Healing Heroes: Camille Redmann’s Mission to Support Mental Health at Down to Earth Counseling

9 mins read

Down to Earth Counseling | Grand Forks, ND

Years of Service
Four Years

Branch Served
United States Air Force

Business Operation
January 2022 – Present

Raised on a North Dakota farm, Camille Redmann is no stranger to the great outdoors. From riding horses and hunting to playing sports and building outdoor forts, her early years were shaped by a strong connection to nature—a foundation that would later serve her well.

Camille chose a path of service early on, enlisting in the United States Air Force during her senior year of high school. She embarked on her military journey at Fargo Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), heading off to boot camp in San Antonio, TX on September 3rd, 2002. Her training continued at Kessler Air Force Base (AFB) in Biloxi, MS, followed by a posting at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, AK, where she served until September 2006. In total, Camille devoted four years to active service.

In 2021, Camille channeled her passion and life experiences into establishing Down to Earth Counseling. She took the leap into full-time entrepreneurship in January 2022 and committed to making a positive impact. With a deep-rooted love for nature and a disciplined background, Camille is uniquely positioned to offer grounded and holistic counseling services.

Q&A with Camille Redmann

Q: What was deployment like for you?

A: I was slated to deploy in the middle of my four-year term but did not get the opportunity to go. At the time, I remember being upset about not deploying, but now I see it as a blessing. Part of the reason that I continue to work with combat veterans is because of the men and women I served with. Some made it home without visible wounds; others made it home with visible wounds, and some didn’t make it home at all. I couldn’t change any of that. What I could help with were the invisible wounds, which I was already familiar with.

Q: What was your first job after service?

A: After separating from the Air Force honorably in September 2006, I enrolled at the University of North Dakota in January 2007 to study Social Work. The transition to campus life was challenging. The rules were almost non-existent compared to what the military had taught me. I remember being on campus on the first day and feeling both confused and frustrated that students were carelessly walking into traffic and the General grass!

Q: Did you have any struggles after returning to civilian life?

A: I’ve been out of the military for 16 years and rarely feel like I struggle with adjusting to civilian life. The adjustments right away were challenging. I take a lot of positives from my experiences in the military, acknowledging the systems, people, and institutions for what they were and are.

Q: Tell me a bit about Down To Earth Counseling.

A: I started Down To Earth Counseling to achieve autonomy in my practice. Working with combat veterans and their families has been a highlight of my career. My journey with trauma work began at the Vet Center. In 2018, I started training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). This modality has not only greatly impacted how I work with my clients but also how I want to shape my practice. I aimed to provide quality care while also taking care of myself and maintaining a manageable caseload. In February 2021, I registered Down To Earth Counseling PLLC with the State of North Dakota. I saw my first client in September 2021 and began working full-time in January 2022.

Q: Did you plan to own a business before enlisting in service?

A: I was 18 years old when I enlisted in the Air Force, and at that time, my ideas and visions were severely underdeveloped. It wasn’t until I graduated with my Master of Social Work in August 2011 that I began entertaining the idea of one day owning my own practice. That vision continues to grow and expand every day. 

Q: What does a normal day on the job look like for you?

A: My day-to-day operations are regimented, a useful tool I developed from my service. I start my days early, with my first clients arriving at 7 a.m. I’ve adjusted my schedule multiple times to accommodate both my nervous system’s needs and my family life. Currently, I see 5-7 clients four days per week. Recently, due to my office location moving, my day-to-day routine has been in flux as I strive to find balance again. In between seeing clients, I collaborate with local community leaders and members. In 2022, I was awarded a contract by the ND Department of Behavioral Health to work with the ND Highway Patrol, providing both clinical and non-clinical services in the Northeast Region. This contract was extended in 2023 to include additional first responders.

Additionally, I continue my collaboration with the Grand Forks Police Department to enhance officer safety and wellness by offering clinical evaluations. Both opportunities allow me to provide training for those serving the local community in law enforcement roles. I’ve participated in a total of six ride-alongs with the ND Highway Patrol and one with the Grand Forks PD. These ride-alongs are a key component in my efforts to develop training for first responders, complemented by my education, experience, and personal understanding of trauma.

Q: What were your friends and family’s reactions when you told them you were pursuing service, and what was their reaction when you told them about your business?

A: Upon joining the Air Force in 2002, I received support from both family and friends, although there was some apprehension about what the future would hold. Fear was to be expected at that time. Similarly, when I opened my business in 2021, there was a sense of fear and uncertainty about the future. My husband and I grappled with this uncertainty as I transitioned away from Civilian Federal Service. Nevertheless, friends and colleagues have continued to support my vision for growing this practice.

Q: What do you remember about your first days when launching your business?

A: The first year in business was a learning curve. I contracted with a biller, Simply Genius Billing (shout-out to a fellow OG North Dakotan, Becky Vandenberg from Edgeley, ND). Becky has helped me understand the world of billing third-party insurance companies for clients. However, not all aspects have been smooth. In the first quarter, I paid taxes to the wrong place and had to hire a CPA to locate and redirect my tax payments to the proper entity.

Q: Has your service experience changed your business mindset?

A: My military service has significantly impacted my business mindset. I believe all my past experiences, good or bad, influence how I want to operate in business. The structure of the military has helped me understand systems and has painted a clear picture of the kind of structure I want to implement. There were some really great examples of leadership in the military. Colonel Douglas, a Group Commander I had while stationed at Elmendorf AFB, provided me with an example of what it means to be a leader who possesses both strength and compassion. As a young Airman, he would release us early every Friday from the office, always asking, “What do you have to do here yet today that is life-threatening?” We would get to leave early on Fridays. Although I didn’t understand it at the time, he taught me the importance of rest as a leader—how to show up for the job, maintain composure, and then take time to rest.

