Gayle Plessner, MS
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist #85032
They say that when one door closes, another opens. That was my experience many years ago while grieving the loss of a loved one. I sought support for my children and myself by joining a grief group for young widow and widowers, the only one of its kind in Southern California at the time. Many years later when my children were older, I was steeped in the former University of Judaism's (now American Jewish University) Betty Wagner peer-counseling program in Los Angeles, and needed an internship to complete my program. I was offered the opportunity to volunteer at Our House (see resource page for information), coincidently founded by my former grief group leader. I knew instantly this was the placement for me and felt fortunate to be able to give back to an organization that helped my family so many years ago. For the next 5-6 years I studied, trained, led groups, responded to community traumas and realized that I had a passion for helping children, teens, adults and families cope with the devastating losses they experienced. Realizing that I wanted this to be my life's work, with the encouragement of my supervisors, I returned to college.
After three years as an undergraduate at California Lutheran University, I earned my Bachelor of Science in Counseling Psychology. Upon graduation, I worked, studied and trained two more years to earn my Master's of Science in Counseling Psychology, which included studying, counseling at the Community Counseling Center in Thousand Oaks, an internship at Bet T'Shuva in Venice (a drug/alcohol/prison reform center), Hospice of Conejo in Thousand Oaks, and for Jewish Family Services of Conejo Valley. Upon receiving my Master's degree, I began my doctoral coursework and earned my Ph.D upon completion of my dissertation research. Throughout my internships and higher education I provided psychotherapy to patients of all ages in private practice under the expert supervision of Dr. Wendy Brown.
Currently, I am a Marriage and Family Therapist licensed by the Board of Behavioral Sciences in the state of California (85032), and a Doctor of Jungian Depth Psychotherapy. I specialize in grief and loss, and the management of anxiety and related disorders. I also treat Acute Stress and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders, and have experience working with our dedicated first responders. I am a participating therapist for The Soldier's Project registry, which offers free psychotherapy and support to our U.S. service men, women and their families (see resources).
As my doctoral research explored the subjective psychological and emotional experiences and creative outcomes involving artists who create handmade textiles and quilts, when appropriate and/or applicable, art therapy techniques and handwork (knitting, crochet, sewing) are incorporated into one’s treatment if interested. It is my belief that creative pursuits facilitate a connection to one's sense of self and to others, personal growth, a reduction of anxiety, increased self-esteem, and a greater sense of well-being. In my personal, and clinical experience I have witnessed the benefits of handwork and the depths to which patients have been able to express a range of emotions that is otherwise left dormant. For some patients, having a work in hand during session increases a sense of safety and calm while relating traumatic and distressing memories.
If you, a loved one, or colleague is seeking help, please contact me. I provide psychotherapy for children, teens, adolescents, adults, couples and families in the Conejo and San Fernando Valley and surrounding areas. Skype sessions are available depending on issues that need addressing and the suitability of the situation and environment. Off-site visits are available as well.
National Alliance for Grieving Children (NAGC)
California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMT)
Ventura Chapter of CAMFT
American Association of Marriage Family Therapists (AAMFT)
American Psychological Association (APA)
The Soldiers Project
32107 Lindero Canyon Road
Westlake Village, CA 91361
My office is approximately 1-1/2 miles south off of the Lindero Canyon exit from the 101 freeway. I am located in The Landing retail/office center on the lake.
To schedule an appointment, please call:(805) 914-9383
To request further information please email:firstname.lastname@example.org