Risa Giordano


Risa Giordano


Not Accepting New Clients
Telehealth Available
Professions: Creative Arts Therapist, Psychotherapist, Clinical Social Worker
License Status: I'm a licensed professional.
Primary Credential: Clinical Social Work
Secondary Credential: Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Billing and Insurance:

I do not work with insurance companies

Fees: Each person has a plan designed for their needs which we discuss and set up together based upon what you are looking to do - this is a unique and creative process based upon your style. Any time frame can be worked out and lengths can be varied and customized. Fees are based on a monthly fee because the work I do is a continuous loop of planning, processing, researching, contemplating all leading up to the times we meet together in sessions. The Monthly Fee would be depending on the services included and complexities involved. All aspects logistical, emotional and practical are made as transparent as possible and are shared with you so we can discuss and plan together and then agree upon these administrative details, based on our collaboration. A monthly fee is set up and services planned for 36 weeks per year. I am open to ongoing discussion about any concerns, needs and preferences about any part of the services.

If you desire or need more time, longer sessions and or more frequency, we can discuss this and develop the number of sessions and duration of each that feels right for you.

Intensive Specialized Experiential Sessions (SES) can be arranged Individually. These can be 3 to 8 hours (they can be powerful & effective: individualized workshop formats developed to focus on any personal challenge including those that seem "stuck" or unyielding)
Free Initial Consultation


Cary, North Carolina 27518
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27517

My Approach to Helping

My own personal experience with psychotherapy and the healing I was able to experience after many lonely, frustrating years of struggling with who I was and how I was helped open new possibilities and I have evolved into a person living a life far beyond what I ever dreamed was possible. I had a great deal of struggles throughout my childhood, young adulthood and beyond.

I fought valiantly for years on my own, frustrated and defeated I finally sought the help of a Psychotherapist and began the long hard road back to being who I am today: able to greet the world as me and meet Life's opportunities and challenges with perseverance, creativity, resiliency and determination learning to to have meaningful experiences with what is rather than wishing for what couldn't be and no matter how hard I pushed over and over - wasn't being. I faced all of my past and felt so many feelings I didn't know I had which I learned about in Psychotherapy. I learned about re-enactment and Psychodrama and how to really understand and later to release the struggles I had so I could live more powerfully and proactively in the here and now. I have traveled back to living meaningfully, from a long way away from my ideals - so much had to be faced, traced and accepted for me to be able to function well and to enjoy this life. Learning to let things go that didn't help and didn't support me and embracing my own process - unique from all others I was helped to be released from years of struggle back into my own self-direction. After from years of my own individual, group, workshop and Couples and Family Therapy I decided to work professionally in the field of Social Work. The reason I chose Social Work as the vehicle I wanted to be professional in is I really believe in the Ethics of my Profession and what we stand for. Even though my schedule is currently full - and I am not able to accept anyone new, I have opened my doors to a wide variety of people - some who would never have had a chance to have the caliber of services I offer under other circumstances. I truly enjoy witnessing people transform and grow. I really feel vested in my Practice and so appreciative to have the opportunity to help so many other people find lightness out of their dark places. I have been doing this professionally since 1986 on a BA level (Undergraduate College degree) and then went on to Graduate School to obtain an MSW after a few years of professional Social Work experience at a BA level, I went on for my Masters of Social Work (MSW) while working full time in a Social Work Agency. Five years later I, obtained my CSW, (Certified Social Worker) and later my LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker). I have been a member of the Academy of Clinical Social Workers (ACSW) and a Board Certified Diplomat (BCD) and a Diplomat in Clinical Social Work (DCSW) since 1997. I strive to keep growing and learning all the time. I want to offer new and fresh ideas and opportunities to everyone I work with. I spent 14 more years of agency experience, the last 7 I was concurrently building my practice. I left the last agency work in 2004 and I have been working completely independently for over 15 years in a creative and vibrant private practice which I love doing. I enjoy offering opportunities to others who seek help to walk their personal path as they are and to freely and comfortably be all they could be. Over time, when I experienced the caring, compassionate confidential setting that Psychotherapy can offer, I came to believe deeply in the process. I was not quickly or willingly engaged - it was a growing on me experience to stay with this and let me release what didn't work for me, stop trying to be someone I wasn't and learn to cherish the person I am, exactly and imperfectly how I am. The main part of the work is the power of a therapeutic relationship as a tool for discovering both what needs to change and how to actually allow shifts to both inner awareness and external behaviors to occur. I enjoy being able to provide to other people the opportunity to experience the renewed sense of hope, higher self-worth and improved capabilities for self-care and personal happiness that I experienced as outcomes of effective therapeutic work. There were struggles and impasses, times of darkness and despair and the bond of the alliance and the belief that my therapist cared about me and was able to help me probably saved my life. I provide a special space for people to have self discovery within the safe framework of a professional relationship designed to foster growth experiential. This is a vibrant and special process with great capacity for you to work on what you wish to with the goal of inner transformation that allows true change to take hold and long lasting shifts to unfold in ways you are seeking.

