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Navy veteran and local therapist hosts community event to launch mental health picture book series.


Owner of Painted Bird Psychotherapy and CEO of The Hazel Gray Veterans Foundation, Desiree Devonne Smith, announces the launch and book tour for a new genre of mental health picture books she states were "divinely channeled to heal the community."


Desiree is a clinical social worker, hypnotherapist and shamanic practitioner specializing in complex PTSD and childhood attachment disorders. Her picture book series aims to tackle mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and trauma through accessing children and similarly adults’ sense of wonderment and magical thinking.


Desiree utilized her natural writing abilities to weave in subconscious mental health issues alongside evidence based and holistic interventions such as, cognitive behavioral and dialectical behavioral therapies and hypnotic suggestions. The series is beautifully illustrated in full color that captures the whimsical, abstract and dreamlike modern-day folklore.


The series kicks off with its flagship story, ‘The Gift of Birden,’ and breaks ground on a new genre that she coins, “inner children” books which while they appear to be for children are meant to provide hope, inspiration and healing for adults as well.


Desiree shared that the stories were beta tested during various trauma groups while under clinical supervision at both Norfolk and Middle Peninsula Northern Necks community services boards, as well as within her own private practice Painted Bird Psychotherapy.


The book launch for ‘The Gift of Birden.’ will be held in historical Ghent in Norfolk at The Fred Huette Center located at 1000 Botetourt Gardens on September 10th, 2022 from noon-8pm. This is a family event and children are welcome to attend. There will be light refreshments, door prizes and a bounce house for the children. Local vendors and food trucks are welcome to apply. Contact dsmith@paintedbirdtherapy.com for details.


Tickets can be purchased on Eventbright and range from $10-$30. Based on ticket type, patrons will receive either ebook, paperback or hardcover. All proceeds from book sales are donated to The Hazel Gray Veterans Foundation which provides scholarships for free and reduced trauma therapy for rural veterans residing in Virginia, as well as, community outreach efforts for the decriminalization of plant medicine for the veterans with PTSD.


Desiree will also be attending the Book Expo in Richmond on September 11, 2022 from 2-6pm. The event is free to the public. Signed books will be available for pre-order for the event as well as there for purchase.

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