Alison Mertz

Associate Clinical Social Worker #88725

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How I Work

I believe each person is the authority on their own life and experiences. I have skills, empathy, time, and tools to offer you, if you desire assistance on your journey. My tools include mindfulness, breathwork, humor, movement, and deep presence. I also have experience with common mental health hiccups that people tend to experience at one point or another, including anxiety, depression, and adjusting to life transitions.

I firmly believe that the lasting impacts of colonization and oppression are real, that they are felt both emotionally and physically by those of us most impacted, and that one’s mental health can only be improved when basic human needs for health, housing, nourishment, and physical and emotional safety are met. I do not practice therapy to help folks adjust to oppressive conditions. Instead, I practice from a framework of cultural humility. My goal is to support powerful beings to find their voices and express themselves authentically, within a context that supports healthy, vibrant, active lives, as defined by each individual.

About Me

I am a mid-career social worker, a queer parent to two amazing kiddos, a yoga instructor, a lover of deep historical/cultural fiction, and a newly avid jigsaw puzzler. Some of my favorite authors are Lisa See, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, and Barbara Kingsolver. During my free time, it is equally likely that you could find me snuggling with my dogs, protesting ICE, playing with my kiddos, or with my head in a book.

Training and Experience

  • CA Associate Clinical Social Worker # 88725 (2019)

  • Master of Social Welfare, Community Mental Health focus: UC Berkeley (2017)

  • Leadership & Transformation 2-year certificate: The Hendricks Institute for Conscious Living & Loving (2009)

  • Yoga Instructor, specialization teaching children & adults with all types of bodies and levels of flexibility: YogaWorks (200 hours, 2006), YogaEd (50 hours, 2006), Yoga for All (50 hours, 2004)

I completed my MSW in Community Mental Health at UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare in 2017. During my MSW program, I worked with LGBTQ older adults, refugees and asylum seekers, and people facing eviction (including veterans, youth, and adults with disabilities). Organizations I worked with during this time include the Pacific Center for Human Growth (Berkeley’s LGBT center), Partnerships for Trauma Recovery, and East Bay Community Law Center.  

Prior to my education as a social worker, I provided case management and crisis counseling to people who were homeless at a variety of shelters and street-based programs in Washington, DC, Paterson, NJ, and Santa Rosa, CA. I also trained with Drs. Gay and Katie Hendricks at the Hendricks Institute for Conscious Living. While there, I learned body-centered processes for authentic communication and group facilitation skills. I served as a supporting facilitator for Dr. Hendricks’ educational workshops, including a weekend workshop for survivors of the mass shooting at Virginia Tech. I am also a certified yoga instructor. I have taught yoga classes for all levels of flexibility and experience at yoga studios, YMCAs, afterschool programs, and senior centers.

As an intern in this practice, I am currently working towards obtaining the 3,000 hours of clinical experience required to become a CA Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I am receiving weekly supervision from Kip Williams, LMFT, as well as in-depth training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

Alison is an employee of Kip Williams Psychotherapy (A Marriage & Family Therapy Corporation). She is supervised by Kip Williams, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist #93170. Her office is located at the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center.