Brenda Gesell, Ph.D.

Brenda Gesell View Specialties

It takes courage to ask for help. Thank you for reaching out. Healing is possible. You can recover from broken relationships and make sense of the overwhelming feelings.

  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Trauma Recovery
  • Adults who have endured childhood abuse or neglect
  • Eating Disorders
It is common for people to come in my office and report feeling "stuck". I work to help them find resolutions to their problems by better understanding themselves and communicating their needs to others. With just a little help they become "unstuck" and feel a great deal better. I also often work with individuals who experience an inner critical voice that attacks them with messages such as: “I am not enough” and "I cannot trust others". Many begin psychotherapy with the belief that they need to get rid of part of their personality or body in order to gain love from others and feel better. This just isn't true. There is plenty of room for every aspect of your personhood. Self-acceptance is the natural byproduct of psychotherapeutic work. And self-compassion and acceptance lead to greater joy, fulfillment and empowerment! 
Benefits of Psychotherapy 
I believe we should all try psychotherapy at some point in our lives. Most of us have grown up ignoring our feelings and repressing emotions. We apologize when we cry and we struggle with the concept of healthy anger. It’s what our culture teaches us to do. When we repress our emotions, however, our intimacy with loved ones suffers. If we don’t learn how to make sense of our feelings, we become depressed. Back pain, ulcers, migraines, difficulty sleeping and a host of other somatic symptoms can show up when we ignore our anger and grief. It’s useless to try to “shake it off,” because it’s really impossible. Our feelings don’t disappear. And eventually we’ll have to pay the bill.
Psychotherapy helps us to make sense of painful experiences. We learn how to build emotional resilience, practice self-compassion and use mindfulness. When we work through unprocessed experiences, we develop the tools to work through future emotions. When we learn how to process and become aware of our emotions we become less reactive and we become able to cultivate meaningful relationships with real and lasting intimacy. Numbness, resentment, passive aggressive behaviors, co-dependence, self-harm, eating disorders and angry outbursts are the result of unprocessed emotional experiences. Processing those emotions through psychotherapy leads to intimacy, confidence, joy, empowerment and effective communication. Psychotherapy is for intelligent, brave individuals who want to better understand themselves and others, to resolve conflicts with greater ease and to experience greater joy. I encourage everyone to try it.
About Dr. Brenda Gesell, MFT, Ph.D.      
I love helping people accept themselves, claim their value and discover their inner strength. I have a Ph.D. in Depth Psychology and I am a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist in Newport Beach, California. I have been practicing therapy for over 18 years and was a professor teaching therapists in graduate school for over a decade. I would like to help you discover your inner badass and let go of shame!   
Ph.D.  Depth Psychology, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, California

M.S.  Clinical Psychology, Vanguard University,  Costa Mesa, California

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, State of California

Research areas: Trauma and Dissociation, Spirituality in Psychology, Perfectionism, Dreamwork, and Paternal Deprivation
I believe in creating a sacred space where individuals can honor their true feelings. I do not offer trite clichés or stereotypical therapeutic interventions; I care about developing genuine relationships. I am a psychodynamic therapist and I focus on helping individuals develop mindfulness, curiosity and self-compassion. Most importantly, I am dedicated to supporting your healing and growth.
  Dr. Gesell is also an experienced graduate school professor, seminar and workshop leader and she also hosts her own podcast with three of her colleagues.    You can listen to Dr. Gesell's podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or listen now by clicking on the link below - 
 Don't Go There Podcast
Other recent podcast episodes include: 
Does having children or being child-free make you happier? 
What the hell is forgiveness?
Is social media bad for your mental health? 
  You can learn more about Dr. Gesell at her website 

Dr. Brenda Gesell Reaches

Newport Coast CA
Irvine CA
Corona Del Mar CA