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Meet Rachel Ward, LMFT, ATR of Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Ward, LMFT, ATR.

Rachel, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Since I was little, people have confided in me, maybe a little too much. And as kid I created things with whatever I could find around the house, yard, amongst my precious collection of art-and-craft supplies, or an experiment in the kitchen. I now see becoming a psychotherapist with a specialization in art therapy was a natural fit. My profession is an extension of my inner self.

My early years as a therapist were working with people who were struggling with extensive trauma, children in foster care, teens trying to figure out life in the midst of chaotic lives and families struggling to make life a well-lived one. I worked in a clinic in South LA and a residential home for children in Altadena. When there is so much keeping your mental health in poor condition it’s hard to find contentment and joy. I learned a lot, honed my skills, and set out on my own in my hometown of Pasadena. Not surprisingly I’ve found dysfunction all over Southern California.

My private practice motto is, “Helping the Misunderstood.” Sometimes we misunderstand ourselves or our loved ones. Sometimes our world or culture misunderstands us. I love helping people find ways to clear that up, face their mental health concerns and life head-on.

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?
Like most, it took me a while to figure out my path. I spent, or misspent depending on who you ask, my youth trying to figure it out. And who knew art therapy was a thing? I spent my undergrad years making art and my graduate years learning why that felt so good to me and how I could share that with others.

I found out that working for yourself and running a business are not something I learned in school. There I learned to be a therapist. Running a therapy practice required even more personal work to successfully show the outside world how I can help them through tough times. Self-doubt, depression, anxiety, interpersonal relationships, I get it. Being a therapist, you can relate to, someone who has worked through some stuff herself, means something to me. I want to go to a therapist myself who is doing the work, knows the struggle and experiences the value of what therapy can offer.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Rachel Ward story. Tell us more about the business.
My creative spirit helps me be effective in connecting to people. I meet people where they are and use my experience to find the right way to work through whatever it is they want to work on. I’m an art therapist. I’m a talk therapist.

I love working with the “angry” and mostly misunderstood teen. Young couples looking to take the next step in their relationship. Adults working through depression, anxiety, current and past trauma that keeps them from living the life they feel they could be living.

The lifelong aftermaths of divorce in families. The fear of transitions in life like going to college, changing jobs, starting and ending relationships, new career choices. People looking to understand why they feel or act in certain ways. Giving people permission to set boundaries with those around them who may be pretty toxic.

I like to think I can provide relatable insight and compassion while being silly but direct. Let’s not get passive aggressive here, people. If you don’t fit into some “traditional” mold, you’re my favorite people.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t really believe in luck. I think through awareness of yourself and the world around us we find our path or the path finds us. Serendipity, sure. Spiritual or divine intervention, yes. Bad things happen. Great things happen. Finding the space in between to be fulfilled seems to me to be the life hack we are all searching for.

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