“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” – Maya Angelou
Hi. I’m Carmelle Ellison; an East Coast native and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has embraced the Bay Area as my home. For the past eight years, I’ve been serving Individuals, Couples, and Families in Northern California and beyond. I hold an undergraduate degree from Seton Hall University and a graduate degree in Clinical Social Work from Barry University.
I’ve lived in different parts of our country in between life transitions, and I love traveling. As a Black Woman of Afro-Caribbean descent, I am a fierce advocate for social justice and equity. They’re not just values that I hold; they’re personal. So, in my work with many clients of diverse backgrounds, I honor their experiences of living in a world where power, privilege, and oppression affect us all.
I know you’re wondering …
Deciding to start therapy can feel uncomfortable. Especially, if this is something that you are doing for the first time. Many clients are curious about their Therapists, and it’s normal. Here are some of the questions that I get asked regularly by new clients. If at the end of this, you find yourself still wanting to work with me, please contact me for a 20-minute Complimentary Consult Call. I’d love to be of support in any way that I can.
Why a Virtual Practice? I’m worried that I won’t get the same quality of services as in-person therapy.
2020 presented some unforeseen adjustments for us all. What started out as a short-term transition to a virtual practice to honor the health and safety of my clients and myself, has now become a longer-term practice style. It’s been meaningful to witness how the creativity and flow of virtual sessions have enhanced the quality of therapy experienced by my clients. With the flexibility of scheduled times without commute and clients having access to comfort objects in their own environment while engaging in in-depth work, it’s regularly confirmed that where there’s cultivated space for safety and vulnerability, healing happens anywhere. And for those who have previously avoided their own environment, online virtual therapy has been an opportunity to engage in exposure exercises that have helped them: reorient themselves to their spaces, take notice to opportunities for healthier boundary setting; and courageously tend to unmet needs that contribute to their sense of loneliness or discomfort with open space when alone.
Why did you decide to become a Therapist and how do you sit and listen to people’s problems all day?
Well, I don’t really do this all day, every day, but I know what you mean. It’s funny because looking back, becoming a Social Worker and Therapist seems like it was inevitable. Long before I realized I was drawn to do this work, I was passionate about it. You know that saying you’re told as a child, “Don’t talk to strangers”? Well, that never really worked out for me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve often encountered strangers who unexpectedly felt open to sharing their stories with me. I’ve always been inclined to carefully listen, reflectively respond, and never take for granted their vulnerability. Nor how impactful presence can be. From my own adverse beginnings, I value the courage it takes for anyone to survive, and I call that resiliency. We may not always get to choose the conditions that we’re subjected to in life, but we don’t have to be devalued by them either. My favorite moment in session with clients is when they begin to get a glimpse of a life that they never before imagined was possible for themselves. This makes the work that I do all the more worth it.
What inspires you to continue to do this work and how are you sure that you can help me?
We can never have too many healthy human beings in this world. As a Certified Trauma Expert, and Enneagram Practitioner, with vital years of working in mental health through Private Practice and formerly, some of the top facilities: Seneca Family of Agencies, UC Davis Health, and Sutter Health, I have countless trauma-informed and crisis work experience. I remain inspired by the narratives of clients and their courage to work through pain and move past challenges. I can help you, because I know what it takes to work through pain like your life depends on it. I’m a fierce challenger and advocate of a Therapist, and in our work together, I will see you, I will hear you, and show you what you were capable of all along… wholeness and growth.
How are you with talking about religion or spirituality, if that’s important to me?
I love it! I want you to bring your entire self into session, because there I will meet you and we will do powerful work together. In my personal life, my reverence for the spiritual journey and the value of exploring inner depths also contributes to how I show up as a Therapist. I would be honored to hold space for you as you explore the depths of your being and your experiences. You can also expect me to provide support on how to integrate it all- the experiences of your mind, body, soul, and spirit.