Elinor Priest, MA, ACMHC, NCC
Therapist at Entrada
Elinor works well with sensitive, intelligent, and oppositional adolescents who present as female. Her clients present with strong defenses, and their intense symptoms and acting-out behaviors serve to deflect attention from the underlying emotional issues that they experience. Often these students are struggling to establish an identity, have low self-worth, are experiencing significantly impaired family and peer relationships, and show signs of trauma, depression, anxiety or other mood disorders. These young women may not even realize they have a mask on because they are hiding from the strength of their own emotions through substance use/abuse, self-harm, defiance, or externalizing behaviors. Elinor takes a compassionate approach to trauma that supports unravelling the painful narrative and giving voice to the teenagers in telling their stories. Elinor’s calm and inviting demeanor balances with her boundless energy as she aligns with her clients to collaborate on lowering defenses and exploring their underlying wounds. Elinor’s curious, strength-based, and individualized approach allows her to build strong relationships with the young people she works with and create safety for them to step into their discomfort instead of avoiding it.
Education & Prior Work Experience
Elinor graduated from Northern Arizona University with a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is a licensed associate clinical mental health counselor, and her studies were CACREP accredited. Elinor graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in both Psychology and English from Northern Arizona University. Her undergraduate work in English feeds Elinor’s belief that one access point to unconscious beliefs about one’s emotional world is the manner in which we express ourselves verbally. Elinor finds it meaningful to highlight these subtle patterns both in sessions and in the letter writing process between parents and students.
Elinor completed a clinical internship at Northern Arizona University working with college students who were struggling with the myriad of issues that come along with emerging adulthood. She also spent two years working with NAU’s substance abuse program utilizing motivational interviewing techniques while working with mandated clients. Both before and after earning her master’s degree, Elinor worked as a field staff. She believed that spending more time in the field after graduation offered continued opportunities to explore herself, lean into discomfort and build resilience, balance playfulness and processing, and hone therapeutic techniques that would supplement her master’s degree in working with future clients. For two years Elinor worked as a Senior Field Instructor at Evoke Entrada before leaving to travel internationally. She then came back to Evoke to join the clinical team as a Therapist.
Elinor’s clinical approach facilitates the resilience and empowerment that clients experience in the field as they struggle and overcome physical and emotional challenges. She believes finding new ways to sit with and move through emotions allows her clients to feel safe enough to take down their masks and step into gritty emotional work. As a varsity D1 collegiate soccer player, Elinor has been on teams for much of her life and knows the importance of a strong team. As such, she excels at processing group dynamics and creating a cohesive treatment team environment within the group, and particularly enjoys drawing out strengths in field staff to support clients. Similarly, she attended an all-girls high school and has strong personal evidence about the powerful environment that women can create in supporting each other.
Elinor is the youngest of four and grew up in Portland, Oregon. After discovering that the sun shines daily elsewhere, she moved to the Southwest and has lived here since 2011. Outside of work Elinor loves to spend time being active and endorphin-seeking while trail running, biking, and exploring new experiences in the outdoors. She values moments of genuine connection and spends much of her time with the strong community she’s built around her. Elinor enjoys quiet mornings drinking coffee, figure drawing, sleeping under the Milky Way, and fuels much of her outdoor adventures with her lifelong passion for bread.