ABOUT ME

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a Bachelor of Arts from UC Berkeley and a Masters in Counseling Psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS).  

 

I never thought I would become a therapist. I always liked talking and listening to people and I often found myself as the confidant of friends and strangers but I always thought that was more of a hobby than a career. During my undergraduate years I took as many psychology classes as my Mass Communications major would allow and I even volunteered as a peer counselor, but it was not until I had been working in the corporate world for a few years that I realized that psychology was more of a passion for me. I think going through a deep depression and turning to therapy to help me through that difficult period also inspired me to want to offer the same kind of support to others.

 

So I took a leap of faith, left my corporate job, and went back to graduate school to get a Masters in Counseling Psychology. My time at CIIS was a deep journey of learning and self-discovery, which only confirmed my decision to become a therapist. I spent my practicum and intern years working with all types of clients at a Gestalt counseling center, at an elementary school, as a school counselor, and in private practice. I was also a founding member and an active member of Bay Area Gestalt Institute (BAGI), a non-profit organization and community of Gestalt therapists.

 

Throughout this time, I was in individual and couples therapy, as a client, discovering and healing parts of myself and my relationship. I truly believe my personal experiences in therapy have taught me as much, if not more, as my academic training for I cannot ask my clients to go where I have not been willing to go myself.

 

Right around the time I became a licensed therapist, I went through another big life change. I became a mother for the first time and this was not an easy transition for me. I struggled with who I was now that I was a mother and went through a period of grieving my old life while also falling deeply in love with my child and discovering myself as a parent.

 

Then came another big change. My husband and I had been living in the Bay Area for over 10 years but after much consideration, we decided to move to Los Angeles, to be closer to family. I closed my private practice, moved to LA, and due to life circumstances, ended up being a full time parent. I had worked so hard and sacrificed so much to become a therapist but my main priority was to be with my son. Since then, I have had another son and life with two children is busy.

 

I still feel passionate about being a therapist and did a year long training with GATLA but since becoming a mother I have developed a new area of interest, supporting mothers and parents. I am currently offering groups for mothers since I know, from my own experiences in mommy groups, the importance of being in community and getting support from other mothers.

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I hope that gives you a taste of who I am as a person, therapist, and mother and hope to hear from you soon.

DEBBIE LEE, MA, MFT

Santa Monica, CA

DEBBIE LEE, MA, LICENSED MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST #84279