Ariel Black, AMFT Primary Therapist
I understand that finding a therapist can be anxiety provoking and difficult. This is why I hope to provide my clients with a non-judgmental and supportive environment that facilitates their ability to address presenting issues or concerns. As a psychodynamic therapist, I believe that it is important to feel safe and secure when processing deep rooted, painful issues and sharing your inner world with another human being.
My journey as a therapist began while earning my bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brandman University in Irvine, CA. Most of my psychology professors at Brandman were therapists, social workers, and other mental health professionals in the field. Learning from them piqued my interest to further expand my own knowledge about psychology. As my passion for psychology grew so did my desire to help others. I went on to achieve my master’s degree in counseling psychology from California State University, Northridge in order to further enhance my clinical skills and my ability to help others.
After achieving my master’s degree, I became a registered associated marriage and family therapist and began working in the field at different settings gaining valuable clinical experience working with various populations including at risk youth, substance abuse, LGBT, and couples. In these clinical settings I was able to work with people struggling with issues ranging from anxiety, addiction, depression, trauma, family conflict, self esteem, self harm, etc.
Working at Daybreak has also given me the opportunity gain valuable training and experience in working with couples. Patrick Cleveland has introduced me to using emotion focused therapy (EFT) with couples. EFT is a couple’s therapy grounded in attachment theory and psychodynamic principles that focuses on creating a secure bond between couples by bringing more awareness and insight to the communication patterns or interactions that form disengagement between partners. I have noticed significant positive growth in my clinical work and progress with couples since I’ve introduced EFT to my practice.
My experience as a therapist has enabled me make positive changes in people’s lives and I am privileged to be a part of their journey. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and give me a call for a free telephone consultation at 562-263-4851
Cassandra Hutchinson, AMFT Primary Therapist
I have had an interest in the field of psychology since taking AP psychology in high school. I deeply enjoyed studying the various theories about how the mind works and what drives human behavior. I took a particular interest in psychodynamic theory, specifically Freud’s work on the unconscious mind and the mysteries in holds in forming who we are and driving what we do. I decided to purse psychology in college and graduated with a B.A. in psychology from California Polytechnic University, Pomona. I wanted to gain more knowledge and clinical skills in order to help others and promote the importance of mental health in our society. I went on to achieve a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from Pacific Oaks College.
I am now a registered associate marriage and family therapist. I have been volunteering at Didi Hirsch's Crisis Hotline since August of 2012. The crisis line has given me valuable experience in helping with people in suicidal crisis. I have worked with many people of different backgrounds and ages. The people I work with each time I’m on the lines allow me to develop my skills in working with someone who is experiencing crisis and trauma. I continue to grow in my professional abilities by talking on the lines doing crisis intervention.
I have also gained unique clinical experience working with high school students as a counselor through Outreach Concern. I worked with the students on emotional, behavioral, social, and educational issues. I garnered many techniques and unique interventions in dealing with the challenging adolescent population.
At Daybreak Counseling Center I began working with couples and have gained valuable training and practice using emotion focused therapy under the guidance of clinical director Patrick Cleveland. EFT focuses on the connection in the relationship, what has gotten in the way of it, and introduces methods and practices to help rebuild a loving bond. I work with couples by helping them build their bond in order to strengthen the safety, connection, and love in the relationship.
I have continued my career and currently work at a partial hospitalization program where I gain knowledge and experience on how to help those managing with a severe mental illness, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and others. I specifically do group therapy, but have also garnered techniques that can be applied to individuals, couples, and families.
Through my training and years of study I have found an interest in helping people from the Lacanian psychoanalytic perspective. Jacques Lacan greatly expanded on Freud's ideas. I have undertaken yearly seminars at the Ecole Freudienne du Quebec, G.I.F.R.I.C in Quebec, Canada for four years in order to further my knowledge in the Lacanian approach to therapy. The Lacanian psychoanalytic approach helps a person to uncover the unconscious emotions and thoughts related to issues they are trying work through by paying close attention to the language, dreams, behavior, and symptoms they present with. I sought this style of therapy due to my own issues in life and wanted to understand my own unconscious. I have found that there are often underlying reasons for the issues we struggle with in life that can be rooted in the unconscious. This approach allows for the exploration of the root of a person’s issue, rather than solely treating someone’s symptoms. I have found through clinical experience that only treating symptoms can eventually lead to new symptoms emerging whereas uncovering and treating the unconscious feelings behind symptoms can lead to long lasting change and a greater knowledge of self.
I wanted to find a supervisor who embodied the same theoretical perspective as I did. I found Patrick Cleveland at Daybreak through my research into Lacanian Psychoanalysis. He has helped me to further learn and practice the theories and techniques Lacan brought to the field of psychology. I continue to grow under Patrick’s guidance and garner new knowledge from him to use with my clients.
I am passionate about psychology, promoting mental health, and helping others. To inquire about scheduling an appointment with me you may call me for a free telephone consultation at (562) 546-5184.