I'm Claire, an Associate Clinical Social Worker (ACSW #89214) based in Los Angeles, CA. I received my Masters in Social Work from USC.
I've worked in diverse settings, from an intensive treatment center for eating disorders, to a community mental health agency. My client base has encompassed individuals, couples, families, and groups, from teenagers to seniors. I've supported clients with depression, anxiety, trauma, relationship issues, eating disorders, and much more.
My experiences in these different settings have reminded me why I love what I do: For me, therapy is about connection, growth, and the opportunity to support each person's healing process. It's also about working to dismantle oppressive systems, reduce barriers to mental health care, and shatter the stigma around seeking help. I am forever a student, and continue to challenge myself to learn and unlearn in order to abide by my values of humility, compassion, and seeing the whole person.
I am currently supervised by Kristen Zaleski, PhD, LCSW at Zaleski & Associates, Inc. Kristen is a trauma expert, author, and professor at USC. You can read more about her here.
Wondering what some of those approaches mean?
Therapists love to throw around jargon, so I made this dictionary for you.
I'm trained in psychodynamic therapy, which means I focus on helping you gain insight into emotions, thoughts, and behaviors that might be preventing you from reaching your goals. It also means that I focus on how your past relationship patterns show up in the present, and how they're impacting your quality of life and mental health.
This process is yours and should feel like it fits. I come into all my client work with openness, humility, and flexibility. I want to really hear where you're coming from, and what you want to get out of therapy. I don't use a cookie-cutter approach.
Sometimes when we arrive in therapy it's really hard to identify even one personal strength. I truly believe that we all have innate strengths and skills, and I work to help my clients identify and harness them in their healing.
I have a background in yoga, and have completed a certification program in somatic psychotherapy. I also rely on trauma-informed modalities and theories like polyvagal theory. I work with clients to help them recognize how emotions, trauma, or stress manifest physically, and then introduce tools for regulating.
DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy. "Dialectics" means the tension between two opposites (for example, the tension between wanting recovery and fear of letting go of an addiction). Much of DBT focuses on helping us gain skills to tolerate the distress this can cause and work towards a life worth living. DBT has four pillars: mindfulness, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness (relationship skills), and distress tolerance (coping skills). I use DBT often, and especially when clients struggle with disordered eating, or other addictive behaviors.
ACT stands for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Like DBT, ACT also has a big focus on mindfulness, emotional acceptance, and values. ACT works to help you establish your core values, and from there, values-aligned goals to build a life of meaning and fulfillment.
Attachment theory explores how our early relationships (usually with a parent or caregiver) play out in our later relationships. I use attachment principles to help individual adults understand the origins of relationship patterns, and I use them with couples to help each person understand how to best work with their respective attachment styles and triggers.
Mindfulness can be used to treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, anger, and so many other issues that bring folks to therapy. I incorporate mindfulness to help clients connect to their emotions, and realize what's happening in the present. We can often unconsciously get stuck in patterns, thoughts, or beliefs that aren't serving us, and mindful awareness is a great foundation for changing them.
How can it help me?
Therapy can help you improve how you feel on a daily basis. We'll process feelings and behaviors stemming from anxiety, trauma, and depression, and explore what keeps you there. From this place of awareness we'll build skills to increase positive emotions.
As our foremost issues are resolved in therapy, we can start to realize the deeper, existential issues that plague us, such as "what's my purpose?" I work to help you identify core values that can direct you to finding deeper meaning and fulfillment in life.
People often come to therapy to improve their relationships with others, but I always begin with your relationship with yourself. By strengthening and building upon this "blueprint," you can start to feel more attuned with yourself and those close to you.