About Us

At Brightways Counseling Group, our mission is to help people discover ways to improve their life, restore from past hurts and pains and empower them to be the best version of themselves.  We provide help for people experiencing depression, anxiety, trauma, addictions and eating disorders.  We also specialize in helping teens and their families navigate suicidal thoughts and depression.  We use evidenced-based practices such as EMDR trauma therapy, Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), Attachment Based Family Therapy (ABFT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT).

 
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Kevin Shaw, LCSW, CADC III / Founder and Co-Owner

Brightways Counseling Group was established by Kevin Shaw, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor.  Since 2003, Kevin's work in education, addiction and behavioral health has focused on internal healing and connection with others.

Kevin has a likable style and is easy to talk to.  His various interests help him connect with people of all ages and walks of life.  Kevin has been involved in the recovery community since 2003 which gives him a unique perspective that he uses to help those with addictions as well as their families.  Kevin is also a father and stepfather, so he is well aware of the challenges facing blended families.

Kevin is licensed by the Oregon Board of Licensed Social Workers as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).  He is also credentialed by the Addiction Counselor Certification Board of Oregon as a Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor (CADC III).  Kevin has also been approved by the Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists to provide supervision and training for future counselors and therapists working towards licensure.  Along with being an adjunct professor at Portland State University, Kevin has also used his experience and leadership to provide supervision and oversight for a community behavioral health clinic here in Central Oregon.

 

Nick Sundstrom, LCSW/Clinical Supervisor

Nick has been working with individuals and families since 1993. He started working with teens transitioning out of the foster care system and eventually spent 13 years working with children and families struggling with addiction, abuse, and violence in a variety of different roles in the Portland, Oregon area. Eventually Nick decided to enter graduate school at Portland State University to pursue his MSW, and at the time of graduating started working in one of the inpatient psychiatric unit’s in Portland. Working in adult psychiatric units and most recently in a large out-patient clinic, has given Nick a unique perspective on mental health. He possesses a depth of knowledge as a result of working with a number of different individuals both in the inpatient and outpatient environments. Additionally, working collaboratively with the inpatient psychiatrists was an opportunity to learn more about the medical model, mental health, addiction, and relationships. Nick obtained his LCSW in 2009. Nick uses a number of different approaches with his clients. CBT, DBT, ACT, and EMDR are the primary models used in his treatment with clients. A personal approach that is caring, humorous, and compassionately direct, are aspects of working with Nick many of his clients report as refreshing and real.

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Susan Varesko, MSN PMHNP, ANCC-bc

Susan Varesko is a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner treating people of all ages. She was the first Psychiatric NP to graduate from the Washington State University extension program at Walla Walla Community College through a pilot program, the MIRA project, with plans to provide mental health services to underserved areas; which served adults exclusively. After graduating Susan opened a private practice in Milton-Freewater, OR and continued earning a post master’s degree through OHSU in order to treat children and adolescents. She is also licensed as a counselor with over 15 years of experience in mental health.

After closing her successful private practice Susan joined Modoc County in Alturas, CA as the only prescriber living in Alturas that ever prescribed exclusively in psychotropic medications. When she left Alturas she then worked in Los Angeles for four years and later took a position in Hollywood, CA via tele-psychiatry, for a couple of years, in order to move back to WA to be closer to her children and grandchildren. Since that time she is happy to join Brightways as their first mental health prescriber via tele-psychiatry.

Susan has a multitude of interests including a history of travel, snow skiing (downhill & cross country), water skiing, roller & ice skating, is an advanced scuba diver, hiking mountains, camping, grew up with parents owning a riding stables in Eureka, CA, has done mission work, and has a huge extended family network. Susan has done parasailing and zip lining and has collected Bennington clay marbles as a hobby since before grade school. She was a medical secretary in NYC, NY doing payroll at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and did medical billing and transcribing in her past positions. Susan loves working with her patients and does her best to help them find solutions towards their goals in wellness.

 
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Dr. De Anna Hellwich, Ph.D., LPC-Intern

Dr. Hellwich (De Anna) earned her Master’s Degree and Doctoral Degree from Troy University and Florida State University with a concentration in Counseling Psychology and Family and Child Sciences/Services. After earning clinical experience in the Southern States and Northeast Philadelphia, she ventured her way to Alaska and spent several years working with patients in the “Last Frontier”.

