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Meet Jessica Whitehead, LMFT of Sherman Oaks

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Whitehead.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jessica. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My journey to become a therapist started in high school. I took AP Psychology and all of a sudden, the world and the people in it started to make more sense to me. It was like I found the secret to understanding why humans think, act and feel the way they do. Furthermore, I wondered how possessing all this information could better the lives others and our communities overall. That’s when I decided to study psychology and go on to become a marriage and family therapist.

I moved to San Diego where I attended UCSD and received a Bachelor’s in Psychology and then onto San Diego State University where I received my Master’s in Counseling and started my clinical training. Moving away from the San Fernando Valley where I grew up gave me the opportunity to grow and change in ways I never imagined. My college years led me all over the world and I became an avid traveler. Living in so many places within different cultures allowed me to see that a healthy, fulfilling life can be lived in many diverse ways.

This knowledge shaped both my personal and professional life. After years and thousands of hours of clinical training with individuals, couples, families, and children of all backgrounds and ages, I finally received my license. This gave me the ability to start my private practice. I decided to follow my passion and work primarily with individuals and couples, specifically focusing on sexuality, sexual dysfunction, and relationship issues with those in traditional and non-traditional (Poly, non-monogamy, Swingers, etc.) relationships as well as the Kink and LGBTQ communities. This area of clinical work has been an interest of mine as far back as I can remember. Overall, my world travels, the connections I have made and the social justice, feminist-heavy training I received has been a key influence in the work I do, greatly informs the type of therapist I am and the therapy I provide to my clients.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t know if anyone has a “smooth road” when pursuing their passion. I believe we all encounter obstacles in our lives which challenge us for better or for worse. However, I do believe I was fortunate to be raised in a family and community which fostered questioning norms, having insight and personal growth. These qualities don’t go without their struggles. When questioning or going against the status quo in terms of traditional relationships, sex, gender and/or sexuality roles, some individuals are met with fear, suspicion or outright disgust by friends, family and their communities. Working closely with these communities, I feel a sense of responsibility to educate others that diverse relationships, genders and sexualities are not to be feared, perceived as mental illness or somehow lacking in moral character. I suppose this is not so much a struggle but rather a calling.

In terms of starting my own business, any small business owner can tell you start up is not easy. A lot of emotions, money and time goes into creating a business, Therefore, I am forever grateful to my family and friends for their unyielding support and words of encouragement when I decided to open my practice. I literally could not have done it without them.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I offer psychotherapy and counseling services to individual adults and couples from both traditional and non-traditional (Poly, non-monogamous, Swingers, etc,) relationships. I also work with those in the Kink and LGBTQ communities, my clinical work focuses on relational problems, as well as sexuality, sexual dysfunction and gender related issues.

I practice from a strength-based, solution-focused, systems, feminist and insight oriented perspective, believing therapy is an art my clients and I engage in collaboratively. I also incorporate elements of mindfulness and cognitive-behavioral therapy to help my clients meet their goals. Additionally, I believe a person’s sexuality, sexual expression and gender identity play a significant role in an individual’s mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Therefore, I believe exploring these aspects of the self in therapy, in addition to looking at other areas of a client’s life, is a vital part of comprehensive mental health. Overall, I take a holistic, integrative approach to practicing psychotherapy and am grateful to have the opportunity to help my clients become the version of themselves they wish to be.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I believe my fierce passion for equality for all and compassion for others is a cornerstone of my work. I believe being a mentally healthy person can take different forms and tailor treatment specifically to the individual or couple. I also believe that showing clients certain aspects of my personality is important in building trust and rapport, which is very effective during the course of therapy. For example, I have a wicked sense of humor and bring this out when appropriate. I’m very open-minded, honest and non-judgmental, allowing clients to be completely themselves which sets the stage for more effective treatment. Lastly, I am thorough and am constantly researching and learning more about the communities I work with to be as up-to-date as possible with new discoveries, insights and treatment interventions to better serve my clients.

Pricing:

  • 50 minute session for individuals; $140
  • 50 minute session for couples: $170
  • 80 minute session for couples: $200

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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