Marina France, LCSW, Therapist & Director Of New Mexico Office
Marina France (she/her/hers), LCSW, offers therapy and counseling in Santa Fe, New Mexico and virtual therapy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Marina specializes in individual psychotherapy, couples counseling, sex therapy, trauma therapy and grief therapy.
Practicing individual psychotherapy and couples counseling since 2015, Marina joined the Center for Growth in 2019, and in 2022 she opened the Center for Growth’s Santa Fe Therapy Office in New Mexico. She offers both virtual and in-person therapy in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and virtual therapy to clients living in the Philadelphia, PA area.
In addition to her focus on anxiety and depression therapy, trauma therapy, sex therapy, and grief therapy, Marina enjoys exploring the full human condition with her clients. In particular, Marina helps clients work through the concerns of emerging adulthood, challenging life transitions, and relationship difficulties. She has a special affinity for adults coming to terms with dysfunction in their families of origin and for those who are working to find their voice in the world. She is also passionate about supporting clients to reclaim, heal, and connect more deeply with their sexuality.
Described by her clients as warm and attentive, Marina offers practical tools to create positive change in your daily life as well as a safe, non-judgmental space for deeper exploration. Marina pays careful attention to your story and tailors her approach to fit the concerns you and she identify together as areas for attention. Marina works closely and collaboratively with her clients: together, you and Marina can make sense of your experiences, celebrate your successes and mourn your losses, explore your purpose and values, and try out new experiences and narratives that shift your life in a positive direction.
Marina takes a holistic approach to exploring the whole self, and seeks to bridge the gap between sex therapy and psychotherapy. While clients often specifically seek out either sex therapy or psychotherapy, Marina attends to the ways in which our sexuality and our other parts of self intersect to form core experiences and identities. She enjoys working with alternative sexual and relational lifestyles, and welcomes all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Marina France’s Training and Experience
Marina earned her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Chicago. She completed post-master’s certificate programs in psychodynamic therapy at Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. She is trained in Level 1 Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy (PACT).
Prior to joining the Center for Growth, Marina worked in various mental health therapy and counseling settings. She believes that all people have a right to quality mental health support, and has actively sought to work with marginalized and underserved communities. She began her career at WOAR - Philadelphia Center Against Sexual Violence, where she conducted individual psychotherapy and group therapy for victim/survivors of sexual violence. Marina also provided individual psychotherapy at the Therapy Center of Philadelphia, a therapy practice dedicated to providing affirming mental health care for women, transgender and gender non-conforming communities. She also has experience working in community-based mental health settings, and conducted group therapy and individual psychotherapy for adults with serious mental illness at John F Kennedy Behavioral Health Center’s intensive outpatient psychiatric rehabilitation program. Finally, just before joining the Center for Growth, Marina coordinated bereavement care for loved ones of victims of homicide, suicide and drug overdose at the Medical Examiner’s Office of Philadelphia. Throughout her varied work experience, Marina has especially valued the human connection and has held firm to her belief in everyone’s right to live a full, authentic life on their own terms. She is delighted to work with a wide variety of individuals and couples at the Center for Growth, and as a supervisor she enjoys giving back to the community by mentoring new clinicians.
Marina believes that while we often seek therapy to resolve an immediate problem, individual psychotherapy and couples counseling can also provide insight, skills and healing that help us grow even beyond our initial hopes. While each individual and couple brings a unique set of concerns to therapy, Marina finds that underneath our pressing worries often lie the core themes of our lives: how to love and connect, how to find release from suffering, how to find meaning, and how to live authentically and stand in our own power.
Marina draws from various evidence-based approaches to create a unique therapeutic experience for each client, within her “home base” is psychodynamic therapy. Through this lens, Marina is attentive to how core experiences and emotions resurface throughout the lifespan, coloring our interactions, relationships and sense of self. While we can often effectively tackle a problem directly with a behavioral approach, sometimes we get stuck in patterns that we don’t fully understand and don’t know how to change. Psychodynamic therapy helps us understand how we are bringing our histories forward into our day-to-day lives, often reliving the same painful dynamics over and over again. Psychodynamic therapy helps us zoom out and gain clarity about who we are and why we do what we do, which allows us to make change. Psychodynamic therapy holds that with greater insight into ourselves, we develop greater freedom to make choices that are in alignment with our goals and values.
