Staff Therapist, Play Therapist, Family Counselor, Individual Counselor, Certified Family Trauma Professional // Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist, Bethesda, MD

  • Clinical Degree: University of Maryland, Couple and Family Therapy
  • Expertise: Childhood Trauma, Childhood Behavioral Difficulties, Adolescent/Young Adult Anxiety and Depression, Adult Mental Health, Coping with Chronic Illness, Medical Trauma (all ages)
  • Available: Tuesday afternoon and evening, Thursday afternoon and evening; Friday afternoon and evening; Saturday afternoon and evening
  • Prepare/Enrich Certified: No
  • Discernment Counseling Certified: No

About Anna White

My extensive experience working with families and individuals of all ages has taught me that each person is unique and that each of us has an innate ability to adapt to life’s problems. In fact, most of the things we consider “symptoms” are in fact adaptations that make perfect sense when we unveil the context in which they developed. By taking a bio-psycho-social approach to therapy, we will work together to help you address any barriers to successfully adapting to your current context.

As your therapist for children and families

Do you feel disconnected from your child? Are you worried that life’s difficulties have driven a wedge between your child and their full potential? Many problems can interrupt family relationships and interfere with a child’s ability to thrive — including trauma, disease, disability, bullying, family conflict, and more. These problems can pull family members away from one another and would shake any parent’s confidence. When that happens, family therapy and play therapy can provide a safe and healthy way for you and your child to work through even the most challenging problems, and to learn new ways to connect and heal. For older “children” who are now adolescents or young adults, individual talk therapy provides a safe place for them to process their feelings, learn coping skills, and build healthy relationships with family and peers.

As your child’s therapist, my goal will be to facilitate healing and relationship repair in the most natural way possible for children, through play. For decades, play therapy has been helping children and families to process trauma, conflict, and other adversities to achieve deep neurological healing in a safe and comfortable way. As your family’s therapist, my goal will be to help you regain your parenting confidence and get back in touch with the insight I believe you already have so that you and your family can reconnect with authenticity, warmth, and a restored sense of fun.

As your individual or family therapist

Do you feel unhappy with your life? Are you struggling to set boundaries with others or to communicate your needs in relationships? Common issues that bring individuals to therapy include anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, trauma, adverse childhood experiences, anger, and obsessive thinking — all of which are are often difficult to bear alone. And when these problems also impact your ability to connect with others, do meaningful work, or make brave steps to change unhealthy habits, individual therapy provides a supportive and productive space to learn how to think and feel differently. As an individual therapist, my goal is to help you reconnect with your genuine self, so that you can feel empowered to live a self-directed and fulfilling life. I am strengths-based, and I sincerely believe in your ability to make positive changes. I am focused on providing opportunities for new experiences in session and committed to helping you use those insights in your life and relationships outside of our appointments.

My professional background and certifications

I was trained in psychology and communication at James Madison University, where I received my Bachelor’s degree. During that time, I worked as a one-on-one aid for children with autism and emotional disabilities. I then went on to achieve my Master’s degree in Couple and Family Therapy from the University of Maryland, where I learned from world-renowned professors and participated in an externship focused on helping children who had been sexually abused. My thesis focused on the impact of positive and negative communication on mental health symptoms in couples. Since becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist, I have worked to help children, adults, and families heal from issues of disability, abuse, poverty, and conflict. I am a Certified Family Trauma Professional (CFTP), meaning I am specially trained to help children, adolescents, and adults regain control over their lives after trauma.

In my free time, I enjoy reading about child development, psychology, playing with my dog and cat, spending time with friends, gardening, and keeping my body active and strong.

Anna White sees clients Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 PM until 8 PM, Fridays from noon until 7 PM, and Saturdays from 2 PM to 6 PM.

Endorsement by Practice Owner, Dr. Emily Cook

When Emily Cook Therapy was ready to expand services to more intentionally help Bethesda’s children and families, Anna was the only person I invited to join my team. She is a deeply gifted child, adolescent, and young adult therapist who is a natural fit for families of all kinds. You will benefit immediately from her extensive experience working with children and adolescents in families facing complex issues such as trauma, mental health disorders, substance abuse, developmental delays, and diverse learning issues. And adults shouldn’t be worried about her ability to connect with them, too; Anna is an effective and supportive individual counselor who is passionate about helping people find their voice and make healthy choices for their lives. I’m confident she’ll provide the strategies and stabilization that your child, adolescent, young adult, whole family, or very own self is looking for.

My Guiding Principles & Values for Therapy

Choice. In therapy with me, you will not be told what to do. I respect that you are the one in charge of your life and what you are seeking is support for that. The work to be done for change is yours to endure. The consequences, good and bad, that come with that change are going to fall to you. Recognizing that, it will never be my place to choose your path for you. Instead we will work together to identify the choices you have in front of you, what consequences come with them, and what you want to choose!

Playfulness. While therapy does often have difficult, uncomfortable moments, I believe in creating an experience people want to be a part of. At every opportunity, we will be creative together, play with ideas, and find humor in this process. Whether playing with toys or playing with ideas, playfulness is a key ingredient in healing, motivating, learning, and growing for humans of every age!

Knowledge. Therapy is a place for you to learn who you are and who you want to be. The knowledge you bring of your life and experiences and the knowledge I can bring about relationships, healing, trauma, and change are some of the most valuable assets we will have to use in this journey. Therapy, at its heart, is the process of making sense of what you know, and learning to tell yourself your story in the way that lets you be the author of what is next.

Are you searching for help after a negative experience with therapy?

Realizing you deserve help and seeking it out in our current climate takes an immense amount of courage. Receiving care is one of the most vulnerable experiences available to us, so when what we receive is not what we need, it makes sense to become hesitant and scared. If a doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist pulls you down instead of lifting you up, the natural result is not wanting to be that vulnerable again. If this is the position you are in, I am already proud of you, because you had the courage to trust yourself that something was not right – even in the face of someone with power. Not only that, you still believe yourself about the problem you sought help for and your entitlement to something better. When you feel ready, I would be honored to provide you with a different experience. When you decide to use your courage to be vulnerable again, the responsibility is not on you to trust me — the responsibility is on me to be trustworthy and for you to witness.

Education

  • MS, Couple & Family Therapy, University of Maryland, College Park
  • BS, Psychology, James Madison University
Maryland Marriage and Family Therapy License #LCM643, licensed since 2015

Ready to get started with play therapy or individual counseling in Bethesda, MD? Give Anna White a call, she’s looking forward to hearing from you.

Anna White, MS, LCMFT is an independent contractor of Emily Cook Therapy, LLC and not an employee.