Meg and Sarah
Meg Hamilton (she/her) and Sarah Dunsmore (she/they) met in 2013 as colleagues. Meg was working in a program serving survivors of human trafficking, and Sarah worked in a community based mental health program serving adults with severe and persistent mental illness.
Connecting over their passion for their work, music, and creativity, they later dated and were married in 2016. Meg and Sarah now live in Durham with their twin children and three dogs.
Meg and Sarah have years of experience in both community-based mental health and private practice. Meg began Birch Counseling in 2016, providing therapy services to children, adolescents, and adults. Sarah joined the practice as a co-owner in 2018.
Meg works primarily with children and adolescents although she also works with some adults. She is an EMDR therapist, and, in addition to completing basic training in EMDR, has trained extensively in advanced applications of EMDR. In her work, Meg uses her training as an art therapist as well as play therapy, sandtray, and sensorimotor interventions in conjunction with EMDR treatment. Meg specializes in trauma, complex trauma, and dissociation. Her training includes regular consultation with internationally-renowned experts in these areas. Meg also works with those who identify as LGBTQ+, and provides affirming care to those who identify as transgender or non-binary.
Sarah works with adult clients, primarily focusing her work around trauma and its multiplicity of symptoms. Sarah is intensively trained in EMDR and DBT, with additional training in Systems-Centered Therapy, Internal Family Systems, Polyvagal Theory, somatic attachment-oriented therapies, and mindfulness. With over 10 years as a mental health professional and a deep commitment to her own healing and growth, Sarah offers a space for therapeutic work that is both well-informed by research and training, and personally connected. Her work is focused on present awareness of oneself and the body, somatically oriented, and grounded in supporting and repairing attachment needs.
The Birch Center
Together, Meg and Sarah have always worked to vision possibilities- whether those were creating resources for the first client case they shared, in their clinical work, or in their hobbies. Motivated by a deep value of connection, investment in growth, and enjoyment of creativity they strive to bring presence, beauty, and hope into their communities.
As the world grappled with how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, therapists shouldered the mental health burden for their clients as well as themselves. We saw massive increases in anxiety and depression, increases in substance use and overdose, and profound grief and loss. Many therapists struggled with exhaustion and burnout as the demand for mental health services felt impossible to meet. As some aspects of life began to normalize during the COVID-19 pandemic, Meg and Sarah began to vision a space to support therapists with their professional and clinical needs. Out of this, The Birch Center was created.
Established in Summer 2023, The Birch Center offers programs and events to support mental health therapists in their work. The center provides a physical space that houses a community of providers who work in different specialties and modalities. The physical space also offers a beautiful classroom for groups, workshops, and trainings.
We offer a combination of in-person and online workshops and trainings, events, and other professional resource events. Too often, therapists feel alone in their endeavors to find professional support. Our goal is to help therapists feel connected, and to provide a space that helps them know they are not alone in this work.