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Meet Brooke Bender

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brooke Bender.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Brooke. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
After 8 years working in mental health clinics in Los Angeles as a therapist and supervisor, I was feeling burnt out, stressed and unhappy. I was working 50-60 hours a week. My creativity felt stifled. Having been diagnosed with Lupus during this time, I knew I had to make a change to manage my stress level and keep my symptoms at a minimum. Although it wasn’t easy to leave the convenience of a steady paycheck, the leap was well worth it. I now run my own private practice in the San Gabriel Valley, helping children and adults heal from trauma, anxiety and depression using creative and cutting edge treatments including art therapy and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing). I also have more balance in my own life, including being able to focus on my physical wellness and in particular, my practice of yoga, which helps keep me healthy and happy!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It was not always a smooth road. Before I left my ‘day job’ I started taking on more contract work to help save up money and to have some work set up for me once I left the job. I worked late in the evenings doing art therapy groups for at risk teenage girls. I also started my private practice on Saturdays. I loved it all but in the process of working excessive hours, I threw out my back and ended up in a lot of pain. At that point I realized I was over-working myself and it was time to take the big leap.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I specialize in merging holistic and scientific based treatment modalities into my private practice.

As a board certified Art Therapist, I have specialized training to use the art process as a means to access and process material in treatment that may not be easily accessed through talk therapy. This of course is particularly great for children who may not have the developmental capacity to express themselves with words, but I also find it useful with adults. It can alleviate some of the discomfort of talking about difficult subjects and can be fun and relaxing too! The most common question I get asked is “but do I have to be good at art to do it?”; the answer is no! No art experience is required and there is no judgment – towards the art process or anything addressed in therapy.

Additionally, one of the main treatment modalities I use is EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing). EMDR is a fairly new treatment but now established as an evidenced based treatment method. Early research on Vietnam veterans with chronic PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) showed a significant decrease in PTSD symptoms. Now it’s not just used with ‘big’ traumas, but other issues such as anxiety, panic symptoms, depression, relationship break ups and with children to address issues such as bullying, peer pressure, etc. I’m beyond amazed at the quick changes I see in my clients and how quickly they get better with EMDR. Nothing feels better as a therapist than watching people feel better fast!

Additionally, I incorporate my background as a certified yoga teacher, utilizing aspects of yoga philosophy and breathing and visualization techniques to help provide a more holistic, grounding approach for my clients. I always make sure my clients have skills they can take away in the real world to help them feel better.

What were you like growing up?
I was creative, introspective and sensitive. I was always interested in various forms of art making including painting/ drawing, theatre and playing the piano and flute.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Emily Marsicano

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