Aydin Olson-Kennedy, MSW | Director
ACSW 36417

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~ Brené Brown

Aydin Olson-Kennedy, MSW, ACSW is the Executive Director of the Los
Angeles Gender Center where he provides psychotherapy for gender
non-conforming and transgender youth, adults and their families. As a
transgender man and mental health provider, Aydin brings a dual
perspective into his work. He has spoken around the country for the past
two decades about the importance of rights for gender non-conforming and
transgender and individuals, with emphasis on identifying and
acknowledging domains of privilege.

Recognizing the need for mental health services, he co-founded the
Stonewall Alliance Center Community Counseling Program in Chico,
California. A program developed to provide no-cost/low cost mental health
services for LGBTQ youth and adults. He is also a co-founder of the
Transgender Task Force at California State University, Chico.

Mr. Olson-Kennedy earned his Bachelor’s degree in Social Science, with an
emphasis on Social Work, Sociology and Multi-Cultural and Gender Studies;
and his Master’s Degree in Social Work from California State University,
Chico. He is a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
and the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH).

Mr. Olson-Kennedy's office is located in Encino. He can be reached at (818) 850-2029 or by email at akennedy@lagendercenter.com.

Supervised by Marie Keller, Ph.D.; MFC 16943.

GO TO TOP

Marie Keller, Ph.D. | Founder
MFT16943

I am the Founder of the Los Angeles Gender Center. For over 25 years, I have worked with people who are transgender or whose experience of gender is outside of the culture-bound gender binary. These relationships have expanded my understanding of gender and deepened my appreciation for its diversity of expression. The categories developed in western culture for conceptualizing this complex aspect of identity have been narrow and detrimental to people of gender diverse experience, as well as, society as a whole.

Graduate studies in Mythology and Depth Psychology have given me an appreciation for the ways other cultures, through time and around the world, include, value, and celebrate gender diversity. Exploring these different ways of conceptualizing human experience serves to highlight the deficits in our binary system while opening up new and creative possibilities for better understanding the real complexities of life.

My vision for the Los Angeles Gender Center has been to affect both the lives of our clients and our therapists by being a place of safety and growth for all of us. In addition, my hope is that LAGC can be a responsible agent of societal change. I value the counseling and support we provide to the clients we see, as well as the trainings we deliver to other professionals, educational institutions, and workplaces.

All people have the right to be themselves, receive equal treatment and be safe, develop loving relationships of their own choosing, and have supportive communities in which to reside. People of gender diverse experience often suffer great social injustice in the realms of employment, housing, healthcare, spiritual sustenance, and other basic necessities. Over the course of the last few decades, we have witnessed many encouraging advancements in understanding, acceptance, and legal protections. Hopefully, through continued efforts and collaborative alliances with one another, the coming years will yield even greater gains for transgender communities. Through counseling, education, and advocacy, the Los Angeles Gender Center is proud to participate in this social change.

I am a member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT), the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT), and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). I have been a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist since 1982. (MFT16943).

GO TO TOP

Elise Turen, Ph.D., ACS | Associate Director

As a Board Certified Clinical Sexologist, I have been a practitioner in the field of Human Sexuality for 30 years. I was called to this work early in my life. As a teenager I was exposed to experiences considered “outside the box” or gender diverse. Their impact was so profound that I began to challenge the deeply held beliefs surrounding what it meant to be either a man or woman in our culturally prescribed, heteronormative society. Thus, early on, I recognized the complexities regarding an individual’s true proclivities when defining themselves in their gendered and sexual Self.

My expertise is in working with individuals, couples, and families coping with issues of gender identity, DSDs and their many related concerns, sexual abuse and trauma to the body, and addictive illnesses in hospital, institutional and educational settings. For the past 18 years at LAGC, it has been my heartfelt mission to create a safe space for my clients to explore the diversity of their gendered Self, along with the developing insight of the inherent rights to their anatomy and sexual health and expression. I have conducted extensive research on the effects internalized transphobia has on a transgender individual, specifically during their gender transition.

From 2000 until 2010, I co-facilitated a bi-annual trans/ally-inclusive retreat and have conducted numerous trainings throughout the country for institutions raising their awareness regarding transgender people and their rights in society and the workplace. Public advocacy is as essential as my clinical practice, and I hold professional membership with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS) and the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT).

