Licensed Marriage & Famly Therapist

Life is an ever-changing and often challenging endeavor. It's not uncommon to find yourself feeling stuck, defeated and alone. As a therapist, my goal is to aid in your journey toward realizing your best self: one who is centered, confident and connected. Whether you're experiencing anxiety, depression, or family and relationship issues, therapy can help.

As a supervisor, I value both professional and personal growth and utilize the self-of-the therapist model in my work with supervisees.

About Me
Shawnese Givens, LMFT

I've been in practice as a Marriage & Family Therapist since 2009. I earned a Master of Arts degree in Marriage & Family Therapy from Syracuse University and trained in the Psychotherapy Center for Gender & Sexuality at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy. As someone who identifies as a QWOC, feminist, and social justice advocate, I'm particularly passionate about working to restore wholeness and health within black, brown, and queer communities. I've done this work in various roles including as a family therapist to families with youth within the PINS system , as a substance abuse counselor, and as a supervisor. I have facilitated support groups for the significant others, family, friends and allies (SOFFAs) of trans folks, and for the transmasculine community. In addition to maintaining a private practice, I am a Clinical Consultant to The Therapy Center of Philadelphia, and the Interim Executive Director of The Attic Youth Center, Philadelphia's only independent LGBTQ youth center.

AAMFT Clinical Fellow

I'm published in the Philadelphia Gay News. Read the article, Support for SOFFAs of Transgender Folks, here.


"When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak."

Audre Lorde


Adults and

adolescents ages 13+

If you're not feeling quite like yourself  or if you're having trouble moving your life in the right direction, you may benefit from individual therapy. In this process, you'll have the space to be introspective, learn coping strategies, and develop the life you want to lead.


Balancing self with others

No matter your identity or the boundaries of your partnership, every relationship has moments of uncertainty. Couples therapy can improve physical and emotional intimacy by providing tools and improving perspective.


As a kink aware and poly-friendly therapist, it's my goal to create a safe place for all couples. 


Families with

youth ages 13+

Parenting can be one of the most difficult tasks in life and yet there's no rule book or manual. This is because there isn't one right way to parent. Family therapy provides an opportunity for your family  to develop its own manual, which  builds on your strengths to improve problematic behaviors, communication, and connectedness.


Competent Care

To simply exist as an LGBTQ person in this country is to experience the trauma of oppression. Such experiences often have a quiet but profound effect, contributing to self-doubt, anxiety, depression, and addictions. When a clinician can give voice and validation to the impact of oppression, healing and self-love can emerge where oppression has left a wound. As a clinician specializing in LGBTQ concerns,  it's my mission and expertise to provide that space.



Clinical and

Self Growth

As a supervisor, my goal is to support you in your journey as a clinician. This includes development of clinical orientation, exploration of self-of-the therapist issues and identifying your clinical passions.



Seeking out therapy can be an anxiety-provoking process but doing so brings you one step closer to the life you want to lead. Please be aware that my practice is currently full and I am unable to accept new clients. Feel free to reach out with any questions that you may have or if you would like to be added to the waiting list.

A bit about therapy...

What distinguishes a Marriage & Family Therapist from other therapists?

Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) are psychotherapists who are specifically trained to understand mental health issues through a systemic lens. Whereas many other therapists see problems as existing within an individual, a MFT seeks to understand your context by examining relational dynamics in your past and present. This dynamic approach allows clients to externalize issues which once felt like inescapable, internal failings and instead learn to see their concerns as existing due to the complex systems at play in their life. Once you let go of the pathologizing way that society typically sees mental health, you are better equiped to make the changes you desire.

Does a Marriage & Family Therapist see clients individually?

Yes! Our understanding of the various systems at work in your life equip an MFT to better understand the context that you come from including sociolocation, the dynamics of your family of origin, and the patterns playing out in the relationships in your life. In short, an MFT considers the impact of the relationships in your life, even when those folks aren't in the room.

What will happen in therapy?

First, we'll work at your pace to build a relationship where you feel safe and able to explore the nuances of the issues that brought you to therapy.  We'll do the work of uncovering how you've gotten to where you are and build a foundation of tools to support change. Depending on where you are, we may work on improving sense of self, processing trauma, improving intimacy and communication, or learning coping strategies.

What type of theories do you use?

I identify as an integrative therapist who is utilizes techniques from various theories including Psychodynamic, Attachment, Narrative, and Bowenian theories. Regardless of the techniques I use, I always approach therapy from a foundation of thinking systemically, being trauma-informed and culturally sensitive, and integrating queer and feminist theories. My foremost goals are to be intuitive, warm, and accessible regardless of my client's identity.

What about the logistics? (i.e. When are you available? How much will it cost? How long are sessions? Anything else I need to know?)

We'll work together to find a time that works for you. Each session or supervision is $125 for 50 minutes. Please be aware that my office is not accessible and is located on the  3rd floor of a building without an elevator.

A limited number of sliding scale slots are available for clients with financial concerns. I do not accept insurance but can provides receipts for reimbursement.


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