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Why We're Great >

This is me
and I'm here to help...

Laura Gardner, MFT

"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." -Maya Angelou

I'll create safe experiences for you to be vulnerable, in order to build confidence, self-awareness, and make lasting change.
Photo of Laura Gardner

It's possible to:

  • Stop people-pleasing.

  • Figure out who YOU are and what YOU want to do.

  • SLOW DOWN.

  • Know and speak your truth.

  • Move past the trauma of the past.

  • Connect more easily with partners and friends.

  • Overcome unhealthy coping habits.

  • Feel calmer despite the unfinished "to-do" lists.

  • Figure out if you're in the right relationships.

  • Let others shoulder the burden for once.

  • Let go of some of the perfectionism.

  • Make time for things that interest you.

  • Feel comfortable in your own skin.

 

Whether as an individual or as a couple, you will come away from our work with more choice and freedom in your life.

 

There are so many ways of getting information about ourselves - through our thoughts and intellect, through our body sensations and symptoms, through our emotions, our intuition, our spiritual experiences, and inter-personally through our connections with others. By listening in and homing in on all of these ways, healing becomes more than just an idea but a reality.

"What will therapy be like with you?"

 

With me, no topic is off limits! One of my mentors once told me this kernel of truth that I love, "Trauma and injury happen in relationship, so healing has to happen in relationship." I like to add humor at times in sessions (only when it’s appropriate, of course), and our sessions will include some of the following:

  • body awareness,

  • mindfulness and breathing,

  • I'll share relatable stories,

  • I'll ask you questions,

  • art - like drawing,

  • EMDR,

  • exploring your personal history,

  • I'll bring up in-the-moment observations,

  • We'll challenge negative beliefs,

  • I may use props like pillows and blankets,

  • Focusing on our interpersonal dynamics,

  • or we'll just talk!

 
"What are you like?"

 

I happen to know a little bit about a lot of things. I’ve also been described as warm, friendly, direct, intense, calm, caring, smart, curious, open-minded, non-judgmental, and easy to talk to. Do with that what you will!

I came to psychology through my Ashtanga and Anusara yoga practices at the time. I absolutely knew that practicing yoga was improving my confidence, my agency in the world, and increasing my self-awareness. But I wanted to understand more. The somatic psychotherapy field piqued my interest - it's the union between mental health and the physical body.

Anything else I should know about you?

I have a very strong conviction to create a more equal, just, inclusive, and diverse world. It’s important to me that we continuously fight racism, sexism, and discrimination of all kinds (especially given our current political climate). I’ve led diversity and inclusion trainings with UC Berkeley staff about privilege, mental illness, and unconscious bias, to name a few. Having a diverse practice is very intentional for me, and I welcome people from all backgrounds.

silhouette of person sitting meditation with words: listen, breathe, notice, pause, observe, and more

Experience That Informs My Work

Laura's Experience

Since we'll be on this journey together, you may wonder what makes me qualified to help you.

While my life and work experiences are varied and diverse, these are just some of the concrete pieces that qualify me to help you.

  • I am a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in the States of California (LMFT53622) and Oregon (T1862)

  • I got my Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology with a Somatic focus from John F. Kennedy University.

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  • I was a Board Member at Grateful Heart Holistic Therapy Center for four years.

  • I am EMDRIA-certified and completed my EMDR training with Dr. Laurel Parnell and Connie Kaplan, MFT at the Parnell Institute.

  • I studied under therapist Marsha Hiller, LMFT in Berkeley for over 12 years.

  • I interned at Rape Trauma Services in Burlingame, counseling women who survived childhood and/or adult sexual assault and rape.

  • I interned at Parkmead Elementary School in Walnut Creek counseling kids ages 5 to 10.

  • I have massage and anatomy training from the McKinnon Body Therapy Center in Oakland.

  • I worked with international students and executives in non-therapy roles at UC Berkeley for many years.

  • I facilitated diversity & inclusion workshops as a staff member at UC Berkeley.

  • I attended Diversity & Inclusion conferences in Atlanta and the Bay Area.

  • I'm from the Bay Area, but have lived on the East Coast and in Europe.

  • I've traveled throughout Western Europe, East Asia, the Caribbean, and the U.S.

  • I am a Marketing coach for Associate MFTs at the Grateful Heart Holistic Therapy Center.

  • I was the Office Manager for the East Bay chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (EB-CAMFT).

  • I am a current member of EMDRIA, CAMFT, the East Bay Chapter of CAMFT, The Parnell Institute, and D2K (Diversity 2020).

  • I practiced Ashtanga and Anusara yoga regularly in the East Bay for nearly 13 years.

  • I studied the major religions of the world both on my own and in school settings.

  • I work with both Eastern and Western models of health (and try to take the best parts of each one!).

  • Influences (just to name a few) - Carl Rogers, Carl Jung, Virginia Satir, Irvin Yalom, Maya Angelou, Martin Seligman (Positive Psychology), Arnold Mindell (Process work), Geneen Roth, Eckhart Tolle, Don Miguel Ruiz, Louise Hay, Brené Brown, Kristin Neff (Self-Compassion), Gabor Maté, Cheri Huber, and many more.

Personal growth and healing has been a lifelong endeavor and I continue to be curious about my own thoughts, feelings, sensations, relationships, and behaviors.

My clients come from all different industries, including the arts, technology, social work & counseling, teaching, the sciences, public safety, and healthcare.

"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am,
then I can change."
- Carl Rogers

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