“My whole life I have tried to fly, not realizing that our arms are our wings, and we glide by reaching out, and land by reaching in.”  - Mark Nepo

Amanda Leitner

 

Child & Somatic Therapy

in San Francisco & Oakland

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist #90324

Are you feeling stuck, lost, hopeless, or out of balance?

Is your child struggling in a way that is breaking your heart?Psychotherapy is the work of coming home to yourself. Therapy works because we do this work together. Please browse this site for more information, and when you are ready to reach out, I'll be here to greet you. 

 

Schedule your free 20-minute phone or in-person consultation

I see things in terms of relationships. How we relate to one another, and how the various parts of ourselves come together to form our sense of self. I consider therapy to be one of the most sacred forms of relationship there is. Therapy is the art of bringing our inner and outer relationships back into harmony, of putting the pieces back together so that we can “re-member” who we really are. Sometimes we discover this for the first time, and surprise ourselves by what we are capable of.

 

I have known I wanted to be a therapist since I was a teenager, and found first solace and then self-confidence with the help of my own therapist. I’ve also held a lifelong admiration for the human body - the whole that will always be immeasurably greater than the sum of its parts. When we work with the body, we work with your direct here-and-now experience of yourself. This is the place from which change becomes possible.

Philosophy

Amanda Leitner, LMFT
 
"What is wounded in a relationship must be, after all, healed in a relationship"  -Annie Rogers
 

Approach

My style is warm, relational, and sincere. Trust building is our first priority, and I always consider you the foremost expert on yourself. In my work with adults and children both, we weave together meaning based on thoughts, emotions, and body sensations. We ask, “What wants to happen?” and then listen and make room for the answers. Depending on the age of the client as well as the modality we’re using, this could happen verbally or non-verbally. Each session is a creative and collaborative act. I can be direct and spacious in turns, and I am fond of giving little “homework” assignments so that our work can continue throughout the week. We can do either brief goal-oriented work or longer-term depth work, depending on what’s needed.

Education & Experience

I received my BA in Psychology from Pitzer College in Claremont, CA, and my MA in Somatic (or body-oriented) Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. After graduating in 2011, I pioneered and ran the counseling program at a PreK-8th grade school in San Leandro, before transitioning into private practice. My work is informed by my experience and training in Jungian, mindfulness, and attachment approaches, Hakomi, Rosen Method, and Kathy Kain/Stephen Terrell's "Touch Skills" and "Somatic Resilience & Regulation" trainings for the treatment of episodic and complex trauma. I also practice massage therapy and somatic bodywork at my San Francisco office.

 
“There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots; the other, wings.”  -Hodding Carter
 

Child Therapy

 

(Oakland office)

 
I work with children dealing with:
  • Anxiety/Phobias
  • Depression
  • Divorce/Family conflict
  • Death in the family
  • Trauma/PTSD
  • ADHD
  • School issues
  • Behavioral issues
  • Social challenges
  • Sensory integration issues
  • Development & life transition issues
  • Low self-esteem
  • and more

Childhood is the time of life when we are most ourselves, naturally and without inhibition. Yet sometimes things go wrong. Divorce, the death of a loved one, phobias, social or learning challenges could potentially lead a child into a difficult phase. Puberty can present totally new challenges for preteens. Sometimes, you simply don’t know what triggers the change in your child’s mood or behavior. Some degree of ups and downs are normal and to be expected. But when your child has been suffering or acting out for an intense or extended period of time, it may be time for child therapy.


Our sessions are an opportunity for your child to feel and act completely themselves. Sometimes I use cognitive-behavioral methods, such as making flow charts together, but often we are letting the play guide the way. Because children show us - just as much or more than they tell us - what’s going on inside, in therapy we use the language of the body and of play to communicate, express, and move towards healing.

 

I specialize in working with children ages 4 and above. I am equally comfortable doing symbolic play on the floor with kindergarteners, and real-talking with adolescents. I have a sand tray and figure collection that is popular with kids (as well as adults!) and a variety of books, games, sensory toys, and art supplies. I consult regularly with caregivers, because the work you do at home with them is at least equally important as the work we do in the office. Occasionally I offer family sessions to facilitate important conversations and bonding activities between you and your child.

“There is deep wisdom within our very flesh, if we can only come to our senses and feel it.”  
-Elizabeth A. Behnke
 

Adult Somatic Therapy

 

(SF & Oakland offices)

I work with people dealing with:
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Life transitions
  • Grief & loss
  • Trauma/PTSD
  • Chronic pain
  • Relationship issues
  • Personal growth
  • Identity & spiritual crises
  • and more

“Somatic” simply means “of the body.” In somatic therapy, we use the lens of what your body is experiencing as our entryway into exploring what is going on in the whole of your self.


Every mental and emotional event has a physical counterpart. For example, stress isn’t just a mindset; it’s also very much a bodily event. Stress is our fight-or-flight response, our survival mechanism, the fuel that powers us through so many big and small moments. But when our natural stress response doesn’t come to a natural close, we can become run-down, shut down, or irritable. We can be prone to health problems or relational problems in this state, and feel cut off from our sense of vitality. Somatic therapy helps you deeply listen to the wisdom of your body, so that cycles that need to complete can do so, and your natural healing response can bring the various parts of yourself and your life back into harmony.

 

I find touch work to be the most direct and effective method of somatic therapy. There is a massage table in my office, and I often offer fully clothed hands-on work as a part of our psychotherapy. Touch work can be as quiet or talk-filled as we choose. Each session generally begins and ends with at least a little seated face-to-face time, so we can first check in, and then integrate what came up during the touch portion of our work.


Hands-on somatic therapy is for anybody with a body. We will go as slow as you want and need in preparing for touch work. We can work with issues ranging from personal growth to chronic pain, various types of trauma, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, life transitions, and identity and spiritual crises. 

GET IN TOUCH

Please reach out to schedule your free 20-minute initial consultation. We can consult over the phone or at the office, whichever is best for you.

(510) 463 - 4056

amandaleitnermft@gmail.com

1437 Leimert Blvd.

Suite A

Oakland, CA 94602

57 Post St. 

Suite 813

San Francisco, CA 94104

 

© 2020 by Amanda Leitner

Amanda Leitner, LMFT