Ria Severance is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She also serves as a Collaborative Divorce Coach, Child Specialist and Co-Mediator, and Executive Development Consultant. Ria brings a deep, personal commitment and honed clinical skill to her efforts to respectfully bridge the disparate concerns of couples, divorcing partners, co-parents and their children. In private practice since 1987, Ms. Severance uses research-based strategies in a warm and nonjudgmental way to redirect interactions and dial down intense emotions, in a process that helps couples enhance their skills and reach an honorable close to their marriage/partnership.
Prior to couples therapy, Ria also offers 2-8, 2-hour sessions of Decision Counseling to help clients gain clarity and confidence about their decision to either: a) Preserve things as they are, b) Stay together and pursue intensive Couples Therapy for a minimum of 6 months, or c) Separate/Divorce, and explore divorce options most likely to sustain and honor relationships, if the family restructures. Whether they stay together or part ways, couples completing Decision Counseling are more able to either commit fully to Couples Therapy, or, if they separate, to be more respectful throughout the divorce process, because they are more resolved and clearer about their own part in the ending of the relationship.
Drawing from her experience working with hundreds of children and parents, Ms. Severance empowers separating or divorced parents to: develop a Co-Parenting plan, form an alliance and skill-set that puts the best interests of children first while addressing the needs of all family members, and keep their families out of court. Parents learn to recognize how even subtle pressure to align against or blame the other parent damages a child’s relational skills in the long run. When children are alienated by a favored parent against the other, Ria offers Reunification Therapy. In addition, Ria provides In-Home Parent Coaching for parents needing to learn the skills to handle their children’s severe behavioral challenges. In divorce-related Individual Therapy, Ria walks a divorcing partner through the challenges of divorce, the restructuring of the family and the creation of a new future, while teaching clients to manage their anxiety and depression.
Regardless of her clinical focus, Ria is a validating context for growth. She empowers clients to build on their strengths and creativity, and facilitates leaving them inspired by who they are, as well as effective in their relationships and in the world. Clients learn to generate and live into their vision of a life truly worth living, regardless of their circumstances.
A bilingual/bicultural Latina, Ms. Severance has 30 years of clinical experience developing empowering relationships with people of diverse cultures, classes, interests and needs. She has an exceptional ability to perceive, articulate and reflect multiple levels of a person’s experience and to communicate that in ways that enhance self-understanding, compassion, self-acceptance, inclusion and the motivation to build relationship skills. Warm and non-judgmental, Ria’s style is genuine and direct. Ms. Severance is an out-of-the-box, creative thinker – quick to envision win-win collaborations and solutions to relational challenges.
She is a dynamic and engaging speaker and offers monthly free trainings in Pasadena, for clinicians and the public, regarding the pros and cons of Divorce Options, including those more likely to preserve respect and assets. Her fresh approach ignites and invigorates as it empowers. For the past two years, Ria has also offered professional trainings at annual conferences for the state’s Collaborative Practice California (CPCal), and the International Association of Collaborative Professionals (IACP). Ms. Severance is active as: Marketing Chair for Pasadena Collaborative Divorce, a Board Member for Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association (LACFLA), a Founding Member and Marketing and Training Committee Member for Civil Collaborative Professionals (CCP provides a collaborative practice approach to resolving Probate, Trusts and Estates disputes), and also volunteers as a Co-Mediator and Divorce Coach at Loyola Law School.
EDUCATION, LICENSE, CERTIFICATIONS AND TRAINING
UCLA PSYCHOLOGY BA – 1983 SUMMA CUM LAUDE
CSULA PSYCHOLOGY MS – 1986 – GRADUATED W 4.0
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist – 1986
American Association of Marriage & Family Therapists (AAMFT)- Approved Clinical Supervisor
California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists (CAMFT)– Approved Clinical Supervisor
Collaborative Divorce Coach & Child Specialist Training Certificate (Collaborative Divorce Team Training, LLC)
Collaborative Divorce Streamlined Protocols Training Certificate
Dispute & Divorce Mediation Training – UCLA
Divorce Mediation Training Advanced Certificate
Advanced Training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy – including evidence-based methods for Emotion Regulation, Distress Tolerance, Interpersonal Effectiveness and Mindfulness
Certificate of Advanced Post-graduate 4-year Training in Object Relations and Self-Psychology
Countless other psychology related trainings.
MEMBERSHIPS & HONORS
Elected Member Phi Beta Kappa (Scholars Honor Society)
Elected Member Psi Chi – National Honor Society in Psychology
LACFLA member (Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association) – Featured Honorary Member of the Month – Volunteer on Collaborative Conferencing Project aimed at serving the underserved in partnership with Loyola Law School
Senator Carol Liu’s 21st District Women’s Council to provide leadership in the areas of Human Services and Education
World Education University (tuition-free online university), Advisory Board Member and Consultant
Fifty-Fifty Leadership (A women’s organization geared to ensuring 50% of the world’s leaders are women), Board Member
1910 Huntington Drive, #16
South Pasadena CA 91030