Support for healthy life patterns, relationships, and accomplishing your goals...healing from loss and trauma...finding relief from painful feelings...disconfirming inaccurate, self-limiting beliefs...gaining trust in self and one's own inner authority...finding solutions...gaining insight... enjoying a fulfilling, meaningful life...
"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are." -- Joseph Campbell
I'm grateful to help you find your way toward a more meaningful and fulfilling life, based on who you are. My focus is always that you deserve the utmost respect for your process of healing, gaining professional help with challenging situations, and reaching personal goals in a genuinely safe, respectful therapeutic environment. I’m an advocate for personal rights, self-empowerment, healthy relationships and groups that support commonalities, differences, autonomy, connection, and individual growth.
With over 20 years of professional experience and training, I work with individuals, couples, families, and groups. Our work together is collaborative and interactive, longer or shorter term. You take the lead on what you want to work on at your own pace. I support healing and helpful change that takes place through corrective relational experiences in and outside the therapeutic relationship and I help you find solutions to complex problems. From a systems and relational perspective, I consider the influence of healthy and harmful groups and relationships, including family of origin, partnerships, marriage, work environments, and organizations .
My specialties include trauma; loss and grief; depression; anxiety; post-traumatic stress; Motherless Daughters, women who have lost their mothers through death, illness, separation, estrangement in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood; and high demand group or relationship education and recovery including spiritually abusive groups, clergy abuse and meaning of life concerns.
In addition to individual, couple, and family therapy and consultations, I developed and facilitate two specialized, unique groups in Mill Valley and currently in my office in San Anselmo, CA: Groups for Motherless Daughters (since 1997) and Groups For Those Affected By High-Demand Groups and Relationships, (since 2003).
If you're seeking help for your process of healing and growth, if you're looking for extra support and guidance through a challenging situation or you're ready to move in a new direction in your life, I look forward to working with you to achieve your goals.
"Life expands or contracts in proportion to one's courage." Anais Nin
Client Comments and Recommendations:
"Colleen exemplifies all of the best traits in a family therapist: compassion, insight, persistence, and a relentless capacity to bring out the best in her clients. I have personally spoken to those who have benefitted from her dedication and intelligence; they could not speak highly enough. For them, Colleen offered a safe place to explore, a place to grow and to learn to live in new ways. I recommend Colleeen highly, for individual and family therapy, as well as for the support groups that she facilitates so well." 2013, Patti Millar, PhD, ACC
"You do wonderful work, Colleen. Kudos to you for your commitment to these women!!" Hope Edelman, Author of "Motherless Daughters, The Legacy of Loss" and "Letters From Motherless Daughters". 2013.
"Colleen, I want you to know I appreciate all of your help in my healing process. Knowing you and participating in group allowed me to share painful feelings of a child who was expected to take care of herself physically and emotionally after my mother's death. It was great having your care. I will miss you.See you again if I falter." Client, 2014
"Colleen is a sensitive, insightful and mature professional therapist who has been greatly helpful to her many clients. I recommend her without hesitation." 2013, Daniel Shaw, LCSW
"I have known Colleen Russell for years. She is one of the most thoughtful therapists I know. I have implicit trust in her. She is much respected and known for her caring approaches. She is an invaluable therapist for those who have been (or are) in a cultic group or relationship." 2014, Janja Lalich, Ph.D., Sociology Professor at Chico State, Specialist in extremism and undue influence, Author of "Take Back Your life" and "Bounded Choice: True Believers and Charismatic Cults."
