About

Alex Marterre

Hi, I'm Alex. I am a white, queer, trans non-binary person. I use they/them pronouns. And I am a healer.

I care deeply about justice, collective liberation, and mutual aid. I dedicate myself and my work to deconstructing the harmful and misappropriated messages of our white supremacist, capitalist, cis-hetero-patriarchal mainstream culture, while supporting the organic and authentic self-expression that lives beyond toxic constructs. I aim to offer and support an experience of re-humanization.

I grew up in the southeast of the US (occupying Tutelo, Sappony, and Keyauwee territories) and carry with me both the rich warmth of hospitality and vivid exposure to deep racial inequity. I was born into many social privileges and also endured a childhood marked by domestic violence, covert incest, familial mental illness, divorce, and queerphobia. I learned to merge with an abuser, to give up my needs, to shrink myself, and to silence my voice—all to approximate safety. My natural inclinations toward spirituality and fantasy allowed me a form of escape from the brutality of my home life. And yet, I felt utterly abandoned by god.

 

Moving to the Bay Area (unceded Lisjan Ohlone territory) in 2009 supported my pursuit of self-exploration and healing. I tried many healing modalities and self-help paths, including years of ongoing personal psychotherapy. I learned deeper truths about our society and the rampant inequity and injustice. I committed myself and my path to liberation. I learned to relate in new ways to my body, my identity, and my truth. I developed new connections to the parts of myself who pulled me through the darkest of hours. I learned how to embrace my inner storms, defenses, criticism, tricksters, wounds, and attractions to suffering. I began to nourish and re-parent myself, to hold myself with compassion and grace, and to come back to myself when I strayed away, again and again. I started to deconstruct misconceptions of reality, self, and others. I learned to invest in relationships that affirm my marginalized identities, lived experience, needs, and inherent value. I discerned the difference between destructive messages intended to harm me and difficult truths designed to support my divestment from oppressive systems. I created more cohesion within myself, welcoming and integrating my estranged fragments. Every day I strive to cultivate the collaborations and supports I need to thrive and bring forth my gifts. It is my greatest passion to support the ever-unfurling wisdom of my being and to guide others seeking a similar path of liberation and wholeness.

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Experience

My Teachers,

      My Foundation

Lived experience and shared wisdom inform my work as much as my formal training. I learn most from activists, artists, children, nature, healers, loved ones, and the most marginalized of voices. I also learn from the people I serve.

I have provided therapy for individuals, couples, and families, in various settings.

 

My time at the Church Street Integral Counseling Center provided me with a scaffolding for my therapeutic approach and practice, as well as values to live by. There I received an in-depth training in humanistic, existential, phenomenological Gestalt Therapy. That is to say I learned that a whole is greater than the sum of its parts (and those parts need each other), a polarity or conflict is joined by a common need, and authentic self-expression emerges out of contextual support. I am of the genuine belief that humans are essentially good and when operating from their wholeness, are benevolent and responsible to themselves and to others.

 

During my three years in community mental health, I provided individual and family therapy for youth caught in the school-to-prison pipeline. Working alongside adolescents and their families so closely impacted by the carceral state, I learned how to apply my knowledge and skills in new and concrete ways. The boundaries of my therapeutic container expanded to include parking lots, elevators, court rooms, sports fields, detention facilities, and churches. I witnessed utter heartbreak and guttural suffering alongside unwavering resilience and incredible brilliance. I felt the power of community, and learned deeper meanings of family. There is not language for how much my heart, mind, and spirit stretched in that time.

I am grateful to every teacher, every being who has shared their heart and wisdom with me. May I carry that heart and wisdom with utmost integrity, and share it with those ready and willing to receive it.

Qualifications

Present

Private Practice, Psychotherapy

Oakland, CA

2016 - 2017

Traineeship

Church Street Integral Counseling Center

San Francisco, CA

2017 - 2020

Internship

Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy Program

Lincoln Families

Alameda County, CA

2014 - 2017

Integral Counseling Psychology

Masters of Arts

California Institute of Integral Studies

San Francisco, CA

2005 - 2009

Biology

Bachelors of Science

College of Charleston

Charleston, SC

 
 
Approach

How I Hold Gestalt Theory

Humanistic

        I am client-centered, so we move at your pace and I respect you as the expert of your own experience. I do not hold any agenda beyond supporting your self-discovery and connection to the internal and external resources that make your continued unfurling possible. I trust the wisdom and organicity of your being to guide us. I hold an awareness of my power in the therapist-client dynamic and am not attached to holding authority over you or to any of my reflections that do not resonate. 

Existential

        I believe we are all navigating universal elements of the human condition—managing the limitations of time and space, and how to make meaning of our finite existence in this human form. I respect your autonomy, agency, and sovereignty. The meaning you make about your existence is inherently valuable and informed by your unique location in the collective. Your subjective experience is unlike any other, and holds great importance.

 

Phenomenological

        I value the information available in the present moment and will guide our attention to what is here, now. By offering my authentic presence and curiosity, your first-person attunement to internal and external phenomena is enhanced which supports your development of radical subjectivity. This process gives you a greater understanding of your consciousness and how it operates. Equipped with more knowledge about your unique nature of reality, you are empowered to make life changes as you see fit and seek the support you need to experience greater authenticity and fulfillment.

 

Gestalt

        I aim to support clients with integration of their many parts, dissolution of internal conflicts (or polarities), and completion of unfinished need cycles. I trust that as you connect to your own inherent wisdom, you will expand your sense of freedom and mobility, and make choices that reflect responsibility to yourself and your surroundings. Gestalt is founded on the idea that the authentic self emerges out of contextual support. My aim is to assist you in understanding your internal community, supporting dialogue and collaboration among them, and building the support that your truest, whole self needs to emerge.

Trauma Informed

        I honor your lived experiences of trauma, be they acute or ongoing, interpersonal, familial, systemic, etc. Trauma can be defined many ways. As I see it, trauma involves a violation of self-hood, in an experience that is too much and too fast, which overwhelms the system. Oftentimes, we are likely to employ defenses that supported us in the moment of direct traumatic experience, even long after the moment has passed, and in ways that do not serve us in our present context. We can automatically call up these defenses in the face of neutral and dangerous triggers alike, without awareness. It is common to "numb out" or quickly ignore an internal cue for caution. It is also easy to flood, or reenter a state of total overwhelm. So my job is to support your awareness of your subtle boundaries, honor and create space for your organic healing responses, slow things down, and align and support your sustainable digestion of overwhelming experience.