Each person who comes to see me is offered the opportunity to talk about what brings them to therapy. Your style and preferences in how you want to approach resolving your problems deserve respect and careful attention. I want to get to know you and work with you to determine what types of approaches would work best for you to be able to work on the parts of yourself that are stopping you from experiencing satisfaction and enjoyment in your life.

I work with people individually and I have lead workshops. I provide intensive workshop experiential sessions for individuals to be able to focus deeply on an area that has been difficult to work through. The longer duration of these sessions and the unique blend of creative arts therapeutic processes enables the participants to encounter and work through many areas that had been difficult to access and resolve in the past. People can participate in whichever of these styles of therapy feels most suited to their needs. Coming soon: online workshops and groups. My practice became Virtual in 2020 and has remained this way.

I welcome your questions and hope if you find something in this profile that touches you that you will contact me.

More Info About My Practice

People who have chosen to do their therapy with me have noticed over time they are feeling more at peace with themselves because they are enjoying improved personal and professional relationships, better parenting skills, reductions in self harmful behaviors, increases in satisfaction with work and play and expanded abilities to be creative and proactive in their lives. These experiences have enabled them to start, improve or end relationships, effectively handle life transitions including losses, change jobs, go back to school, get promotions, raises, obtain more challenging and interesting positions at work and start improve their own businesses. The outcomes of therapy are based on the efforts put in and sustained by each of us - we each have our role. There are no guarantees - but I will say I have witnessed that people do shift when they are focused and willing to do what they need to do to make that happen. There are "blind spots" that we all have and having a compassionate witness, guide and partner (aka Psychotherapist) will help you recognize those, explore them, discover any origins that strengthen them and work towards dissolving and releasing them.

I am happy to talk with you about any questions or concerns you might have so you can see if working with me is something that feels right for you.

Specific Issue(s) I'm Skilled at Helping With

Often in life, friends and family don't listen or can't listen on all the levels you are speaking on. They may have short attention spans, or just not be able to "get" where you are coming from. A well trained psychotherapist learns to hear what you are saying verbally, sense what you may not be able to express overtly and integrate this with relational and experiential aspects of what you are demonstrating in your behavior and interactions in the therapy relationship. In addition, a seasoned therapist learns how to be with you without reacting and can use many aspects of themselves professionally to help you come to know parts of you that may be interfering with your happiness and satifaction with your life. Therapy doesn't seek to make your life or you perfect, but rather to empower you to manage and intervene successfully in whatever life sends your way. People who can do this experience a better connection with themselves and more enjoyable experiences with other people and situations they participate in.

