Today we’d like to introduce you to Mary Ann Aronsohn.
Mary Ann, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Since I’m 61 now, and “a woman of a certain age” (I’ve been looking forward to owning that phrase!!), my journey is very long and complicated. So, I am going to focus on one aspect of my professional journey as a psychotherapist, and that is on the area of my specialty in divorce. It begins, like most journeys, in a personal way, as I was divorced with a small child after a 6-year marriage. When I found a partner three years later, we each had a son, and I began to learn about the challenges of being part of a stepfamily. While marketing a free seminar for stepfamilies in 1998, I encountered a wonderful Senior Court Mediator in Pasadena who hired me just about immediately to teach PACT, a Court-sponsored (and Court-mandated!) program for separating or divorcing parents. The course was primarily designed for parents to learn about how to keep their children out of the middle of divorce issues. Shortly after that I discovered the Collaborative Divorce movement, joined local collaborative practice groups, studied Child Custody Mediation, and developed a Co-Parenting course with a colleague. Now, I would say that divorce work comprises about half my psychotherapy practice, including co-parenting, collaborative divorce/mediation, and high-conflict divorce work. Many of my referrals come from family lawyers and even from judges. The work is satisfying when parents have enough emotional maturity to put their children’s needs in front of their own disappointment, anger and hurt, and can learn to cooperate with one another. Others; well, let’s say I’m satisfied if they can plug in some more effective manners with one another. Even that will benefit their children.
Has it been a smooth road?
As you might imagine, working with divorce can be a strain. There are some cases which wake me up at night, with a brain busy trying to solve a dilemma or just process an angry parent’s outbursts, sometimes directed at me. I have had to learn to be much more directive and willing to say hard things to people, albeit in as gentle a way as I can (usually) manage. For someone who likes to please others, this has been a hard learning process! The divorce work also involves an often weighty sense of responsibility, such that I need my time off and my escape hatches even more. It also means that I value and appreciate my regular therapy clients even more highly! Luckily, I’m very effective at my self-care practices and setting limits to protect my mental and physical health. And my friends and family are an indispensable support.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Mary Ann Aronsohn, MA, LMFT (it’s a practice, with no DBA) – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I keep my business small, with only a bookkeeper to step in monthly. I think employees would add to my sense of responsibility, so I do almost everything myself. This means my marketing is fairly minimal, and I do what works for me the most (like taking people to lunch, public speaking, showing up at networking events, and committee work). What I am most proud of is the reputation I have built in the Family Law community in LA County (and even beyond). I have been told that I am seen as an effective, gracious and skilled therapist/mediator/instructor. I’m also a team player and particularly enjoy strategizing with a team over a challenging family system. I have a tranquil and lovely garden view office in South Pasadena, for which I am grateful every day. I can be reached at www.southpasadenacounseling.com, or at 626-441-5131.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love how it’s possible to find almost anything one would want to find here; the cultural diversity and access to most anything is exciting and rich.
I dislike how spread out our city is, making it very hard for people to connect easily with one another. Also, the infrastructure was not designed for the size of LA, and therefore our density has caused huge difficulties with traffic, parking, and often few green spaces.
- Address: 1910 Huntington Drive, South Pasadena, CA 91030-4812
- Website: www.southpasadenacounseling.com
- Phone: 626-441-5131
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Other: www.aronsohntherapy.com (same website)