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Meet Heather Rousselo of Safe Space Marriage & Family Counseling Corp

Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Rousselo.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My journey to becoming a mental health professional began in childhood. While I did not have a specific plan to become a psychotherapist, my childhood experiences and family history were working me into the mental health field before I was even consciously aware of it. My mother suffers from undiagnosed mental illness and my father suffers from severe depression, chronic pain and alcoholism. My parents divorced when I was two and so it was that I was split between them. Back in the ’70s, the father’s usually got custody during summers and winter holidays. I went back and forth between school years with my mother and summers with my father until I was 12. At 12, my mother packed my belongings into suitcases and left them at my father’s doorstep. My father came to school to let me know that I’d be living with him from now on. Living with a single, depressed, chronic pain sufferer who abused multiple substances was chaotic and challenging. When I was in junior high and high school, my father attempted suicide three times. Ultimately my father successfully completed suicide when I was 19.

Even then, I was unaware that I’d become a mental health clinician. It wasn’t until after marriage, my first two children and a bachelor’s degree (I went to college after I got married and had children) that I found my direction. The clarity came when I was working at College of the Canyons as an administrative assistant. My boss and I really did not click (and that’s being nice!). She pulled me aside one day and said, “no holds barred, don’t censor yourself, just answer the next question honestly.” I looked at her petrified, unsure what was coming and she said, “If you could do anything….anything you wanted for a career what would it be?” I took a deep breath and said, “I would write books and be a motivational speaker for young people who come from dysfunctional families.” She said, “Ok here is what you need to do.” My boss just so happened to have a Master’s degree in Career Counseling. She was able to map out a plan that included me getting my Master’s in Educational Psychology, getting my Marriage & Family therapy license, working as a clinician and then in her words, “you will then have the credibility to write those books and engage the community as a speaker.”

Done. I went to CSUN while working full time, completed my Master’s of Science in Educational Psychology and completed my internship hours at the Child & Family Center in Santa Clarita. The families and children I was blessed to work with were definitely kindred spirits with my inner child.

Things have a funny way of coming around full circle. About five years ago, I had just finished a tough session with a client and a vivid memory popped up that I had forgotten. When I was young, my father said on more than one occasion, “someday Heather you are going to help people. I hear you on the phone with your friends. I hear how you listen and how you are able to help connect your friends to their inner strength. You have an insight that is a gift.” I have no idea why it hit me then or why it hadn’t come to be sooner. But ever since then I’ve been all in. I am a psychotherapist and I am doing exactly what I was meant to be doing with my precious time here on this planet!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I can honestly say that the road was smooth because my paths before were full of detours in the right direction! Once I knew what I needed to do (thanks to my boss who was not my biggest fan!) I was accepted in the Master’s in Educational Psychology and began just a few months later. From the very first course, my very first semester, I knew I was on the right track. I couldn’t get enough of the course material, readings, required therapy, or personal exploration. I was all in. Everything has worked out for me since I got on the right path. I am so blessed and grateful. Sometimes life will throw you repeated detours to help you get on the right track. I really feel that has been the case for me.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Safe Space Marriage & Family Counseling Corp. specializes in Gottman Method couples counseling. Gottman Method couples counseling is backed by over 45+ years of research. Safe Space provides an in-depth 4 session assessment prior to beginning the therapy process. Safe Space Marriage & Family Counseling Corp. offers couples the opportunity to improve their relationships by learning what their particular relationship strengths are and focusing therapy instead on areas of weakness. Safe Space Counselors are trained in the Gottman Method and understand not all problems can be solved by compromise. Safe Space stands apart from traditional couples therapy in the emphasis on intensive psychoeducation, validation and helping couples accept their relationship conflicts as a healthy, normal part of their journey together as a couple.

I have been in private practice in Santa Clarita for over 11 years. I was introduced to the Gottman Method of therapy right out of grad school and completed the Levels 1, 2 and 3 clinician trainings. I have been using the Gottman Method with couples since 2013 and I am currently participating in a rigous certification process through the Gottman Institute. On a personal level, I can say that I am grateful that the Gottman’s research and therapy methods have supported my own marriage as it has shifted, struggled and grown over the past 29 years. In 2022, I decided it was time to honor my clinical passion of working exclusively with couples. I am passionate about normalizing to the greater public that couples who frequently have conflict and argue are often times healthy, normal and actually may have more passion and strengths than couples that don’t! I opened Safe Space this year to dedicate my life to improving our most important asset…our relationships!

Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
The city of Santa Clarita is a great place to work, live and play. I’ve lived in Santa Clarita since 1995 and have felt at home here ever since. I am so grateful for the schools, clean streets, community centers, senior centers, amazing public transportation and the small town feeling in a large metropolis! We have great restaurants, a theater and too many community events to name. Santa Clarita is a wonderful place to live from elementary school through retirement!

Pricing:

  • 4 Session Couples Assessment (Gottman Questionnaires $159)
  • Session One (Couple together) $225
  • Session Two (Individual partner) $150
  • Session Three (Indivdiual partner) $150
  • Session Four (Couples Asssessment Presentation) $225

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Becca Rillo Photograhpy

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