San Luis Obispo, CA (800) 319‑8261 | Northampton, MA (877) 844‑8181 | Portland, OR (800) 319‑8261

erinberzelphotography_5190

Lauren’s passion for working in the mental health field began when a particularly kind professor at University of California, San Diego took her under his wing and introduced her to effective and compassionate ways of working with people with autism and other extreme mind states. That was about 25 years ago.  This experience paved the way for the journey that led her to Windhorse.

Lauren’s formal education is unusually diverse and includes two master’s degrees in psychology; one grounded in behavioral research with an emphasis on autism, the other in counseling. Along the way she completed minors in engineering and biomedical ethics that continue to guide her analytic abilities. Deeply drawn to spirituality and nature, she is certified in spiritual direction and has extensive training in Equine Facilitated Learning.  Lauren has used this education and her life experience in both traditional and alternative settings, each focused on some aspect of mental health.

Prior to becoming Clinical Director at Windhorse, Lauren spent 18 years developing, publishing and implementing behavioral and educational programs for people with autism and traumatic brain injuries.  She gained more expertise with severe mental illness as a therapist at a Veteran’s Administration mental health clinic.  She used those experiences to build a thriving private practice.  All of this work along with personal healing and a deep contemplative practice prepared Lauren well for the skills and sensitivity required of her at Windhorse.

Lauren loves horses and respects not only their beauty and sensitivity but also their ability to assist in healing humans.  She rides and shares space with these majestic creatures at every opportunity. She is also blessed with a wonderful husband, two children and a small “herd” of labradoodles.