GO TO TOP

Maureen Morrissey, MA, LMFT | Clinical Services Director
MFT 30439

“There is just one life for each of us:  our own." ~ Euripides

My work as a therapist is to help people move beyond their emotional pain and limiting beliefs toward their own vision of the life they are meant to live.

As one of the founding therapists of the Los Angeles Gender Center I have been seeing transgender and gender non-conforming clients for more than 25 years. In the early years I learned more about gender diversity by listening to the stories and struggles of individual clients rather than the pathologizing psychological theories of the day. Now I continue to learn from working with people whose identity is not limited by the binary conception of gender. This work inspires me to grow in compassion and to continually expand my own understanding of gender.

I take my cues from my clients and work in a collaborative way to help them clarify, express and celebrate who they really are. My clients are the authors of their own lives and I see my role as accompanying them on the journey in a supportive and affirming way. For clients who are already clear about what is next on their path, I can provide the tools and support to move forward. I counsel spouses, family members and friends who may need help supporting and understanding their loved ones. I also conduct seminars and trainings on gender for employers, mental health professionals and the public.

The journey toward wholeness and authenticity is not an easy one. I am honored by the opportunity to witness the courage and grace my clients show as they give voice to their authentic Self.

Through my association with Resolve, The National Infertility Association, I have many years of experience working in the field of reproductive counseling. I believe it is vital that transgender and gender non-conforming individuals have the opportunity to explore all their options for preserving their fertility and creating a family.

I am a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH).

My offices are located in West LA and Orange. I can be reached at mmorrissey@lagendercenter.com or by phone at (310) 625-8003.

GO TO TOP

Susan P. Landon, MA, LMFT | Child and Adolescent Program Director
MFT23019

For over 30 years I have enjoyed working with children, adolescents, and their families on parenting styles, behavioral issues, school challenges, and communication. My goal has been to help families create a home where everyone feels seen, heard, understood, and respected; where communication flows freely and mutual support is felt by all.

Seven years ago my dear friend, Marie, asked me to join the staff of the Los Angeles Gender Center. Knowing my style of work, she wanted me to begin welcoming gender non-conforming children, adolescents, and their families to the Center. Working with these families has been a privilege and a pleasure.

In our society, it is not easy to understand or find room for gender diversity. Anatomy has been culture’s mandate for whom children should grow up to be. If they are not willing or able to follow these rules, they are often misunderstood. Rather than be true to their deepest feelings, they are asked to cooperate with what is expected. As Director of the Child and Adolescent Program I am dedicated to changing this. It is important for families to have accurate information about gender diversity and gender expression. When they know that the feelings their children are expressing are perfectly normal, they can feel safe and supported. Together we will be able to find a path that is best for their children and for them. On this very unique journey, families may experience a wide range of feelings including doubt, anger, sadness, confusion, relief, and joy. My goal is to provide a warm and welcoming environment to embrace them all.

I am on the Advisory Board of Transforming Family. Every month we have a playgroup for young gender diverse children, a tween group, a rap group for teenagers, a sibling group, and a parent support group that I facilitate. Our group has grown in the last few years from 3 families to 90. For further information about these groups please refer to Transforming Family at www.transformingfamily.org.

In addition to my work with the Los Angeles Gender Center, I have a 30 year private practice counseling individuals, couples, children, and families in Santa Monica, CA. I am a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).

GO TO TOP

 

Theodore R. Burnes, Ph.D. | Coordinator of Continuing Education and Adjunct Clinical Supervisor
Licensed Clinical Psychologist PSY 25544; Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor LPCC600
Offices in Pasadena (595 E. Colorado Blvd., Suite 706, Pasadena, CA)
and West LA (1923 ½ Westwood Blvd., Suite 2, Los Angeles, CA)
Se habla espanol

I am the coordinator of Continuing Education and an adjunct clinical supervisor at the Los Angeles Gender Center. I received my Ph.D. in Counseling/Clinical/School Psychology (a combined applied psychology program) at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I am a licensed psychologist (PSY25544) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC600) in the state of California.

I am passionate about designing, implementing, and evaluating training modules that incorporate new information into learners’ existing belief systems. Our Continuing Education program is an approved provider of CEUs for psychologists by the American Psychological Association and for social workers, LPCCs, and LMFTs by the Board of Behavioral Sciences of California.

