Conversations With Clinicians: Interview with California Therapist Odessa Avianna Perez

interview with California therapist Odessa avianna Perez

interview with California therapist Odessa avianna Perez

Odessa Avianna Perez is a California therapist who specializes in working with issues of oppression and marginalization using a trauma-informed Somatic Psychotherapy approach with a focus on mindfulness, attachment, nervous system regulation, and dance and movement therapy. In this interview we learn more about her work. Plus, she gives us some great recommendations.

Where is your office located?

Working only virtually for now, but I plan to open an office in Los Angeles in the next year – likely on the east side. 

What is your therapeutic orientation?

Somatic, relational, social justice oriented. For couples work, I’m trained in Stan Tatkin’s PACT model. 

What are your areas of specialty?

I work with interracial couples, multiracial and BIPOC folk who experience the complexity of mixed cultures, systemic oppression and privilege within themselves and/or within their relationships.

I work with individuals who are overcoming developmental trauma, adult children of emotionally immature parents, and survivors of sexual abuse and assault.

I work with folks who are struggling in their relationships and are wanting to find more ease, connection and security with their partners, or are recovering from toxic dynamics in previous relationships. 

What other modalities inform your work?

I was a massage therapist, as well as a ThetaHealing Practitioner and Teacher before becoming a psychotherapist. I have 2 decades of dance experience, in contemporary performance, contact improvisation and conscious dance practices like 5 rhythms and ecstatic dance. 

Therapists Odessa Avianna Perez

What is it like to work with you?

I’m direct, jovial, warm, and compassionate. I like to laugh and find humor as a resource when it’s appropriate, I’m transparent with who I am when it’s supportive for the client to remember that I’m a human too. I geek out on neurobiology and polyvagal theory (if that’s your jam too). 

Who do you LOVE working with?

 I love working with folks involved in the arts, performance, and as impact and change-makers, who are pretty successful in a lot of what they do, but maybe there’s just this one thing (or two) that is causing them hardship, struggle or stress. People who have already built up some self-awareness, but know there is always more work to do, and want some help along the way. 

What inspires you about this work?

It’s the human connection for me – being with people as they navigate the scary, the intimate, the mystery of being alive. It’s being able to put my own hardships to good use by being of service. It’s being able to see my clients grow through our work together to be more fully expressed and whole humans.

What do you do outside of this work to stay inspired?

Get me to a natural body of water to help me reset. I lead retreats and workshops to help people learn about their relationship patterns through dance. I co-lead the Inclusion and Belonging team for an awesome festival called SoulPlay that keeps the hope alive for a better future. I serve on the Healer’s Collective for the Decolonizing Wealth project, and assist white folk in decolonizing themselves. 

Best job (or most interesting job) before becoming a therapist?

Fresh out of undergrad, I used to stage manage and design lights for contemporary dance performances. I come from a theater and dance background, and I still remember how it felt to be in the belly and bones of a theater during long tech hours and performances. 

Therapist Recommendations:

Recommendation: for managing moments of overwhelm: 

Slow down. Pause. Deep breath. What’s the next easiest thing to do right now? Give yourself permission to stop and walk away if that is what’s needed to refind your center. 

Recommendation: for the best place to cry in the bay area: 

Lands End Trail, just past the labyrinth where it descends into a tiny hidden beach. Sometimes there are wildflowers. 

Recommendation: for the best place to find a laugh in the bay area:

where ever there are friends. 

Recommendation: for self care practice on a budget: 

In Los Angeles – WiSpa – $30 for virtually no time limit on saunas, hot tubs, steam rooms (also scrubs and massages as add-ons) and a sweet roof deck. Bring your own face mask and exfoliator and treat yourself to a whole spa day. 

Recommendation: for self care practice investment: 

Therapy (duh of course I’m gonna say that!). Otherwise, finding a movement modality you love and committing to it weekly, and/or a monthly bodywork session. Touch and movement are so important to our mental health. 

Favorite non-therapy book: 

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer – puts me in touch with all my non-human relatives. Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins – the magic of smell, dance, and living forever. 

Favorite self-help book/ therapy book: 

My Grandmother’s Hands by Resma Menakem – when we confront our collective trauma, we begin the work of finding true community and belonging in this world. 

Favorite quote: 

“Times are urgent. We must slow down” -Dr. Bayo Akomolafe

What do you have in the works right now?

I just completed a 60 hour certificate training course called Embodied Social Justice that has left me inspired about the growing community that knows collective liberation starts (and continues) in the body. 

I’m co-leading a partner dance and embodiment retreat called Dance Your Medicine in March 2023 in Costa Rica. I’m partnering with Wren LaFeet, the founder of Cocrea Mindful Partner dance, and together we support humans in a 7-day transformational retreat where we use partner dance and trauma-informed somatics to retrieve our fully expressed selves from the past hurt of attachment wounds, relationship, and narratives that have kept us hidden, small, and stuck. 

How Can People Contact You?

Name: Odessa Avianna Perez 

License #: 118193 

Supervisor: Supervised by Anna Howland, LMFT #99026 

Phone number: (510) 858-1133


Bio on CMP Website:


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