Annelise Bilger, MS, MFTI, has a deep passion for nature and for supporting youth to develop a deeper sense of self through wilderness connection. She grew up hiking, camping, river rafting, skiing, rock climbing, and wandering throughout the West. A native of Utah, Annelise spent time exploring the red rock of Southern Utah, delighting in the wildness of the canyons, and developing a deep reverence and connection to nature. From a very young age her father instilled the power of being in nature and connecting to her deepest self in these moments. Her childhood experiences spent in nature gave her meaning and direction. Annelise received a Bachelor of Arts in both Psychology and Sociology from the University of California Davis, with a minor in Child Development. It was during her time at U.C. Davis that she became a whitewater rafting guide and continued to share her love of the wilderness with others. She went on to complete advanced guide training where her skills were challenged and fine-tuned.
Directly after U.C. Davis, Annelise received her Masters of Science from California State University, Long Beach in Marriage and Family Therapy. Driven by her deep passion for children, Annelise has done trauma and crisis intervention work with foster care children, worked as a therapist at Orange County’s Head Start program, served as the Director of Communications for a non-profit providing services for families affected by domestic violence, taught pre-school in a college laboratory setting, and served as a mentor to pre-teens and teenagers in various settings. She has worked with multiple organizations and agencies to develop play based therapy for children, families, and communities.
Currently, she is working as a therapist using play therapy as the modality of treatment. Her free time is spent outdoors and going on week long river trips with her father on their new boat – Honey Bee! She loves to dance, practice yoga, spend time in nature, and get involved in her community. Annelise is honored and thrilled to step into her role as leader at Stepping Stones.
“I love working with people, particularly children of all ages. My passion is to help foster a sense of self, a deep connection to their heart and soul, as well as a love and appreciation for the natural world with all it's wonder. Who I am today is deeply connected to my experiences growing up in the outdoors. How I define myself as an adult, a woman, a friend, and a part of society is connected to my experiences tied to the wilderness. I would love to be a catalyst for young adults relationship with the natural world.”