Meet Our Founder and Director
Karen L. Smith
Our Founder and Director has maintained a full-time private practice for nearly 20 years. Early in her work, she identified the value of collaborating with other clinicians to discuss theories and approaches to work with clients, and the value of having more than one clinician engaging with the same client or client system.
While many outpatient therapists find themselves working in isolation, Ms. Smith has spent the past two decades participating in and running biweekly study and supervisions groups. These groups have created a team of clinicians who cross-refer clients when appropriate and have given them opportunities to discuss cases as a team.
Because of her years as a national educator on issues related to Eating Disorders, and more recently, educating other therapists on enriching their work with analytic theory, Ms. Smith found herself routinely getting more referrals than her practice could handle. Rather than simply referring them out to other clinicians, she decided to create a small group practice so she could offer a source for reliable psychotherapy services.
Each and every clinician in the Full Living practice has been interviewed and handpicked by the Director. Karen wishes to ensure nothing less than the best to offer those seeking top quality psychotherapy services and clinicians that truly care about their clients.
Ms. Smith talks with every potential client personally, spending time getting to know them and seeking to connect them to the clinician that will best match their needs. She has the heart to see that each one is placed with that perfect fit so they will reap the full benefits of their therapy experience.
Meet Our Clinicians
At its best, therapy is a space where your worries can heard without judgement. Therapy is a space where you can gain a deeper understanding how your worries started, what keeps your worries going, and techniques to calm your worries. Therapy, at its best, is a safe space where you can heal yourself with the support of a compassionate therapist. As a therapist, Marquita’s role is to join with you in your cloud of worry or sadness, and accompany you on your path to wellness.
As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker providing mental health therapy, Marquita specializes in helping people manage issues related to anxiety, grief, life transitions, depression, and traumatic experiences. Throughout Marquita’s career, she has worked with people from many walks of life, from those who survived life-threatening events to those working through everyday troubles. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with over 10 years’ experience as a therapist, Marquita has trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Cognitive-Behavioral (CBT), Trauma-Focused, and other therapy styles. Marquita has also worked significantly with people of color and the LGBTQ community.
Outside of Full Living, Marquita works as a Clinical Supervisor at the Therapy Center of Philadelphia, a feminist organization that serves women, transgender, and non-binary people. Marquita is also is the Philadelphia Chair for the Coffee and Conversations Program of the Pennsylvania Society of Clinical Social Work.
Services Currently Offered: Individual and Family Therapy, Works with Teens and Adults.
Valerie works to empower her clients to better navigate through the crossroads and transitions of life, in order to live their best lives. Her goal is to create a safe space for clients to hear themselves think and develop tools to manage transitions. Valerie has successfully navigated many of her own life changes and sees them as opportunities for growth. Research shows us that big life transitions trigger physical and emotional stress responses, and having coping skills helps provide the emotional stamina needed to thrive.
Valerie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Ph.D from Widener University. She an adjunct professor at Delaware County Community College. Valerie’s post graduate studies focused on African American women, and she continues to provide education on the Black Lives Matter movement. She has been working in the field for 20 years, using clinically tested and evidence based interventions in her work with clients.
Services Currently Offered: Individual and Couples Therapy, Works with Adults.
Deciding to begin psychotherapy is one of the kindest and most important choices you can make for yourself. It can be a turning point in your life, but it can also feel scary to talk to someone you don’t know well. Josh provides a warm, safe environment where he will listen carefully and will work together with you to understand and resolve the concerns you are struggling with and how they affect your current life.
Josh works with adults and adolescents who are struggling with relationship difficulties, performance issues, perfectionism, anxiety, depression, loss, low self-esteem, and a wide range of other concerns. When you come into Josh’s office, you will talk together about what you are struggling with and where you are feeling stuck. Josh believes therapy should be an interactive process, where you and he work together as a team, and talk about anything that is important to you.
Josh has advanced training in psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy, but draws upon a number of treatment approaches in his work, including relational therapy, psychodynamic therapy, self-psychological therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Services Currently Offered: Individual and Couples Therapy, Works with Adolescents and Adults.
