Today we’d like to introduce you to Angela Klein.
Angela, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Centered Ground started as a vision about 20 years ago… At the time, I was approaching high school graduation, taking college courses at the local university branch campus. I was majoring in journalism and wanted to be an international correspondent for The New York Times. Then I took General Psych.
By the end of the semester, I had switched my major to Psychology and there was no looking back. I then graduated from college at the age of 20, summa cum laude and valedictorian of my college class and continued on to graduate school. I was on a mission to develop and provide treatment that would actually work and help people struggling with eating disorders. My own experience as a teenager inspired this. I struggled with anorexia nervosa and was literally fired by my physician after two and a half years. My weight had plateaued and he said he had done all he could for me, that he could not help me anymore, so good luck. So I was left to figure out my own way out of my suffering, both with eating and the underlying emotions. This personal journey intertwined with my academic training to ultimately develop the mindful eating program that I offer at Centered Ground and published in book format last fall in “Mindful Eating from the Dialectical Perspective: Research and Application.” The foundation of this approach is dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which I discovered through my first client, who was struggling with bulimia nervosa and self-harm. Because of her I learned DBT, which is the most empirically supported treatment for self-harm; I thus witnessed its transformative power for us both, since as a DBT therapist you truly have to practice what you preach and live the approach.
I have also trained closely with Dr. Thomas Lynch in radically open DBT for restrictive patterns of emotion and behavior, such as anorexia nervosa and pervasive anxiety, and am currently the only intensively trained provider of this approach in Southern California. After completing my education and licensure, I began my career working in various clinics, first in New Jersey, then moving to San Diego; I also was a research psychologist for the Eating Disorders Center for Treatment and Research at UCSD. After about two years here in San Diego, it was time to take the leap and start my own practice. Centered Ground was then born. I began in Leucadia, in the summer of 2014, in a small, affordable room with no air conditioning. After a year I expanded to add a second, slightly larger room for group sessions and my intern. I quickly outgrew this, as well, and started doing groups offsite. Then last summer, 2016, I was fortunate enough to expand into my beautiful new space in Carlsbad Village.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road to Centered Ground has definitely been a challenging, winding path, but since taking the leap to start my own practice, the flow and growth has been incredible. Unfortunately, it can be extremely challenging to find effective therapy, especially for certain complex issues, such as eating disorders and self-harm, and I offer a unique service in North County San Diego. In fact, with my radically open DBT training, I have now had clients driving from Orange County and L.A. to work with me in this approach. I also have clients who drive from the South Bay. And the feedback I receive is humbling and inspiring. Clients express such gratitude for what I provide and then spread the word. I did face some difficulty in finding a space for my center… I wanted to offer a warm, inviting space along the coast and finding the right fit without completely overextending my budget was a bit of an undertaking. After a four-month search, I walked into my current space and found a home for my practice with a wholehearted welcome from the builder, architect, and designer Mark Benjamin. Together we finished the space, down to the carpet tiles and flooring, even hanging up my diplomas together. I am very grateful for this collaboration and for all of my clients, from the beginning through this expansion.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Centered Ground – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I offer a private practice grounded in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) for adolescents, families, couples, and adults, including coaching between sessions, with availability over evenings and weekends—in the moment, when clients are facing the very situations they are striving to change. My youngest client recently was 10 years old; my oldest, 70. With a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, I bring a rigorous academic training in research to my own personal experience. This produces a uniquely compassionate, empirically supported, and progressive approach. I have developed and researched my mindful eating program and am currently the only intensively trained provider of radically open DBT in Southern California. Based on the feedback I have received from my clients, what I perhaps am most proud of and what sets Centered Ground apart from others is my own presence, patience, and dedication to each client overcoming their concerns, walking with them on this journey, guiding, mentoring, and supporting, as well as my own authenticity in this process, having walked my own path ahead of them. I have had countless clients come to me after years and even decades of other treatments and only in working together in our therapeutic relationship have they achieved not only freedom from their patterns but also deep fulfillment and joy. I am proud of my high standard for efficacy and how I put what I teach into practice in my own life, so I can be an example for my clients.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I look forward to continuing on my journey with clients—walking beside them, supporting their growth, and witnessing their attainment of fulfillment, joy, and well-being, with such incredible courage, strength, and vulnerability. It is truly a gift to do what I do, and I plan to continue to do so for many years. On a personal note I would like to do more writing, and I would love to further develop my reach to clients beyond the office, in doing so both further pursuing my own passion for travel and also extending the transformative experience to my clients, exploring new avenues for growth and inspiration. For example, in June this year I walked the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain; in sharing with my clients about this I was truly offering an embodiment of the practice of creating the life you want to be living and moving into your edge, moving through and overcoming, one step at a time. I look forward to continuing to expand my practice to provide unique, unparalleled opportunities for achieving this actualization and authenticity.
- Intake assessment $250
- 60-minute individual, family, or couples session $200
- Standard DBT skills training group, multifamily or adult $75/session
- Radically open DBT skills training class $85/session
- Group-based mindful eating program $100/week
- Address: 2683 State Street, Carlsbad 92008;
2214 5th Avenue, San Diego 92101
- Website: www.centeredgroundtherapy.com
- Phone: 760-814-9379
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Leslie Bird Studios