I am a sex-positive, kink & poly-friendly therapist. I strive to offer a nonjudgmental, shame-free space for people from all walks of life to work through past traumas, relational difficulties, intimacy issues, depression, anxiety, addictive and compulsive behaviors, life transitions, grief and loss.
From birth, we are socialized to conform to certain expectations of society, adopting narratives about ourselves and the world around us along the way. Our cumulative experiences through childhood, both good and bad, inform the types of defense and coping mechanisms we use to protect ourselves from what has wounded us in the past. These protections served us in the moment, but now they may be obstacles to experiencing what makes the human experience truly fulfilling: authentic connection, safety in our environment and in our own bodies, and a feeling of competency and confidence in our strengths.
With individuals, I primarily work from the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model and attachment-oriented psychotherapy, informed by reliable and empirically validated neuropsychological studies. Consistent with IFS, I believe that your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors reflect parts of yourself that want or need to be heard and validated — none of which are inherently “good” or “bad”. Together, therapy can help you to practice granting compassion for your whole self, just as you would grant compassion to your loved ones.
In relationship counseling, I use an Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) approach, which recognizes that we all fall into negative cycles of relating, especially with people we have close attachments to. These cycles can feel perpetual and unchangeable, but they are completely understandable when you feel insecure, hurt, betrayed, or unheard. Together, I work with you and your partner(s) towards identifying and interrupting the negative cycles, increasing positive interactions, and fostering secure attachments with loved ones. Ultimately, I believe we all just want to feel safe, connected, and accepted!
I provide a space to begin, or continue, exploring the parts of yourself that have been dismissed, silenced, or even attacked. Through collaboration, empathy and compassion, I will encourage you to use mindful attentiveness to the “felt sense” of emotions in your body, what they may be communicating, and how to translate that into action to help you live your best life!
Education and Training
- William James College (formerly Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology)
- New York University
- Brandeis University Counseling Center
- North Shore Counseling Center
- Riverside Community Health Center
- Elder Service Plan
- Kink and Poly Aware Chicago Therapists (KPACT)
- American Psychological Association (APA)
- The Alternative Sexualities Health Research Alliance (TASHRA)
- Community Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities (CARAS)
- American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT Student Member)
Diane Duan, M.A. is the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Intern at LifeWorks Psychotherapy Center. She holds a Master’s degree in professional psychology from William James College (formerly Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology), where she is also completing her Psy.D. Diane obtained her B.A. in Psychology at New York University. Prior to her internship at LifeWorks, Diane worked with undergraduate and graduate students at Brandeis University Counseling Center; adolescents, adults, and couples at North Shore Counseling Center; children and families at Riverside In-Home Therapy; and older adults in assisted living facilities at Elder Service Plan.