Sarah R. Blackley, LMFT
Sarah R. Blackley, LMFT
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
- Couples in Conflict
- Executive Coaching
- Management Skills
- Women's Issues (sexual assault, harassment, infertility, life transitions)
MA with Honors, Saint Mary's College of California, Counseling Psychology emphasis: Marriage and Family Therapy
BA, University of Iowa
I generally see clients for 50 minutes in length, once per week, unless we decide collaboratively that meeting more often or for longer duration would be clinically helpful (often this occurs with people who are severely depressed or couples' sessions).
San Francisco Office
Generally speaking, my clients seek my help to find their way to happier, healthier lives and often find at the conclusion of psychotherapy that they have more self-acceptance, better coping skills and have overcome the concerns for which they sought therapy. I work with both couples and adults. Couples come to me with the hope of interrupting patterns of communication that are inflicting a negative impact on their connection. I also work with couples who want help resolving specific conflict, re-engaging with one another, renewing intimacy in the relationship, and assistance with life transitions that have caused stress in their lives. The adults who come to see me are often struggling with a range of issues, including anxiety, depression, as well as the impact of major changes in their lives that feel overwhelming. I also work with adults who are experiencing work-related issues and coach executives on communication and management skills.
I bring compassion, creativity, honesty, and levity to therapy. I draw on my intuitive nature to help clients break negative cycles that are impacting their ability to be present in their own lives. I believe that the relationship between the therapist and client is most helpful in collaboration. Although I tend to use Emotionally Focused Therapy with couples, I understand that all clients are different and therefore tailor my approach to what I believe will work best for the individual(s). I often use strength-based approaches with my clients as focusing on what resources a client already possesses is essential while also considering what is causing them stress. I encourage my clients to develop their mindfulness while in session, and build their resiliency by practicing this skill in their daily lives. All in all, most of my clients gain a sense of relief, feel less alone and gain new perspectives about themselves and others through therapy with me.
WHY I LOVE THIS WORK
Many of us have had times in our lives where we feel stuck. I feel truly rewarded when I am able to help my clients make long-lasting changes in their lives that free them from that “stuck” place, and help them find a new outlook on their problems and lives. It is difficult for many people to be able to sit with others who are in pain or suffering. That I am able to do this is a gift that I am so happy I was given, as I consider it a privilege to sit with my clients so they feel heard and seen. Long ago, I had the realization that a career in connecting with and helping other people would be the most gratifying path for me, and I haven’t looked back since.
WHAT I WANT FOR YOU
Taking the first step in tackling your issues is courageous and scary. My hope is that I create an environment in which you feel a sense of safety and comfort to share the difficulties you are facing. I want my clients to know that there is someone in the world who understands them and is willing to work collaboratively to release the shackles of stress and pain, and that it is possible to find the peace they have been seeking. There is a line in a poem by Robert Frost that, in my opinion, captures the essence of therapy: “The only way out is through.” It is only by facing your issues that you can create change in your life.
MY SPECIALTIES, BACKGROUND, AND PERSONAL INTERESTS
I have extensive experience working with couples in conflict as well as adults with varying ethnic identities, genders, as well as the LGBT community. I work with many people who have experienced trauma, and am a published author (both a peer-reviewed article and my master’s thesis) regarding helping victims of drug-facilitated sexual assault. I worked at Planned Parenthood for 2 years, which gave me the opportunity to work with a lot of women’s issues including assault, harassment, infertility, chronic pain, and life transitions.
When not working at SF Stress and Anxiety Center, I work in private practice and am also adjunct faculty at Saint Mary’s College in the Graduate Counseling Department, teaching Theory and Practice of Couple Counseling, Human Sexuality, as well as supervising students in the field and assisting in the reading and editing of various masters’ theses.
Outside of work I play the piano and am an accomplished vocalist. I enjoy performing and listening to many different types of music. I am an avid walker, and love being in nature when I get the opportunity. I am also passionate about working with and teaching graduate students who are striving to become therapists themselves.
California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists