Meet Our Team

At RDP, our team consists of our wonderful farm animals and our caring and highly skilled staff members. We value providing counseling and skills training services that are sensitive and responsive to the needs of each individual.

Our therapists are Arizona licensed professionals who use evidence-based counseling approaches in office-based and equine-assisted spaces. Several of our therapists are trained in the nationally recognized Equine-Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) or Natural Lifemanship for equine-assisted counseling.

Our expressive art therapies activity specialists are trained and skilled in the areas of creative activities using music, art, yoga, animal care, and gardening activities.

Our farm animals bring a unique experience to the counseling programs for individuals who choose to invite them into their sessions. Interactions with animals in a counseling session often lowers stress levels, helps facilitate healing, and builds connections. Sometimes in traditional counseling, individuals may forget some of the conversations shared, however, with equine-assisted counseling and other animal-assisted activities, individuals will not forget their experience with the animals.

Christi Stice, PhD, LPC

Christi is the Lead Therapist at Rancho Del Pacifico. As a licensed professional counselor, and a licensed substance abuse counselor, Christi has been serving communities for more than 25 years. After earning her certification in the Equine-Assisted Growth and Learning Association’s (EAGALA) model, Christi is eager to share her experiences with our community. Well-known as a compassionate, accepting, and remarkably insightful therapist, Christi is cherished here at RDP for her kind and generous spirit.

Christi has owned and loved horses since she was a small child. Now, as an adult, she gets to live her dream: combining horses and helping people. Christi also enjoys music, dancing, and spending time with her family and friends.

Jessica Mitchell, LPC

As a Licensed Professional Counselor, Jessica has been serving children, individuals, and families since 2012. She received her Master’s Degree from Washington State University and has attended several additional training including providing Trauma-Informed Care, Play Therapy, Natural Lifemanship Therapy, and Art Therapy.  Jessica is known for her welcoming, compassionate and insightful nature, which provide the caring environment for growth and healing to occur.

Jessica has worked on an Early Childhood Team providing play therapy services to children 2-8 years old and their families. She has worked with teens and adults in a Community Mental Health Center focusing on issues of anxiety, depression, trauma, family change/transition, and relational issues. She has a special interest in working with issues around trauma and family disruption and utilizing experiential therapies including animal-assisted, equine-assisted, play, and art therapy.

Jessica is skilled at partnering with you to meet your specific needs and goals and welcomes all that you bring into the therapy experience. When she is not working, Jessica enjoys yoga, reading, and making art.

Chelsey Williams, LPC

Chelsey is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has Master of Science degree in Professional Counseling from Grand Canyon University. Chelsey has training in Trauma-Focused therapy with children and adults. She is also trained in EMDR and has experience with equine assisted therapy modalities. She also has training in Structural Dissociation Theory and complex trauma processing. 

Chelsey is passionate about helping clients find hope and healing in a supportive, confidential environment. She has worked in many different mental health settings giving her experience with intensive in-home therapy, extensive skills training, respite care and trauma informed care. This experience allows her to understand the various resources and models of care that most benefit the individuals she sees for counseling.

Chelsey is passionate about helping clients heal and discover who they are made to be. She is client centered and believes that all individuals have the strengths to meet their goals.

Ayla Perez, LMSW

Ayla is a licensed masters of social work and has a second masters degree in women and gender studies. She is certified in compassionate bereavement care, registered trauma-informed yoga, and prenatal yoga instructor. Ayla is also a TRE (trauma, tension, and stress relief) provider. With this method, she is able to help you release deep tension held in the muscles and tissue due to trauma and/or daily tension and stress. Ayla specializes in grief, trauma, mindfulness, gender-based violence/abuse, culture, and religion. Ayla has worked in the substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence/abuse, and refugee resettlement field providing services for families and individuals.

She also volunteers her yoga services at substance abuse, mental health, and domestic violence facilities.

When she is not working, Ayla enjoys yoga, nature & traveling.

Tim Donovan, Case Manager

Tim has worked in the Mental Health/ Behavioral Health and Addiction treatment field for the past several years. He has a vast knowledge in working within the AHCCCS plans and the services that they offer to their members. He is also active in the Recovery Community and has a passion for helping others. 

