“Our work won’t just be about coping with your symptoms, stressors, problems, or traumas—it will be about learning how to thrive in spite of it all.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
I have wanted to be a social worker since I was 14 years old, but I became passionate about the profession after understanding how it can positively change the course of our lives. Social workers are the everyday sheroes (and heroes) we see but do not acknowledge—typically because helping professions are often feminized and women are not always recognized for their emotional labor. Social work is not a career—it’s an everyday practice of how you live your life. I started that practice by attending Whittier College for my undergraduate degree and then received my master’s from New York University.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
My therapeutic work is trauma-informed and client-centered. I utilize a variety of techniques that are individualized to you as we develop the best practices to help you thrive. These can include, but are not limited to, various forms of trauma work, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, and experiential therapeutic work. I use anti-oppressive frameworks to help unpack structural dynamics so you can step into your own power. Your treatment is driven by your needs and we work together to find ways that help you move through any and all of your life’s stressors. Our work won’t just be about coping with your symptoms, stressors, problems, or traumas—it will be about learning how to thrive in spite of it all.
How does collaboration with other providers play into your work?
Domestic violence transcends the individual. Understanding that it’s a community issue is essential to helping survivors find support and reducing stigma. Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime. The trauma is complex and compounded by external factors—the legal system, court system, family systems, mental health systems—so our work can’t exist in a vacuum. Navigating the systems associated with abuse is complex and overwhelming. Our justice system is not centered around survivors. While I do not provide legal advice, I can help guide my clients through the court process. When they need community care, I collaborate with their support teams. Making sure my clients feel safe throughout the process is my top priority.
If there was one thing you wish people knew about the therapy experience who might be hesitant to try it, what would that be?
Therapy is not going to make your life worse. Fear holds us back in all areas of our lives. When we have experienced trauma, this fear can permeate our bodies, brains, and spiritual selves. We all deserve to live our lives free of emotional, physical, sexual, and structural violence. Unfortunately, the world we live in perpetuates cycles of abuse and many times we feel the complex layers of this violence in our core. Sometimes our brains struggle to comprehend and put into words what we’re experiencing, but our bodies know that something is wrong. Healing can come in multiple forms—and therapy can be one of them. It can be hard, but try it anyway.
Why is addressing and treating digital violence important?
41 percent of people who use the internet have experienced harassment or abuse and 66% have witnessed it. We need to acknowledge the health impact of digital violence and offer support to those who are experiencing it. If we are being abused online, the effects leak into every aspect of our lives—especially our mental health. Online abuse is associated with an increase in depression, anxiety, PTSD, and suicidal ideation, yet people still minimize the effects of these abuses when they learn that they’re occurring online. Online violence is also a high predictor for offline violence—those who use technology to hurt others are likely to escalate their abuse beyond the internet. We need to drop the term “cyber” and recognize digital violence as a real form of abuse.
“We all deserve to live our lives free of emotional, physical, sexual, and structural violence.”
Interested in speaking with Francesca?