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Emily Johnson

After receiving my MSW at The Tulane School of Social Work in 1999, I did an intensive two year training in object relations psychotherapy at The Washington School of Psychiatry (WSP), started by Harry Stack Sullivan in Washington, DC. It was there that I developed my deep admiration for interpersonal, psychodynamic psychotherapy. After finishing at WSP I decided to continue my training in the field and moved home to my native Bay Area where I began a three year training at The Psychotherapy Institute.

I have further developed  a social justice orientation as well as a grounding in feminist theory in my work.

My career as a life-long learner has brought me to study more deeply the theoretical paradigms of relational psychotherapy and motivated me to complete a year long Intensive Study Program at The Northern California Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology in 2009/10. In 2015 I entered a 2 year training program for psychodynamic supervision. It is there that I began to broaden my practice to supervision and consultation of emerging therapists.

I think of therapy as a collaboration between two invested people. I am attuned, active, empathic and most importantly, interested. I believe in peoples’ innate qualities of resiliency and strength. Through a combination of active engagement and reflective listening, I help my clients figure out what their goals for therapy are and how we may best work together to achieve them. My approach is informed by relational, object relations and psychodynamic perspectives.


As a relational therapist, I think of the therapeutic process as being an egalitarian one. I am not a “blank screen.” I help to promote a feeling of comfort and ease in the room with my clients as we embark on an exploration of their innermost material. The relationship between myself and my client is also part of what makes the therapeutic relationship an agent of change. After a trusting relationship is built, a client may feel free to use the therapy as a kind of experiment for the outer world. Testing out -- first old, and then new -- relational patterns in a safe environment. 

My Approach

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