Tim grew up in the Pacific Northwest and has worked as a ranch hand in the past. When he’s not at the ranch he enjoys spending time with friends, family and going on adventures in nature.

McKenna Brodrick, Ed.S, LAC

McKenna is a Licensed Associate Counselor with an Ed.S. in Experiential Counseling,  and a specialty in Nature-Based Counseling. She is also a Certified Trauma Professional.

McKenna has a special interest in working with clients affected by trauma, anxiety, depression, and relationship challenges. She finds joy in supporting each person’s unique journey toward happiness. McKenna often takes clients out into outdoor settings to help calm the nervous system and process challenges they are facing.

When not at the Ranch, McKenna can be found exploring the wilderness, enjoying her family, teaching and learning new skills, or snuggling her dog.

Andy Riffle, Equine Specialist and Mentor

Andy is an Equine Specialist at Rancho Del Pacifico.  Andy has been serving as a mentor to children, teens, and young adults. Andy has experience working with individuals and horses to create healthy bonds, communication, connection, and confidence to help individuals meet their goals. Andy is known for being compassionate, empathetic, and intuitive to provide care.

Andy has a gift to be able to communicate with all animals through his love and passion for them. Since he was a young boy he has always wanted to help and be around animals. Andy enjoys spending time with his horse “Breezy”, dog “Jack”,  bunny “Gnocchi” and his family and friends. We are happy to have him on the team to share his love and passion for animals with everyone.

Erin Lammie, Equine Specialist and Mentor

Erin is an equine specialist and mentor at Rancho Del Pacifico. She received her Bachelors of Science in Conservation Biology in 2019 from ASU and has been working with animals most of her working career. She has worked as a trail guide in Hawaii and has also worked with the dolphins at Sea Life Park. Erin enjoys trail rides on horseback through the mountains and sailing in the ocean when one is nearby. Erin specializes in building confidence and self-esteem as well as empathy for all living things.

Cara Martin, Masters Level Intern Counselor

Cara is a Master level counseling intern here at Rancho Del Pacifico. Cara grew up with a love for horses as well as a love for learning about the connection between horse and human. Growing up in 4-H and supporting community members with the use of horses helped Cara grow an understanding and knowledge of how to not only support the horse’s growth, but also the individual’s growth.  Cara has been practicing equine therapy for the past 6 years and has been a PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) Certified Instructor for 3 years. Cara has a passion for connecting humans with the horse that they need so they are supported through their hard times.

Thania Gonzalez, Masters Level Intern Counselor

Thania Gonzalez is currently completing her master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Grand Canyon University, she received her Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science with an Emphasis in Family Dynamics from the Grand Canyon University, she also completed an Associate in Advanced Behavioral Health Science Degree with an Emphasis in Violence and Abuse, as well as, a Certified Dialectical Behavior Therapy Professional training.

Since 2017, she has been working with non-profit mental health agencies dedicated to the wellbeing of children and their families. Throughout her career she has held different roles such as: Youth and Family Support Partner, School Based Services Interventionist, Case Manager and Intake Specialist.

Thania is passionate about building family connections by using a Strength Based practice with the families to facilitate change, and a sense of empowerment.

In her free time, Thania likes to read while drinking coffee with her cats and dogs by the fire or hiking at her favorite place Sedona.

Amanda Jones, M.A., LPC

Amanda is a Nationally Certified Professional Counselor licensed in both Arizona and Texas. She is a Clinical Supervisor and Equine Internship Supervisor for counselors wanting to further their education in equine-assisted psychotherapy. She is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional and certified Equine-Assisted Psychotherapist. She has advanced training through Natural Lifemanship and is certified through the OK Corral for EAP. Amanda is also certified as an EMDRIA EMDR therapist and CIT and is trained in the only two EMDR protocols for partnering with horses using EMDR.  Amanda has worked with a variety of individuals, including children and families, military veterans, and individuals of all ages. She has vast experience with children and families in the foster care system as well as being licensed as a Group Foster Care Home for several years. Amanda has also developed and taught a parenting program for parents of at-risk youth and helped parents learn how to connect and build relationships with their children. Her passion is to provide a safe place for people to find healing and transformation.

