ALUMNI AND FAMILY SERVICES LIAISON
Dara Goodwin-Downs, MSW, RSP
Dara Goodwin-Downs earned her BS in Biology from Messiah College and her Masters in Social Work from the University of Hawai’i. She has post-graduate training in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT), HeartMath, depth-oriented sandplay therapy, horticultural therapy, EMDR and other trauma-informed interventions.
Dara earned her Master Gardener certification through Hawai’i State Department of Agriculture and is a Registered Sandplay Practitioner (RSP) through the Sandplay Therapists of America. With over seven years experience at Pacific Quest and an infectious enthusiasm for farming, Dara is exceptionally skilled at engaging challenging students, developing strong therapeutic alliances, and designing a variety of experiential learning opportunities to forward clinical goals.
She works well with highly distressed students and those who have experienced trauma, including those who may have difficulty expressing themselves through words or who may defend themselves through intellectualization or debate. Dara also has a speciality in working with LGBTQ+ young people.
Dara plays a key role in the ongoing development and facilitation of the Pacific Quest Family Program where students and their parents participate in a corrective relational experience, overcome barriers to communication, and work toward healing their families.
As Field Therapist she supports the clinical team in a number of ways — by conducting individual, group and family therapy, parent orientation calls, and working closely with the Field Guide team on implementing creative interventions. Prior to serving in her current role as Field Therapist, Dara served as Alumni and Family Services Liaison and was the first individual at Pacific Quest to earn Master Guide status in our young adult program.
Before she moved to the Big Island, Dara spent time traveling, volunteering, and farming in Australia, New Zealand and across the United States. These adventures helped her develop her unique skill set for teaching, communicating effectively, and connecting with people from diverse backgrounds. Outside of work, Dara has earned NAUI scuba certification. Her favorite encounters thus far have been with the giant Manta Rays that migrate to the island.
While on land she enjoys tending to her bonsai trees, vegetable garden and carnivorous plants, photographing epic sunsets, and buying miniature figures for her Sandplay collection.