Dawn Gesualdi, MS, LCMHCA
Seeking counseling can be a vulnerable and courageous step, and I commend you for taking
that step. I am here to support you every step of the way, and together, we can work towards
healing, growth, and a happier life! I’m a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate
as well as a Licensed School Counselor. Prior to working as a counselor with children, adults,
and families, my career began by working with animals. I was a dolphin trainer and researcher
in Florida and Hawaii before making the switch from studying animal behavior and cognition to
working with people. I moved to the Wilmington area almost 3 years ago from Massachusetts.
My greatest joy is spending time with my family and going on as many adventures as we can.
We are a blended family with five children between us and our dog Callie.
I am passionate about working with trauma and abuse survivors and helping clients with issues
of self-worth and not feeling “enough”. I have experience working with a wide range of concerns
including anxiety, depression, coping with chronic illness, grief and loss, life transitions, and
relationship issues. I specialize in working with children, adolescents, and families who are
navigating challenges such as divorce, re-marriage, co-parenting, blending families, and
understanding and treatment of diagnoses such as ADHD, ASD, anxiety, and utilizing behavior
management strategies. I am also dedicated to providing culturally sensitive and inclusive care,
valuing and respecting the unique backgrounds and identities of my clients. In my work with
children, I utilize play and sand tray therapy to encourage emotional expression, facilitate
processing of difficult memories, and enhance a child’s sense of safety, resilience, and
empowerment. I incorporate expressive activities such as drawing, reenactment with puppets
and dolls, and allowing children to play house/school/hospital to work through and process
emotions and experiences.
I believe that each person is unique and that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy. I
tailor my approach to meet the specific needs and goals of each individual client. I incorporate
evidence-based techniques such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Person-Centered
Therapy, Trauma-Informed Therapy, and Mindfulness to help clients develop coping skills,
challenge negative thought patterns, and process traumatic experiences. I’m here to help you
deal with life’s challenges by building a therapeutic relationship of trust with empathy, warmth,
and collaboration. I strive to create a safe, genuine, and non-judgmental space for you to
explore your thoughts and feelings. My role is to empower you to make positive changes in your
life and to develop the skills and strategies needed to reach your goals. Together, we can
explore your strengths, uncover new insights, and work towards creating a more fulfilling and
meaningful life. I am here to support you throughout this journey with compassion, as I believe
that everyone has the capacity for change and resilience. I hope to be a part of your journey!
Therapist’s Qualifications and Clinical Background
I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Florida in 1996 and my Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Georgia State University in 1998. I am a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate, NationalCertified Counselor, Licensed School Counselor, and Licensed School Social Worker. I am also a Level 1 Certified School Threat Assessment Counselor.
I have 25 years of counseling experience, working with community counseling organizations as a therapist and as a school counselor and school social worker in the public schools. For the past 15 years I have worked as an elementary and middle school counselor in both North Carolina and Massachusetts. I was a member of a statewide school threat assessment response team in Massachusetts, providing crisis intervention and planning, triage, and recovery. Prior to this, I worked for two years as a counselor and developmental specialist for Early Intervention, an organization that helps children from birth to 3 years old and their families. I was also a School Program Director and therapist for three years at a community mental health clinic in Massachusetts. I am especially proud of my role as a facilitator with Darkness to Light and the Stewards of Children program. In this role, I provide sexual abuse prevention trainings to adults in the community as well as personal safety and advocacy training to young children.