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Community Highlights: Meet Natalie Pujo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Natalie Pujo.

Hi Natalie, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I grew up in Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada. When I went to university I was an English Major and creative writer. But I soon realized I probably would have a very hard time earning a decent living at it. I joined the University’s student newspaper and my journalism career began. At 20 years old, I landed my first job in Radio in Toronto. It was my dream job as I had no training or experience and was hired entirely on talent and potential. I moved into television news several years later and all told, spent 20 years as a news anchor/reporter. In 1997 I moved from Toronto to Denver for an anchor job, and in 1999, I moved to LA for another anchor position. By the time I was in my late 30’s I was ready to retire from my tv career.

Although I enjoyed it tremendously, I was burned out. People only see the on camera work but most don’t realize that the days are long and grueling in the field. I fell in love, got married, and had my son Sean. I was lucky enough to be able to stay at home with him but after a few years of being a stay at home mom, I realized I wanted a second career. That’s when I had to go back to college and complete my BA and eventually my doctoral degree in Psychology. It took a whopping ten years to complete my Psy.D and receive all the necessary hours of training to become licensed as a Psychologist in California. I am proud to say it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done – especially mid-life – and I truly love my work with clients in my private practice. It’s incredibly rewarding and meaningful to me.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
My biggest struggle lasted a decade. It was trying to juggle being a mother, a wife, and a full-time doctoral student. My 16 years marriage ended in 2018, just when I was launching my career in psychology. Luckily we are amicable and the proud co-parents of a wonderful 17 years old son Sean. He continues to teach me things every day.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Redondo Beach. I love to work collaboratively with clients from all walks of life, with all types of challenges. I work with teens, adults, couples, and families. Because my doctoral program had a forensic concentration, I have expertise in serious mental illness such as schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder with Psychosis. However, I chose to transition from forensic populations to working with regular folks because I find the work is deeper when the model of treatment is not merely crisis oriented or focused on harm reduction. I focus on truly being present with compassion in each and every session and consider it an honor and a privilege to be allowed into the intimate lives of my clients. Research has shown time and again that the therapeutic relationship is the most important factor in successful therapy- that is, the client’s perception of growth and healing.

Currently, I am passionate about my advanced training in Emotion Focused Therapy which I find to be transformative in its ability to heal painful emotions that result from unmet needs – often in childhood. This type of therapy is also particularly helpful for relationship issues. I also utilize many skills based on existential, psychodynamic and cognitive behavioral approaches. Finally, I believe my former career in journalism and the age at which I became a psychologist also set me apart in my field. As a news reporter, I experienced people from all walks of life during their most difficult circumstances. In changing career paths mid-life, I had the advantage of bringing this wealth of experience to my current work. By contrast, most of my doctoral cohort were in the process of adulting when they graduated. Having experienced marriage, motherhood, a blended stepfamily, divorce, death of a parent and many other life transitions continues to inform and enrich my work.

Can you share something surprising about yourself?
That I was a TV news anchor in Los Angeles and Denver. That I was trained as a Forensic Psychologist, and when I began my doctoral program, my goal was to be an expert witness at criminal trials.

Pricing:

  • I am out of Network. I provide superbills for clients who want partial reimbursement from their PPO plans
  • Individual sessions – 200 per 50 minutes
  • Couple/family sessions – 250 per 50 minutes.

Contact Info:

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