Q: What do you see as North Dakota’s greatest benefits to starting a business here?

A: North Dakota offers numerous opportunities for growth and development as a business owner. The resources I received from the North Dakota Small Business Center at UND were amazing. Specifically, I’d like to give a shout-out to Nicole Evans. I walked into her office with ideas trapped in my mind, and she helped me conceptualize and put my visions on paper.

Q: Have you found any specific resources or support networks that have been instrumental in your entrepreneurial journey as a Veteran?

A: I worked with Wendy Klug at the Veterans Business Outreach Centers of ND and SD. The VBOC helped me break down my vision into tangible action steps to move forward.

Q: What was the hardest challenge for you when opening Down To Earth Counseling?

A: One of the most difficult challenges in opening my business was navigating and understanding the world of insurance companies. I am currently paneled with five insurance companies, each with its own processes, policies, and procedures that differ from one another. Every client I see has varying plans that offer specific benefits for mental health. Up until the point of opening this practice, I had no experience working with insurance companies. I knew at the time of establishment that I did not have the capacity to learn this system, which is why hiring Becky to manage that portion of the workload was so vital. Additional tasks such as technology take a back seat in terms of challenges. I am very thankful for a small, locally-owned business that continues to help me navigate technology.

Q: What does being a Veteran symbolize to you?

A: My understanding of being a Veteran has changed over the years. Initially, after my discharge, I struggled with how to respond when faced with questions about my service. One of the most frequent responses I would give was, “I was in the military, but I didn’t deploy.” That reply persisted during my work at the Vet Center. Today, I see it differently. I feel a connection with others who understand what the fight was for— the fight I would have been in with them had I been deployed, as well as the fight I watched others face. That unique connection is what allows me to call myself a Veteran.

Q: Who are your biggest mentors that you can attribute some of your successes to?

A: I continue to have so many wonderful mentors in my life, both professional and personal. I’d like to share my personal mentors with you, as I believe their impact is significant in both aspects of my life. I’m describing two wonderful women who have shown me grace, love, and forgiveness. The first individual I call my sister, though she’s actually my biological cousin. In our youth, she taught me to be carefree and kind. In our adulthood, she continues to teach me true unconditional love, infused with a good amount of humor that keeps our connection both special and hilarious. She has been a stable presence in my life. The second individual is someone I call my best friend, a true best friend since I was 14. She has watched me fall (and laughed a little) before helping me get right back up. She taught me how to listen and be open, how to share in someone’s happiness or frustrations, and how to find solace in understanding myself. She has taught me much about my own strengths. These women continue to help me navigate growth, both in life and in business.

Q: What advice do you have for business owners in the area who are just beginning their endeavors?

A: Starting a private practice has proven to be both exhausting and rewarding. One of the major keys to my business’s success has been contracting a biller for insurance claims. I would encourage new business owners to work with a biller to help navigate the complex world of insurance. Doing so has reduced my workload and proved to be a worthwhile investment. If your intent is to grow, start small. I have visions of opening a Trauma Treatment Center in North Dakota. I began in 2021 with a modest single office and waiting area. Starting in October 2023, I’ll be adding an administrative assistant position and am currently in the process of interviewing to add an additional clinician by year’s end. It’s crucial to invest in yourself as a clinician. I continue my training with Somatic Experiencing International in Nashville, TN, viewing this as an investment in my growth and an asset to the business. Embrace help. I have a wonderful network of friends, family, and colleagues willing to contribute to the growth of this business. Taking care of my whole health— mind, body, and spirit—continues to be extremely important for maintaining balance. 

Q: What advice do you have for others considering enlisting in service?

A: I was 17 years old and can still see the image of the recruiter sitting at my kitchen table. Enlisting in the Air Force for me was about doing things differently. I look back on the decisions I’ve made, including joining the military, and I smile. I smile because I learned so much. I learned that even when broken down and stretched past my capacity, I can still be gentle, compassionate, and forgiving to both myself and others. I wouldn’t immediately give “advice” to someone considering joining the military; instead, I would ask them a question: What is it that you are looking for in joining the military? Start there.

Q: What are some interesting facts that you wish more people knew about Down To Earth Counseling?

A: Down To Earth Counseling continues to expand its knowledge in the trauma-healing world. I continue to invest in myself and my business by attending Somatic Experiencing Training in Nashville, TN. I completed Beginning I, II, and III in 2023. In 2024, I will attend Intermediate I, II, III, and Advanced I, with completion of training scheduled for Advanced II in February 2025. According to SE 101 – Somatic Experiencing® International (traumahealing.org), Somatic Experiencing (SE) works to resolve symptoms of stress, shock, and trauma that accumulate in our bodies. It helps assess where clients are “stuck” in the fight, flight, or freeze responses and provides clinical tools to resolve these fixated physiological states. Trauma may begin as acute stress from a perceived life-threatening event or as the end product of cumulative stress.

Both types of stress can seriously impair a person’s ability to function with resilience and ease. The goal of adding additional clinicians is to offer Somatic Experiencing Therapy as an option among trauma treatment modalities. SE pairs well with Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

Community involvement continues to be an important piece of who I am and who Down To Earth Counseling is growing into. Working with First Responders and Law Enforcement continues to be a passion of mine. I hope to expand training opportunities for LE departments looking to invest in the mental and emotional wellness of their personnel in 2024.

Down to Earth Counseling

[email protected]
Facebook | /Camille.Redmann2021
2424 32nd Ave S Ste 102
Grand Forks, ND 58201