To assist in this process, Marina also draws on attachment theory and neuroscience. Both of these frameworks shed light on the processes of human development and “wiring” that lead us to respond to the world around us in our habitual, seemingly instinctive ways. In particular when working with couples, Marina attends to the ways in which our nervous systems and attachment styles respond to stress in the relationship, and helps guide her clients to more secure functioning together.
In her work with all clients, Marina also weaves in humanistic and narrative approaches, empowering clients to shape the stories they tell themselves about who they are and what matters to them, and to work toward living their true potential. Her hope is that her clients feel valued and safe enough in therapy to take steps both large and small toward their vision of life, the one that makes them feel fully alive.
Marina’s Style of individual psychotherapy and couples counseling in Santa Fe, NM and Philadelphia, PA
As a relational, psychodynamic therapist, Marina brings curiosity, warmth and a supportive stance to examining the full self. She has great respect for the courage it takes to open up in therapy, and works to cultivate a supportive yet challenging therapeutic space that will allow you to feel supported as you take emotional risks, learn new skills, and test out new experiences. Throughout the therapeutic experience, Marina brings in empathy, humor, authenticity, and a great respect for your unique strengths. She truly enjoys her time with her clients, and she genuinely appreciates the strengths and successes of her clients as much as the challenges that bring them to therapy. Marina has a natural curiosity about people and the world, and often leads her clients to ask deep questions of themselves.
Anxiety and depression often go hand-in-hand, and often reflect real points of distress or “stuckness” in our lives. Anxiety and depression are universal to the human experience, and while they truly interfere with our quality of life, Marina also understands that they are common and often understandable responses to our lived experiences. Marina is sensitive to the biological causes of anxiety and depression and she is well versed in treating symptoms when conducting anxiety and depression therapy. At the same time, Marina believes in going beyond simple relief: as a humanistic therapist, she invites you to be curious about your anxiety and depression and the clues they may provide in understanding your core values, sense of self, and your desired place in the world. In anxiety and depression therapy, you and Marina may heal the deep fears or pain that you carry within, as well as identify concrete barriers to living your highest and best purpose today.
Marina believes that all of us deserve to experience safe, consensual sexual pleasure. Sex therapy can empower you with accurate information about sexual health and pleasure, provide you skills for better sexual experiences, and most importantly build your confidence and your appreciation for your sexual self. Sex therapy is reflective as well as experiential: it often involves homework to be done in the privacy of your home that we then talk about together. Marina is experienced working with sexual trauma, and is passionate about helping survivors heal and reclaim their relationships with their bodies and their sexual sevles. Marina also enjoys working with couples who struggle with desire discrepancy, as well as individuals who have felt inhibited in expressing their sexuality. Through sex therapy, Marina is committed to helping people reconnect with their own sexuality and to experience their sexuality on their own terms. Marina welcomes all gender identities, all sexual orientations, and all sexual/romantic lifestyles to participate in sex therapy.
The human response to trauma can take many forms, whether in acute physical symptoms following a major stressor, or in subtle ways that show up in different areas of life. In her approach to trauma therapy, Marina works first to identify the possible symptoms you may be experiencing related to trauma, and to provide education on trauma and coping skills for immediate stabilization. Once her clients are experiencing some relief, it is possible to begin looking at the ways trauma has impacted relationships, identity and beliefs about the world. In this phase of trauma therapy, Marina prioritizes creating a safe space to acknowledge the impact of trauma and grieving the damage it has caused. As allies in the work, Marina and her clients then move to reclaiming the parts of self that have been hurt or denied as a result of trauma, and to imagine new possibilities for relationships and selfhood that authentically reflect the whole you.
A word about sex therapy and psychotherapy in Santa Fe, NM and Philadelphia, PA
All too often, sex therapy and “regular” psychotherapy operate in silos. Marina believes that sexuality is an important dimension of the self, and as such should be integrated into general psychotherapy and couples counseling. Even if the clinical focus of your work with her is something else, she welcomes any questions that might come up about sex. On the flip side, sometimes when we seek specific help for sexual dysfunction or pain, we are surprised to uncover emotional and mental processes that are important to factors of our sexuality. Even if the clinical focus of your work is sexual, with Marina it is always OK to discuss issues related to anxiety, trauma, depression or whatever is on your mind.
Feel free to self schedule an in-person therapy appointment or a virtual therapy appointment with her. Marina France lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is licensed in both New Mexico and Pennsylvania, and works virtually with clients located in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area as well as across the state of New Mexico.
- New Mexico: C-12098
- Pennsylvania: CW021677
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