First Light Clinical Team

Victoria Nolen Lead Therapist

Victoria Nolen, LPC, E-RYT, YF-A, is a Lead Field Therapist...

Emily Smith, MSW Wilderness Therapist

Emily comes to First Light with an excitement that has...

Victoria Nolen

Position: Lead Therapist

Victoria Nolen, LPC, E-RYT, YF-A, is a Lead Field Therapist at First Light Wilderness Therapy in Northeast Georgia. Her primary focus is providing therapeutic services to adolescents and their families through individual, group and family psychotherapy. Victoria’s clinical approach is mindfulness-based, somatic-oriented and holistically focused.

Victoria graduated with her Master of Arts in Professional Counseling from Richmont Graduate University and her Bachelor of Science from the University of Georgia. She also received her yoga teaching certification from Five Points Yoga Studio in Athens, GA, while receiving additional certifications in Trauma Sensitive Yoga, Sozo and Somatics, and Somatic Coaching. She is currently pursuing additional training in the Trauma-Conscious Yoga Method, which focuses on utilizing trauma-informed yoga for collective healing and social justice. Victoria has been a practicing clinician and instructor since 2015. Prior to coming to First Light, she offered counseling services in a variety of settings, including a therapeutic boarding school, private practice, a private college campus and a local community center. Since then, she has become committed to bringing the power of embodiment into treatment for sustained healing and systemic transformation in family members’ lives.

As a Licensed Professional Counselor and Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher, Victoria continues to offer her services in the fields of both counseling and yoga – you will find her often integrating the two. She also boasts of a background in the creative arts and often implements the life-changing techniques of music, writing, dance and narrative approaches into therapy. She enjoys bringing this diverse skillset to the families of First Light, along with offering classes and trainings within the local community.

In her free time, Victoria delights in participating in her own yoga practice, along with spending time with her husband and pup hiking waterfalls and contemplating the “deep wells” of life.

Emily Smith, MSW

Position: Wilderness Therapist

Emily comes to First Light with an excitement that has been driven since her early years in undergraduate education, when she first learned about wilderness therapy. From the moment that she knew that there was an industry that coupled her two passions, empowering young people and being submersed in nature, she knew that she had to be a part of it. Emily earned her bachelor’s in social work at Western Illinois University and her master’s degree in social work from Aurora University. She first began her work with young people and their families at a state-operated residential treatment program, where she quickly saw how interaction with nature, or a lack of such contact, can impact the health, development, and overall well-being of those who are finding their way in the world.

Emily has experienced a variety of roles while working in the wilderness therapy industry, from direct care as field staff, logistical support, working with canines, supporting families, and serving as a clinical intern while completing her degree. She steps into her clinical role with awareness of the value that each component of the wilderness experience contributes to a student’s growth and progress. Emily’s clinical focus begins first and foremost through building relationship and trust with her students. She believes that there is no better avenue for healing than a strong relational approach coupled with thoughtful and intentional harnessing of the naturally powerful wilderness setting. Emily enjoys exploring with her family and their dogs, a good game of cards, and singing, dancing and listening to any and all music whenever the opportunity arises.