In her free time, Amanda enjoys spending time with her family and horses. She is also a certified yoga instructor and incorporates trauma-informed yoga into her therapy sessions as appropriate.

Tiffany Skarphol, MS, LAC

Tiffany is a Licensed Associate Counselor with a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and an emphasis in childhood and adolescent disorders through Grand Canyon University. While pursuing her professional licensure, Tiffany has become a Certified Trauma Professional and competed trainings in EMDR from EMDRIA and structural dissociation. She has been serving children and families for more than 10 years in the early education field and other recreational activities. Tiffany’s professional focus is children and adolescents with trauma, anxiety, neurodivergent disorders and low self-esteem. She also focuses on helping parents work on parenting skills needed to support these amazing kids. Currently, she uses a range of evidence-based practices and EMDR interventions in her practice. Her goal for every client is to provide support and a safe environment to help find their sense of purpose and develop their personal identity through healing.

When not at the Ranch, Tiffany can be found volunteering at the local United Food Bank, enjoying the AZ weather outside, and spending time with her busy family. She loves animals and will occasionally bring her Sonoran tortoise (Flash) to visit the ranch and help teach clients regulation skills and animal education.

Wendy McGowan, M.S., LAC

Wendy is currently working toward her Master’s in Counseling at Prescott College. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from Arizona State University. She has many years of experience working with children, teens and adults in an educational setting teaching life skills as well as cake decorating classes at the local community center.

Wendy ‘s professional focus is working with teens and adults who have experienced trauma, anxiety and depression. She engages with clients through a family systems perspective and loves working with parents to help build connection and understanding within the family.

Wendy has 15 years of experience as a cake artist and loves combining her passion for cake decorating with her passion for helping clients explore and develop healthy life skills through the development and facilitation of our group Therapeutic Cake Decorating summer program.

In her free time, Wendy enjoys spending time with her family, including her dog, Concord. She loves traveling, listening to audiobooks and volunteering by making birthday cakes for critically ill children and their siblings.

Valentino (Val)

Val is a 20-year-old Arabian gelding who came to RDP from a wonderful animal rescue sanctuary in Gilbert, Arizona, where he lived for nine years. While Val is in charge of his horse herd, he is also a laid-back, sweet horse who loves to make people laugh with his funny personality. He also enjoys his treats, grooming sessions, and playing in the water trough.

Crystal

Crystal is a 19-year-old Thoroughbred/Quarter Horse mare who came to RDP from a wonderful animal rescue sanctuary in Gilbert, Arizona, where she lived for eight years. Crystal is a spunky girl with lots of personality who enjoys living a life filled with carrots, apples, love, and a green pasture to roam. She also enjoys a good spa day!

Hersom

Hersom is a 14-year-old pure Thoroughbred – and he has the legs to prove it! The tallest (and youngest) horse on the ranch, Hersom is also one of the most mild-mannered animals here. Like Crystal, Hersom is a big fan of treats. They can often be found nibbling at some grass in the pasture together. While Hersom loves his food, he also loves to run, which we love to watch!

Blaise

Blaise is a handsome Palomino from a Wild Horse Rescue in Gilbert. Him and Hersom have become best buddies and love to play all day in the pasture together.

Coco

Coco is a four-year-old Miniature Donkey that was saved from a pen in Louisiana by a rescue up in New River. We fell in love with Coco and had to bring him to our ranch. We are so lucky to have this sweet, kind, and caring guy around. He just knows when people need him most and comes to snuggle up and give them love.

Belle

Belle is a 21-year-old mare. She is a sweet and loveable soul. She loves her time grazing in the pasture. Belle is a team member at our Riggs and Val Vista location.

Breezy

Breeze is a 21-year-old Tennessee Walker/ Appaloosa. This guy is full of personality and is the herd leader at our Riggs and Valvista location. Breeze loves his herd mates Belle and Freckles and always keeps an eye on them.

Freckles

Freckles is a 15-year-old Mare. She is a silly girl that loves attention. Freckles loves her snacks and building connections with people. She is also the star of our therapeutic riding program.

