeutic boarding schools; though, she also has experience in adult drug and alcohol residential treatment and adult psychiatric units.
Belle specializes in treating trauma and is a student of Peter Levine’s 3-year Somatic Experiencing trauma training. Belle is certified in Pia Melodies Post Induction Therapy, Brene Browns Daring Way and Rising Strong programs. She also has training in EMDR, positive parenting, grief and loss, CBT, DBT, and was a pioneer in the field of equine therapy.
Belle joined the Spring Ridge Academy team in June 2016.
Cindy grew up in Minnesota and moved to AZ where she completed her Master’s in Counseling Psychology at Prescott College. Cindy was always the kind of person who people trusted and opened up with. It made sense that she would pursue counseling psychology as her career.
Cindy has been working therapeutically with children and families since 1991. Her career started in social services where she became a supervisor. Always being drawn to the healing of the natural world Cindy moved in to wilderness therapy in 2001, working therapeutically with a diverse population of adolescents and their families.
Cindy has spent years developing advanced techniques in counseling psychology. After many fulfilling years as a wilderness therapist, Cindy moved back to AZ in April 2013 to work at Spring Ridge Academy.
She chose to come to work at SRA because of their extensive family therapy component as well as their stellar clinical team and cutting edge therapeutic approaches to addressing trauma and mental health issues.