We want you to live the life you choose to live.
Psychotherapy works best when the client-therapist relationship is one of empathy and trust.
Choosing a therapist can be a challenging decision.
While each of our skilled and highly-trained therapists has their own unique approach and specialization, the Takoma Therapy team shares the belief that every person has the inner resources to make desired changes and is dedicated to helping our clients achieve their goals.
I truly enjoy engaging with people and have a naturally warm, open style. I believe my authenticity and compassion are key to forming trusting relationships with my clients. To me, therapy is about having a conversation with you. I listen to the stories you share about your life and look for the meaning you have given to those stories. I ask questions that explore the relationship you have with yourself, those around you, and how the experiences you share about yourself shape those relationships. I ask questions that seek out alternative perspectives that highlight your ability to handle whatever difficulty you may be facing. Together we can work towards creative resolutions to complex issues.
For over ten years I've focused my work on individuals, couples, and families dealing with trauma as a result of abuse and neglect. My experience as a trauma counselor also fuels my passion to help women of color explore issues of racism, sexism, and intergenerational trauma. As a biracial, female therapist I feel uniquely qualified and effective, being able to look through a similar lens of racial identity questions along with my clients. In 2013, I established Takoma Therapy’s ‘Women of Color’ Group for this purpose, and remain committed to this program.
I hold a Bachelor of Science degree from Kings College, London University, and a Master's in Social Work from Smith College. I am a member of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. For the past 5 years, I have been a presenter at the ISSTD Conference, speaking on the topic of surviving childhood trauma.
My first book, “Understanding the Paradox of Surviving Childhood Trauma: Techniques and Tools for Working with Suicidality and Dissociation", is available from Amazon, or through Routledge Publishing. Written for trauma therapists, it provides a fresh lens through which to view the coping mechanisms of survivors of childhood abuse and neglect.
Monica Rene Testa, LCSW-C
Tanisha Sanders, LCSW-C
Jewna Ehlke, LCPC
I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, employing the theoretical approaches of cognitive behavioral therapy and family systems. I enjoy working with adolescents and young adults of all nationalities. Reviewing one's family of origin can provide valuable insight into the area of one's life where healing is desired. I believe that my own life's experiences and training have prepared me to be your ally and your biggest cheerleader. I strongly believe in the process of aligning myself with you as we walk through the healing journey, and look forward to helping you learn to embrace your best self without apology.
I was born and raised in Washington DC. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Washington DC, and a Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Walden University; a Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs approved school.
I am a student pursuing a Master's degree in Counseling in order to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and serve the Washington, DC area, where I currently reside.
As a second career, I chose this field because I see people who are hurting emotionally and experiencing stress, sadness, and the inability to enjoy life. I desire to walk alongside those who experience the negative emotions that result from hurtful and traumatic life events, helping them be seen, heard, and validated throughout the healing process. My goal is to help people acknowledge and be honest about the unpleasant parts of their unique narratives, assisting them to heal, grow, and enjoy life again.
I believe that being used as an agent of change in someone's life is humbling, and that it's a privilege to be entrusted with someone's story and emotions, and to journey toward healing together.
Chris Lewis, LCSW-C
I am a clinically trained social worker who has worked extensively in the mental health field for the past 20 years. I have a dedicated interest in helping clients deal with a range of issues including depression, anxiety, bereavement, low self-esteem and other issues that impact our ability to lead more fulfilling lives.
Over the course of my career I have been able to help people make meaningful changes and develop greater insight into what are some of the contributing dynamics behind their difficulties. There has been no greater reward in my experience than assisting someone with overcoming an emotional hurdle.
I currently provide individual, couples, and family psychotherapy. A person-centered empathic listening style is the cornerstone of my clinical approach in practice.
Helen Freiling, LCPC
Whether you approach the struggles you are facing from a biological, spiritual, psychological, or behavioral perspective, the consistent gift I bring to our work together is a passion for continued personal growth and knowledge gathered from experience with many levels of care.
I have an approachable and open style, which I believe allows me to help you do the same. With mindful attentiveness and by gently confronting obstacles and threats to emotional health and relational satisfaction, my clients and I work collaboratively, in order for them to become able to increase their personal resilience while undergoing the process of cathartic healing. I draw from an array of therapeutic techniques to create safe relationships that nourish innate strengths, allow me to challenge you, and allow you to begin the difficult change-work you desire.
I have a unique perspective of people as inherently dignified, supported by six years of philosophical and scientific education and study of the human behaviors. I have a masters in Clinical Psychology from the Institute for the Psychological Sciences, along with six years’ experience as a counselor in a variety of settings. I have specialized in treating eating disorders and am currently furthering a specialization in trauma treatment. I have a keen interest in treating clients diagnosed with PTSD, bipolar disorder, eating issues, sexual problems, relationship difficulties, anxiety, depression and patterns of behavior that are not leading to fulfillment.
Melissa Stillman, LCPC
As a licensed clinical professional counselor for the past nine years, I welcome clients with warmth and empathy, creating a safe and comfortable safe space for them to share their life journey and current struggles. My approach to therapy combines compassion with creativity, working with clients to understand the roots of their issues while helping to rebuild self-esteem, strength, and a positive outlook on life. I enjoy and take pride in getting to know my clients and guiding them through an individualized therapeutic process of healing and transformation.
My client-centered focus stems from my experience working with people from a wide range of backgrounds and circumstances. I have provided therapy for at-risk youth and their families, cancer survivors and their caregivers, as well as individuals and couples, helping them navigate through anxiety, trauma, and loss towards a restored sense of confidence and hope.
I hold a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Art and a Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Miami.
Janet Minichiello, LCPAT, ATR-BC
I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Art Therapist. I support clients of all ages to achieve a variety of goals including treating depression and anxiety, building self-confidence, and processing trauma. I am an ally of the LGBTQIA community and have worked with young people (and also their families) exploring their gender and/or sexual identities. I have extensive experience working with children and adolescents, but have also enjoyed working with older adults living with neurocognitive disorders (formerly known as dementia).
As an art therapist, I understand that many people – even the most verbally gifted adults – can sometimes have trouble expressing their emotions through words. Making art during a session can offer a different way to communicate thoughts and feelings. I have helped clients use art to explore their inner selves, achieve a sense of mastery and fulfillment, and sometimes just have some fun! No experience is necessary to explore your creative side, and I am also fully-qualified to offer more traditional, talk-based therapy for clients who prefer it.
I see therapy as a collaborative process that can only be effective if it is built upon mutual trust and respect. I prioritize giving clients the time and space to feel comfortable and secure as we work towards addressing their treatment goals.
I am a proud native Washingtonian and obtained my Master’s in art therapy from The George Washington University in 2016. Outside of work I can generally be found catering to the needs of my two floofy roommates, Zenzie the cat and Lomi the blind and deaf dog.
Erin McNamara, LCSW-C
From a young age, I knew I wanted to help and heal people. This knowing led me to obtain a BA in Psychology and a Master's in Social Work from Catholic University.
For over 17 years I have focused my clinical social work career on helping the families and children of the District of Columbia. I have worked in DC’s foster care system, a psychiatric hospital, a group home for teen parents, an outpatient mental health agency and, currently, in the ACE Diversion Program. Additionally, I have worked in private practice with adolescents and adults for several years.
I have a particular interest in working with trauma clients. I have taken numerous trainings to enhance my clinical skills, notably a one year post-graduate psychotherapy program with the International Psychotherapy Institute. In 2015, I became a certified yoga teacher. I believe that yoga and other mind/body practices can help alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression, and am the owner of UP Yoga Studio in Silver Spring, Maryland.