- Registered Associate Clinical Social Worker
Master of Arts, Social Work
Let’s admit we all have broken places. It is part of the human condition. We all have situations we just can’t figure out on our own. In my 20 years as a social worker, most of my clients start therapy saying some version of “I just don’t know what to do.” Together we cultivate the emotional safety necessary to examine where you are and where you need to go, as well as the courage to get there step by step.
Do you feel paralyzed when facing a major life transition—deciding a career path, stepping into adulthood, becoming a couple or separating, becoming a parent or not? Perhaps your relationship is frozen and you and your partner can't talk without fighting or can't agree on a shared vision for your lives. By working together we can shed a kind light on the dark places and approach them with safety and curiosity. You determine the pace as we make sense of things and find the places where movement and change can happen.
I have a bachelor’s degree in literary and cultural studies from Carnegie-Mellon University and a graduate degree in clinical social work from the University of Pittsburgh. I am deeply informed by feminist theory. I work well with clients who wish to consider their situations in existential or spiritual terms. I put a great deal of emphasis on the importance of language. Using inaccurate language can obscure the truth of things and leave us confused. Using attuned and accurate language to name our feelings and experience can create those pivotal “aha” moments and be illuminating and liberating. The story we tell ourselves about ourselves can make all the difference. I love the work of rewriting my clients’ stories with them and creating better endings than they imagined.
The majority of my work has been with adults and couples. I started out in women's health, providing counseling to those facing abortion, pregnancy loss, and traumatic pregnancies. I moved on to settings serving those with a broader range of concerns from anxiety and depression to career dissatisfaction and existential crises. I have acquired specialties in infertility and adoption, most recently as the Director of Adoptive Parent Services at Adoption Connection in San Francisco.
As a therapist, I think the relationship comes first. What I mean by that is the work we do together requires warmth, comfort, trust, and “goodness of fit” between us. I believe the relationship is both the safe and warm point of departure for your exploration and the soft landing place. Studies have demonstrated that the best indicator of good therapeutic outcome is the quality of the relationship—more important than the therapist’s years of practice, education, or treatment modality. I take a nonjudgmental stance of curiosity and hope to encourage your curiosity too. Sometimes intentional curiosity can help us around shame or guilt that blocks the view of what is most helpful for you to see.
I believe that all human beings have inherent worth and dignity and are both formed and healed in relationship with one another. Each of us is further shaped and affected by the culture in which we live and an intersectional understanding of race, class and gender must be integrated into the therapeutic process. While therapy is typically serious business, humor and warmth can ease the process. I also believe being out in nature and away from our devices is inherently healing and we all need to do a lot more of that.
- Young Adult: 18-25
- Adults: 25-65
- Seniors: 65+
- Premarital Couples
- Gender Fluid or Gender Non-Conforming Individuals
- Interfaith Couples
- LGBTQIAA+ persons
- Persons Experiencing Grief and Loss
- Persons Recovering from Domestic Violence
- 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
- Spiritual Seekers/Practitioners
Many of life's problems and traumas are difficult not just in and of themselves, but because they are isolating, leaving you with the feeling that no one understands or that no one sees your struggles. I have come to believe that a primary purpose of psychotherapy is to "undo" aloneness, with the therapist as a compassionate witness and a collaborator to create new meaning and movement where you have been stuck.
I feel affinity with those in the psychology community who acknowledge that insight alone does not always equal change and that more can be done in therapy to move from simply understanding why we do what we do to cultivating the capacity to actually do things differently. A lifelong student, I am currently studying accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy because of its optimism about our capacity for change. With couples I am most influenced by emotionally focused therapy. Both of these modalities are anchored by attachment theory, which is the bedrock of my clinical approach, and both are attuned to opportunities to make meaningful, deep-level change.
1806 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Berkeley, CA 94709
- Monday Morning
- Monday Afternoon
- Monday Evening
Please call, email, or complete the contact form on my website. I offer an initial free 20-minute phone call to learn a bit about your situation and give us each a chance to see if it makes sense for us to meet. If I do not have space in my practice or if I feel your needs would be better served by someone with a different approach or expertise, I will provide you with referrals. If we do meet in my office, I'll ask you at the end of the first session if it felt ok and if you would like to move forward.
Rawna Romero, LMFT 41466