Suraya Susana Keating is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Registered Expressive Arts Therapist, Registered Drama Therapist, and Registered Yoga Instructor who helps youth and adults to be wildly self-expressed, joyful, and connected to their deepest self through an embodied, heart-based approach to psychotherapy. Suraya's healing work with others is influenced by years of experience with mindfulness-based, body-based practices that at the core are rooted in the idea that love for all parts of our self is essential for healing and growth. Suraya works individually with youth, adults and couples to help them access this core of self-love, and to utilize the arts and the creative process to help call forth all the underlying parts of ourselves that want to be seen, heard and expressed. During the past 18 years, Suraya has also worked extensively in the California Prison system, using theater as a tool for transformation with incarcerated men in the Marin Shakespeare Program at San Quentin State Prison, with men and women in Bay Area County Jails, and with teenagers in Juvenile Hall. Suraya supervises MFT Associates and trains psychotherapists, teachers and group facilitators in the use of the expressive arts (drama, movement, music, visual art and creative writing) and drama therapy to deepen and enhance their work.
*On a personal note, I believe very much in the archetype of the wounded-healer. It is my own personal journey in this life, the traumas, joys, challenges and blessings I have experienced that have most shaped me as a soul and the work I do with others. I was born in New York City and grew up mostly on Long Island in a mixed-ethnic, middle class family with a lineage of abuse, trauma, mental illness and emotional cutoff. My mother was Russian Jewish and my father was Irish Catholic, and their union spurred much hate at the time, particularly on my father's side of the family. Mental illness, anxiety, depression and denial were rampant in my family growing up. Being a child, I did not realize until my teenage years the toxicity of the system I was born into. Instead, I coped by becoming an over-achiever, always obsessively working towards some academic, athletic or other goal in order to cover up and cope with the pain I was feeling. A personal crisis when I was 21 years old woke me up inside to the dysfunctional system in which I was immersed, as well as the coping strategies I was using to navigate my life the best I could. This crisis also initiated me into a multi-fold healing path that included deep spiritual exploration and inner work, a deep dive into my own psyche, and a passion for the ways in which creativity in many forms brought life and spirit and purpose back into my soul. Since that moment many years ago when I was 21 years old, I have been through many other challenges and crises and through many other blessings and joys. I continue to be committed to my own healing journey as I commit to supporting others on the healing journey of their lives in whatever way I can.