Emily Linaman, LCSW

My name is Emily Linaman, LCSW (LCSW 81435), and I offer counseling and psychotherapy to children, teens, adults, couples, parents, and families. I’m very pleased to meet you. If you want to call me directly, my number is 925-954-6229, ext. 7#. I would love to connect with you!

A Strength-Based Perspective

When we work together, I come alongside you (or your child) to support you and help find your strengths. I view challenges through the lens of a strength-based perspective. In doing so, an emphasis is placed on nurturing your unique gifts and talents, in order to help you to learn about who you are and support your growth in self-understanding.

You Are In The Driver’s Seat

I see you as an expert in your own life. I will support and encourage you to reframe challenging experiences in your life as valuable lessons, and help you create a road map to view where you have been, and where you want to go.

I will help you gain (or regain) a sense of control in your life. My belief is that ultimately you are always in the driver’s seat, and I try to help you understand how that feels.

My Approach

My approach is intuitive, experiential, fluid, curious, compassionate, reflective and direct. I strive to always convey respect and honor the unique point of view of the client (even if I do not agree). As a therapist, my job is not to impose my personal values or opinions onto you, or your child. Rather, I want to help you identify traits, ideas and values that are unique to you and which support your own personal growth, healing, and self-actualization.

I’m not just a therapist, I’m also a mom of a child with special needs

I am a skilled and experienced therapist, and I am also a mom to a bright young child on the autism spectrum. I understand first-hand the heartache, confusion, and anxiety of slowly recognizing that your child may require additional support.

I know what it is like to feel isolated as you come to realize your child is not achieving the same developmental milestones as your friends with same-aged children.

I understand the sense of shame it can invoke, and the helplessness and worry for your child when you see that they may not be doing what others their age are doing.

Even more confusing is when you notice that in some areas they are clearly advanced, yet in other areas, they are delayed.

It was a relief to learn that this concept, known as asynchronous development, is extremely common with kids on the spectrum.

Your child may be really good at math, reading, or remembering data, yet he or she may also struggle with making friends, understanding social reciprocity, or have trouble with basic developmental milestones such as toilet training or their bedtime routine.

I remember the fear in my heart that my daughter would never live a “normal life” after she was diagnosed. I am relieved to say that I have learned, over time and experience, that my daughter can live an incredible life, thanks to an amazing team of caring professionals. They have taught me that with some additional support tools in place, my daughter can thrive in her own unique way of thinking, learning and creating.

Working with children

When working with children, I believe in talking less and listening more, compared to my work with adults. Children are amazing communicators through symbolic play and also through acting out at home and school. My role as a therapist is to slow down, listen and pay attention to the cues that a child is trying to communicate regarding their emotions. I believe the family has an important role to play in identifying family strengths, values and themes that may be emerging or existing within the family. Sometimes one person may be labeled the “identified patient” in the family, yet often they are expressing the unacknowledged pain of the family as a unit

From my point of view, children’s negative behaviors are often a response and an outcry to parts of their world (school, home, social life and other contextual settings) that feel out of their control and out of alignment with their emerging values, limited coping skills, and fragile sense of self. Together, we work to build upon their strengths, values, coping skills and goals, while also learning to replace negative behaviors with newer and healthier behaviors.

Growing Up In A Gifted Family

I grew up in a home where my two brothers and I were each identified as gifted at a young age. What I didn’t understand at the time was how gifted kids also often struggle with heightened sensitivity and emotional intensity.

What this meant for me growing up was a lot of questioning about who I was and my place in this world; yet I lacked the confidence and the support to voice these questions. As a result, I struggled with insecurity, anxiety and depression, leading to other issues that took time to unpack and sort out.

What I understand now as an adult, and as a mother, is that kids that are gifted or sensitive, or just unique, have many gifts to share with this world, but they may need to be encouraged and nurtured in ways that are unique just to them. In short, they may not be just like other kids, yet do not doubt for a second that they are brilliant and amazing and have a bright light to shine with the world.

Background

I have served families and individuals for over 10 years in a variety of settings,  including community-based mental health, residential treatment facilities, and children living in foster care.

In my work, I consider it a privilege to help people experiencing depression, anxiety, psychotic disorders, substance abuse, or struggling with the long-term impact of unresolved trauma in their lives.

In addition to psychotherapy, I have led programs at an administrative level for at-risk/urban youth and adults with chronic mental illness.

It truly takes a village, and I have enjoyed opportunities to garner community support as a manager of volunteer programs for homeless services, and as a development professional (fundraiser) for non-profit organizations throughout the Bay Area.

I look forward to meeting you and your family and exploring how I can be of support to you!