What does the term "LCSW" mean?
LCSW stands for Licensed Clinical Social Worker. This is a license overseen by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS). Social workers with this license are required to earn a master's degree in social welfare, gain supervised clinical experience for a total of 3,000 hours, and pass two licensing exams.
What's the different between an LCSW, an MFT, and a psychologist?
LCSW's and MFT's (Marriage & Family Therapists) have the same level of education (a master's degree) and the same standards for licensure with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. The training for clinical social workers is focused on both psychotherapy practice and on how the social, cultural, and familial contexts, including systems of oppression, can affect a person's wellbeing. Many social workers work in settings where they help clients both through psychotherapy and also with practical issues through case management. Because of this, I've found that social workers (including myself) have an approach that can be refreshingly straight forward, practical, and authentic. The training for MFT's traditionally focuses only on psychotherapy. Psychologists have a doctoral degree with more years of education, and are trained in some additional techniques such as psychological testing. All are able to practice psychotherapy independently after licensure. The difference ultimately is more about the individual practitioner and their personal presence, experience level, training, and modalities used in therapy rather than which of these licenses they have.
Do you work with couples? Do you work with children?
I only work with adults, and am only working with individuals, not couples, at this time.
Do you do virtual or distance therapy?
Yes! I do virtual or telehealth therapy via a very user-friendly and HIPAA-compliant platform. This can be a very helpful and practical option for those who live in a remote area; who have busy schedules; or who simply prefer to receive therapy in the comfort of their own home. Please let me know if you are interested in virtual therapy and we can talk about whether this is appropriate for you.
What is Integrative Psychotherapy?
Integrative Psychotherapy is the integration of elements from different forms of psychotherapy in the treatment of a client. This is a progressive form of therapy that recognizes the uniqueness of each client, and the need to tailor treatment to fit each individual. Integrative Psychotherapy values all levels of functioning including the somatic, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
What are your therapy orientations?
My primary therapy orientations are EMDR, Somatic Psychotherapy, Eco-Depth Psychology and Ecotherapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, Dance/Movement & Expressive Arts, and Transpersonal Psychotherapy. You can read more about all the modalities I use here. You could also describe my work as attachment-focused, humanistic, trauma-informed, relational, emotion-focused, and client-centered.
How often should our sessions be?
I strongly advise that you begin with weekly sessions. I've seen both as a therapist and a client how the consistency of weekly therapy creates the right container for deep growth. Once we've worked together for a period of time, we can discuss less frequent sessions if that's what's right for you.
How long do I need to be in therapy?
This is very individual. I am open to seeing clients for both short-term goal-oriented therapy and longer-term work. If you're coming for EMDR sessions, generally this would be a minimum of 8 sessions, but could be shorter or longer depending on your progress in therapy. For deeper transformative or personal growth work, you and I will periodically reevaluate our work together to decide when it feels right to end therapy.
Are you welcoming of folks who are LGBTQIA, POC, people with disabilities, gender non-conforming, poly, kinky, or of other religious backgrounds than you?
Absolutely yes! My approach is informed by a feminist lens, and is welcoming of folks of all gender identities, ethnicities, nationalities, sexual orientations, religious & spiritual beliefs, and people with disabilities. I am body positive, sex positive, and BDSM & kink-aware. I am affirming of folks who are in all relationship configurations (including monogamous, polyamorous, solo-poly, ambi-amorous, non-monogamous, triads, non-hierarchial, and more), and knowledgable about working with issues related to non-monogamy. I am continually working to challenge my own conceptions and norms with anti-racism, de-colonizing, and anti-oppression perspectives.
What would our sessions be like?
In our first couple of sessions, we will talk about your goals in therapy, investigate current life circumstances for you, and explore your past history. I make assessments deep and interesting by asking questions that will take you into a rich process of self-inquiry and understanding. We'll also jump into active work together right away by using CBT, mindfulness, and experiential homework exercises to start shifting stuck patterns. Once we have an clearer idea of the map of your psychological needs, we will plan our therapy path together, which is very individual for each client. Some sessions may be more goal-oriented. Other sessions may be focused on the resolution of traumas and using EMDR. And others may be more unstructured, staying open to the wisdom of the body or what is at the edge of your spiritual and psychological growth.
How do I know if you're the right psychotherapist for me?
The right therapist is one with whom you feel a deep sense of trust and mutual respect, who you can imagine feeling safe sharing your most vulnerable experiences with. It's also important to find a therapist who you feel understands your lifestyle and who you are as a person. You want to have a sense of resonance with the philosophy and techniques of the therapist, and feel they are in alignment with what your goals are in therapy. If it seems like I could possibly be a good therapist for you, I offer free 20-minute phone consultations for us to meet each other on the phone, for you to ask questions, and for both of us to determine if we're a good fit.
What makes therapy successful?
A commitment to your own personal growth and healing makes therapy successful. I advise clients to take some time before your first session and before each session to think about what you'd like to work on and what is truly calling for your attention in your life. I encourage clients to be willing to be as vulnerable as possible with what you share in therapy, and to be prepared to engage in exercises or practices in-between sessions that we collaboratively agree on as relevant for your process and growth.