Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Kantor.
Hi Lisa, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I was born and raised in LA to an immigrant father who came to this country and worked hard to forge a path for me and my sister. Education was always emphasized. My dad graduated from UCLA with a PhD in Psychology and my mother was a very strong-minded, independent hardworking and grounded single mom who held down the fort. She kept the same steady job my whole life and sadly left this planet too early. I grew up a sensitive kid with a bleeding heart and strong will laced with anxiety. I had a big imagination, was a tomboy, climbed trees, loved sports, and liked to build forts, even in my bedroom. I went to college locally and studied many things. I guess you could say I was trying to find my way. I got my BA in fine art from Cal State Northridge and later would return to get my secondary teaching credential in Fine Art. I went to graduate school at Cal State LA and studied Art Therapy and graduated with my MS in marriage family counseling.
I volunteered with Free Arts for Abused Children, worked in foster care, group homes, and wrap around services for kids. I even volunteered at the Children’s courthouse in LA and designed the art mural made of tiles that you see right when you walk in the door. After years in the field, I decided to take a break from therapy and went back to school to study Interior Design at FIDM in downtown LA. After that, I started my own design company and eventually transitioned back into working with kids and teaching art at Hollywood High School.
After taking time off to raise my own kids and being away from the workforce and putting a pause on my career, I decided to return to my true passion, Therapy. For the next decade, I dedicated myself to working with severely mentally ill homeless adults in Los Angeles. After the stress of the pandemic and re-evaluating what was most important to me in my life, I decided to focus solely on my private practice.
Working with my clients one on one is the most rewarding and fulfilling job I have ever had. I pinch myself everyday knowing that I get to walk through the most challenging chapters of my client’s lives with them and celebrate the victories. I feel so honored that my clients trust me to share in this experience with them.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The road is never smooth in life. That’s what makes it exciting. For every bump or fork along the way, we are confronted with options and choices. Each one of those choices we make leads to a different path. I never regret any of the choices I make as each one has led me here and each one has afforded me the opportunity to grow and challenge myself. As a clinician, I feel like these experiences have allowed me to be more relatable and to have more empathy and understanding for the clients I work with.
We’ve been impressed with Lisa Kantor, LMFT, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am a private practice therapist in Los Angeles. Sadly, we are a dime a dozen in LA. The glass half full of this whole COVID experience is that it shined a light on mental health and how important it is to take care of it. I have joked with my peers this last year and a half that for once in our careers, we are finally “trending”. I feel like we are moving away from the stigma of mental health and finally embracing it as a “necessity” and “way of life”. Like anything else we roll into our everyday life such as diet, exercise, and now mental health. It is more freely discussed and commonplace to reference to a group of friends at dinner something that your therapist has said to you in session. I was working with one of my younger college client’s a few months ago and she told me that my name came up as part of a drinking game her and her friends were playing on a weekend ski trip. I thought, “Wow, I have fully evolved as a clinician!” It literally made my day and I had to laugh about that. “What would Lisa say?” Now if that isn’t cool, I don’t know what is.
I guess what sets me apart from the rest of the dime a dozen clinicians in LA is my sense of style, humor, wit, humility, and love of the arts. All of which I incorporate into my practice. The thing that is cool about having so many therapists to choose from is that every human is so different. And like any other relationship in life not all matches are good. It takes time to find the right fit. It’s like picking a friend. It has to be someone you can feel free to share the most intimate parts of your life with and not feel judged. When I used to go to therapy when I was younger, I remember holding on to things and not feeling comfortable sharing certain parts of myself out of shame or fear of judgment. I remember thinking, “Why am I paying all this money to come here if I cannot be 100% percent authentic.” But I didn’t know the difference. I have always carried that experience with me and it shaped the way I approach the work I do with my clients. Being authentic is the most important thing to me when working with a client.
Since I have a love of the arts and all things creative, I seem to attract creative types to my practice. I like to use art therapy as a way of connecting with my clients to access their trauma and uncover repressed memories or aspects of their being that they would not be able to access otherwise. There is something really intimate and personal about this process and it can really be life-changing.
Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
I am an open book. To be honest, I don’t have much to hide. I guess aside from the gigantic pink elephant in the room, but I will leave that open to interpretation……
- 175-250 per session.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.lisakantortherapy.com
- Instagram: lisakantorlmft
Photo Credit: My son Judah.