Emily Nieuwsma

Licensed Clinical Social Worker



My mother describes me as a ‘feisty child,’ as I ran away from school in first grade and no one really noticed, except for my mom when I came home and she marched me back to school.

I also had a huge blow up over sharing MY bubblegum with over six kids and four adults crammed in an old station wagon as I screamed, ‘MY BUBBLEGUM.’ Needless to say, everyone in the station wagon still reminds me of this event.

In the 9th grade I went through a Haunted House and while being chased by a crazy monster with a chain saw, was cut on my picky. Needless to say, my haunted house experiences have decreased since that event and having to get stitches.

"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” Martin Luther King, Jr.


“Like many people, I have a hard time describing myself, so I went to someone who knows me well, my sister.  “You’re a lover of family, friends, the outdoors, Wrigley (my dog), adventures, travels, music, and sports.”  Good thing, I agree with these things, as I love exploring and being in nature from backpacking to relaxing on a beach.  And above all, my family is extremely important as this is one of the main reasons I moved back to West Michigan, to be closer and spend quality time with them.

I gain inspiration from the children and families I work with, as I’m a strong believer in hope and resilience of the human soul.  That ‘people do well if they can (Dr. Green);’ if they are believed in, provided with positive connections and professional guidance, healing can occur for families.   I’m enjoying being part of the DE team and approaching the ‘Whole Child,’ through working close with OT’s and Speech Pathologists through CCD.


UIC: Jane Addams School of Social Work, Master of Social Work: Child and Family


Hope College, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology



I recently relocated to Holland, MI after spending the last 12 years in Portland, OR and 6 years in Chicago, IL.  While living in Oregon, I had many wonderful opportunities.  I initially moved to the Pacific Northwest to be a Wilderness Therapist, this involved being part of a team and taking teens with challenges backpacking for 3 weeks at a time integrating individual, group, and family therapy.  The second part of the program, additional month, was helping teens develop healthy coping technique participating in adrenaline stimulating activities (mountain biking, horseback riding, white water rafting, and rock climbing).  After working in this field, I became an early childhood consultant helping Head Start and Childcare Facilities implement a social and emotional curriculum as well as providing therapy to families and teaching parenting classes.  For the last 6 years, I have worked as a Child and Family Therapist in community mental health, specifically with families impacted by foster care, adoption, and addiction issues.  My previous work in Chicago included recruiting and licensing foster parents and working with children having medical complex issues in foster care.  Through these different experiences I have learned a great deal from the families, community partners, and kiddos I’ve had the privilege to build relationships with.