Meet Our Graduate Assistants

Destiny Ayala

Graduate Associate, 2016-17

(413) 748-3345

counselingcenterga3@springfieldcollege.edu

Background

Destiny is a third-year student at Springfield College’s master of social work weekend program. She became a counselor because she wanted everyone to know that they matter and have a purpose in life. She considers her main job at the counseling center to be helping students gain the skills and tools necessary for their journey.

Specialties

Destiny is interested in school social work, particularly with high school students in low-income urban communities.

Therapeutic Approach

Destiny believes in an integrated approach to therapy with an emphasis on client-centered work.

Taryn Brandt

Graduate Associate, 2016-17

(413) 748-3345

counselingcenterga4@springfieldcollege.edu

Background

Taryn is a fourth-year doctoral student in Springfield College’s counseling psychology PsyD program, with a concentration in athletic counseling. She received her master’s degree in sport and performance psychology from the University of Denver 2012.

Taryn was inspired to become a counselor by her experiences working with sport psychologists—and her exposure to similar types of support—while navigating her own challenges, injuries, and transitions. Taryn finds the college-aged population exciting and fun to work with, as these are individuals who are truly shaping their identities through their academic and extracurricular activities and emerging as independent human beings ready to take on the world!

Specialties

Taryn is most interested in athletic counseling and working with youth, collegiate, and elite-level athletes and performers. She is also interested in mindfulness and expressive-writing approaches to therapy.

Therapeutic Approach

Taryn takes a positive, strengths-based approach to her work with students, guiding them to consider different perspectives and become more aware of the resources they already possess to overcome life’s challenges. She incorporates interventions related to mindfulness and relaxation to promote stress and anxiety reduction, and she enjoys using strategies such as expressive writing to help students self-reflect on deeper levels.

Christine Caldwell

Graduate Associate, 2016-17

(413) 748- 3345

counselingcenterga2@springfieldcollege.edu

Background

Christine is a fourth-year counseling psychology doctoral student at Springfield College with a master’s degree in clinical psychology. This is her first year at the Springfield College Counseling Center, after working for two years at large New England state university counseling centers.

Christine first became interested in psychology in high school, when she finished reading her AP psychology textbook just halfway through the semester. She realized then that she found psychology fascinating and wanted to continue learning, as well as working with people face-to-face.

Specialties

In her diverse work with college students, Christine has developed particular expertise in working with LGBTQIA clients and student athletes. She is especially interested in gender identity development among college students, as well as alcohol and substance use/dependence.

Therapeutic Approach

Christine’s therapeutic approach is individualized to the clients she works with, based on their individual needs and strengths and mutually agreed-upon goals. She works through an integrative lens that often includes aspects of cognitive behavioral, psychodynamic, mindfulness-based, and humanistic therapies.

Joanna Dalin

Graduate Associate, 2016-17

(413) 748-3345

counselingcenterga1@springfieldcollege.edu

Background

Joanna is a third-year doctoral student in counseling psychology at Springfield College. She received her master of education in general counseling from Springfield College in 2015. She volunteered at San Francisco Suicide Prevention in 2009-10.

Joanna is originally from New York City, where she worked as a writer, editor, and musician. She was inspired to become a therapist by family members who were clinical social workers (including her mother), as well as by helping professionals who guided her through transitions and challenges of her own.

Specialties

Joanna is a huge fan of dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), which encourages a balance between acceptance and change. She is especially interested in working with individuals who are healing from trauma, as well as those with challenges related to neurodivergence.

Therapeutic Approach

Joanna guides the students she works with to consider their values, priorities, and goals in considering important decisions/transitions in their lives. She believes that most individuals who come to counseling already have everything they need to heal within, and that one of the main ways counseling works is by helping people “shift the balance” from solutions that are not working to ones that work better.

Erin Placey

Graduate Associate, 2016-17
(413) 748-3345 
counselingcenterga5@springfieldcollege.edu

Erin is currently entering her second, and final, year of graduate work. She is enrolled in the Masters of Social Work program at Springfield College. This will be her first year working at the Springfield College Counseling Center.

Erin sees college as a time and place for tremendous growth and change. She aims to provide a safe space where students can feel comfortable exploring and dealing with problems or issues, and where they can identify and examine their values, beliefs, and overall sense of self.

Specialties

Erin’s interests include helping others define wellness for themselves. She believes that we all have creativity that pulls us towards fulfillment. She strives to become skilled at helping others listen to that creativity, and to support them in achieving fulfillment.

Therapeutic Approach

Erin approaches therapy as an exploration and a collaboration. She believes that we are all experts in our own lives—whether we know it or not. She sees her role as supporting students in creating the space and building the capacity to construct their futures.

The Counseling Center at Springfield College