A lifelong passion for working with at-risk children, adolescents and families began in 1979 when Dayna graduated with a BA from Valparaiso University. She returned to school to earn her MSW from Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1984. Dayna was fortunate to be in Chicago at the heart of the family systems movement, enabling her to work and be trained by many of the masters in the field.
Since entering the field over 35 years ago, Dayna has always maintained a clinical and programmatic relationship to at-risk youth and their families in an array of jobs and settings. Her positions have included individual and group residential care, individual, group and family therapist, clinical and administrative supervisor, trainer, and developer of clinical departments of therapists and interns.
Following her dreams to live in the mountains, she moved to Asheville, NC where she continued working with at-risk populations as a Clinical Director and Administrator for residential group homes and foster care. During this time she designed the program and opened a Runaway Shelter for Runaway and Homeless Youth.
After 15 years working for agencies, Dayna decided she could best use her skills as a clinician by going into full-time private practice, specializing in the at-risk population in out-of-home placements. This quickly led to contracts providing clinical supervision to various residential, foster care, and community mental health agencies in Western NC, providing individual and family therapy in an inpatient psychiatric hospital, psychiatric assessments in a local hospital ER,family therapy in a partial psychiatric hospital program, and more recently clinical supervision for wilderness therapy programs. Working with TEACCH in the late 1990’s, she added the specialty of Autism Spectrum Disorders to her practice.
Expanding on her vast experience of training professionals, in 1997 Dayna began teaching for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work as a Clinical Instructor in the Mountain Area Distance Education MSW Program. Currently, she is teaching at Lenoir-Rhyne University, Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville in the Counseling Program and East Tennessee State University in the MSW Program in Asheville. She develops and provides training nationwide on a variety of clinical topics such as clinical supervision, ethics, autism spectrum disorders, therapy with adolescents, play therapy, and expressive arts. Recently she authored a book with her husband, The Parental Tool Box.
Dayna’s passion in her work draws from her love of life. This expresses itself in her organic gardening, hiking, bookmaking, and mixed media quilting.