De Anna has clinical and leadership experience providing services for children, adolescents and adults in culturally diverse and medically under served populations including American Indian, Alaska Native, and Hispanic cultures. Her experience includes working with patients with general mental health issues, complex mental health diagnoses, severe psychiatric illness, medical conditions, alcohol and substance abuse, trauma, abuse and neglect, domestic violence, criminal offenses and court involvement. Her clinical experience includes working inpatient psychiatric hospitals, behavioral medicine units, emergency rooms, at Universities, child and adolescent treatment facilities, in prisons and within the court systems. She has served as a professional on several committees and served as an appointee to the Alaska statewide Board of Directors Governor’s Council for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. Her background provides her with a vast understanding of the Medical Model, the Legal System and Community Health and she utilizes a variety of evidence based techniques to help people. De Anna approaches each person with an empathetic yet direct therapeutic approach and she enjoys helping people be the best version of themselves!

 

Katie Brobeck, LCSW

Katie is easy going with a calm demeanor. She smiles often and at the same time carries concern for others close to her heart. She is very personable and is well liked by her clients. Growing up in Sisters and now living in Redmond, she enjoys the many things that Central Oregon has to offer. Having a family of her own as well as having worked on Central Oregon’s crisis team for over 2 years with kiddos and teens, Katie is well aware of the struggles that families and their children are facing these days. Katie draws from her own life experiences of overcoming obstacles, which has given her a confidence and unique perspective that she now uses to pay it forward to others. Katie has experience using CBT, DBT, MI, Attachment Based Family Therapy and EMDR for the treatment of anxiety, depression, trauma, and addiction.

Katie is registered with the Oregon State Board of Social Workers as a Clinical Social Work Associate and is a few months away from becoming a LCSW. Katie received her undergraduate degree from George Fox University in 2011. She obtained a Master’s in Social Work degree from Boise State University in 2013.

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Anita Weller, LMFT

Anita has nearly 20 years of clinical experience working with individuals, couples, children and families. Anita is compassionate and a dedicated therapist. Anita has a passion for working with children and families. As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Anita works with children who have experienced trauma as well as with children who have behavioral challenges. She helps children and parents learn new skills to help understand their thoughts and feelings, manage distress, and increase family communication.

Anita received her Master’s Degree from California State University, Northridge with a focus on Counseling Psychology and attended Riess- Davis Graduate Center to pursue her Psy.D. in Child Development and Psychotherapy. Anita’s clinical experience includes using various therapeutic modalities such as DBT, CBT, TF-CBT, attachment-based therapy, mindfulness skills, and neuroscience to better understand the parent-child relationship and the connection to thoughts and behaviors, as well as play, art, and sand tray therapies.

Anita has extensive clinical experience working in community mental health agencies serving clients with general mental health issues, trauma, abuse and neglect, domestic violence, foster youth, and families with open court cases. With this experience Anita has been approved by the Board of Behavioral Sciences in California to provide supervision and training for therapists and counselors pursuing their clinical license.
Anita is registered with the Oregon State Board of Licensed Therapists and Counselors.

 

Clara Hanson, MSW, CSWA

Clara grew up in Shawnee Kansas. She has lived in the Pacific Northwest for 6 years now, moving after acquiring her Bachelors of Social Work at the University of Kansas in 2012. There, she worked at a domestic violence shelter and with survivors of assault. After completion, she moved to Vancouver, British Columbia where she worked with aging populations and youth with developmental disabilities. Finding an affinity for working with young adults, she travelled to Central Oregon where she worked at a wilderness therapy program for over 2 years. This experience awakened a curiosity for alternative forms of healing and an avid love of the outdoors. She went on to head back up North and acquire her Masters in Social Work at the University of British Columbia. There, she worked with indigenous youth in a land-based program that worked towards positive identity development and cultural connection.

Since moving back to Central Oregon, Clara has worked extensively in a crisis setting with youth. She honed in on her strengths of rapport building with individuals and families in crisis. As a clinician, Clara has experience using CBT, DBT, MI, Attachment Based Family Therapy and EMDR for the treatment of anxiety, depression, trauma, and addiction. Clara is a certified yoga instructor and also leads a quality of life movement group for people living with chronic pain. Mindfulness being central to her practice, she believes in the inherent strengths and self-efficacy of her clients.

Clara is also a local artist, and when she isn’t enjoying the outdoors she is often in her pottery studio. Sometimes when people are interested she will tap into the inner artist through creative interventions. Clara is registered with Oregon State Board of Social Workers as a Clinical Social Work Associate.

