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Kindred Tree Attracts Kindred Spirits

Vanessa Durrant, Founder of Kindred Tree Healing Center, Provides a Sense of Community and Solidarity for the Healing Journey

Vanessa Durrant’s pace is a DC city pace. “I grew up in Northern Virginia and it has influenced every realm of my life till this day,” she said. Her realm is Kindred Tree Healing Center, a trusted holistic mental health practice for children and adults using an attachment, integrative and holistic approach to mental health and parenting. One of the issues they address is trauma, a condition familiar to Vanessa from childhood. She founded Kindred Tree in 2016.

THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE—FLEEING WAR

As a child, Vanessa’s family had to flee from the dangers of civil war. Her father held a high position within the school systems in El Salvador and anyone in the education field became a target for the guerrilla soldiers. She remembers her whole neighborhood being held hostage. For several days, the family hid between two upright mattresses hoping to be shielded from bullets.

Because of her father’s position, the family acquired visas and plane tickets to leave the country for a few months to ride out the war; however, the war didn’t end. They had run from danger, yet now they had nothing. Living with relatives in Texas and then Los Angeles, they sought new opportunities. Finally, they settled in Northern Virginia, a greener place that reminded them of home and rebuilt their lives from scratch. Vanessa’s story is one of strength, survival and resilience. Like others who flee their native countries, she has had to reclaim healing and joy in a country that was not her own.

A MIND FOR THE FUTURE

As a three-year-old, Vanessa had told her aunts she wanted to be a psychiatrist. As she matured, she realized the career she meant was a therapist. She was hungry for knowledge and information about psychology, reading college texts in high school and garnering internships as an undergrad.

After earning her Master’s degree, Vanessa became deeply rooted in the non-profit world in Virginia as a therapist and clinical director. In 2015, her family relocated to Frederick.

New to the county and without a network of any kind, Vanessa decided to start her own business. “One day I was out walking when the name Kindred Tree Healing Center came to me intuitively. I have no idea where it came from, but I knew that was the name of my new business. When I returned home, I sat and pondered, ‘Why?’

“I had no history with trees or thoughts about the name of my business. Having had that inspiration, I started researching trees and learning about how they live. I fell in love with the Herman Hesse piece about trees that’s on our home page,” she said. Vanessa then paused in a moment of reflection. “Maybe I do know where the name came from,” she realized. She went on to tell of how former clients had a shared love of a Tree of Life tapestry Vanessa had barely been able to afford as a new college graduate. Reflection is a part of her work.

KINDRED PEOPLE

“Although I used ‘Center’ in the name when I started my business in 2016, I was a ‘solopreneur.’ The business name attracts clients with kindred healing journeys, those who will work hard and go deep into the root of issues. It also attracted prospective staff members as the business grew. During the pandemic, our services were all delivered via telehealth, but the business grew tremendously. I now have nine other therapists working with me. Being able to work in person again is so gratifying,” she said. She defines their work as meaningful healing relationships. “We work with others, but we walk our talk as therapists, too. Although we are all different, we grow, just like trees,” she emphasized.

Like trees growing together, Kindred Tree Healing Center serves families and individuals. Their practice is holistic in many ways, from the clinical tools they use to the challenges they address. They provide therapies like EMDR, Brainspotting, Neurofeedback, Play Therapy, Expressive Arts and Nature based therapy. Additionally they offer Yoga, Reiki and Ayurveda. Their clients come from all walks of life, from trauma to anxiety, depression, divorce or grief, they thoughtfully support everyone they serve.

MOTHERS

Asked about Mothers’ Day, Vanessa shared a few thoughts. “Sometimes you just need to pause and stand back,” she said. “On hard days, know that you’re doing the best you can. Pay attention to your intuition. Trust your gut. Don’t get overwhelmed by the books, people’s advice and social media. No one knows your child like you know your child.”

Vanessa strongly advises also doing some self-reflection about why you are doing and saying what you are as a parent. It’s to society’s advantage when we operate on auto-pilot “When we know better, we do better,” she said.

BALANCING

In 2022, Vanessa opened a second office in Alexandria, Virginia. Kindred Tree Healing Center now serves Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. She’s currently working on yet another exciting project that she will be ready to reveal in a few more months.

With all the work in her life, it’s a wonder she finds time to balance life. “I work hard, but I relax hard, too,” Vanessa confessed. “I live with nature. I can spend thirty minutes wrapped in a blanket on the couch just staring at the birds.

“I love painting and am a professional photographer. I spent time teaching my son to photograph birds when homeschooling. I share painting and other artistic interests with my daughter.”

Vanessa works hard for work life balance. The staff also work three-four days a week. “Of course, a business owner never really stops,” she then admitted. “I balance my high pace with R&R for a sound mind.”

APPROACHING SUMMER WITH A SOUND MIND

“Summer is the “pitta” season in Ayurveda. It’s a season of doing, heat and fire. Vanessa advises balancing the fire and the doing with opposing energies. “Find time in water. Go slower. Do less intense workouts.

Avoid heavy foods. Eat fresh.” She then added, “Summer goes so fast. Find ways to have fun, but don’t over-schedule. Cool your mind, body and your spirit.”

FREDERICK’S LIFESTYLE

Vanessa envisioned retiring to Charlottesville’s farms, mountains, wineries and green spaces.

She has grown to really appreciate Frederick County and all its access to nature. “It’s great for personal relaxation and for parenting. Hiking the trails or picking berries, peaches and apples is so much fun. My family used to travel long distances to get to trails or outdoor activities. Now it’s all around us. It’s in our backyard.”

KindredTreeHealing.com

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