- Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist
Master of Arts, Counseling Psychology
We arrive in this world inherently interdependent. Helpless and alive we rely on our caregivers to nurture and love us. Sometimes this comes at a cost, and we are wounded by the very relationships we rely on for survival. Our mind and body are organized by our early experiences, which lay the foundation for how we relate to the world around us, one another, and ourselves.
Often times we seek therapy when we realize adaptive strategies that once served us are now limiting our growth. I am here to offer a safe relationship in which you can explore your desire to better understand patterns that emerge in your life, why ways of relating to yourself and others may have served you in the past, and how you can open to the possibility of making different choices as you continue to grow.
When I began studying somatic psychology as an undergraduate, it was like learning a new language. As a cognitively oriented person, I am a thinker. Somatic psychology asked me to listen to the subtler voice of my body. As I attuned more deeply to my experience, I began to realize how disconnected I was from myself. My personal work is a continual practice in listening to, honoring, and expressing myself, which is a challenging and fulfilling process.
I was drawn to somatic psychology as an undergraduate and continued on to complete my master’s degree in counseling at California Institute of Integral Studies, with a concentration in somatics. Throughout my clinical experience, I have trained in various techniques used for working with individuals and couples.
Individuals: I offer a depth relational approach to psychotherapy. This means I’m interested in staying present with your experience in our therapeutic relationship, which requires a foundation of safety and trust. As we explore, I bring openness and curiosity. I want to understand how you’ve learned to survive in this world, by honoring the strategies you’ve used to adapt. These strategies, like deep grooves, are familiar to us. Because these are largely unconscious, they often emerge outside of awareness. I can support you by encouraging you to deepen into your experience. As you learn to listen to yourself you get the opportunity to make more conscious choices in your life.
Couples: I offer an attachment based experiential approach to couples therapy. You may be coming to couples therapy because you want to feel more connected and satisfied in your relationship(s). When conflict erupts, it’s typically because you want to feel something that’s missing. It may seem like you’re fighting about the dishes, or what to cook for dinner, or your partner(s) being on their phone—but often you’re fighting for something you really want to feel that seems unavailable.
These longed-for feelings typically have roots in early life. Nobody grows up having a perfect childhood and many don’t receive love in exactly the way they desire. These missing experiences cause pain, but most children have little opportunity to change their circumstances, so they adapt. Despite no longer being reliant on imperfect caregivers many adults still carry childhood wounding. This pain lives in the heart of relational conflict. Couples therapy presents the opportunity to explore the desires underlying conflict that arises in your current relationship(s). This can feel scary, as the very thing you want to feel brings up the pain of its previous absence. But by safely taking this risk you can develop important skills of connection and communication, which leads to a more satisfying relationship(s).
Safety: As you explore the depths of your experience, strong feelings or memories may arise. I am here to help you safely navigate this terrain at a pace that's appropriate for you.
Unconditional positive regard: I believe we've all learned to adapt to our complex life circumstances. I am here to understand you from a place of compassion, acceptance, and non-judgment.
Innate capacity for healing: I believe that, under the right circumstances, we all have the innate capacity to heal. I cannot tell you how to heal but I can provide safe conditions for you to explore your healing path.
Commitment: Therapy, however long it lasts, is a challenging endeavor. I am committed to being here for you and I ask that you commit to yourself throughout this work.
- Young Adult: 18-25
- Adults: 25-65
- Seniors: 65+
- Premarital Couples
- Persons in Polyamorous Relationships
- Gender Fluid or Gender Non-Conforming Individuals
- LGBTQIAA+ persons
- Persons in Kink/BDSM Communities
- Persons Recovering from Traumatic Events/Experiences
- Persons with Histories of Childhood Sexual Abuse
- Persons with Histories of Physical or Emotional Abuse
- Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
- Relational Psychotherapy
- Sex Therapy
- Somatic Psychotherapy
- Trauma-Informed Psychotherapy
Group Facilitation; Childhood Sexual Abuse
I welcome individuals and couples of diverse backgrounds, identities, and experiences into my practice. I am a good fit for anyone with a desire to explore how they show up in a relationship, who seeks to live a more embodied, pleasurable, and satisfying life. I can help you work through issues related to vitality, self-worth, self-confidence, self-esteem, pleasure, boundary setting, trauma, sex, communication, open relationships, polyamory, sexuality, affair recovery, sexual dysfunction, and loss of desire.
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- Monday Afternoon
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- Thursday Evening
Please send me an email or voicemail if you are interested in working together. I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation.
Phone: (650) 701-7204
Marla Lev, LMFT #30883