Mary Chen, LMFT
My hope and intention is that through our work together, you’ll develop a grounded, balanced, and resilient sense of self with which to face life’s challenges.
Education and Credentials
After close to two decades in another field (see below), I am now a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (PA MF000932). I completed my Master’s degree in Couple and Family Therapy (MFT) with departmental honors at Thomas Jefferson University, and have completed the requirements for post-graduate certification in Sex Therapy at Council for Relationships. At Jefferson, I focused on Medical Family Therapy and served as a course liaison in the university’s widely respected inter-professional Health Mentors Program. I’m also a certified hospice volunteer, and I’ve completed two five-day, silent, solo meditation retreats.
I’m a current member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) and the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT).
How I Work
I begin each therapeutic relationship in a spirit of collaboration and an environment of non-judgment. Together, we’ll work to determine the areas in which you feel stuck, uncover what’s holding you back, and work through the fundamental, sometimes difficult emotional processes of being human: grieving what may have been lost, negotiating uncertain paths, reinforcing inherent strengths and abilities, and embracing new possibilities.
As an MFT, I work systemically — which means I consider my clients’ lives and the problems you present in therapy through a biopsychosocial lens, taking into account your body, your mind, and your relationships (family, friends, and romantic), and how all of those things affect each other.
My work with you will be big on balance, particularly those always-tough balances between connection and autonomy, and between logic and emotion.
Within that framework, I work with my clients to tailor therapy to your needs. Primarily, I use tools and interventions from Family Systems Theory, mindfulness practices, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT), and other attachment-based and empirically sound models.
Whom I work with
I work with clients who are in monogamous, non-monogamous, “monogamish”, and polyamorous relationships, or no romantic or sexual relationships at all, without prejudice. I’m happy to talk more about my philosophy in this regard; get in touch! I’m also a queer-affirming and trans-affirming therapist, versed in the experiences of multi-racial and multi-cultural individuals, couples, and families.
I became a therapist out of a deep love and respect for the field; I believe good therapy changes lives in ways that can reverberate through generations and throughout my clients’ worlds. I absolutely cherish my job today, and that leaves me with a deep well of energy and attention to devote to my clients.
At 43 years old I’ve been a practicing therapist for five years — I’m a proud career-changer. Prior to shifting paths I served as the Director of Digital Health Strategy at Planned Parenthood Federation of America‘s national office, which followed a decade-plus career as a writer and editor at The N, Nickelodeon‘s teen network (now TeenNick), and Grand Royal. My undergraduate degree was in writing, and in my earlier career I worked in Quality Assurance for a few technology and software companies, from small start-ups to multinationals. Feel free to check out my LinkedIn if you really want the details 🙂
Looking back, I can see how the skills I developed and traits I leaned on in these prior roles — systemic thinking, clear communication, empathy, humor, and a comfort level with subject matter that some may find challenging — are still serving me as a therapist today.