Amy has been a mental health practitioner since 1981, receiving her MSW from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration and also holds a BSW from Penn State University. Her practice can be described as psychodynamic and solution-focused in nature, regarding the client as the expert and knowledgeable about their own situation. Amy encourages self-directedness, empowerment and is an expert in treating anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders, with or without the use of medication. Other specialized issues include: caregiving, life transitions, communication between couples, people identified as having complex medical issues, and Veteran re-adjustment issues. Amy has been a mental health practitioner since 1981, receiving her MSW from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration and also holds a BSW from Penn State University. Her practice can be described as psychodynamic and solution-focused in nature, regarding the client as the expert and knowledgeable about their own situation. Amy encourages self-directedness, empowerment and is an expert in treating anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders, with or without the use of medication. Other specialized issues include: caregiving, life transitions, communication between couples, people identified as having complex medical issues, and Veteran re-adjustment issues.
Services Currently Offered: Individuals, Couples and Family Therapy.
How you relate to others is an important part of who you are. Some people feel isolated and alone, while others feel stifled and challenged from managing too many close relationships. People often suffer because they are caught in old patterns of behaving and relating to others. Healing comes from feeling acceptance, compassion and forgiveness toward yourself. These feelings can then be directed toward others. Chris provides a safe, supportive space to help you explore and strengthen what is working in your life while finding opportunities to change what isn’t working. Several techniques and approaches will be integrated to help you achieve your unique goals and maximize your strengths. In collaboration with Chris you will set achievable goals and work to establish new skills.
The goal of therapy is to rediscover your own voice, your own priorities, and find the courage to act on them. Weekly sessions are a time to work and focus on helping you to achieve those goals. Together you and Chris will work to become more focused, more hopeful, decisive, and energetic.
Services Currently Offered: Individual and Couples Therapy, Particular interest in LGBTQI communities.
Bob’s been in practice since 1986 as a clinical social worker, with loads of experience with a variety of people.
Often he’s a sounding board, inviting clients to a more optimistic and hopeful view of possibilities for themselves, their work, and their relationships. Bob’s practical and concrete in what he says and recommends. Hard-nosed research drives his work.
Bob’s warm, friendly, and welcoming. Clients say he listens well, and at a deep level. He’s a straight shooter, speaks honestly and directly and uses humor in his sessions.
Services Currently Offered: Individuals, Couples and Families, Works with Teenagers and Adults. Offers Life and Business Coaching.
For over 20 years, Gary has been passionate about helping others establish hope and recognize their potential. Using psychotherapy, education and advocacy, Gary seeks to help empower individuals and communities. He specializes in working with individuals who are experiencing issues with anxiety, depression, trauma, sexual abuse and relationship issues.
A licensed social worker, Gary received his MSW from Temple University. He works as an adjunct professor at Delaware County Community College and as a clinical therapist for Lower Merion Counseling Services. Gary offers individual, group and family therapy as well as clinical supervision, trainings and workshops. He uses a trauma-informed perspective in his work with clients, designing interventions to fit the needs of the individual, couple or family.
Services Currently Offered: Individual, Couple and Family Therapy, Works with Adults and Families.
Psychotherapy is a unique partnership that can help you step back, experience yourself and the world in new ways, and make empowered choices about how to live your life. Good therapy can help you learn or strengthen skills for coping with life’s challenges, identify the purpose for your life, and harness your own talents. If you engage wholeheartedly in the therapeutic conversation, you will begin to develop a better understanding of yourself and others and increase your capacity for joy.
Clients describe Shobhana as warm, encouraging, and nonjudgmental. She listens closely and actively, but doesn’t fit the stereotype of the near-silent therapist. As one client put it, “This feels more like a conversation.”
With 15 years of experience helping people with a wide range of mental health concerns and life challenges, Shobhana can provide brief counseling or life coaching that targets a specific problem, as well as long-term therapy that helps people work though deep-seated conflicts and relationship patterns. She additionally provides specialized coaching for busy people who are overwhelmed by clutter and disorganization. Shobhana teaches ways to create space and use simple organizational practices in your home or office, so you can focus on and enjoy the things that really matter in your life.
