Sara Rose Thorsen (she/they)
Banana slugs. Neon green redwood tips. Fog kissed eyelashes. Lilacs are busting. Violets are popping. Bluejay comes back– mountain alarm clock. The in between of Winter’s final days and Spring’s full bloom– being warmed in a sunbeam in the damp of the last rain. Thawing to bloom.
-- Spring associations, 2022
I believe my personal identities and life experience are the real backbone to my work as a mental health provider. I have degrees and certifications and continue my learning, but it's who I am-- who I've become and am becoming-- that makes me unique and good at what I do. While my training gives me a specific lens, it's also imperfect and incomplete. My context and background greatly inform my work. I am a 33 year old, cis-gendered, white, fat, queer/bi femme, and I have strong working-class roots. I value certain parts of my college education and the privileges it affords me… and I find myself doing some intentional unlearning, strategic challenging, and creative rewriting of some of the institutional and cultural garbage that clutters my mind, my body, my spirit, and the relationship between these aspects of myself and with others. For many years, my ultimate dream has been to steward land and have a space where I able to combine my love of the natural world with the field of mental health in a way that sustains me rather than burns me the fuck out.
But, for those more traditional... I graduated from CSU Monterey Bay with a B.A. in Human Communications with a concentration in Practical and Professional Ethics. It was philosophy, not psychology, that opened my eyes to a completely different way of relating to myself, others, and our greater world. In plain terms, I loved thinking about thinking. I was captivated by the idea that knowledge comes in many forms and our way of thinking about things have changed over time. It was during my undergraduate experience that I really came into my own and bloomed. After graduating, I felt strongly that the natural application of all of the amazing knowledge I had gained was to become a therapist. Called to leave Home in the Santa Cruz mountains for a taste of the big city, I moved to Oakland where I lived while I attended the University of San Francisco. I completed my Master’s in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2016 and gained my license in 2020.
Over the years, I have worked in a variety of settings, which has given me a well-rounded clinical skill set. I am experienced in the essential components of proving psychotherapy (rapport building, assessment, diagnosis, goal setting, intervention, crisis support, documentation, etc). I approach my clinical work from an Ecological perspective greatly informed by my background in philosophy, gardening, and expressive arts. My work weaves aspects of Humanistic, Psychodynamic, Constructivist, and Pragmatic schools of thought. Working with children has also given me solid experience in Play Therapy, CBT, DBT, and behavioral intervention (particularly in a school and youth detention setting). My clinical strengths lie in building trusting relationships with clients, thoroughly assessing clients initially and over time, and client advocacy.
I am passionate about supporting other mental health providers at various stages of their journey. Disheartened by many of the obstacles providers are facing entering and sustaining in the field, I've been organizing with others to create a by-us-for-us network of support. We've taken supplies to local Kaiser strikers, held community care spaces virtually and in person, and will be launching a podcast featuring provider stories to raise awareness of the challenges the field is currently facing. We call ourselves The Bloom + Grow Collective.
I've spent my whole life in the San Francisco Bay Area and the most time in the Santa Cruz mountains-- the rightful land of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band (the living decedents of the Mutsun and Awawas-speaking people). There isn't a day that goes by that I don't recognize the beauty and awe of this place and it calls me to take actions (large and small) to protect this land and honor those who came before me.