- Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist
Master of Arts, Counseling Psychology
Is there something you've always hesitated to say out loud, because if you did nothing would stay the same?
Like in that serenity prayer, are you looking for the difference between what you can change and what you have to accept?
Wisdom's hard to come by in this angry world and serenity can be fleeting. This is your one shot, so you might as well speak your truth. Let’s figure out what you need and what you already have, so you can accept yourself even when it’s hard and participate fully in your own life. What you believe is your Kryptonite may also be the root of your superpower. I'd even bet on it.
Therapy with me can be talky, weepy, a laugh riot, companionable silence. It's my job to understand your world as you see it. We’ll make use of my professional training, life experience, imagination, and intellect to find new perspectives on your relationships, your past, and your present. We’ll experiment with ways for you to manage difficult emotions, feel more compassion toward yourself and others, and live with integrity and purpose.
I’m plainspoken, Brooklyn-born, not shy, easily moved, and hard to shock. I’ve worked in different fields and met people from every walk of life. I’ve had life adventures from drumming in a punk band to modeling in a lesbian calendar. I've given birth and I’ve helped people die. What serenity I’ve found, I’ve worked hard for. And from day one I’ve been the designated therapist in the schoolyard, in my own family, at my various workplaces. I’m devoted to helping people figure out how they feel—and why they do—about what matters most in their lives. When I finally entered this profession, it was clear I'd found my right livelihood.
I was a women’s studies major in college and completed my master’s degree in counseling psychology at John F. Kennedy University (JFK). I've also read and studied philosophy, Buddhism, Jewish ethics and rituals, Marxism, history, radical social criticism, and other fun stuff (I love learning!). Before Grateful Heart, I saw clients at the Pacific Center for Human Growth and the JFK University Holistic Counseling Center in Oakland. I’ve trained in working affirmatively with clients in LGBTQ+, kink, and poly communities, as well as with multipotentialites, the intellectually gifted, and folks with ADHD.
My default position is to accept and support you as you are, without judgment. You don’t need to be “doing well” or “making progress” or “being nice” for me to be on your side. I presume it makes perfect sense for you to see things and feel about them the way you do based on what’s happened to you before and how you experienced it (two different things!). I hold no particular sense of "normal" to compare you to, and if you're preoccupied with "you vs. normal," I'm apt to notice. I'll be listening for the stories you carry around in your head, whether or not they're kind, and whether they serve or oppress you. Meanwhile, we’ll reflect together on matters big and small that concern you. My clients tend to look forward to coming each week because they find my curiosity, creativity, and genuineness a great comfort.
I think the human condition is far too dire not to laugh at and so urgent that our only recourse is to be patient. We are animals with enormous brains that make us think we’re in control of things, which means we're bound to run into trouble somewhere along the way. But beauty is always there. Turning toward the scent of the breeze or the distant melody is a magic trick we all need to remember to do, often. And my research tells me that 99.4% of people are total weirdos! So let your freak flag fly, baby!
- Young Adult: 18-25
- Adults: 25-65
- Seniors: 65+
- Persons in Polyamorous Relationships
Polycules and Other Relationship Structures
- Gender Fluid or Gender Non-Conforming Individuals
- LGBTQIAA+ persons
- Persons Experiencing Grief and Loss
- Persons in Kink/BDSM Communities
- Persons in Polyamorous Relationships
- Persons Recovering from Traumatic Events/Experiences
- Persons Struggling with/Recovering from Addiction
- Persons with Histories of Childhood Sexual Abuse
- Persons with Histories of Physical or Emotional Abuse
- Persons with Disabilities
Life Transitions; Relationships/Marriage/Infidelity/Divorce; Religion/Spirituality; Parenting; Menopause; Intergenerational Trauma; Depression and Anxiety; Overcoming Shame and Low Self-Esteem
- Emotionally Focused Therapy
I work with couples too! And let me be the first to tell you, both of you are absolutely right, I guarantee it. Let's tackle the question of how you can be together without one of you being wrong.
My office is located in central Berkeley, not far from downtown.
- Monday Afternoon
- Tuesday Afternoon
- Tuesday Evening
- Wednesday Morning
- Wednesday Afternoon
- Wednesday Evening
- Thursday Morning
- Thursday Afternoon
- Thursday Evening
Call or email me with some good times I can call you back. We'll talk about what's bringing you to seek therapy. Then we can schedule a few meetings and decide if we're a good fit for each other. I believe therapy works best when we meet every week, but in some circumstances I'll consider more or less frequent meetings. I look forward to connecting!
Mary Owen, LMFT 14190