About John R. Edwards, L.C.S.W,
Counseling | Psychotherapy
Oakland | Berkeley San Francisco Bay Area | CA
A bit about my background:
I grew up mostly in the tropical nation of Guyana, South America. I was sort a problem solver, helper and really liked organizing people. I was also bullied for the perception that I was gay which actually turned out to be true but I certainly could have lived without the bullying. It took awhile but it did get better for me.
How did I get started in the mental health field?
When I got to college I was a pre-med major but totally bombed for all sorts of reasons. A lot had to do with being gay and attending an ultra conservative small Christian college. Five majors and five years after I entered college I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Social Work. I continued without a break (I knew if I stopped that it would be years before I would get my masters) to obtain my masters in social work with a specialization in health and mental health.
During my internships, I realized that I really like helping people. With the reading of lots of big books and excellent supervision I quickly became quite adept at assisting people through complex life problems sometimes in quite creative ways. In the early 1990s, I was the social worker on the HIV/AIDS unit at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in Brooklyn, NY when no one else wanted the job. As a result, I know about stigma, stigma by association and helping others find and accept their true self despite the messages from heard from others. I spent over 10 years working in healthcare helping individuals and families deal with both the expected and the unexpected. Everything from heart attacks, to new diagnosis of diabetes to helping severely mentally ill people maintain their housing. My natural directness, compassion and caring along with witnessing the positive changes that humans are capable of creating in their lives despite sometimes overwhelming odds allows me to continue helping others.
Life on the west coast
I moved to the west coast after I got tired of the hustle and bustle of NYC and I was really tired of winter. A shift in career focus occurred when I took a position in Child Protective Services after I arrived in California. I have also held positions in public housing, community mental health and non profits around homelessness and homelessness prevention. I was a supervisor and clinical director at several non profits. These jobs enabled me to learn first hand a lot about the human condition including seeing people at their absolute worse and at their best. Helping people achieve their dreams, discontinue unwanted behaviors, repair relationships and living the life they truly wanted to live brought me great satisfaction.
The big change
Over the years, I have always had a small private practice while working full time at an organization. In 2011, I got fired from a job (there was a mutiny) and then was fired from a second job 2012. Talk about having your life turned upside down. With the support of friends, family and my therapist at the time, I was able to make it through these two incidents. I also came to the realization that while I was a great employee deep down inside I work best in environments that inspire, accept and are open to transformations. In other words, I am a transformational leader. I help people not only figure out the why but also the how and the what's next. Employers usually want employees who are good at task completions in the best interest of the organization. I want to help people transform their lives. After the firings, I began my transition to full time private practice where I am my own boss and can help people transform their lives.
I enjoy helping people transform their lives through the creation of amazing relationships with themselves and others.
Highlights of my formal education and trainings that provide me with the knowledge, skills and values to provide helpful counseling. I am pretty sure you don’t want me to just wing it.
2000 Two Year Post Master's Certificate in Advanced Clinical Social Work
Individual Psychodynamic Therapy Concentration
City University of New York-Hunter College School of Social Work
New York, NY
1990 Master's of Social Work
Concentration in Health and Mental Health
Walla Walla University
College Place, WA
1989 Bachelor's of Science in Social Work with Departmental Honors
Atlantic Union College
South Lancaster, MA
California: L.C.S.W - License No. - LCSW 20729
Washington State: L.I.C.S.W. - License No. LW600585
New York: L.C.S.W. - R Psychotherapy Privilege License No. 045531-1
2016 - Art and Science of Love Workshop Leader - the Gottman Institute, Seattle, WA
2015 - Certified Gottman Method Couples' Therapist the Gottman Institute,
2015 - Certified Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Educator by the Gottman Institute, Seattle, WA
2015 - Certificate in the Treament of Eating and Weight Disorders, University of California, Berkeley Extension, Berkeley, CA
2007 - Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the Treatment of Anxiety in Children and Youth by the Anxiety Disorders Association of British Columbia, Canada
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION MEMBERSHIPS
The Association For Addiction Professionals - NAADAC
National Association of Social Workers