So what exactly can you expect from working with me?
When working with me, you can expect to be supported, understood, and guided as you delve deeper, making powerful discoveries that result in lasting, meaningful change. I will honor and appreciate your quirks, your musings, your dark sense of humor, your hangups, and the times when you can't find the words to express what's going on. I will always hear you.
My approach to therapy is informed by attachment theory, trauma-informed care, psychodynamic work, mindfulness, insight from the coaching industry, and research based on vulnerability, shame, self-compassion, and creativity. In general, a 50 minute psychotherapy session will consist of a check-in period, an experiential treatment component, and a closing activity or summary. The treatments I frequently use include EMDR, HeartMath®, Art Therapy, expressive & therapeutic writing, Energy Psychology, coaching strategies, mindfulness & mind-body connection approaches, and Imagery Rehearsal Therapy(for treating chronic nightmares). Click here for more.
A Brief Word on Art Therapy... Please know that you do not need an artistic background to benefit from art therapy. In fact, most of my incoming clients haven't touched an art material in years, or even decades! After trying it, clients often report that the art making unlocked new areas for growth, healing, and expansion.
Yes, art is a tool for communication, insight, integration, and relaxation-no matter the skill level of the creator/client. Connect with that deeper part of yourself that knows and see for yourself.
For more info about art therapy, click here and find published research that demonstrates the therapeutic benefits of art therapy in the treatment and healing of individuals seeking personal growth and healing from a variety of challenging circumstances.
The nuts + bolts of my experience and training...
I have been so fortunate to witness breathtaking growth and resilience in my clinical practice across a variety of settings in the DC Metro region over the last decade— including work with underserved youth with severe emotional disabilities, adult victims of domestic abuse, and military members suffering from traumatic brain injuries and combat trauma. With a strong foundation in trauma-informed psychotherapy and treatment planning, I founded my private practice in 2016 in Bethesda, Maryland, where I have thrived ever since.
I was trained at George Washington University, where I studied Art Therapy and Professional Counseling. While there, I focused on trauma-informed care through my coursework, research, and internships at Children's National Medical Center and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. My graduate thesis research examined the role of attachment theory and the benefits of art-based interventions in treating children in military families experiencing deployment.
In addition to my work as a psychotherapist, I have over six years of of experience in PreK-12 education, which has left me acutely aware of the stress that families and professionals encounter, particularly in this highly competitive part of the world.
My current professional interests and involvement include volunteering clinical time with area nonprofits that focus on improving access to mental health care, preventing domestic abuse, and promoting healthy relationships. I'm a member of the Potomac Art Therapy Association, Licensed Professional Counselors of Maryland, and the International EMDR Association. Most recently, I have completed training in EMDR through the Trauma Institute & Child Institute, Comprehensive Energy Psychology (Levels I & II), and Complex Trauma and Shame: Somatic Interventions with Janina Fisher, PhD.
Jessica Gada, MA, LCPC, LCPAT, ATR-BC is licensed in the state of Maryland (#s: LC7212; ATC164) by the Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists, and board certified in art therapy (#316-50) by the national Art Therapy Credentials Board.