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.
LCSW, CADC, CCDP
Bonnie, an EMDR and trauma therapist, trains fellows in:
Substance Abuse Treatment
Lindy, an EMDR Consultant and trauma therapist will train fellows in her specialties:
Attachment Repair for families
Melissa trains fellows how to build and repair connections through:
Structural Family Therapy
Thistle, an EMDR Consultant and trauma therapist, trains fellows in:
Child and Play therapies
Parts work with children
Attachment Repair for families
Alex Orton, LCSW
Alex has been practicing social work in the Charlottesville community since 2015. Her experiences include working with individuals facing housing instability, substance dependence, and the child welfare system. She enjoys supporting clients in their self-discovery. Alex connects with children and families to approach difficult circumstances with a sense of groundedness, safety, and compassion.
Qourtasia Watson, MSW
Qourtasia Watson is a fellow with the Riverbend Integrative Trauma Treatment Program. She is passionate about developing the necessary skills to heal individuals who have undergone traumatic experiences during their lifetime.
Qourtasia received her Bachelors of Science in Communications and Masters in Social Work with Honors from Radford University. Qourtasia is originally from Charlottesville, Virginia. She holds a strong belief that everyone deserves to be heard, and that it is extremely significant to break the mental health stigma in all multicultural communities. In order to grow emotionally, mentally, and spiritually she believes that you must first heal your inner child. Qourtasia cares deeply about diversity within the mental health profession.
Anne Dutil, LCSW
Anne Dutilh received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the College of William and Mary in 2013 and continued her education at George Mason University, graduating in 2019 with a Masters of Social Work in Clinical Practice.
Anne’s therapeutic approach is grounded in holistic, strength-based and person-centered approaches to practice. She also emphasis the impact of systems on patient experiences and recognizes the mind body connection - focusing on the importance of simultaneous healing. She is trained in EMDR, somatic interventions, Parts Work and attachment issues.
Anne believes that every client deserves to be heard, validated, and accepted in a safe environment. She is passionate about trauma treatment and its transformative and healing capabilities.
Laura specializes in trauma and attachment work with children, adolescents, and adults. Laura also has a background in kinship and foster care, and adoption. Laura brings a strengths-based, relationship-focused lens to her work to support individuals in healing and deepening connections with themselves and others.
Megan Paul, LCSW
Charlottesville & Richmond Offices
As a counselor, I strive to empower my clients to identify and build upon their strengths as well as focus on accomplishing their goals. I have worked with a variety of populations including children, families, and individuals living with serious mental illness. Using a person-centered approach, I hope to assist clients in addressing barriers to change through acceptance, compassion, and empathy.
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.
Outside of the therapy room, Liz has a passion for training service dogs, as well as spending time with her own German Shepherd, hiking and kayaking.
Charlottesville & Culpeper Office
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.
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.
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.
Alyssa received her Bachelor of Arts in Forensic Psychology from The City University of New York: John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Upon graduating, Alyssa served as a commissioned officer in the US Air Force. After her time in the military, Alyssa returned to John Jay College and obtained her Master of Arts in Forensic Mental Health Counseling. Alyssa made the move to Virginia and began work as a Psychology Associate at Western State Hospital, providing trial competence education and dialectical behavioral therapy to the hospital’s forensic population. Most recently, Alyssa has been a Senior Worker with Albemarle County DSS, working with children and families experiencing abuse or neglect. Alyssa’s therapeutic interests include working with the forensic population, children, trauma, and attachment work.
Kaitlyn enjoys allying with clients to help them create positive change. She is particularly interested in working with clients to process and overcome trauma, as well as with individuals struggling with mood, anxiety, and eating disorders. Kaitlyn believes therapy is most successful when therapist and client have a strong working alliance. She believes clients already possess the strength to create their own change, but may need an outsider's perspective to fully access their capabilities.
Kaitlyn has experience working with clients of all ages in a variety of settings. She has worked with incarcerated individuals, clients at a community mental health center, in a crisis capacity in an inner-city emergency room, and with civilly committed clients in a state hospital. She looks forward to doing work with Riverbend clients next.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.