Sheila Atwater, MS, SAC, LASAC

Sheila Atwater is a beacon of compassion and dedication in the realm of child advocacy, primary mental health needs and substance abuse counseling. She wears many hats with grace and purpose. Above all, she takes immense pride in her role as a mother to two remarkable boys, Scotty and Richy, and the adoring caretaker of two lively cats, Gypsy and Sasha.

Her life's journey has been marked by resilience and a steadfast commitment to service. Sheila's path into the realm of child development began as a special education teacher, where she discovered her innate passion for nurturing young minds. Armed with dual Arizona teaching certificates in early childhood education and early childhood special education, she has made it her mission to champion the needs of children, especially those with special or developmental needs.

However, Sheila's trajectory took a poignant turn when she faced the heartache of losing her first husband at a tender age. Yet, buoyed by love and resilience, she found solace and strength in the companionship of Mike, her devoted husband of 16 years.

Driven by personal loss and a desire to effect positive change, Sheila transitioned into a counseling career after losing a family member to addiction. Her journey in this field began with a master's degree in counseling, followed by an internship at Spectrum Health Care Momentum facility, where she worked tirelessly with residential clients facing behavioral health challenges.

With a toolbox filled with therapeutic techniques ranging from Motivational Interviewing to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Somatic Psychotherapy, and Art Therapy, Sheila brings a holistic approach to her counseling sessions. For the past two years, she has honed her skills in intensive outpatient programs, facilitating group sessions, conducting individual counseling, and collaborating with multidisciplinary teams for the betterment of her clients.

Sheila has many years of experience working with special needs, developmental concerns, attachment issues, neurodivergent needs and Autism Spectrum Disorder. In her work she has honed the ability to provide a safe space for connection where her students can explore their experience with a trusted compaion.

Her work with neurodivergence and Autism Spectrum Disorder has been in both the classroom and therapy office settings, which has strengthened her ability to support these students from multiple domains.

She has had several students in her tenure at Sedona Sky Academy that have required her to be creative in her approach in order to ensure the needs of her students are being met. With students who may have special needs or be on the Autism Spectrum, Sheila will often use experiential or art therapy in combination with more traditional modalities like CBT and DBT, to provide multiple therapeutic angels to work from.  

As a therapist at Sedona Sky Academy Sheila's mission is simple yet profound: to provide unwavering support and guidance to children and their families, helping them navigate life's challenges with resilience and determination. She is profoundly grateful for the opportunity to work alongside the dedicated staff at Sedona Sky Academy, where together, they are crafting a brighter, healthier future for every child under their care.

Thank you for entrusting Sheila with the privilege of supporting your children on their journey to healing and growth. With her compassionate approach and unwavering dedication, Sheila is poised to make a profound difference in the lives of those she touches