Colleen Russell, M.A., LMFT, CGP
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC29249)
Certified Group Psychotherapist (41715)
Certified Grief Counselor
Certified Domestic Violence Advocate
Marin County, San Francisco Bay Area
As a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC29249) I am trained to assess, diagnose and treat individuals, couples, families and groups to achieve more adequate, satisfying and productive marriage, family and social adjustment. Requirements for licensure include a related doctoral or two-year master's degree, passage of two comprehensive written examinations and at least 3,000 hours of supervised experience. I am also a Certified Group Psychotherapist (41715) with the American Group Psychotherapy Association (since 2008). A Certified Group Psychotherapist is a clinical mental health professional who meets nationally accepted criteria of education, training and experience in group psychotherapy. A CGP is an expert in group psychotherapy and an ethical practitioner who is committed to group psychotherapy as an autonomous treatment modality.
I have 25 years of professional experience in Marin County, San Francisco Bay Area, providing successful general psychotherapy, counseling and consultations to hundreds of individuals, couples, families, and groups. I have maintained a general psychotherapy private practice in Mill Valley, San Anselmo, and currently, Kentfield, Marin County, CA, SF Bay Area. I facilitate supportive, exploratory groups, workshops, present to organizations, and write on topics in which I specialize, including professional journal articles.
As a young adult, I learned about myself and others through participating for two years in an intensive acting school, "The Loft", in Los Angeles, CA, with acclaimed acting teachers, Peggy Feury and Bill Trainer.
07/1992 – 12/2016. Private Practice in Mill Valley, CA, San Anselmo, CA, and Kentfield, CA
General psychotherapy practice with individuals, couples, families and groups, working with adults and adolescents. One of the few clinicians nationwide specializing in treating families and former members affected by abusive, high-demand groups and relationships including those born and raised in them. Such groups are identified as "spiritual," "religious," "political," "large group awareness trainings," clergy abuse, and more.
Other specialties: trauma and post-traumatic stress; loss and grief; “motherless daughters”, women of all ages who have lost their mothers through death, separation, illness or estrangement; couple counseling and relationship issues; difficult transitions or crisis; divorce, separation, family mediation (Certified Family Mediator); shared parenting support (Certified Shared Parenting Support Provider); domestic violence survivors; adults abused as children; young adults leaving families of origin; school and work issues; meaning of life concerns.
- On-going groups for families and former members affected by high-demand, abusive groups including clergy abuse (since 2003)
- On-going motherless daughters support groups for women (since 1997)
Groups for women; General Women's Group for all ages; Women Older & Wiser (55+) Group
- Loss and Grief support groups for men and women
- Domestic Violence Survivor Groups (Center for Domestic Peace, San Rafael, since 2014)
- Psychodynamic; cognitive; relational; family systems, with a focus on corrective emotional experiences or healthier outcomes.
In addition to my private practice, I'm on staff as Primary Group Facilitator and Team Program Developer at the Center for Domestic Peace, for survivors of domestic violence (non-abusive parent and child witnesses, 2014 to present.
Previously, I have worked at the following organizations:
Primary Therapist at Wellspring Retreat for survivors of high demand groups or spiritually abusive groups.
- Assessment, treatment planning
- Intensive counseling and psychoeducation
- Workshop facilitation
Director/Primary Therapist, Center Point Adolescent Outpatient Drug Treatment Program, San Rafael, CA; Member of the Marin County Juvenile Drug Court Team, Marin County Juvenile Court, Civic Center, San Rafael, CA.
- Facilitated weekly adolescent psychoeducational groups and multi-family groups.
- Provided individual counseling using a biopsychosocial model of addiction, emphasizing cognitive/behavioral and motivational enhancement therapy.
- Served with the Marin County Juvenile Drug Court Team, Civic Center, San Rafael, CA
Case Manager/Counselor, Housing Specialist at the Marin Assisted Independent Living Program for those diagnosed with severe mental illness, San Rafael, CA
- Individual and group counseling
- Assessments, treatment planning, symptom management for clients and families
- Crisis Intervention
Primary Therapist. Adults, children, and adolescents, Clement Street Counseling Center, San Francisco, CA.
