I want you to own your strength.

Long Beach LGBT Therapist.jpg

Even if you aren’t sure you have any. Even if someone told you it was too much. Even if you think you can’t.

I know what it’s like to walk between worlds and never quite feel like you fit in. The child of an African-American father and Caucasian mother, I often felt like an alien in the world and was the target of incessant bullying from a young age.

Growing up, I observed the popular girls and tried to imitate them. I fabricated a crush on a boy so I would “be like everyone else.” I chemically relaxed my nappy hair and wore trendy clothes.

My plan worked for a while, but soon I felt the familiar blush of humiliation as a group of boys taunted me in the school hallway.

My mind panicked. “Not again!” it screamed in anguish. But in the very next moment, I felt something inside me snap and give way. “Screw it!” I said. “I’m never going to fit in, no matter how hard I try. So why bother trying?”

Instead, I became Tankgirl. I shaved my head and wore Doc Martens, flannel and fishnet to school everyday, defying the conservative standards of the small town I lived in. I developed an unflappable resilience in the face of mockery and ostracism, and became unapologetically myself… I became free.

I want you to feel the same way.

Here’s what I want you to know

In my past career as a personal trainer, I learned in a very real way how much the mind and body impact each other. Almost 100% of the time - if you think you can, you will.

But that’s not really fun to hear when you’re feeling depressed and unmotivated. Pushing someone too hard when they’re down can make things worse.

In therapy with me, we go at your own pace. As we build trust, I push you a little bit past your comfort zone to get you where you want to go.

As counter-intuitive as it may seem, responsibility is the key to freedom. The more responsibility we are willing to  accept-- for our health, the quality of our relationships, the state of our finances, the achievement of our goals, etc. -- the more free we become within our own lives. 

What is it that you need to confront within yourself?

My clients are up for fearless self-examination. Make no mistake, I won’t mince words, but I’ll also be your biggest cheerleader.

I believe you can live openly, without pretense or posturing, and still find humor in the absurdity of your predicaments.

And yes, that’s a photo of me in the thunderdome at Burning Man.

Why Choose to Work With Me?

I personally have seen and done a lot over my lifetime. There is very little that anyone could say to me that I would find shocking or off-putting. My clients feel safe that they won’t be judged or shamed for the humanness of their shadowselves, from the pettiness of their thoughts to their downright dark inclinations.

I believe shame is one of the most worthless emotions there is. I’m not a fan of “cancel culture” because I don’t think someone should be boiled down to the worst thing they’ve ever done and then destroyed because of it.

You are more than the sum of your good or bad deeds and are worthy of compassion and acceptance. We have to learn to forgive and accept ourselves if we want to flourish. Therapy with me helps you do that.

Who Are My People?

Teens who are misunderstood. You need someone who will listen to what you’re trying to say, especially when you don’t have the words for it. You are capable of thinking for yourself, but you feel pressure to conform. You don’t need to change who you are, or “water yourself down” to be accepted. You just need to learn a way to communicate so that you can be heard.

People who are self-medicating. Not just with drugs or alcohol (although I have over a decade of experience working in this field), but with compulsive behaviors, escapism, or other bad habits. Sometimes you need a gentle push to confront what you’ve been avoiding. It’s much less scary when you have someone with you.

People in life transitions. If you’re trying to put your life back together after a series of changes, you might feel like everything is too overwhelming. This can cause you to feel depressed or anxious. Let’s re-write your story in a way that you can be proud of. Read more about how I work with depression here.

Those who take care of everyone else. You take on responsibility for the people in your life, for your family, and for your community. You feel that if you ever loosen your grip on the reigns, the world will spin out of control. Setting limits makes you feel guilty, but you know it can’t continue this way. When you can take responsibility for yourself, your people will start to do the same.

The Details

Therapist+Long+Beach
  • Laura S. Pearce, Associate Clinical Social Worker #89615 under clinical supervision of Sara Stanizai, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist #98421

  • Training and experience working with children and teens (age 12-18), adults, and families.

  • NASW certification in Trauma and Victim’s Advocacy - in process

  • MSW from the University of Georgia

  • BA in Creative Writing from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA.

  • MOC lesbian, crossfitter, aging punk, classic hiphop aficionado, epicurean, badass ukelele player.