Emily is a Licensed Masters Social Worker with a Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, where she concentrated in Clinical – Behavioral Health. She has seen clients in outpatient settings for assistance in managing stressors, developing healthy relationships and boundaries, and addressing challenges related to depression, anxiety, mood disorders, substance use, and body image concerns.
Emily believes strongly in using a strengths-based, blended approach that incorporates tools from Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy. Some things can change (this is where CBT comes in), but some things stay the same (this is where radical acceptance is key). The wisdom that clients gain in therapy with Emily is learning what kinds of support will help them tolerate what is outside of their control, and developing the ability to notice and adapt the thought and behavior patterns that make life feel more difficult than it needs to be.
Prior to (and alongside) her career as a therapist, Emily taught yoga to adults and children in schools and studios, as well as one on one in her students’ homes. The emphasis on compassion and routine at the heart of these practices deeply informs how she meets clients where they are, and helps them find the next small, doable steps – one at a time – in the direction they wish to go. She is skilled in finding individualized somatic practices that resonate with her clients, can be well-integrated into their day to day, and that aid in emotion regulation and building self-awareness – all of which may help clients “turn the volume down” on symptoms of anxiety, depression, and pain in particular. For years, she has been able to demystify mindfulness and breathing exercises for skeptics through simple explanations of the neurobiological processes involved. This can be so important for clients who are working on intimacy issues, as when one is stuck in a cycle of overwhelm (a chronically over-activated sympathetic nervous system, aka the ‘fight / flight / freeze’ response), it can feel impossible to get to a place of receptivity and connection.
Emily has a particular interest in supporting adolescents and young adults in exploring their needs, goals, and identities. She is sex- and kink-positive, affirming of LGBTQ+ and consensually non-monogamous clients, and creates a warm and open space where clients can reflect upon their desires, as well as their hopes for and challenges in their relationships. She is experienced in working with clients who have past traumas that are still infringing on their everyday lives, and currently sees individuals, families and couples.
Emily Star will soon be paneled with BCBS and Carefirst.
Emily Star is a licensed master social worker (LMSW) in Maryland and working towards her independent clinical professional license (LCSW-C) under the supervision of Cristina Cunha-Strasser, LCSW-C.