Services Currently Offered: Individual and Couples Therapy, Life Coaching. Shobhana is half South Asian and has a particular interest in the experience of first-generation Americans and multicultural families.
Carol is trained as both a psychotherapist, and art therapist, along with a 15 year background as a community health nurse is rural, urban and international settings. Sometimes we struggle to find words for our experiences. Sometimes words are not enough. Art therapy uses images, artmaking and metaphors to provide an alternative way of communicating and expressing anxiety, pain or emotions as a result of trauma, abuse, depression and other debilitating health conditions. Creating art can help us see situations from different perspectives and bring new understanding and insight. Artmaking can help us imagine a new way forward. Artistic ability is not necessary to participate in art therapy so it is a resource available to anyone.
Carol’s nursing background makes her keenly aware of the holistic nature of humans, the mind/body connection, and the importance of both physical and emotional self-care to promote healing.
Sometimes we lose track of our own internal resources and unique abilities. Sometimes we forget what they are, sometimes they simply seem insufficient or inadequate. Carol’s therapy style is grounded in helping to identify and nurture the inherent internal strengths found in each individual and helping to channel these to cope with current challenges.
Sometimes difficult experiences make us feel that we have lost ourselves or forgotten who we are. Carol accompanies, encourages and educates as she walks alongside individuals on their journey toward integration, reconnection with the self and a sense of wholeness. She creates the safe space where one can begin to imagine what the way forward might look like. Her therapy provides the space to breathe deeply and allow the pieces of oneself to float back together.
Services Currently Offered: Individual Adults, Older Adults and Group Therapy.
Alva is a Licensed Social Worker who works with children, adolescents, young adults, parents, and families. She specializes in play therapy techniques, addressing issues of trauma, depression, anxiety, anger, and behavioral problems. She has worked in many settings prior to her practice including foster care, adoption, residential treatment facility, schools, and community mental health.
The parent-child relationship is surely among the most significant of our relationships. It can easily be as difficult and stressful as it is meaningful and joyous. Support and encouragement are key if and when the going gets rough.
Would you like to enhance and strengthen your relationship with your child? Would you like to support your child\\’s ability to manage his/her emotions? Do you need help understanding and communicating with your child? Is your child worried, anxious or troubled and needing extra support?
Alva uses a client-centered approach, allowing the child or teen to work through their feelings in a non-directive way in a safe and trusting environment. She additionally works with families, supporting them through the therapeutic process alongside the child/teen.
Services Currently Offered: Individual and Family Therapy. Works with Children, Teens, and Adults.
People seek therapy for a number of reasons. Many times people come with a particular and precise problem to address, and other times people come with a general and thematic sense that they are not living their lives in a way that feels right or true. Whatever your reason for considering therapy, Sarah is thrilled at the opportunity to work together. She believes that therapy can be a space to develop a healthy and healing relationship in which you can safely explore the ghosts of your past and make sense of the way that they exist in your present moment; it is through this understanding that you can fully create the shape of your future.
Sarah obtained her Master of Social Work degree at the University of Pennsylvania where she focused her learning on clinical work with survivors of trauma. While completing her MSW at Penn, she received the John Hope Franklin Combating American Racism Award for her attention to the great import of an anti-racist lens in clinical social work. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Clinical Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania, and her academic research focuses on the experience of psychological safety after a sexual assault.
Sarah uses a feminist and social justice lens in her work; she believes that any internal struggle is deeply connected to the social environment in which a person is situated. She believes fully in the power of a healing relationship and works collaboratively with her clients to find and honor their inner truth.
Services Currently Offered: Individuals.
We all have untapped resilience. Adversity can be a gift. These are Merin’s core beliefs. As a therapist her goal is to help you live the life you want. She believes change is possible at any stage of life. We are all life-long learners. Often the first step is speaking honestly and feeling understood.
Merin works with adults seeking relief from anxiety, depression, and relationship troubles. Many of her clients have suffered loss or trauma. With a background in education and in the arts, Merin believes that self-expression can help you live a life that is more rich and authentic.
A good therapist provides unconditional acceptance and an open mind. A sense of humor helps, too. Merin loves her work and looks forward to seeing how you two might work together.
Services Currently Offered: Individual Therapy, Works with Adults.