Get to Know Me
Hello, I'm Laura Calabrese, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker living and working in Clark County, Washington. Prior to moving to Washington with my family in the Spring of 2021, I was the Bereavement Coordinator for Kaiser Permanente’s Hospice Program in Sacramento, CA. I recently opened my online private practice, The Space Between, in August of 2021 with a focus on providing grief support through individual counseling, grief support groups and creative expression.
I am originally from Oklahoma, born and raised. After marrying my husband in 2012, we moved from Oklahoma to California to pursue my husband’s career in aviation. Up until that point my career focus had always been to work with young children. After three months of job hunting, the first position I was offered was as a social worker for a hospice program. I was terrified to switch gears from young children to aging, death and dying. However, it was one of the most impactful and pivotal points of my life and my career. I like to say, “My calling found me” instead of “I found my calling.” I worked with amazing home health aides, nurses, chaplains, social workers, doctors, and pharmacists, both in the hospitals and on the hospice teams. The families I served taught me so much, not only about death and dying, but about living. This is sacred work, and it is an honor to be a companion to those who are grieving, both before and after a death occurs.
I believe grief is a life practice; grief is not only present when a loved one dies, but also when we move, lose a job, let go of a dream, lose a pet, receive a terminal diagnosis or have a chronic illness, divorce/separate or lose our sense of self. I am passionate about my role of companion to those who find themselves in the "messy middle" - the space between what was and what is to come.
My 8 years of experience as a hospice social worker combined with my clinical experience as a grief counselor have fueled my purpose and passion for helping those who are grieving. Grief counseling is a specialty that not all psychotherapists are trained to provide. In our Western Culture, we have many misperceptions about grief and mourning which can make our “messy middle” that much messier. I truly believe we can find healthier ways to grieve that feel authentic and right for each of us. Each person's experience is different, and we all grieve in different ways. We may even find there is grief work to address from long ago; what we resist persists.
My job is to create a safe space for you to tell your story without judgement or shame, and to be a compassionate and supportive presence to you as you navigate your way to a life where you can learn, grow, heal and thrive.
Education & Clinical Experience
I obtained a BS in Social Work at NSU (Oklahoma) in 2006 and a Master of Social Work from OU (Oklahoma) in 2010.
My work experience includes clinical settings such as nonprofits, hospitals and a Head Start program. I taught as an Adjunct Professor for the Department of Social Work at Northeastern State University for 3 semesters.
My social work career over the past 15 years has included opportunities to grow and support others through behavior intervention plans with young children, crisis intervention and trauma response in the hospital, grief counseling, anticipatory grief, caregiver support to hospice patients and their families, and facilitating grief support groups, workshops, and art journaling classes.