"Smadar made me feel safe, seen, and heard. She helped me to forgive myself not only for what had been done to me, but for how I’d behaved as a result. She provided the utmost compassion on my therapeutic journey." -Client
I'm Smadar Salzman, and I help people break free from painful relationship patterns.
My entry into the field began in 2004 when I volunteered as a group facilitator for adults and families coping with chronic/terminal illness or the death of a loved one at the Center for Attitudinal Healing in Sausalito, California. That experience strengthened my desire to be a companion and support for people struggling to find meaning and to cope with seemingly unbearable life circumstances. Since then I've had the privilege to be a part of many people's healing journeys. I hold a deep passion and commitment to providing the environment, the support, and the tools for my clients to create meaningful, fulfilling lives. Over the past nearly two decades I've worked extensively with trauma survivors in private practice and community mental health agencies, and have gained additional training and expertise in treating Complex, Developmental, and Interpersonal Trauma. I'm also passionate about working with therapists who have a history of Relational or Complex Trauma, Childhood Emotional Neglect, or are HSPs (Highly Sensitive Persons) themselves; I have more than a decade experience providing supervision, consultation, and psychotherapy for therapists. I welcome diverse populations in my therapy practice, including all cultures, sexual orientations, genders, and relationship structures.
My therapeutic style is calm, deeply caring, and respectful of each person's unique goals, struggles, and strengths. I practice Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, which means I believe that our pasts affect our present. I'll help you gain awareness of your internal and external obstacles in order to promote deep and lasting changes in your life, not just treat the symptoms. I also provide the practical tools you need to express yourself fully and to communicate and get along with the people in your life. I draw from multiple schools of therapy in addition to Psychodynamic, including Existential, Systems, Attachment, and Interpersonal Neurobiology.
Experience & training
I'm a bilingual/multi-cultural Spanish-speaking California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I received my Master's degree in Counseling Psychology from University of San Francisco in 2007. During my traineeship I was one of two interns to receive a grant from the California Endowment's Culturally Sensitive Intern Program; I concurrently completed three years of clinical training at Family Service Agency in Santa Rosa, providing culturally-appropriate counseling and psychotherapy to Latinx immigrant clients in Spanish. I'm also trained and certified as a Clinical Complex Trauma Professional and Domestic Violence Counselor with several years experience facilitating court-mandated domestic violence perpetrator groups for women. In addition to providing psychotherapy, I provide clinical case consultation to licensed therapists in my private practice. I worked for several years as a clinical supervisor for psychodynamic psychotherapists at Fred Finch Youth Center in Oakland on issues relating to childhood and developmental trauma. I've offered trainings and workshops on vicarious traumatization, therapist safety in community mental health settings, and cross-cultural competence, and have researched and written on the topic of women and anger.
On a personal note
I first experienced the healing power of therapy as a young adult. I also experienced a lot of bad therapy up until then. I learned so much about how to hold space for others from those first experiences of being a therapy client. Specifically, what creates safety and what shuts people down. My therapy practice and training has always been focused on healing from relational trauma and family dysfunction. I was drawn to this specialty because of the circumstances of my early life experiences. My personal and professional experience have shown that healing from attachment trauma is possible. That with the right support, you can break free from intergenerational patterns of family dysfunction, neglect, and abuse. That despite whatever you've been through in life, it's always possible to heal. To truly thrive in your life and relationships. Being a therapist is not just my job. It's my calling.
Education, licenses, & certifications (selected)
- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, California Lic. #47213
- University of San Francisco, Masters in Counseling Psychology, 2007
- Complex Trauma Certification Training Levels 1 & 2 (CCTP/CCTP-II) with Janina Fisher, Ph.D. and Bessel van der Kolk, MD., 2019-2020
- Understanding and Treating Disorganized Attachment and Dissociation: Understanding Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) through the Lens of Interpersonal Neurobiology with Dan Siegel, MD., in progress.
- The Body Keeps the Score 2-Day Trauma Conference with Bessel van der Kolk, MD., 2021
- The Practice & Principles of Ethical Polyamory with Jessica Fern, Martha Kauppi, Kathy Slaughter & more, 2021
- The Grief Summit: Grief Counseling & Treatment in a Pandemic of Loss, 2021
- Overcoming Trauma-Related Shame and Self-Loathing with Janina Fisher, Ph.D., 2020
- Treating Trauma Master Series including topics on The Neurobiology of Trauma, The Neurobiology of Attachment, Working with Traumatic Memory Embedded in the Nervous System, Working with the Limbic System to Reverse the Physiological Imprint of Trauma, Helping Clients Tolerate Dysregulation and Come Back from Hypoarousal, How Trauma Impacts the Major Brain Networks, Working with Emotional & Procedural Memory in Pre-Verbal Trauma, Helping Clients who are Stuck in Trauma Response, with Bessel van der Kolk, MD., Pat Ogden, Ph.D., Dan Siegel, MD., Allan Schore, Ph.D., Peter Levine, Ph.D., Ruth Lanius, MD., Ph.D., 2018
- Digital Ethics & Tele-Mental Health Certification, Zur Institute, 2018
- WPATH Standards of Care with Jeanne Courtney, MFT, 2016
- Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) Externship & Core Skills Training with Sue Johnson & Sam Jinich 2014-2015
- Trauma & Dissociation through a Psychoanalytic Lens with Carol Mayhew, Ph.D., 2014
- New Frontiers in Trauma Treatment Externship with Bessel van der Kolk, MD., 2013
- Certified Domestic Violence & Anger Management Intervention Specialist, 2007-2008
- California Endowment's Culturally Sensitive Intern Program, 2006-2009
- Attitudinal Healing Group Facilitator Training with Gerald Jampolsky & Diane Cirincione-Jampolsky, 2004
My professional affiliations include
- American Psychological Association (APA)
- California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)
- International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (ICEEFT)
- Northern California Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy (NCCEFT)
- Professional Grief Caregivers’ Network (PGCN)
- Kink Aware Professionals (KAP)
- Bay Area Open Minds (BAOM)
- Self and Relational Psychoanalytic Colloquium