How Psychotherapy Can Help

Working with a professional Psychotherapist offers you a trained listener and compassionate partner in exploring your concerns and discovering your true desires and approaches that really reflect you and honor your needs. Depending on the Therapist you select, you have a wide array of methods and approaches you could work with - the most important aspect is the actual relationship between Patient and Psychotherapist known as the Therapeutic Alliance. The bond that would be cultivated, forged and sustained between us in our work together will hold a space of safety as we deal with your challenges. Sometimes the interaction brings up surprising feelings and perceptions and elicits a sense of wanting to stop the work. The best approach for any part of therapy to be helpful, is share openly, honestly and transparently about what is going on with your therapist. If you work with me I will receive you with openness and respond with appropriate transparency, integrity, warmth, compassion, concern, interest and a sincere desire to open the channels with you for better communication leading to deeper discovery. Therapy can be a correction recapitulation of previous relationships if you let it. My office can be your laboratory for experimenting with ways to communicate more authentically, experience a relationship with someone who will receive you with acceptance and openness. This will help you move past the places you have gotten stuck before and not being stopped in the places you may be experiencing roadblocks in outside my office. The best way to help this process is, whatever you most don't want to say, say it "first" - don't hold back - what you keep unsaid in Psychotherapy could stop you from reaching your full potential and can be self burdening. In life, being polite, holding back and saying things a certain way even if not wholly true is important to getting along with others. In Psychotherapy, what is helpful is saying "everything" in your mind and heart - you can deliver your truth with consideration and know that you and what you say will be received and supported.

My View on the Purpose of Psychotherapy

I work to help people heal from the inhibiting effects of being exposed to, as well as people who have grown up, in a family where personality conflicts, compulsive, addictive and behavioral dysfunction are present are affected in their: self relationship (own addictions, depression, anxiety, insecurity, low self worthesteem); relationships with others, ability to identify and succeed in careersjobs and often have trouble with many basic skills of daily living. These problems are entrenched and require someone with special education and skills to help identify the sources of pain and blocked ability to change things; also to assist with the process of restoring healthier ways of living. Examples of family dysfunction are when: someone drinks to excess, uses illegal drugs or over the counter drugs to excess to self medicate, eating issues (overunderstarving), where there is squelching of self expression, infidelity, money issues (overunderspending, debting,gambling.

What I Love about Being a Psychotherapist

I work with many people long term to help them restore areas of their lives that experiences from many sources may be preventing them from being able to express themselves and care for their needs in effective ways. I work from a perspective that basking in blame is not motivating. I encourage exploration of your experiences with family, school, neighborhoods, or other circumstances ranging throughout history and into the here and now. We have a chance to collaborate and find the areas preventing you from finding and utilizing effectively your personality and talents. The therapeutic relationship is a special and unique place to help you uncover and release your personal qualities so you can find what matters most to you, express yourself effectively and enjoy your life more. Being both a witness and a guide for fostering the emergence of the best you is one of the deepest joys of my professional role.

My Role as a Therapist

I provide a safe, confidential and compassionate enviornment. I work with each person in a unique manner helping them uncover their personal approach to healing. I do many things in my role: listen, share feedback, offer activities to help people work on their concerns. I utilize many schools of therapy which I blend in a unique for each person as our work unfolds. I continually study internally and externally new ways to help. Many creative processes are utilized and each is done sensitively with attunement to your style and preferences.

My Therapy Focus

I focus on helping each person who works with me to uncover their true nature and be freed up to act effectively on their own behalf in all areas of their lives. I work with behavior, thoughts and language helping people recognize how their present style works for or against them. I offer many experiential opportunities to learn and practice different styles both for self relating and in relation to others. Experiential work provides a here and now experience that has the power to help you engage with who you really are and integrate parts of you that may have been underdeveloped or unappreciated in prior experiences.

What I Usually Need to Know to Help

I often say that no matter what you talk about we will be able to find the places where you are feeling stuck. I guide you to share about what I think will be helpful based on what you start talking about. In general, helping you to share as honestly and fully as you can your experience of yourself, your historical and present experiences.