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Terri Merritt, LMFT-Intern, LPC-Intern

Terri is a compassionate and supportive therapist who came to the field of counseling naturally! Her life experiences, both interpersonal and through travel, have given her an understanding that there are many situations people struggle to navigate alone. Terri partners with clients to discover and reach their goals, realize their worth, overcome family dysfunction, as well as let go of unhealthy beliefs and behavior patterns. She enjoys working with people of a wide variety of ages, from elementary school to elderly populations. She has experience as an educator, counselor, and has worked at a veteran’s transitional shelter. Terri is a certified trauma-informed care practitioner with specialized training for PTSD, complex/developmental trauma, abuse recovery, and dissociative disorders. Terri is a mother of four children (the youngest two being internationally adopted) which provides experience with attachment, adoption, and family systems.

Terri received her Bachelor of Arts Degree and Teaching Credentials (Art & Elementary Education) from Azusa Pacific University. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Hope International University. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy Registered Intern and a Licensed Professional Counselor Registered Intern with the Oregon Board of Licensed Therapists and Counselors. She has specialized training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Attachment Therapy, Play Therapy, Internal Family Systems, Art Therapy, and is a Domestic Violence Advocate. Terri is a member of Delta Kappa, The International Marriage and Family Therapy Honor Society.

 

Jared Utterback, LMFT-Intern

Jared enjoys working with families and couples who want to work on their communication and improve their relationships.

Jared graduated from Seattle Pacific University with an undergraduate degree in Educational Ministry (1999). He earned his Master’s degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Marital and Family Therapy in 2016.

Jared also completed his S.A.F.E. EMDR training in 2019. He utilizes many methods of counseling including a client-centered talk approach, family systems theory, cognitive behavioral therapy and EMDR.

Jared has been married to his incredible wife for 15 years and together they have 4 amazing children. When not connecting with clients, Jared enjoys reading the Bible, playing music in his band, fly-fishing, running, mountain biking and can speak Chinese and also enjoys Chinese food.

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Katherine Amman, MSW, CSWA

Katherine recently moved to Central Oregon from Beaverton but she grew up visiting her grandparents in Madras, Oregon. Katherine enjoys getting outdoors, playing with her dog, Gracie and spending time with her family.

Katherine is formally trained in Structural and Strategic Family Therapy, Play Therapy and Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). Her office has a unique set up for her very young clients where parents can receive live coaching while they learn therapeutic skills to use with their young children. She has 6 years experience working with children and families in crisis doing in home therapy and parent coaching. Katherine has experience working with all types of families in a variety of settings. Katherine specializes in working with children from early childhood to teenagers and their families. Summer camp is probably Katherine’s favorite thing about summer and has been a volunteer for high school camps for over 7 years.

Katherine is soon to be a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and currently is a Certified Social Work Associate through the Oregon Board of Licensed Social Workers. She completed her Masters of Social Work at George Fox University in the Advanced Standing Program.

 

Aly McLain, MSW, CSWA

Aly is easy to get along with and enjoys working in a team format and has a calm and warm approach to client care. Aly grew up in Central Oregon before moving to Salem to complete her BSW at Portland State University, followed by earning her MSW at George Fox University. Aly holds 8 years of mental health experience while working with an interdisciplinary team for an in and out-patient mental health agency. Aly has volunteered at a Domestic Violence shelter as a crisis call specialist and advocate. She also holds internship experience at Chemawa Indian School providing psycho-educational groups and individual therapy for that population. Aly is experienced and practices CBT, DBT, MI, Mindfulness, EMDR, and brief therapy approaches. She enjoys and specializes in working with adolescents up to adulthood, treating depression, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, and mood disorders. Aly is registered by the Oregon State Board of Social Work as a CSWA and working towards her LCSW within the next few months.

Aly enjoys spending time with family and getting outside for walks with her golden retriever.

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Melissa Schliewe, Billing and Credentialing Specialist

Melissa loves all things numbers and has a knack for problem solving. After many years of success in the financial industry, Melissa took some time to raise and homeschool her children. She then decided to apply her analytical and organizational skills to medical billing. Her background also includes extensive experience in management as well as training and development. When not working with insurance and billing, Melissa spends her time with her husband and two children. They enjoy the abundance of outdoor activities available in Central Oregon especially hiking, fishing, and kayaking.