Aaron Testard, LMFT, LPCC
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (CA; 45320, IL: 166.001539)
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (CA: 1379)
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Welcome. If you've made your way to my site, you're likely feeling lost and needing something to grab onto. I understand that deep and normal need for guidance, support, and challenge. I believe that our work together is about taking a journey to a new and better place, and I find no greater privilege than to accompany you on your personal path to wellness and growth.
I know that path is unique to you. I've spent over 20 years studying a variety of therapy methods so I can best treat the person(s) I'm with rather than an idea. Whether your path is short with a clear end-goal in mind, or longer, winding, and uncertain; whether it includes recovery from trauma, addiction, and unstable relationships, or is just about having a more fulfilling life; I'm interested in your particular needs and how to achieve the best outcomes for YOU. In my experience, therapy is not just about feeling better; it's also about feeling more alive and having an expanded sense of yourself. I work from the perspective that we are a team. I also believe that ultimately, you are your own expert and that the tools, information, and resources I provide you with are all in the service of tapping into your own wisdom.
I promise to treat your journey with the reverence it deserves while also being fully human. I lead with empathy and kindness while also being truthful and direct. I was a theatre artist in my last career, which may inform my interactive style, often incorporating humor and creativity. I also aim for that sweet balance of interaction and stepping back to give you reflective space.
I look forward to working with you.
I've been a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist since 2008, and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor since 2013. Educated at the California Institute of Integral Studies, I received a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Drama Therapy, and graduated with honors.
For 7 years, I served as Director of Clinical Programs at the Pacific Center for Human Growth, an LGBT counseling and support center in Berkeley, where I had the pleasure of implementing services for youth, adults, and couples, as well as supervising interns in training. I have been connected to the Pacific Center since 2002 both as an intern and a licensed therapist, and I've been in private practice since 2004.
Other professional experience includes:
5 years as a mental health consultant for the state and federal criminal justice systems, Oakland
4 years as a Senior Substance Abuse Counselor at Acceptance Place, San Francisco
2 years as a Child and Family Therapist for Sunny Hills Services, San Rafael
In addition to my education and work experience, I have formal training in: EMDR (Levels 1 and 2), Dialectical Behavior Therapy, (Parts 1 and 2), Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (Levels 1 and 2), and Gottman Couples Therapy (Levels 1, 2, & 3). (See "Approach" page for further details of these methods.)
I hold membership in and am in good standing with the following professional organizations:
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT)
Bay Area Open Minds
World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH)
National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC)