Answers from the Experts: Private Practice Clinical Counselor

Lisa Bahar Profile Photo Professional I

Lisa Bahar
Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology (emphasis in marriage and family therapy)

Lisa Bahar, owner of her own private, California-based marriage and family therapy practice, Lisa Bahar Marriage and Family Therapy, Inc. earned her graduate degree from Pepperdine University, Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy. In her practice, Bahar provides relational psychotherapy to adolescents, adults, couples and families, specialize in treating substance abuse, depression and anxiety related disorders.

She is certified as a drug and alcohol addiction counselor with the California Certification Board of Alcohol and Drug Counselors.

In addition to having her own private practice, Bahar is part of the Safe Harbor House Clinical Team, where she provides individual therapy, DBT Skills Training (which provide clients the ‘How’ skills to deal with emotionally reactive behaviors, inability to express feelings and difficulties in managing stress and ability to self calm) and Cinema Therapy groups. She is one of Safe Harbor House’s primary therapists and preferred providers for their outpatient programs for those client transitioning in care.

In the academic world, Bahar uses her real world experience to help students as a guest lecturer at Soka University, Lecturing on chemical dependency and substance abuse related disorders and at her alma mater, Pepperdine University, Lecturing on creative intervention Cinema-Therapy for courses outlined in the Marriage and Family Therapy Master of Arts curriculum.

Question: What can students do with a psychology degree?

Bahar: “It really depends on the degree that the student gets. (For instance), if it is a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology, students can teach, build to a PhD for a license, write. If the student wishes to see clients in a clinical setting and be able to work in a clinical environment, the goal would be to get a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy (like Bahar).”

What are some important things you’d like to pass onto students about the field?

Bahar: “Way too often I observe students or individuals entering the psychology field who have severe emotion and mental issues that have not been addressed. When they are seeing clients they are not equipped to take on the professional role of psychotherapist due to unresolved or issues that have not been dealt with personally prior to entering the field. Therefore, address your mental health challenges and at least be aware what areas you are most challenged in.”

What classroom lessons stayed with you?

Bahar: “Participation. As a student, participate with other students as much as possible. Get as much feedback from others regarding psychology and insight from people. People are fascinating and have interesting aspects to their own story and perspective, work on being present and being involved with the classroom discussion. It makes the classes much more interesting and you learn so much more when engaged.”