Desert Garden Therapy

Providing children, teens/young adults and parents individual counseling in the Tri-Cities, Washington.

Plants in the desert all have adapted to thrive based on their unique environment. 

Some, like succulents, coated themselves with a shiny surface to keep every bit of the moisture in. Cacti developed prickles to keep predators away.  Others, like the mesquite tree, dig deep, with very long roots to keep grounded.  Rolling tumbleweeds do just the opposite and let go, cartwheeling themselves freely to disperse their seeds. 

Each one adds their uniqueness and beauty to the complex interweb of the ecosystem.

Just like plants, people have learned to thrive based on their environments.

Each person’s personality and behaviors, seen from this ecological perspective, make sense, and can be seen as strengths to use, or to determine what needs to adapt when environments shift.

Kristina at Desert Garden Therapy helps children, youth, young adults, parents and families find and appreciate their uniqueness, and use their strengths to solve their toughest challenges.



Even our smallest sprouts need help growing now and then.


The teenage years are unique! They need a genuine therapist who puts the relationship first.

Parents and Families

Being a parent, just like being a kid, is as challenging as it is magical.

About Kristina


My therapeutic worldview is person-centered. This means that I believe people are the experts of their own lives, and I believe in the strength of the therapeutic relationship and the strength of my clients. I believe we are partners in the therapy process, and I will be my real self with you.

I work to give as much power to clients and families in the therapeutic process as possible. You can expect that I will explain everything and offer choices along the way. I can put on several different lenses for looking at challenges, and can utilize many different types of therapy, depending on your preferences. My style can range from structured and skills-based, to relaxed and organic, but I am most comfortable working eclectically, synthesizing several different therapies to work in a unique way with each client.


  • Fully licensed to practice therapy independently in the state of Washington (LICSW #LW61001223) and Idaho (LCSW #41337)
  • Registered Play Therapist (RPT), Association for Play Therapy (APT)
  • MSW, University of Southern California, mental health/clinical focus
  • BS, Psychology, Washington State University
  • TF-CBT and CBT+ trained through the UW Center for Anxiety & Traumatic Stress
  • DBT training, Linehan Institute

Past Experience

  • Former Board Member, Washington State Association for Play Therapy
  • Former Therapist, WISe Program, Lutheran Community Services (for children and teens with intensive mental health challenges)
  • Former Child and Family Therapist, Catholic Charities (serving children, youth and adults with a wide variety of challenges)
  • Former Advocate, Domestic Violence Services
  • Former Birth Doula and Childbirth Educator, Three Rivers Birth


  • Neurodivergence (ADHD, Autism, etc.) from a strengths-based, self-acceptance lens
  • Trauma, PTSD, and life changes
  • Sexual and physical abuse survivors
  • Parent/child attachment and communication
  • Social anxiety and self-esteem
  • Depression, suicidal thoughts and self-harm
  • Toddlers and preschoolers
  • Adolescents
  • Parenting challenges
  • Pregnancy and postpartum
  • Child witnesses of domestic violence

Therapies by Challenge

Trauma and Difficult Memories

Family Attachment and Communication

  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
  • Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy techniques
  • Child-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT)

  • Child-Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approaches specifically for families
  • Theraplay techniques
  • Family play therapy interventions

General and Social Anxiety Reduction

Depression, Suicidal Thoughts, and Self-Harming Behaviors

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxious Children (CBT+)
  • Child-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT)
  • Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy techniques
  • Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MSBR)
  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Children (MBCT-C)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depressed Adolescents (CBT+ for Depression)
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy techniques
  • Child-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT)

Parenting Challenges, Attachment, and Childhood Behavior

  • Child-Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT)
  • Theraplay Techniques
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approaches specifically for families
  • Focusing on what is under the behaviors (anxiety, depression, trauma, attachment, etc.)

What is Play Therapy?

How can a child, who has just started to use language, possibly be expected to talk to a therapist about their problems? The good news is they don’t have to.

Through playing with your child, I work with your child’s metaphors to work through their problems in their language – play.

Play is also a way to work on emotional regulation so they can access the lessons from therapy in a way that is more accessible to them when they are upset.

It may look like we are “just playing,” but each thing a play therapist says or does is an intervention that can be named and explained how it can help.

Therapy for Survivors

Did you have a difficult childhood that affects you as a teen or young adult? Kristina sees young adults and teen survivors of physical or sexual abuse or other trauma for Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT).

CPT helps people file painful memories away in the cognitive area of their brains, rather than the emotional, “fight or flight” area. This helps them stay calmer when reminders of trauma come up. Survivors discover a new way to view themselves as the hero of their story, rather than the victim.

While trauma therapy is hard work, it can also help you find your way through your past trauma, to move past surviving and learn to thrive again.


  • (509) 381-2266 (texting gets fastest responses)


In network with:

  • Aetna
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield (all, including Premera, Regence, etc., EXCEPT Providence)
  • Cigna
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Cash pay for out-of-network


Located within the Healing Harbor suite. By appointment only. If you have an appointment, come in and take a seat in the Healing Harbor suite’s waiting area, and I’ll be out to get you when it is time for your appointment.

Opening Hours

8:30 am – 5:00 pm
8:30 am – 5:00 pm
8:30 am – 5:00 pm
8:30 am – 5:00 pm

Cancel appointments, fill out requested paperwork, view and upload documents, download billing documents, and pay bills here. To reschedule an appointment or to notify of a cancellation past the 24 hour limit, please text me.

I may have very limited openings, be keeping a waitlist, or my waitlist may be closed when it gets extremely long. Please see the banner at the top of the page, which I do keep current, to see if I am accepting clients right now. As I am in session so much of the time, the fastest way to get a reply is via text or email. If my website states that I am not taking new clients or keeping a waitlist, I will not respond to requests for new clients.