Meet Virginia Wright: A Resident in Counseling

Supervised by David Hawxhurst, LPC

Virginia is a dedicated resident in counseling who has worked hard to pursue her education and advance in her career. She first obtained a bachelor’s degree in English and Government from William & Mary, demonstrating her strong academic abilities and passion for learning. After realizing her interest in mental health counseling, Virginia went on to complete a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling at Liberty University.

Throughout her undergraduate studies, Virginia became fascinated by the ways in which the stories we tell about ourselves can shape our lives and identities. This interest was further fueled by her volunteer work mentoring elementary and middle school students, where she found fulfillment in helping others navigate their own stories and experiences. Virginia’s experiences in both academics and volunteering have inspired her to continue serving and making connections with individuals in need of support.

During her time as a mentor for elementary and middle school students, Virginia discovered a natural ability to connect with others and provide meaningful support to those in need. This experience not only allowed her to develop important skills in communication and empathy but also reinforced her desire to serve marginalized populations in her future counseling practice. Virginia’s dedication to helping others and making a positive impact on the lives of those she encounters has driven her to pursue a career in counseling, where she hopes to continue serving and supporting individuals who are struggling with their own narratives and experiences. Through her academic and volunteer experiences, Virginia has honed her ability to listen, empathize, and create connections with others, making her a valuable asset to the counseling profession.

During her pursuit of a graduate degree, Virginia delved deeper into the foundation of relationship-building that she had initially developed. Through dedicated coursework and extensive internship experience, she honed her skills and knowledge in the field. Virginia’s interest was piqued by the recent developments in the science of trauma, leading her to be inspired by the possibility of healing.

Her internship experience encompassed a variety of acute needs, as she worked in residential and emergency services environments. Dealing with mental health diagnoses such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, oppositional defiant disorder, and substance use disorders, Virginia gained valuable experience in helping individuals navigate through their challenges. She learned the importance of sitting in the quiet moments of heartbreak and being confident in the loud moments of crisis. Virginia also came to understand the significance of the support system that family and community provide in our lives.

Understanding Virginia’s Counseling Approach

Virginia has a multifaceted approach to therapy that draws from various theoretical perspectives. While her foundation lies in person-centered therapy and narrative therapy, she also places a strong emphasis on the mind-body connection. In addition to these modalities, she is also trained as an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapist, utilizing this powerful technique to help clients process trauma and negative emotions. Virginia’s toolkit also includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Solutions Focused Brief Therapy, both of which she has found to be effective in guiding clients towards meaningful change. Moreover, Virginia is passionate about infusing creativity and joy into her sessions, believing that a holistic approach to therapy can lead to deeper healing and growth.

Virginia’s therapeutic philosophy is shaped by a combination of person-centered therapy, narrative therapy, and a strong emphasis on the mind-body connection. She has received specialized training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which allows her to effectively help clients process and heal from trauma.

In addition to these approaches, Virginia also incorporates Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Solutions Focused Brief Therapy into her practice, finding them to be valuable tools in supporting clients on their journey towards healing and growth. Furthermore, Virginia believes in the power of creativity and joy in therapy sessions, utilizing these elements to create a safe and nurturing environment for clients to explore and address their challenges.

Christian Counseling: Virginia’s Path

As a Christian counselor, Virginia feels inspired by Henri Nouwen’s philosophy of the wounded healer. Nouwen writes, “Hospitality becomes community as it creates a unity based upon the shared confession of our basic brokenness and upon a shared hope.” It has been Virginia’s experience that deep suffering can often make us feel uniquely alone—we become trapped by the fear that no one will understand our story. But Nouwen’s promise of hope is an encouragement to the suffering believer. Virginia believes that when we find the courage to invite others into our lives and our brokenness, we find healing connection and the taste of a promised redemption.

Outside of the Office

Virginia is happiest when she is outdoors, whether she is nestled in her garden with her cat and a good book, enjoying a long walk with her husband, or hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She also loves exploring Richmond, especially if there’s a cozy coffee shop or bookstore to discover along the way. It’s not just Richmond, though, Virginia loves traveling to new places with family and friends, and the coffee shop, bookstore formula is her favorite way to explore. When she can’t be in the great outdoors, Virginia loves cooking and baking. She enjoys the challenge of new recipes. Cakes are her favorite thing to make when she has the time, especially if there are friends to share it with.