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You're keeping up...


  • If people really knew how badly you felt, they'd be shocked.

  • You're tired of being the person everyone else relies on.

  • You wonder if you really need therapy, because, well, it's not THAT bad...

  • You've been saying for years that things will ease up "soon".

  • You know things need to change but you're not sure how to do them differently.

  • You're not settled until your "to-do" list is finished (and it's never finished...)

and, the kicker...

  • You don't like to ask for help!

Great News!

Why We're Great >

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

Laura Gardner, MFT

You go to the medical doctor for physical stuff, so why not get your head right too?
You don't have to continue to suffer.

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

It's possible to:

  • Stop people-pleasing.

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


  • 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. Pretty cool, eh??


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.

Mindfulness image

Experience That Informs My Work

I am a Bay Area native, and attended grad school for Counseling Psychology at the School of Holistic Studies (Somatic) at John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, California. My undergraduate work was done at Connecticut College where I double majored in U.S. History and Hispanic Studies, and I spent a year at the Universidad de Salamanca, in Salamanca, Spain.

After graduation, I saw clients, studied, and worked for years in a private practice internship under Marsha Hiller, MFT in Berkeley, Calif.  Additionally, I also interned at Parkmead Elementary School in Walnut Creek where I counseled children, at Rape Trauma Services in Burlingame, and at Grateful Heart Holistic Counseling Center.


As a prerequisite to graduate school I completed a certification program in Swedish massage anatomy and technique at the McKinnon School of Massage (now McKinnon Body Therapy Center) in Oakland, Calif. A few years later I worked in the field at Bay Club Marin. While I was working there, I also became the Office Manager for the East Bay Chapter of CAMFT (EB-CAMFT) in Berkeley, Calif.

The majority of my work life up until mid-2016 was spent at UC Berkeley in various positions which included working with international students and ESL instructors at UC Extension; with tenured Marketing faculty, with Chinese executives at the Asia Business Center, with Cal staff with Haas Online Initiatives, with staff and students with Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives, and with staff and students with the Institute of Business and Social Impact (IBSI) all at the Haas School of Business.

Most recently, I’ve been on the Board at Grateful Heart Holistic Therapy Center, and I also provide marketing support to Associates as a Marketing Coach there. My trainings include EMDR I and II with Dr. Laurel Parnell and EMDR III with Connie Kaplan, MFT through the Parnell Institute; DBT I and II through JFKU Continuing Education; and many, many consulting hours with peers and more experienced practitioners. I am a current member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT), the East Bay Chapter of CAMFT, The Parnell Institute, and D2K (Diversity 2020).

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

As s a recovering busy overachiever, I feel very qualified to help you regain a sense of control and help you slow down. Are you ready??

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.

  • I was on the Board of 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 (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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