My Guiding Ethical Principles

Everything I do in my role is done with courtesy, consideration, sensitivity and respect for the individuality of each person I work with. As our work unfolds, therapy can feel like a friendship at times because of the support and warmth in the relationship. To keep our relationship professional and focused as psychotherapy, I am very clear about structures that are known as Therapeutic Boundaries. Some of these are starting, ending on time, maintaining a therapeutic stance in sessions and keeping the work focused in the sessions. I utilize what I call "The Administrative Moment, at the beginning of sessions to keep logistical aspects such as fees, scheduling and other aspects clear. This is done at the beginning so once we get underway in the session you wouldn't have to regroup and try to talk about these things after doing emotional work. The boundaries are not meant to take away from the experience, but rather support the safety and effectiveness of the work we can do together.

On the Fence About Going to Therapy?

Therapy is more scary when you think about it without having tried it. If you find the right person (someone you can open up to and experience change with) you can talk about your ambivalence and will most likely find it fades as you discover options for living that on your own didn't seem possible. Reminding yourself that going doesn't have to be forever, you are not trapped. You can try it and leave if it doesn't seem right for you. Each person who works with me sets their own timetable for starting and ending their therapy.

Had a Negative Therapy Experience?

It is important to talk about your past therapy experiences with me so you can both learn about what didn't work for you there and not repeat it here. I want to provide a positive experience for you. I understand that a prior negative therapy experience is especially painful because you went seeking help and ended up with more pain. Often this prevents or delays a return to therapy. I can help you work through whatever happened utilizing talking and other creative arts or experiential approaches to deepen your release of the past hurt or disappointment. Sometimes the wrong fit between you and a past therapist can contribute to a negative experience. Choosing someone with whom you feel compatible and who has the training and experience you need will increase your chances of a positive experience.

Important Factors for Choosing a Therapist

I recommend that the therapist you choose have training and experience in the problems you want to work on. It's important that you feel comfortable in their office with them and can talk about your concerns. The relationship between you and your therapist is the main way you will experience your ability to heal and grow, so feeling comfortable, understood and safe is very important. There will be times you will experience difficult feelings in therapy so it is important to have a good alliance between you and your therapist to help sustain you during these difficult passageways. In my years of working as a Psychotherapist, I have found this type of experience at times is necessary for overall true healing to take place. The therapeutic relationship is a place to "re-enact" safely relationship challenges and the outcomes can be more positive as we study what happens without judging the experience or each other. Doing this together can be very enlightening and powerful. Often these moments can be incredible links to transformation, often appearing just before you are about to release old parts of self and be able to move forward more effectively in pursuit of your goals.

How My Own Struggles Made Me a Better Therapist

In addition to my professional training, I have often said I have a degree from "the school of hard knocks, majoring in life struggles". I have worked through a lot of personal issues spanning numerous areas in my life. My personal struggles and my experiences with therapy and how it has helped me to heal have really expanded my ability to be sensistive and more intuitive about how I choose to conduct therapy. Having occupied the role of "patient" in many different roles: individually, group member of many groups, family therapy, and many different types of workshops I bring to this process a unique sensitivity because I have experienced so many facets of therapeutic processes. My deep and enduring commitment to my healing and the successful outcomes I have enjoyed are often freely shared in ways that can help give hope to your process.

Theoretical Influences that Guide My Work

Each person is different so I have exposed myself to many different schools of therapy. I utilize Psychodrama, Gestalt, Experiential, Addictions (12 step and non 12 step alternatives), non diet, non deprivational eating approaches, family and couples' work, cognitive, behavioral, Transactional Anaysis, wide variety of Psychoanalyticpsychodynamic Psychotherapies and various Creative Arts. Most important of all, I have been described by many close to me "as a rugged individualist" and I believe in each person having their own process that is custom designed for their style, needs and preferences.

What I Say to People Concerned about the Therapy Process

Clients who have worked with me have been surprised when they risk sharing anger or other frightening feelings honestly with me at the relief they feel. It is usually scary at first to risk that level of honesty, but once you do you probably will be amazed at how relieved you feel. This type of experiencing in my office opens the door for you to be able to do that more outside my office. I have many experiential approaches to helping people recognize, address, cope with and release intense feelings.