I am dedicated to infusing our CEU programs and in-service trainings with a mission of social justice and advocacy for those who have traditionally not been heard or served in various fields of mental health.

As a therapist and as a clinical supervisor, I believe that people have the right to be and express who they are in whatever way that they choose, and that the many facets of peoples’ lives – including their families, communities, partners, friends, and cultural values – should be explored and considered as they come to know who they are and make decisions about sharing their identities with other people. In our work together, my clients, supervisees, and I are partners in a journey to explore environments of equal treatment and safety, their authentic selves, the development of loving, fulfilling, nurturing relationships, and the development of supportive communities that value and advocate for them.

GO TO TOP

Caroline Carter, PsyD | Postdoctoral Psychological Assistant
PSB94022673 Supervisor: Theodore R. Burnes, Ph.D.

“There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  ~ Anais Nin

For some of us, being whowe really are takes courage greater than most understand. In a worldwhere we have yet to reach acceptance of the vast diversity of genderand sexual identities, living outside the assumed binary of our culture is hard to do alone. A safe place to simply be and continue to become who we are is imperative for wholeness and happiness. In working with my clients I seek to provide them with such a space of safety. Aware that we each have our unique journeys, I believe that an accepting and empathetic ear can help in some of the tougher stretches. Whether you are personally in the process of identity exploration and/or transition, or a parent desiring a safe and supportive space for your child or yourself, I believe I can be of service. My interests and specialties are in diverse gender identities and expressions, sexual identity, anxiety, depression, religion and spirituality.

I am currently a staff psychotherapist and registered postdoctoral psychological assistant with the LA Gender Center (LAGC). I am a registered psychological assistant (PSB94022673) with the state of California. I received my doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Azusa Pacific University and completed my pre-doctoral internship at the APA accredited University of Kentucky (UK) Counseling Center. At UK, I worked predominantly with college aged youth, co-lead the transgender student support group, and worked with the university to develop an informed consent model for their transgender health services. I am also currently a group facilitator with Transforming Family. Every month we have a playgroup for young gender diverse children, a tween group, a teen group, a parent support group, and a sibling group that I facilitate. For further information about these groups please refer to Transforming Family at www.transformingfamily.org. I also hold a Masters from Claremont Graduate University in Women’s Studies in Religion.

In addition to my clinical work at the LA Gender Center, I also helped to develop LAGC’s current training program and led the process by which LAGC became accredited by the American Psychological Association as a Continuing Education Provider in 2014. I currently serve as LAGC’s Program Administrator for Continuing Education. I have both led trainings and supported trainers as LAGC has provided education to hundreds of clinicians, schools, and organizations on trans inclusivity, as well as trans sensitive and competent mental health care. 

If you would like to schedule an appointment or speak to me directly about therapy, or if you have questions about our training program please contact me at ccarter@lagendercenter.com or by phone at (626) 502-6537.

Offices in South Pasadena, 1101 Fremont Ave., Suite 101, South Pasadena
and West LA,1923 ½ Westwood Blvd., Suite 2, Los Angeles

GO TO TOP

 

 

 

Alo Johnston, MA | MFT Intern
IMF 90614

"The greatest explorer on this earth never takes voyages as long as those of the man who descends to the depth of his heart." ~Julien Green

We live in a world of countless binaries, expectations, and assumptions about our lives, and escaping them in order to come into our own can be an incredibly difficult process. Whether you are working to understand your own identity, or simply need the tools to embody your truth, we can work together to find what will be of the most help to you. As a member of the transgender community, I am dedicated to working with you in a way that privileges your own experience and allows you to be the expert in your own life. Too often, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals are told who or what they are, and I believe therapy should be an entirely different space. I believe there are infinite ways to experience gender and sexuality, and whether you identify as genderqueer or polyamorous or queer or have long given up on labels there is a place for you.

I graduated with a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University Los Angeles. It was there that I received specific, unique training in LGBTQ affirmative psychotherapy. I take an approach that includes a feminist perspective and understand the importance of intersectionality. I have interest and experience treating depression, identity issues, non-binary gender identities, as well as polyamorous couples/family therapy.

Supervised by Theodore Burnes, Licensed Clinical Psychologist PSY 25544; Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor LPCC600.

GO TO TOP