Director of RITT
Kris, an EMDR Consultant and trauma therapist,
trains Fellows in:
Early Attachment Repair for Adults
Kris SantaMaria, LCSW, developed RITT in response to a shortage of trauma-trained therapists and a need for organized trauma-focused training. It took her years to find the right tools for effective treatment. RITT bridges the gap between graduate programs and integrative therapies, enabling emerging therapists to treat trauma effectively much sooner in their careers.
RITT provides a supportive network to learn and gain confidence in these skills.
This program will help participating therapists better guide clients to lasting wellness.
Supervisors and Trainers
Certified Therapy Dog
After earning her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Furman University, Liz’s work at a children’s psychiatric hospital led her to pursue her Masters of Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has worked with children and adolescents in a variety of settings, and enjoyed working with young adults at VCU’s student counseling center.
Liz is passionate about incorporating the body into trauma work, as she recognizes that trauma is not only carried in our minds, but physically, as well. She works from a collaborative, strengths-based approach, and strives to empower her clients to reclaim their lives after trauma.
Sookie is a pure-bred, all black German Shepherd who is a certified service dog. She has been a service dog all her life, working with and for Liz for almost 6 years now. Sookie is currently 10 years old, but the puppy in her still emerges frequently. She loves to interact with clients, and in turn, most clients adore her, too. Sookie often brings a sense of ease and lots of humor to the room. Her favorite toys are her frisbee and tennis balls- she will likely bring you one to show it to you! More than anything, though, she just wants to be pet and loved on.
My counseling perspective is shaped largely by a commitment to engage in antiracist and LGBTQIA+ affirming care that acknowledges the traumatic impact that systemic inequalities can have on individuals and communities.
I view counseling as a collaborative partnership and aim to provide care that recognizes your unique, multiple, intersecting layers of identity and experience. Drawing on parts-work and mindful self-compassion, it is my goal to provide person-centered counseling and a space where you can feel heard and empowered.
I received my BA in Sociology from Indiana University in 2012 and my MSW from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2021. I am now working towards becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. In my spare time I enjoy cooking, visiting new places, watching reality television, and making pottery.
Richmond & Culpeper Offices
As a counselor I strive to empower clients to indentify and build upon their strengths as they work towards accomplishing their goals. I have been practicing social work in the Richmond community since 2016 working with a variety of populations including individuals who have experienced housing instability, domestic and sexual violence, children and families. I work to create a safe enviroment where clients feel heard and validated as they navigate trauma.
Charlottesville & Culpeper Office
Michelle has been working in the social work field in the Charlottesville area since 2015. She received both her BSW and MSW from Indiana Wesleyan University. Her background includes work in Therapeutic Foster Care, In-Home Counseling, and Community Based Services for local families.
Michelle believes in a strength-based and relationship-focused approach in working with clients . Her passions include helping individuals learn to process and heal from past trauma, attachment therapy, and helping families learn therapeutic approaches to parenting.
Whitney received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University in 2009 and her Master of Social Work degree from Indiana University in 2015, moving to Charlottesville upon graduation. Her experiences include working in community mental health, emergency services/crisis intervention, and child welfare. She brings a holistic, integrative approach to her practice and she believes fully in the power of telling one’s story in a safe, held environment. Whitney’s therapeutic interests include utilizing person-centered, strengths-based approaches with those of all ages and from all walks of life to actualize the integration of body, mind, and spirit through trauma treatment modalities including attachment and parts work.
Kate is one of the 2021-2023 RITT fellows. She got her MSW from Arizona State University in December 2020, and successfully passed LSW exam in May 2021. Kate has worked in child welfare since 2015, where she engaged closely with families and children with serious trauma history. Kate has experience as Family Based Therapist, and also has some exposure working with clients who have dual diagnosis. Her main area of professional interest is childhood trauma, attachment, complex PTSD, and issues in family and couple relationship. Kate was born and raised in Russia and lived in South Korea for 6 years until she moved to the US in 2013. She loves working with children and families and wants to contribute to the local community of Charlottesville as much as she can.
Britt emanates a spirit of kindness and dedication that enables clients to benefit from her expertise in parent coaching and attachment work. Britt's specialized interest is in working with families to heal from trauma and attachment wounds.
Brittany Shankle graduated from the University of Mary Washington in 2006 with a Bachelor's in Psychology and Radford University's School of Clinical Social Work (M.S.W.) in 2021. After a decade enjoying the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, she has returned home with her family to her beloved Blue Ridge mountains. Britt's hobbies include gardening and hiking, and she enjoys spending her spare time with her children. Britt has experience working with foster and adoptive families, children, adults with mental health diagnoses, and she particularly enjoys helping parents and families who have experienced generational trauma to heal and grow.
Samantha earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from William & Mary and, after a long hiatus from school, earned her Master’s in Counseling from the University of Lynchburg. She has experience working with children, adolescents, and adults in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Samantha favors a person-centered, strengths-based approach when working with clients. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, paddle-boarding, and spending time with both the two- and four-legged members of her family
Lydia graduated from the Virginia Commonwealth University with her Masters in clinical social work and a certificate in gender violence intervention. She has previous clinical experience working with survivors of sexual and domestic violence as well as individuals who have been impacted by trauma in general. Lydia uses empowerment-based therapeutic modalities to foster a supportive and safe environment. Additionally, she is a LBGTQ+ affirming practitioner and believes in resilience building as a method to heal from trauma. In her spare time, Lydia enjoys being with friends, traveling and practicing her photography skills.
As a therapist, I am most interested in finding the path to healing that best serves your needs. I believe every person has immense value. I also believe every person can access wellness. I pursued my social work degree after a 22-year Army career. Upon retirement, I owned a yoga and meditation studio for ten years, where I developed an understanding of the relationship between our mental health and our physical bodies. I believe that true healing must address the body, mind, and spirit. Does this mean we are doing yoga in our sessions? It could, but mostly it means I hope to help you create a greater attunement to your mind/body connection to improve your daily comfort as we work together to address the underlying issues causing distress.
Crystal is a certified yoga therapist and specializes in mindfulness and meditation.