Kate Nicoll, MSW, LCSW - President (pictured with Muffin and Bear)
Kate brings to
Soul Friends more than 18 years of clinical experience working with families
coping with grief, trauma and illness. Kate earned her MSW from Smith College
and her BSW from Elms College; as well, she completed a graduate certificate in
Animal Assisted Therapy and Education from DePaul University. Kate’s extensive
mental health experience includes work with inpatient medical and psychiatric
hospitals, children’s clinic, private practice, homecare agencies and
hospice. She has presented across the country on the power of body-centered
psychotherapy and animal assisted interventions for children. She has
specialized in working with children with severe trauma and grief – and has
partnered with community agencies and the state in adding the comfort of an
animal partner to specific treatment plans. Over the past five years, Kate has
created five group curriculum based programs for children that has consistently
demonstrated through outcome measures and research positive benefits for
children including : increased eye contact for children with autism and ADHD;
increased hopefulness for children living with trauma and improved peer
relationships for teens. As the principal investigator of a year long humane
education study, Kate and her partners demonstrated the benefits of adding
therapy animals in a classroom setting in a published journal article in
Society and Animals. Kate is the
author of Soul Friends: Finding Healing with
Animals and A Therapy Dog at Work
and Play; Teaching Children about Body Clues. Along with her four
children, Kate shares her love with seven animal companions at home including
three Delta registered therapy dogs. Kate is a member of the Delta Society,
EAGALA, NASW, the International Society for Group Therapy and Roots and Shoots
|Allison VanHof Behnke, MA, MSW - Program
Manager (pictured with Hailey)
Alli is the Program Coordinator of
Horses Inspire!, Soul Friend's therapeutic equine program. She
graduated with a Masters in Child Development from Tufts University and
will receive her MSW from UCONN in Spring 2007. Alli brings
professional experience in the field of early childhood mental health,
as well as training in the field of equine assisted mental health
through Horsepower of NH and EAGALA. She is an avid horsewoman and
loves watching horses bring healing and learning to children in need.
Alli and her husband share their home and love with two dogs, a horse
and a rabbit.
Sherie Chapman, MSW, LCSW (pictured with Alli and Hailey)
Sherie is a lifelong animal lover who grew up on a small family farm.
She graduated in 2000 from Springfield College with an MSW. For the last
seven years, she has worked as a clinician at the Middlesex Hospital Family
Advocacy Program; as well as a consultant to local day care centers. She
enjoys coming to work with her animal partners: Vader a guinea pig and
Caden, a rescued beagle mix.
Bonnie Cecarelli, MSW, LCSW
Bonnie comes to work with her canine partner, Lola, a rescued pointer mix.
Bonnie has worked as a social worker at the West Haven VA for the last few
years. She has been providing animal assisted visits across central
Connecticut for many years. Bonnie brings to Soul Friends a special
interest in working with children with acute and chronic physical illnesses.
Jodi Teitelbaum, MSW
Jodi first came to Soul Friends has a student intern. She graduated
from UCONN in 2007. Currently, she is the coordinator of therapeutic
mentoring at Community Residences, Inc. in Southington. She works
part-time at Soul Friends, particularly assisting with our Come, Follow Me!
program for special needs children.
Yvonne Burke, MSW, LCSW
Yvonne has just joined the Soul Friends staff this Winter 2007. She
works for ACES in North Haven. She will be seeing children and adolescents
in our Wallingford office with her two canine partner pug puppies.
Vanessa Maznio, MSW
Vanessa graduated from SCSU in Spring 2006. She was also a student
intern at Soul Friends. Vanessa loves to help families develop meaningful
behavioral plans and will be collaborating with the clinical staff as needed.