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Meet Jennifer Costanza of Therapeutic Center for Anxiety and Trauma

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Costanza.

Jennifer, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
It started in Mr. Domeyer’s high school biology class in the small California town of Oroville, along with my growing need to understand how our brains and bodies work.

Science has always been a fascination of mine that later grew into a specific need to know how the brain affects behavior. I was really drawn to it, so I went to college to earn a degree in Biopsychology at UC Santa Barbara. The degree led me straight into a 17-year long career in science, working at The Salk Institute in La Jolla. I worked as a research assistant in a neuroscience lab studying the visual areas of the brain. Those years were extraordinary in that I was lucky enough to meet some of the most brilliant people that have lived; Jonas Salk, Francis Crick, and Oliver Sacks, just to name a few.

I also developed management skills in that space which, now I realize, were critical to getting me to where I am today. The Salk is such an inspiring place and cutting edge in not only the discoveries of how life processes work but in finding ways to help humankind. Being there, I developed a greater sense that I wanted to find a way to help others more directly, so I decided to apply to graduate school. I earned my Master’s Degree in Marital and Family Therapy and after 5 years as an intern in a private practice group, I became licensed. I was part of a group for a couple of years before venturing out on my own in my first tiny office in Banker’s Hill. It was scary, but the good kind of scary.

I was doing therapy and helping others, but I was only one person, with only so much time and capacity. I had a desire to make more of an impact, so I opened the doors of the Therapeutic Center for Anxiety and Trauma, (TCAT), in 2014. We are a group of Licensed and Associate Marriage and Family Therapists and Social Workers. We launched with 6 clinicians and have now grown to 15 clinicians in two locations, Banker’s Hill and Escondido. As our name implies, we mainly assist and treat people experiencing anxiety of any kind and trauma. Our team combined is able to provide multiple modalities of treatment to diverse populations.

Now, every day, whether I am in the office or not, I have greater satisfaction in knowing that we, as a team, are consistently helping others who are suffering and we are also reaching more and more people in the process. This work grounds me personally on a daily basis and gives my life more purpose and meaning. It continues to fill the part of me that needs to know how people’s brains work and also how to help when things in the anxious or traumatized brain aren’t allowing someone to live, work, and play, at his or her full potential.

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?
Not smooth in the least. Many tears, challenges, fears, along with constant learning to understand and meet the needs of our team members and clients. I have had personal heartaches along the way in learning how to operate and manage a successful business and team. I now wear many hats… no longer just my therapist hat, and running a business isn’t anything they teach in therapy school.

Probably my biggest struggle is learning how to be the best leader I can be. I make a lot of mistakes, and each day I learn that I have more to learn, but it’s making me a stronger person and a better therapist. I believe we are refined by fire and that turns out to be a painful process. Focus, faith and passion for the work TCAT does is what keeps me going through the rough times, but there have been many beautiful moments along the way as well, and those moments help a lot.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Therapeutic Center for Anxiety and Trauma story. Tell us more about the business.
We treat anxiety disorders, OCD, panic disorder, generalized anxiety, phobias, PTSD, traumas, large and small, as well as a host of other challenges that people face in life, such as relationship issues, life transitions, and grief and loss, My personal passion lies in treating generalized anxiety, grief, low self-esteem and trauma. I am most proud of my team and what each person contributes in terms of clinical skill, a heart for helping others and the number of clients we are able to serve.

What sets us apart is that each clinician has a specific set of skills and niche that falls under the umbrella of treating anxiety and trauma. It is difficult to think about life without struggles in these areas because it just doesn’t exist. The need is great and, collectively, we can help most individuals, families and couples that walk through our doors. We have a fantastic and talented team.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck has played a large roll actually. I would walk through one door and three more doors would appear and open. I would then walk through one of those doors, and three more would appear and open. Opportunities have presented themselves along the way with timing I could never have planned. I feel like my role is to just keep walking forward while staying engaged and involved.

As I see our team and business growth, it brings personal fulfillment and a sense that I am making some difference on this planet. We only get one go at it and at this point, TCAT has grown to be much bigger than me. I am proud and excited that it has developed a life of its own.


  • Individual, couples and family therapy sessions-$125-$145, depending on if seeing a licensed or associate clinician.
  • Group therapy ranges between $35-$50 per session, depending on the length and materials needed.

Contact Info:

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  1. Glen D. Kirkpatrick

    July 20, 2018 at 1:05 am

    I enjoyed reading this wonderful article about Jennifer, her staff, and their fine work at the Therapeutic Center for Anxiety and Trauma.

    Congratulations Jennifer for your continued success.

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