Elle Michel, LMFT
I grew up in Southern California and was always fascinated by the question of why people do the things they do. I am fluent in Spanish and spent time studying abroad in Costa Rica while in high school. Eager for another cultural exchange experience, I attended Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where I earned a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology, and spent my junior year studying Andalusian culture in Spain.
Encountering my own life's struggles, I took a year off from college in order to focus on my own wellness. My own life experiences have invoked in me the desire to pursue healing for myself. Through a variety of modalities, I have undergone profound personal transformation, spiritually, mentally, and physically. Continuing to foster my own spiritual, mental, and physical wellness is an integral part of my life.
Upon graduating from Trinity in 2008, I realized that I wanted to effect social change through a more personal and direct means than by doing anthropological research. I decided I wanted to deepen my understanding of human nature through the lens of psychology. That, as well as my personal experiences benefiting from therapy, inspired me to change course and begin a career as a therapist.
While continuing to deepen my own spiritual and emotional growth, I obtained my Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University in Los Angeles in June 2011. At Antioch I practiced as a therapist at the Antioch University Counseling Center from 2010 to 2011, providing therapy to adults and children in outpatient and school-based settings.
In 2011, I began practicing as a child, adult, and family therapist at Pacific Clinics in Glendale, Calif., where I delivered intensive field-based therapy in Spanish to the Latino population of the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys. There, I worked primarily with teens and their families and employed various evidence-based practices, including Managing and Adapting Practice (MAP), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Seeking Safety. As a treatment team leader at Pacific Clinics, I developed comprehensive treatment plans and led and managed teams of psychiatrists, counselors, case managers, and social workers to ensure that clients received services tailored to their individual needs. I also received extensive training in crisis management, cultural competency, and substance abuse treatment.
Looking to move in the direction of focusing primarily on treating complex trauma and borderline personality disorder (BPD), in 2014 I began working at Clearview Treatment Programs, a leading provider of BPD, substance abuse and co-occurring disorders treatment. At Clearview, I gained additional training in the treatment of addiction, traumatic stress, disordered eating, and personality disorders. I earned training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and provided individual as well as group therapy. While at Clearview I developed group therapy curricula and led therapy groups focused on relapse prevention, cognitive behavioral therapy, attachment theory and relationship skill building, and treatment of disordered eating and body image issues.
In May of 2015 I joined the team at Westside Treatment, an intensive outpatient treatment center in West LA specializing in substance dependence and dual diagnosis treatment, where I provided group and individual therapy. While at Westside I earned additional training in attachment focused Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM), DBT, and Brainspotting. I left Westside in 2018 in order to focus exclusively on my private practice.
In my private practice I specialize in the treatment of complex trauma and borderline personality disorder through a strengths-based, insight-oriented, and somatic approach. I have in-depth experience treating clients struggling with high-risk behaviors such as substance abuse, self-harm, and suicidality/homicidality. I value the use of mindfulness-based practices to assist clients in reducing anxiety and increasing self-efficacy. My knowledge and experience as a trained psychotherapist, as well as my personal experience working to overcome my own personal struggles, give me a unique and valuable perspective in working with others, and allows me to approach my clients from a place of true compassion and hopefulness.