Before becoming a therapist, I worked in several social justice organizations both in the U.S. and internationally that are predominantly queer and women of color led and staffed. My work focused on sexual assault, access to education and inequality in positions of leadership, environmentalism, and disability services. As a result I came to my own approach towards social justice through supporting individuals one-on-one with their mental health.
From there I earned my Master's degree in Counseling from California State University of East Bay in an integrative, community mental health focused program. I examined the academic study of polyamory within the counseling field for my thesis. I worked for 3 years at a Contra Costa county contracted agency providing therapy to youth through MediCal.
I began private practice in order to work with adults within my queer community. I specialize in working with self-identified queer femmes who strive to fully embody their sexuality, identity, and gender expression. My work is body-positive, sex-positive, poly-positive, and encourages creativity. I believe that femmes have unique experiences within queer communities related to bi-stigmatization, femme invisibility, and misogyny. I am trauma-informed and have experience working with symptoms including but not limited to depression, anxiety, dissociation, hyper-vigilance, grief, insecurity, and self-doubt. As a femme therapist, I am committed to supporting those who strive to live loudly, take up space, and believe that doing so is a radical act of self-love.
My work is client-centered. It is non-directive. It looks like a lot of listening. I believe that people are the experts of themselves and it is not for me to tell a client what is best for them. I support clients by holding space for them to express themselves and feel seen doing so. I am highly relational and strive to break down the therapist-client hierarchy in power by being a person in the room.
I believe that there is value in femme therapy and intentionally center my mental health practice around identity rather than issues in order to focus on celebrating femmes as they already are. I come from a place of curiosity, humility, and playfulness while prioritizing my clients' needs and acknowledging that they're badasses.
To learn more about working with me, please visit What I Offer.
Briana Shewan is a California Registered Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist #108767