Ray Charles & Cheyenne

A father and daughter duo. These minis are full of spunk and love to go on walks. They are definitely a fan favorite at our Riggs and Val Vista location.

AJ

AJ is a young rescue that was abandoned. He was thankfully rescued by a kindhearted man that is keeping AJ with us. AJ loves to take naps, eat and kick up his feet.

Voltaire

Voltaire is a 7-year-old Friesian. Voltaire loves water and cuddles with everyone as they pass by his stall. This boy has a kind heart and becomes a friend to everyone he meets.

Keegan

The Alpacas of RDP

Monsoon and Joaquin are silly bouncing bundles of joy that will just make you smile. Alpacas are very gentle, curious, and social animals. Come out and visit our boys and they might even hum for you.

PB

PB is a sweet boy that likes to stick to himself and his best buddy Jai. PB is learning to be more comfortable around people and appreciate everyone that comes by and shows him kindness.

Jai

Jai is a sweetheart. She is a bit more interested in people than her friend PB. Jai loves nibbling on sticks and leaves while saying hi to the horses and people that walk by.

Buddy

Buddy is one big love bug that loves head scratches and treats. He is the largest goat in the RDP herd and he watches over the goat habitat when not sleeping in his food bowl.

Reeses

Reeses is our newest baby goat. She enjoys cuddles, pets, and hopping around with her friends.

Gordon

The most identifiable trait of Gordon is his absolutely adorable voice. When he speaks, you can’t help but go “aww”, because he almost sounds like a cartoon! Gordon is Gus’s twin brother, and the only way you can tell them apart is by their eyes: Gordon is a vivid, sky blue. When Gordon isn’t sitting inside his hutch with his brother close at hand, he likes to explore the paddock, often getting into places he knows he isn’t allowed!

Gus

While Gordon has his bright blue eyes, Gus’s eyes are a hazelnut brown, matching his faun coat perfectly. Gus is a bit more outgoing than his brother; he won’t hesitate to jump on an unsuspecting staff member’s back as they are filling up his food dish! Gus enjoys hanging out with his brother, headbutting Chewy, and eating all of the sunflower seeds before anyone else can!

Chewy

Chewy is one of two female Nigerian Dwarf Goats here at RDP, and like her name suggests, she really likes to nibble! Thankfully for her human friends, Chewy’s nibbling is just a way for her to explore the world around her – after all, she is just a baby! Chewy adores her playmates Kit-Kat, Crookshanks, Gordon, and Gus, and loves to compete with them over who can jump the highest.

Kit-Kat

Kit is a spry and rather chatty goat, the only other female Nigerian Dwarf Goat here at RDP. With her blue eyes and floppy ears, she wins everyone over with her personality! Kit is our resident acrobat; watching her leap for joy or playing “queen of the mountain” is sure to put a smile on anyone’s face.

S’mores

S’mores only loves one thing in life more than his brother Oreo: food. Nothing makes S’mores happier than getting treats, although climbing our pile of hay comes pretty close! One of his funniest personality quirks is his predilection towards “the zoomies” – random moments where he runs as fast as humanly (ahem, goatly) possible, for no apparent reason. We think he just likes to make us laugh.

Oreo

Oreo is a mischievous male Nigerian Dwarf Goat that thrives on attention and affection. Don’t be surprised when he pulls his signature move: Rubbing his face against the back of your legs! At a year old, Oreo still loves playing with his brother S’mores, and can often be found chasing him around the yard. When he isn’t asking for cuddles or grooming time, Oreo is usually climbing – and anything will do!

Snickers

Snickers is a sweetheart. Bottle-fed as a baby, this little male Nigerian Dwarf goat loves to love and isn’t afraid to tell you all about it. He can often be found following our somewhat exasperated staff around the yard, pleading for attention and treats. With his pretty cinnamon coat and hazel eyes, Snickers never fails to win over our guests.

Chickens

Our flock is always on the move! Did you know that chickens are incredibly curious about their environment? From coop to roost, and all the spaces in-between, RDP’s pack of poultry have free reign of the ranch during the day, and love exploring their territory.

Gnocchi

Gnocchi is the lead therapy bunny in the office. She loves a good pet between the ears and greeting everyone that enters the office doors.