"All in all I would say that our work together continues to have been a grand success...Having worked through much of the underlying pain and conflict, I simply no longer feel the need to be intoxicated -- there is no pain left to kill. That is a freedom so fantastic that it remains hard for me to express in words."Client, 2004
"I was fortunate to find Colleen among the half a dozen therapists listed on cult recovery websites in 2003 when I belatedly realized “Oh shit! I was raised in a cult. My whole family is in a cult. No wonder my life is screwed up!” Colleen’s gentle blend of cult counseling/ education with the therapeutic pocess supported me to rebuild my life. I stopped berating myself, and learned to recognize and avoid drama that results from involvement with manipulators." Client, 2014
"Colleen combines life experience, clinical knowledge and devotion to her client's welfare. I recommend her highly as a therapist working with survivors of high demand groups or relationships especially those whose creativity has been impacted by their prior involvement." 2013, Lois Bernard, LCSW
"I really appreciate the work you do--- and will always be thankful for the difference you made supporting me with your wise perspectives, understanding, and personal encouragement with my sister. It was a relief to know I wasn't alone in that desperate time, and I don't know what I would have done without your help." Client, 2010
"Colleen Russell worked with former cult members and victims of domestic abuse for several months in 2009 at Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center, one of only two residential facilities in the world that specialize in treating survivors of destructive cults, religious or non-religious. Her work was much appreciated, as our director and primary counselor, Dr. Paul R. Martin, was incapacitated with the leukemia which eventually claimed his life. Ms. Russell's willingness to fill in during that time was immensely helpful in lightening the load of the regular staff, as well as providing comfort, knowledge and encouragement to the clients we served during her stay." 2013, Lawrence A. Pile, Former Director of Cult Education and Research, Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center, Albany OH.
"I thoroughly appreciate your consistent professionalism, gentle support, and understanding. I'm leaving our group as a 'new person' in some ways...I'm sad that I won't be seeing everyone regularly, but I'm excited about my life." Client, 2000
"Colleen has many years of competent work with various forms of marital dysfuntion. In addition, she is a noted leader in helping people recover from the trauma of cult membership. I would refer to her confident that she will provide service worthy of her reputation." July 2, 2013, David Pittle, Pastoral Psychotherapist (REBT/CBT) at TurningSpirit Counseling 2013.
"Colleen is a delightful, supportive and knowledgeable colleague I had the pleasure of meeting and working with at the ICSA International Cultic Studies Conference. I have followed her trajectory over the past several years and participated in a therapeutic cyberspace discussion group with her. I have found her to be a serious and committed therapist who specializes in Marriage and Family Therapy and also with members of cultic or cult-like groups. I admire her energy and output as she runs a support group for former members and is constantly working with former cult group members and finding ways to refer and support them." 2013, Paul Lennon,Executive Director at Fully Human,Washington D.C. Metro Area
"As a motherless daughter I now realize that for years following my mother's death I didn't allow myself to feel my pain or to confront how her death and illness affected my life. Now I'm able to be myself and not let my perception of others' feelings dictate what I do or say...The pain has subsided and even the shame I somehow felt. I can now comfortably say 'I'm a motherless daughter' because it's part of who I am." Client, 2002
"I have known Colleen as a professional therapist for several years and I have followed her professional development and her private practice. I know she is a very professional person who takes her clients seriously and with passionate interest. She is constantly learning and implementing new and proven methods to bring about change and healing. Colleen is also a very collegial person who consults with colleagues and takes suggestions willingly." Client, 2013
"Colleen is one of the few therapists I know who understands cult dynamics. I heartily recommend her to anyone who has suffered from cult involvement or in an abusive relationship. In fact, with her warmth and compassion, I can recommend her to anyone looking for a good therapist.",2013,David Cole, Independent Publishing Professional
"Colleen is a wonderful therapist. I was in her Motherless Daughters group for 2 or 3 years and learned so much about myself. She has excellent skills in facilitating groups. I would highly recommend her for one-on-one or group therapy." 2013 Client
"Colleen Russell is that rare therapist that has wonderful skills in conventional therapy as well as the special arena of recovery from "cults" as abusive group relationships." 2013, Joseph Szimhart, Artist, Cult Specialist, Mental Health Worker, Author .
"I feel I have healed from the impact of the cult and it is no longer on my radar. I have been testing out different churches ... In this process I feel empowered and not obligated to serve under a certain pastor and if I don’t like the place, I leave (then and there, not when the service is over) and don’t come back. I feel no guilt or fear of cosmic punishment if I do so. I will not compromise my hard-earned victory by placing myself under the strong hand of a tyrant." Client, 2004
You can call or email me for a free 15-20 minute initial introductory session today.
Welcome to My San Anselmo Office