Julie Gustafson is a generalist psychotherapist, sex therapist, meditation instructor and writer. Her research work in sexuality, expressive writing, psychological trauma and community-based health have appeared in psychological journals including Aids & Behavior and Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology. Her passion for mindfulness in psychotherapy arose from her volunteer work at UCLA's Mindfulness- based Integrative Cognitive Behavior Therapy Research Program. Julie was inspired by the work of Dr. Lobsang Rapgay (a psychologist and Buddhist monk) who incorporated his training in classical mindfulness meditation into the clinical management of pain and depression. Julie is a long time practitioner of meditation and continues her ongoing studies in Buddhist teachings of the mind. She has received direct teachings on meditation, and the nature of mind from Buddhist Masters such as, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Thich Nhat Hahn and many others.
Julie is deeply interested in how people cope with distress using their own spiritual beliefs, including their use of prayer and meditation. She has traveled to China, Tibet, Nepal, Thailand and Israel; deepening her knowledge of Eastern and Western cultural expressions of spirituality. Although most forms of meditation and contemplative prayer evolved out of religious traditions, Julie is interested in how these self-processes are non-religiously incorporated into secular, modern society and specifically, mental health. Julie has taught non-religious forms of meditation to a variety of lay practitioners including, homeless youth, artists, persons living with chronic illness and mental health professionals.
In addition to her training in meditation, she has worked in the mental health profession for twenty years and has extensive therapeutic experience with adults, children, couples and families. Julie worked for 3 years providing thousands of hours of Applied Behavior Analysis and Greenspan Floortime Therapy to children and adolescents with developmental and emotional disorders. She trained other behavioral therapists and provided supportive therapy to parents coping with their children's illness.
For 5 years, Julie worked on psychological research within the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA's Semel Institute for Neuroscience. While working in UCLA's Sexual Health Program and Center for Trauma and Mental Health Disparities, she worked with sexual abuse survivors, trauma survivors living with sexually transmitted disease and other chronic illness. She was extensively trained by Internationally renowned psychologist and sex therapist, Dr. Gail Wyatt and cultural psychologist, Dr. Dorothy Chin in the areas of cultural diversity, sex therapy, childhood and adult sexual and physical abuse, cultural expressions of sexuality, sexually transmitted disease, ethnic diversity in psychological adjustment, addiction risk behavior, and interpersonal violence. Julie trained volunteers and helped run psychoeducational-psychotherapy groups at clinics throughout Los Angeles measuring the outcome of mental health delivery in underserved community-based organizations. Julie presented the results of this research to a Congressional panel, and was among a group of consultants asked to advise on a Bill for improving mental health treatment and reducing mental health disparity. Julie continues to advocate for the awareness of the public health risks of low access to mental health and for improved mental health care.
For 2 1/2 years, Julie was comprehensively trained in psychodynamic depth-psychotherapy at The Maple Counseling Center (TMCC) in Beverly Hills. At TMCC, she provided individual adult treatment for a wide range of issues. Additionally, as the clinical intake peer assistant, she provided training and peer mentoring in clinical assessment and clinical writing to incoming counselors.
Julie received her Bachelor's degree from University of California at Los Angeles and her Master's Degree from Pepperdine University. She stays active in learning and up-to-date in her knowledge of evidenced-based psychotherapy, in addition to studying unique non-psychological theories about human experience. She has attended seminars and trainings taught by Drs. Albert Bandura, Kathlyn Hendricks, Otto Kernberg, Marsha Linehan, Thich Nhat Hahn, Judith Orloff, Martin Seligman, Bessel Van der Kolk, David Wallin, Frank Yeomans, among others. Also, Julie has education in the area of animal assisted emotional support from Nurtured by Nature & Stand In Balance Equine Assisted Growth. Julie is a member of Psi Chi: The International Honor Society in Psychology and is a clinical fellow member of The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist LMFT #90388