Diana Parker, LSW (Associate Therapist)
Diana Parker (she/her) is an Associate Therapist at The Center for Growth. She sees clients at the Art Museum office and Ocean City, New Jersey office. She sees clients virtually in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Diana offers individual therapy, family therapy, child therapy, and co-facilitates group therapy. She creates a safe space for clients to examine their interior life and learn new ways to be in the world. Diana is a Licensed Social Worker in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Diana is a therapist, social media and marketing manager, and a continuing education unit (CEU) provider program manager. She practices therapy under the supervision of a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
Diana’s Therapeutic Counseling Approach
In her clinical work, Diana incorporates Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Play Therapy, Narrative Therapy, and Systems Theory. She takes a wholistic approach to therapy and believes the client and environment are connected, so naturally one informs the other. Diana creates a safe and non-judgmental space for clients to examine how home life, relationships, community, etc. impact their view of the world and themselves. She supports growth and self discovery, at a pace that is comfortable for the client. Diana works with clients to develop goals that are meaningful and personal to them. Diana brings a strengths-based perspective to therapy. She believes clients embody resiliency and determination, first demonstrated by taking the courageous step to come to therapy. With the right tools, support, and guidance clients can explore the journey to mental wellness and self acceptance with Diana.
Diana works with children, adults, and older adults and is open to all genders, cultural identities, and ethnic backgrounds. Diana’s area of interest includes postpartum depression/anxiety, parenting, divorce/break-ups, LGBTQIA, play therapy, life transitions, low self esteem, anxiety and panic attacks, and blended families. Diana’s area of specialization includes senior therapy, caregiver support, premarital counseling, depression and stress management.
Diana has worked in the social work field for nearly 15 years. She has a passion for mental health, feminism, equality, health care, and human rights. Diana’s background and perspective on social work is informed by social justice and activism. Before becoming a therapist, Diana worked for various social service agencies and health insurance companies in Philadelphia and New Jersey. She has experience in outpatient therapy, intake assessments, case management, service coordination, and middle management. Diana first fell in love with helping others and witnessing life stories as a Certified Nursing Assistant in Western North Carolina. She primarily worked with adults and seniors in the community and in nursing facilities. Diana’s empathetic and kind nature helped clients immediately feel calm and comfortable. Many requested her assistance time and time again because she is steadfast, reliable, warm, and kind. Her passion to help others and celebrate diversity continued to grow when she moved across the country and became an AmeriCorps volunteer with City Year Los Angeles. During her time in California, she tutored elementary students and beautified neglected areas of the city. Diana completed her undergraduate degree as an adult learner, so she is empathetic toward individuals struggling with life transitions and identity. She graduated from the University of North Carolina Greensboro with a bachelor’s degree in social work. Then she graduated from West Chester University of Pennsylvania with a master’s degree in social work. The thread that binds her work together is a passion for people, their stories, and the power of hope.
Diana’s Approach to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a counseling approach that examines the relationship between one’s own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Often when dealing with depression or anxiety a client can have physical symptoms such as body aches, fatigue, lack of appetite, heart palpitations, sweaty palms, and breathlessness. Diana works with clients to identify their own personal connection to helpful or unhelpful thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Once identified, she helps clients examine which patterns work for them and which do not. She will collaborate with clients to develop person-centered goals. Diana grounds this therapeutic approach is in systems theory, so she sees clients' thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as products of their environment.
Diana’s Approach to Play Therapy
In the past, Diana conducted outpatient therapy with client’s diagnosed with Autism. She believes every person diagnosed with Autism is unique. Each client’s experience, from the age of onset to behavior to development of the disease, is different. Diana uses play therapy to engage children in treatment. Play therapy is a modality typically used with children ages 3-12. Play therapy helps children express their thoughts and feelings when they don’t have the verbal language to do so. It teaches children how to communicate with others, express feelings, modify behavior, and develop problem solving skills. Diana uses play, toys, and games to engage clients in a meaningful and relatable way. When clinically appropriate, Diana engages parents and caregivers in session. Often children excel when skills and behaviors learned during session are practiced and reinforced outside of session, like at school and at home for example. By utilizing the child’s support system and engaging family members and/or caregivers in session, Diana can facilitate the development and practice of new skills, coping mechanisms, and behavior. Diana creates a safe, warm, and welcoming environment when conducting play therapy.
Diana’s Approach to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) helps clients acknowledge and embrace difficult emotions. A client may come to therapy because they feel anxious or depressed. Sometimes these feelings are coupled with self judgment. That can look like self criticism or blame for these feelings. A client may feel guilty about being depressed. Maybe a client wants to get out from under a dark cloud of depression but does not know how. Or maybe a client feels angry about intrusive thoughts. Diana works with clients to identify these feelings and examine the root cause of the reaction to these feelings. She will collaborate with the client to develop coping mechanisms and tools to manage difficult feelings. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is about bringing difficult thoughts and feelings to the surface so they can be acknowledged and unpacked. The goal is to honor a clients experience and provide support and tools to manage difficult emotions. Done in a supportive, encouraging, and non-judgmental environment the practice can be quite powerful.
Diana’s Approach to Motivational Interviewing
Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a constructive conversation about change. MI is useful when a client is looking to make a change, whether it’s to stop smoking or end a relationship or quit a unfulfilling job. Often when faced with change, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. We can feel paralyzed, confused about how to make lasting change, or lack motivation; even when it’s something we want to do that is important to us. Diana uses open dialogue with clients to understand current thought patterns and motivations. She will assess a client’s readiness for change and have important conversations about how clients want to live in the world. An important part of any therapeutic approach is reflection. It is powerful to hear one’s own words repeated back to them. It allows clients to hear their own words in a new way. Diana provides a supportive environment to talk about change. She asks meaningful questions and provides gentle encouragement or pointed observation, whichever feedback style the client prefers.
Diana’s Approach to Narrative Therapy
Everyone has stories they tell themselves. Whether it’s, “I can’t dance” or “I have a bad temper like my Dad.” These stories are reinforced by people around us and gain momentum over time. Sometimes the person and behavior can become conflated. For example, “I am bad because I have a bad temper.” Narrative Therapy takes these stories and separates the person from the behavior. In therapy with Diana, she will use compassion and empathy to help unravel the client’s relationship to their own stories. Diana uses meaningful reflection and observation to help clients examine behavior, identify what kind of person they want to be, what values they want to uphold, and how they want to interact with the world and those around them.
Diana has a special interest in working with clients experiencing depression. Diana views depression as multi-faceted. Depression brings a whole host of psychological and physical symptoms that can impact every part of a client’s life from work to home life to relationships to self esteem. The weight of depression can be heavy – it brings feelings of hopelessness, exhaustion, fatigue, sadness, and pain. The word depression comes from the Latin word ‘deprimere’, which means "to press down". Pushing down thoughts, feelings, and experiences clogs a client’s ability to speak freely. This impedes a client’s ability to own their perspective and lived experience. Diana uses narrative therapy with a systemic approach to look at the client's environment, relationships, and sense of self and explore how current thoughts and patterns move the client towards or away from their treatment goals. As always, Diana grounds her practice in empathy, understanding, and psychological safety.
Diana grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband, daughter, and two cats. In her spare time, Diana likes to read New York Times Best Sellers, ride her bike, and loves a great cup of coffee.
- Pennsylvania: SW135669
- New Jersey: 44SL06926500