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Patricia James

Associate Staff Therapist

Patti is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who offers a blend of warmth, directness, and validation. She prioritizes building a compassionate, collaborative, non-judgmental, non-hierarchical, therapeutic connection with clients to support them in fostering a healthier, more compassionate connection with themselves, their nervous system, and others. By bringing radical genuineness and, when appropriate, a sense of humor to the serious task of healing, Patti allows and encourages clients to embrace their authentic selves. She is firmly rooted in Intersectional Feminism and is an LGBTQIA Ally.

Patti received her Bachelor’s Degree from Bard College, majoring in Music and German, and holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University.  She also completed coursework for a Master’s Degree in Musicology from Smith College and Yoga Therapy Levels I and II at Loyola Marymount University.

Patti specializes in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, working with adults experiencing personality disorders, mood disorders, depression, anxiety, and complex and relational trauma. With non DBT cases, her holistic perspective includes present-centered behavioral, relational, and somatic modalities. A lived experience in the arts gives her insight into working with creatives.

Patti has been trained in and continues to deepen her knowledge of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). She is currently completing her prelicensure mentorship and licensing hours under Ruth Avalos’s supervision, receiving comprehensive training as a skills group leader, primary therapist, and team member within the SoCal DBT program. Patti completed her comprehensive DBT foundational training through Treatment Implementation Collaborative with DBT expert and SoCal DBT mentor Shari Manning, Ph.D.  She has completed Behavioral Tech’s DBT Skills Training taught by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., and Improving Skills in Conducting Chain Analysis taught by Shari Manning, Ph.D.

Before joining SoCal DBT, Patti completed three years of clinical training at a Los Angeles community mental health center, Southern California Counseling Center (SCCC), where she provided trauma-informed somatic, relational, Gestalt, and DBT-informed psychotherapy and EMDR to individuals, couples, and groups. At SCCC, Patti received extensive training in a variety of trauma-informed modalities, including the Community Resilience Model and EMDRIA-approved EMDR training with trainers Steve Danziger and Roshni Chabra from the Institute for Creative Mindfulness (ICM).

In her earlier professional life, Patti was a performing violinist and music educator and witnessed firsthand what research supports: strong rapport and safe emotional connection are the richest soil for learning and artistic development. Her work as a music and yoga educator has always included offering skills for clients to improve their relationships with their thoughts, emotions, and bodies, as well as their families, partners, friends, and community. After many years as a performer, educator, and parent, Patti felt the pull to bring her skills and life experience to the mental health field. At SoCal DBT and also with non-DBT clients, she works with adults across the life span, families, partners, and parents to help them find their lives worth living.

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For Adults

Adult Program (ages 18+):
Offering DBT-C, a comprehensive DBT program for adults.

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For Teens

Adolescent Program (ages 13-17):
We help adolescents feeling overwhelmed by their emotions and struggling to cope with the world around them.

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For Children

Pre Adolescent Program (ages 6-12):
Offering DBT-C, a comprehensive DBT program for children ages 6 through 12.

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