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My Approach

It's important to me that therapy is collaborative and that you feel in control of your treatment, so I'll describe how I approach each session in plain language. If you are a therapist yourself or just enjoy therapy jargon, feel free to skip below to the section, Modalities.

I believe in the importance of being aware of the present moment, of the constant flow of our thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. Those self-critical thoughts that pop up after a conversation with your mother, that rage you feel when someone makes a bigoted remark, that sinking sensation in your gut when you realize it's time to head to work- this is all information about you. So is the sigh of relief when you speak your mind, the surge of confidence when 

Jess Gioia, queer female therapist in Bay Area, California. Jess is a white woman with long brown hair, a brown turtleneck, a lip ring and leather jacket, smiling in front of a leafy background.

your contributions are recognized, the warm glow of belonging among your peers. 

I'll help you track your experience during the course of therapy so that this awareness becomes second nature. In observing your reactions to the world around you, you will discover your core self, clarify values and beliefs, and dare to take action and make an impact in a manner unique to you. In this process I will be your biggest fan (who cares enough about you to also point out beliefs or behaviors that no longer serve you). 

 

When your experience is chaotic or overwhelming, we will implement skills that allow you to settle at a tolerable level of emotion. When your emotions feel faint and difficult to contact, we will use techniques that increase their impact and immediacy. Along the way, we will discuss what current research tells us about how your brain processes experience and how you can work with it rather than against it.

My Background

I graduated in 2019 from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) with a Masters in Counseling Psychology. During the course of my program I trained at Church Street Integral Counseling Center, a sliding-scale clinic in San Francisco. I also completed a clinical internship at St. James Infirmary, a peer-based occupational health and safety clinic for sex workers of all genders. Most recently I have counseled teens at Terra Linda High School during the 2021-2022 school year.

As a lesbian therapist with substantial background in queer spaces, I am committed to and enjoy working with the LGBTQ community. While in undergrad at the University of Connecticut from 2008-2012, I protested for the legalization of same-sex marriage, held leadership roles within queer organizations, participated on diverse speaker's bureaus and presented at the annual True Colors Conference. As a member of Bay Area Open Minds I am also poly, kink and sex work knowledgeable and affirming. 

Modalities

The modalities in which I have been trained and which inform my work include:

Gestalt/Experiential/Existential

Psychodynamic

Humanistic/Client-Centered

Integral/Holistic

Trauma-Focused