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Holly Smith

California LCSW#74689



Whether you need support through a life transition, you’re ready to address recent and/or past trauma, or would like to understand yourself and your relationships better, I will bring an engaged, empathic, non-judgmental attitude to our work together. I work with people who have experienced challenges including: generalized anxiety, health/illness anxiety, panic attacks, intrusive thoughts, grief, disenfranchised grief, difficult childhoods, relational/attachment trauma.

Many people come to therapy seeking help with how they function in personal and/or professional relationships. I can help you better understand why you behave they way you do in relationships, and modify patterns (e.g. codependence/people pleasing, being distant or hyper-independent, or, being overly controlling) that aren't serving you anymore. I work best with people who are interested in deep self exploration.


I have over 14 years of experience providing direct therapeutic services to adults and teens, in addition to providing clinical supervision for newer therapists and field instruction for MSW students. Prior to entering private practice, I've worked with teens and adults in outpatient clinics, correctional settings, and residential treatment centers for California teens involved with Probation and/or DCFS.


I am LGBTQIA allied. I have experience with and enjoy working with people with beliefs and customs different from my own. I take pleasure in learning more about cultures with which I don’t have as much familiarity. 

I can help with:

Health Anxiety
Panic Attacks
Effects of Trauma, Acute and Complex
Relationship Challenges
Family of Origin Issues 

Parenting Challenges
Confidence/Self Esteem
Support for Reproductive Issues            
   (Fertility, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Loss, Postpartum, Abortion)
Support for BRCA gene carriers



-50-60 Minute Individual Sessions, via Zoom, Walk and Talk, or, in person. $175.


-90 Minute or Two Hour Extended EMDR 'intensive' sessions (in office or virtual only). Please ask if interested.

*I offer a limited, need based sliding scale. I'm happy to discuss fees during initial consultation call or first session.

My Approach


My approach is collaborative, interactive, attachment focused, and trauma informed; I will seek and welcome your feedback throughout our time working together to make sure you agree with and understand how we're approaching your concerns. In session, I'm focused, attuned, and attentive to you and the details of your life.

I draw from multiple theoretical orientations and treatment modalities including but not limited to: Psychodynamic, Attachment, CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), and Parts Work. My therapeutic approach varies depending on your specific needs and preferences.


Additionally, I offer EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy and have been honored to witness powerful shifts in my clients’ symptoms and experience with EMDR. With EMDR, I can help you identify and shift old and unhelpful beliefs about yourself (e.g. "I'm not good enough", "I'm shameful", "I can't trust myself", "I'm not safe and need to stay vigilant", etc.) that are connected to past experiences.


See FAQ for more information.




My Approach

Health Anxiety

Anxiety is so common, but can feel so isolating when you’re in the thick of it. You may be reluctant to share with others the content of your health related thoughts.  Between the intrusive thoughts about having a serious or terminal illness, uncomfortable physical symptoms and bodily sensations, and constant overthinking and worrying at all hours about whether or not to seek medical care, this variety of anxiety can be truly debilitating. 

 You may feel like your symptoms and fears dictate  many of your life decisions, big and small. I can teach you more about anxiety and your body’s stress response system, work with you to explore and process why your body and brain frequently believe you’re in danger of imminent death, and teach you strategies that work so you have some mastery in coping with anxious thoughts and symptoms.

Family of Origin Issues

You may have experienced outright abuse, whether physical, verbal, emotional, sexual. Maybe you lived with someone at home who was addicted, mentally ill (or both). Or you grew up with the feeling of walking on eggshells to avoid setting off an angry, perfectionistic, or excessively emotional family member which made day to day life at home feel uncomfortable or frightening.

Sometimes, our childhoods are painful because of the things that did not happen to us (emotional connection, feeling seen, noticed, appreciated). Things might not be so clear for you. Perhaps you don’t have many memories from childhood, or, you get uncomfortable feelings when you think about your family (guilt, sadness, numbness) but you’re not sure why. In our work together, we'll explore and make sense of your experience and some of your current patterns that may stem from your childhood.


Having an abortion can bring physical pain, intense grief, intense relief, or other feelings that you don’t trust your friends and family would or could understand. You may experience disenfranchised grief and keep the experience to yourself because you can’t trust others won’t judge you or gossip about you with others in your community. I offer a safe space to talk openly about your experience.

