Meet Joan Willemain

002Why Therapy?

Individuals and families who seek counseling or therapy services do so for a number of reasons. In general, people are experiencing conflict, discomfort, distress, concern about a loved one, or a desire to pursue a dream or a goal that feels like it is beyond their grasp. The experience may be chronic, related to a recent event, or a combination of both. They feel that they have tried the methods that they know and used the supports that they have without adequate results.  It is time for something new.

Joan Willemain’s Qualifications

  • WA State Licensed Mental Health Counselor
  • Child Mental Health Specialist
  • Certified in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • WA State Approved Supervisor since 2005
  • Over Twenty years experience in Clinical Social Work, Counseling, and Mental health
  • Over Ten Years experience in Supervision and Program Development
  • Training and Experience in Art Therapy, member of International Art Therapy Association; professional artist for ten years
  • Over Ten years experience in Educational settings
  • Experienced in Women’s Health Issues including Perinatal Health and Infant Mental Health

My Approach to Therapy

I am a clinical social worker with over twenty years’ experience post-Masters. My background includes many years of practice in non-profit agencies as well as maintaining a practice in psychotherapy and supervision.  My public practice has included community mental health, school based mental health, public health, Special Education, and child welfare. Since 1988 I have specialized in children, families, and adults recovering from trauma.   I am certified in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy from Harborview Trauma and Sexual Assault Recovery Center, and receive ongoing training from their team.  I also have training in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy skills, and incorporate these into my approach, although I recommend that individuals looking for a comprehensive treatment approach to DBT, seek a referral to a formal program.

I have approximately fifteen years experience in the area of perinatal social work, parenting  young children, and working with high risk infants and toddlers, particularly those with Special Needs and children who are medically fragile. I worked in the Infant and Early Childhood Program at Navos Outpatient Services in West Seattle, for two years prior to joining the School Age program, where I currently work part time as a Child and Family therapist, in addition to my private practice.

Over the years my education, training, and work with clients has included psycho-dynamic and family systems approaches, attachment and developmental theory, as well as cognitive behavioral theory, dialectical behavioral therapy, mindfulness and somatic approaches . While I believe in having an updated “tool chest” for doing therapy, the most important aspect is the relationship we develop together.

I have worked with a wide variety of families and find that parents generally are wonderful experts when it comes to their own children. I try to assist parents in tapping their inner wisdom as they guide their families, and I support children in talking to parents about difficult topics.

I enjoy working with creative people and understand the special challenges that come with a creative lifestyle or the desire to create one. I work with creativity as part of therapy or by being a therapeutic teacher of visual arts. “The creative process involved in the making of art is healing and life enhancing. “(American Art Therapy Association)

I  encourage self-acceptance while supporting positive change and help you define the steps you need to take along the way. My approach with all clients is respectful, practical, and mindful of the difficulty you are experiencing.  Through compassionate listening, exploring areas of strength and resistance, teaching skills, and celebrating success, we take a journey together down a path of greater satisfaction and deeper relationships.

Clinical Supervision:

I have been an Approved Social Work Supervisor in the state of WA since 2005. I provide individual and group supervision  for masters level Social Workers and other clinicians working toward licensure. I find this work exciting and rewarding, and I invite you to join me in a great partnership as I challenge and support you toward this goal.

My Education and Licensure:

  • Social Worker Independent Clinical License (LICSW), WA State #LW00006182
  • Masters in Social Work, Children and Families and School Social Work, University of WA, Seattle, WA, 1990
  • BA with Honors in Visual Arts, Concentration Art Therapy, Goucher College, Towson, MD, 1979
  • I have received extensive continuing education and post graduate training in the areas of Counseling, Special Education, Infant Mental Health, Trauma Focused CBT and other specialty topics.

Memberships and Associations:

  • National Association Social Workers
  • WA State Society for Clinical Social Workers
  • International Art Therapy Organization
  • Psychology Today