Pasadena Trauma Therapist
Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, AMFT #141075
Supervised by Cristina Mardirossian, MFC #49234
Trauma leaves many legacies: thoughts we don’t want, body sensations we don’t like, and reactions we don’t understand. Underscoring many of these experiences is a felt sense of shame: the belief that something about us is inherently wrong, deficient, or unfixable.
At their core, our problems are relational—shame included. They form because we internalize negative beliefs about ourselves and our experiences. These beliefs are maintained by society and others around us. Even long after we have forgotten those early experiences, their effects touch every aspect of our lives.
Each of us is made up of different parts of self—some we like and others, less so. However, each and every part, appreciated or otherwise, developed to serve a function. Our parts make up the whole that has allowed each of us to survive to meet the present moment. None of our parts are wrong or bad; all represent exquisitely human attempts to cope with experiences that overwhelmed us. The problem then becomes: how do we manage the parts of ourselves that we are inclined to reject, dismiss, or hide? To me, the solution begins with entering into a relationship of collaborative investigation, one in which we feel safe to try things out, change our minds, and learn to live in line with our own values. In therapy, I will be walking along side you as your advocate and ally, helping you to both uncover and embody your internal sources of strength.
My stance with clients emphasizes the role of caring collaborator and unwavering teammate with less focus on the role of expert guide. Many of my clients have begun therapy fearful that they would be embarrassed, judged, or misunderstood while exploring their reality. In our work together you can expect therapy that is client-led and supportively self-paced. My practice is rooted in an integrative approach that values the uniqueness of each client’s experience and perspective. I work predominately with adult trauma survivors/ Complex PTSD (sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse, dissociation, incest, cult survivors, etc). The treatment I offer is adapted based on client needs and incorporates trauma-focused ACT, parts work, person-centered psychotherapy, existential psychotherapy, and principles of Structural Dissociation. Additionally, I am trained to offer EMDR, an efficacious modality that targets present-day symptoms that are connected to past events. Finally, I have completed Master’s level coursework in secular Mindfulness practices, which I draw upon to increase clients’ awareness of present moment experiences. The unique combination of these modalities allows me to tailor treatment to suit the needs and preferences of each individual. My aim is to foster a safe and supportive space where clients can explore their experiences in the way that feels right to them.
I have both lived and professional experience in the field of recovery and have worked with clients in IOP and inpatient recovery settings. I have also worked with individuals, couples, and families at the LA LGBT Center. In the tenure of my clinical experience, I have treated trauma that leads to the development of biopsychosocial addictions as well as trauma that has fractured the lives of sexual and gender minorities. Additionally, I have specialized training in working with suicidality and crises from Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, where I have supervised the 988, Disaster Distress, and Teenline call support teams. These experiences have taught me that trauma, in its myriad forms, exacts a heavy toll, impacting our cognitive and physiological functions and permeating the fabric of our communities. From the intergenerational wounds handed down through families, to the scars etched by childhood neglect and maltreatment, through the tremors of community traumas that reverberate through our shared narratives, each of us also carries unique sources of strength. Fortunately, trauma and resilience reside concurrently and the things that are hardest to talk about can become crucial elements in our stories of healing. Much of my work has been helping clients deconstruct their identities and begin to seek meaning in their lives beyond shame and trauma. I look forward to joining with you while we work together through life’s most challenging and vulnerable moments.
EMDR Eye Movement and Desensitization Reprocessing
Michelle Gottlieb, PsyD, MFT, LPCC
Curtis Rouanzin, PhD
Internal Family Systems (IFS) informed
Richard C. Schwartz, PhD
Survivors of Domestic & Intimate Partner Violence
Susan Holt PsyD
Kink Affirming Care
Polyamory & Non-Monogamy
Alex Blake, AMFT
Bisexuality: Not Queer Enough
Rebecca Haws, AMFT
Competent, Affirming Practice with Older Lesbian and Gay Adults
American Psychological Association
Jennifer Hillman, PsyD & Gregory Hinrichsen, LMFT
Affirmative Care with Transgender / Gender Diverse Youth
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
Daran Shipman, LMFT
ASAM Modules I & II
The Change Companies
Alyssa A. Forcehimes, PhD
Master of Arts in Psychology, Marriage & Family Therapy from University of the West
Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from San Francisco State University