Panic Attacks

Most of us don’t know we’re having a panic attack the first time we have one. Many end up going to the ER due to the sudden onslaught of intense physical symptoms, the sense of impending doom, the fear of “I think I’m about to die” or “I think I’m going crazy”, the sense of being unreal or strangely detached from reality. It can feel so frightening that we may fear it happening again, which it often does. Sometimes even thinking about a previous panic attack can lead us to start noticing symptoms.  We may spend weeks or years of our lives trying to arrange our lives and limit situations which could trigger another attack.  I can help you learn more about panic attacks, and work with you to explore why they may be happening to you.  EMDR can be an effective modality for targeting panic, and the fear of panic.

Infertility/Secondary Infertility/ Pregnancy Loss

Pregnancy loss and infertility can overwhelm our ability to cope and can undermine our beliefs about ourselves and the world. Often, it’s hard to explain to friends and family what you might be going through with various testing, procedures, medication protocols, not to mention what you’re experiencing emotionally, mentally, financially, and within your romantic partnership. You may experience disenfranchised grief, feeling as though society doesn’t understand losses such as early pregnancy loss, embryos that didn’t implant, or longing for another child if you have a child already.  I have knowledge of and training about the impact of infertility and IVF –I can support you through the lows and celebrate the wins with you, without you having to experience the burden of educating your therapist about IVF.

BRCA Mutation Carriers

If you or a family member have been told you're a carrier of a BRCA genetic mutation, you may feel terrified, depressed, numb, confused on how to proceed. Friends and family may not understand the diagnosis and what it means for your life.  Suddenly, you may be confronted with life changing decisions related to prophylactic surgeries you never thought you'd have to consider. I understand this experience firsthand, and can help you process the news of your diagnosis, guide you to resources, and support you through tough decisions.



Are you offering face to face sessions?


Yes - I offer in person sessions two days per week. 


What are Walk and Talk sessions?


For Walk and Talk sessions, we meet at a local, pre-agreed upon public outdoor location (e.g. Rose Bowl, Lacy Park) to walk while we talk. Being outside, moving your body, and walking side by side instead of making prolonged eye contact or staring at a screen can make therapy more comfortable, enjoyable, and productive for some. If you're experiencing depressive symptoms with low mood and motivation, having a walking session can be helpful. Also, if you tend to feel quite anxious while talking about yourself and your life, moving your body while talking can help ease your physical discomfort. Walk and Talk sessions can be a great option for people who would like to fit both light exercise and therapy into their day. If you’re interested and we both agree Walk and Talk is a good fit for your needs, I will ask you to sign a waiver before our first Walk and Talk session. 

Read more about Walk and Talk therapy here:


What is EMDR therapy?


EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy) can be an effective modality to address a host of mental health concerns. In my experience, EMDR can result in powerful shifts in perspective and beliefs about yourself (e.g. I'm not good enough", "I'm not safe") that are connected to distressing life experiences. I enjoy EMDR in part because it taps into your innate internal capacity for healing by allowing your brain to integrate newer, more adaptive information with "stuck" traumatic memories, resulting in reduced distress levels and increased positive thinking about yourself. We may also harness the power of your imagination in the process to facilitate the process. EMDR can work quickly, or, it can be a slower process, particularly if we are addressing complex or relational trauma. 

Learn more about EMDR here:


Do you accept insurance?


 *I am an out of network provider for PPO plans, so I can give you a monthly superbill which you may then submit to your insurance company for possible reimbursement. If you’re not sure about your PPO plan’s mental health benefits, call Member Services and ask about coverage for an out of network mental health provider. Make sure to also inquire about telehealth benefits. 

If you choose to submit a superbill to your insurance for reimbursement, I am required to give you a mental health diagnosis and include diagnostic codes on the superbill. Feel free to ask me more about this. I cannot guarantee that you will receive full or any reimbursement from your insurance.

*As of November 2023, I am in network again with Kaiser SoCal. However, I utilize a Private Practice Management Company, Soultenders Inc, to manage claims and billing. If you are interested in working with me while utilizing your Kaiser benefits, you must first approval from Kaiser. Feel free to contact me with questions about how this works. For Kaiser clients, I offer virtual sessions only.


*Insurance will not cover missed session/late cancellation fees.




Contact Me

Feel free to contact me to schedule a free 15-20 minute consultation call.


My office is located in Old Town Pasadena in the Playhouse district. 



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