Get to Know Our Team: Grace Kutz – Child & Teen Therapist

A woman in a white dress standing on the beach.

Hello all! I am so glad you’ve found your way to my corner of Serengeti Wellness. As a specialized child and family therapist, I am eager to work with your child or young adult as well as support their loved ones to happier, more fulfilling mental health and social interactions. If you are not sure where to turn to improve your child’s mood and relationships with others, I offer tools and a warm space to explore healthy alternatives from a strengths-based approach.

Who am I

My name’s Grace but those close to me call me Gracie with my younger patients referring to me as Miss Gracie. I’m a Southeast Pennsylvania native with both sides of my family graduating from Reading High School but for ease, I tell people I’m from the Philadelphia area. I completed my Bachelor’s degree in psychology at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in three years and while I was originally a bio/premed major, I switched to psychology a month in upon discovering my love for the field and passion for clinical counseling, keeping a biochemistry minor in addition to Spanish and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality studies. I knew I wanted to work with kids since student-teaching a variety of dance classes at the studio I grew up in, loving the zest and curiosity of the population.

I moved to Portland, Oregon to pursue my master’s in Applied Psychological Science with a focus on clinical child and adolescent counseling. My graduate education included cultural and diversity classes, ethics, research, and assessment, in addition to a year-long practicum internship at a long-standing community mental health practice in Vancouver, Washington just across the Columbia River. Counseling individual, group, and family sessions primarily in the child and family department, I carried a diagnostically diverse caseload of 7-17-year-olds while completing classes and working part-time as an early intervention behavior therapist for autistic children and their families. I was also able to go out with our mobile unit and assertive community treatment teams to assist higher-need adult clients facing houselessness and food insecurity in addition to serious chronic mental illness. I am certified to provide trauma-focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy, specially designed for child and teen populations recovering from traumatic events.

A primary reason I am passionate about working with the youth population is to prevent compounding symptoms and adverse experiences that lead to adult dysfunction and dysregulation. My goal is to provide skills and a compassion-focused framework to as many young people in need as possible so they can not only lead more satisfied futures but also bring compassion to those around them. As an elder Generation Z member, I find I am most comfortable working with younger generations to whom I can offer understanding as well as role modeling, bridging their caregiver’s hopes for them with their unique goals and strengths. When I’m not working, I enjoy going to farmer’s markets, thrift stores, museums, and coffee shops or watching a football game from home. I love taking care of my plants and crafting, specifically crocheting, jewelry making, and acrylic painting. You’re likely to see me wearing something I made if not thrifted, loving the joy others get when they receive something I made too.

What I Do

I have experience working with immigrant families and their first-generation children as well as adopted children and those with non-parental guardians. I have worked with LGBTQ+ youth and adults, both those out and under medically affirming treatment and those deciding how to express their identity with those around them. Diagnostically, the majority of my patients have carried mood disorder diagnoses of depression and/or anxiety as well as neurodivergence in the form of ADHD or Autism Spectrum Disorder. I also have experience treating youth with eating disorders, complicated grief and trauma, and OCD. While I utilize techniques from a variety of evidence-based practices like CBT, ACT, and DBT, I find great benefits in using compassion-focused therapy to help patients heal inside and outside of sessions. I also believe in the power of mindfulness-based practices to ground individuals seeking to “get out of their own head.”

What to Expect in Therapy with Me

I offer free, 15-minute virtual consultations to anyone interested in working with me, including parents looking for services for their child. Research shows that weekly sessions between 45 and 60 minutes, at least in the first few months of treatment, are recommended to stabilize patients while building rapport with their therapist, a key to trusting change. Available both in-person at our North Michigan Avenue office and online, I provide a cozy and safe environment that is uniquely yours. As I guide us to your desired goals, I want you to bring in each week whatever would be most helpful for you to get out, using me as your sounding board to both validate and challenge areas for growth. At any point, I want you to share what feels good and what doesn’t feel as helpful so I can consistently cater to your changing needs. We will collaboratively explore frequency options as your skills and sense of security in yourself build. I strongly believe that therapy is meant to be a safe place in times of need, ultimately working towards your full independence. Typical patient goals I have seen are interpersonal and internal symptom management related, gaining insight and coping skills to communicate with yourself and those around you in productive ways that provide relief.

Your First Appointment

Our kind and thorough administration team and I will provide you with the necessary paperwork like privacy practices unique to virtual or office sessions upon your decision to continue services. Completing the initial intake questionnaire will allow me to go into our initial sessions with relevant background knowledge on what you need assistance with. My initial sessions with you or the patient will be a comprehensive intake of your current and historical experiences that have led you to seek treatment. Believing in the body, mind, and soul connection, this includes education, medical, and family history as these all impact my considerations for your treatment.

Why Therapy Matters

Facing uncomfortable feelings is easier with someone trained to do just that alongside you in a judgment-free environment. Processing the feelings you may be struggling to unpack is also helpful with coping skills and cognitive-emotional tools that I am sure to equip you with for use inside and outside of sessions. I am a strong advocate of destigmatization, making not just room but support for topics that you may feel unable to discuss in traditional spaces. We are in an era of normalization which I hope grows into empowerment.

Conclusion

I feel immensely grateful to have a career that feels purposeful and rewarding; I want your mental health treatment to feel the same. I am dedicated to validating and encouraging those who seek my services, honored to do this work with them. If you are interested in beginning a supportive journey with me as your therapist, please contact me anytime via email at grace@serengetiwellness.com, book through our online booking system, submit a request via my Psychology Today profile, or book an appointment through Zocdoc. An email to our administration coordinator, Nicole, will also create care coordination, reachable at hello@serengetiwellness.com

To conclude, I invite you to explore our company website, blog, and social media pages for more information and resources. Book your free consultation or initial session as soon as you are ready for relief.

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