Why Going to Therapy Does Not Mean You are Weak or Flawed

I think people judge and criticize things that threaten them. It is easier to say therapy is for crazy or flawed people than it is to face the need for help and do something about it. I think the people who go to therapy are often the more courageous and healthier people in our society! Being open to all parts of self allows a person to be real and to be approachable.

Importance of the Client-Therapist Alliance

It has been my experience that most people have difficulty knowing all aspects of a problem they are facing. One of the most powerful tools therapy offers is the recognition and therapeutic use of "enactments". I treat these as a form of unconscious communication from my clients and I seek to help educate their awareness of both the presence of an enactment and what it may mean to them. An enactment is where the feelings and styles of an original (source figure)relationship take place between you and me. These happen offer in life, usually people untrained in them just react and conflicts escalate. Discovering the specific ways you may re-enact old relationship patterns is very empowering so you can make different choices and have more satisfaction in your relationships.

My View on the Nature of 'Disorders'

It is different for each person. Labels put borders around experiences and presentations of self that are fluid and unique. My job to help each person discover their sources of pain while honoring their authentic selves. Often family backgrounds are major contributors. Sometimes events later in life can trigger a need for help. There is no one explanation and no one single simple cause. Problems are often sourced in complex origins and having a process and a relationship that allows for safety, privacy and time to explore these offers a special opportunity for shifting things that have not seemed to be movable previously.

The Duration and Frequency of Therapy

I work in partnership with my clients about the length and frequency of their sessions. I will see people for 90 minutes or longer in the sessions we do together. Over my years of practice, I have found longer sessions utilizing experiential and creative arts therapies are more effective in both identifying areas of concern and moving stuck places into pro-active personal growth. I will recommend different frequencies for various reasons. I offer a longer session three weeks of each month. This allows people to keep their financial investment to a manageable level while receiving a time frame that is more effective at allowing for deeper warm-up to reveal issues and discover ways to alleviate problems. Peoples can customize sessions to personal needs. Those that need contact on other weeks can arrange for that with me. I offer phone sessions also. We can discuss your needs and preferences together. Financial considerations are taken into account when deciding on fees because there is no reason to be anxious about affording a process designed to move towards reducing overwhelm and chaotic experiences. I believe that the frequency and durations of sessions need to be decided independently of fees if people have financial constraints. I give people what they need and charge what they can afford.

What Makes up a Problem?

Everything someone has inherited biologically and experienced personally contributes to each person being unique. We explore these in therapy together. I think of my office as a place to discover and explore in your own way whatever seems important for you to address to resolve the things that have caused you pain.

Services I Provide

  • Creative Arts Therapy
  • Individual Therapy & Counseling
  • Telehealth

Ages I Work With

  • Adults


  • English

Groups I Work With

    Adult children of alcoholic and other families seeking to resolve "inner child "family of origin issues, codependency, individuals facing andor recovering from relationship distress. I am a Certified Financial Social Worker and can help work with financial empowerment.

Client Concerns I Treat

  • Abandonment
  • Adjusting to Change / Life Transitions
  • Codependency / Dependency
  • Communication Problems
  • Creative Blocks
  • Family of Origin Issues
  • Fear
  • Grief, Loss, and Bereavement
  • Habits
  • Inadequacy
  • Individuation
  • Life Purpose / Meaning / Inner-Guidance
  • Midlife Crisis / Midlife Transition
  • Self-Care
  • Self-Criticism
  • Self-Doubt
  • Self-Esteem
  • Sensitivity to Criticism
  • Shame
  • Stress
  • Trust Issues
  • Values Clarification
  • Workplace Issues
  • Worry
  • Worthlessness

Types of Therapy

  • Art Therapy
  • Creative Art Therapy
  • Family Systems Therapy
  • Gestalt Therapy
  • Integration of different therapy models
  • Psychoanalysis / Modern Psychoanalysis
  • Psychodrama
  • Psychodynamic
  • Transactional Analysis

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