- Psychotherapy for individuals and couples
- Hospitalizations, community referrals
Group Facilitator. Adults and Children, Center for Attitudinal Healing, Sausalito, CA.
- Co-facilitator of group for terminally ill children; group for children whose parent died; bereaved adults; terminally ill adults; parents of terminally ill children
Primary Therapist. Children, Adolescents and Families. Children’s Hospital Comprehensive Child Crisis Services of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
- Crisis intervention at scene of child-related crisis; hospitalizations
- Assessment, diagnosis, treatment plans
- Individual psychotherapy
Primary Therapist. Children, Adolescents and Families. Community Mental Health Services, Family and Child Division, San Rafael, CA.
- Individual psychotherapy
- Conjoint therapy with parents
- Weekly community consultation to teachers at Marin City and Mill Valley public schools.
Primary Therapist. Adults. John F. Kennedy University Community Counseling Center, Concord, CA.
- Individual psychotherapy
Milieu Counselor. Assisted Independent Living Program, San Francisco, CA
- Milieu and individual counseling with adults diagnosed with severe mental illness;Co-facilitator for several household and community groups
M.A., Clinical Psychology, 1987, John F. Kennedy, University, Orinda, CA, accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
B.A., Psychology, San Francisco State University, 1982, Dean’s Honor List.
Continuing Education and Training
- 36-hours of CEUs for every two-year licensing period.
- International San Francisco Psychotherapy Research Group nine month training and education, (2009).
- Northern California Group Psychotherapy Society, yearly institutes, didactic and experiential training (since 1997).
- Trauma treatment, symptoms, causes trainings with Bessel van der Kolk and John Briere 2006-present.
- Attendance and presentations at conferences with the International Cultic Studies Association, Marin California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and the International San Francisco Psychotherapy Research Group. Ongoing studies of systems and their influence.
- California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
- Marin California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
- American Group Psychotherapy Association
- Northern California Group Psychotherapy Society
- San Francisco Psychotherapy Research Group
Presentations and Journal Articles
- "Behave, Believe, Become: Recovering from High Demand Groups or Cults," Presentation at Marin CAMFT, February 2015
- “High Demand Groups and Abusive Relationships: Healing From Trauma and Pursuing Healthy Goals,” Presentation at the Central Oregon Clinicians Network Luncheon, February, 2012.
- “From Cults To Group For Former Members: Opportunities for Healing and Change”, Presentation at the Northern California Group Psychotherapy Institute, June, 2010.
- Facilitated Workshops for Former Members (including those raised in them) and Families Affected by extremist/ high-demand groups including clergy abuse. January11, 2014, San Anselmo, CA; December 5, 2009; March 15, 2010; June 27, 2010, Mill Valley, CA. Co-facilitated two workshops with Janja Lalich, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, CSU, Chico, co-author of "Take Back Your Life: Recovering From Cults and Abusive Relationships".
- “Understanding Cult Involvement”, Panel presentation at the Mosaic Law Synagogue, November, 2009, Sacramento, CA,
- “Cults and Creativity” Panel presentation and “Disconfirming Inaccurate, Self-Limiting Beliefs Internalized From Thought Reform” Individual Presentation at the International Cultic Studies Association Conference, June, 2008, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- Published Journal Article: “Touched, Disconfirming Pathogenic Beliefs of Thought Reform”, Cultic Studies Review Journal, 2010, special edition on cults and creativity.
Certifications and Post-Graduate Training
- Certified Group Psychotherapist, American Group Psychotherapy Association
- Certified Domestic Violence Counselor, Center for Domestic Peace, San Rafael, CA
- Certified Grief Specialist, Our House Grief Support Center, Los Angeles, CA
- Nine Month Post Graduate Training with San Francisco Psychotherapy Research Group, San Francisco, CA
- Mediation Training with Steve Rosenberg, Attorney, Mill Valley, CA
- Shared Parenting Support Program with Frank Leek, Sacramento, CA