Heather "Dez" Valdez, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Oakland CA
I believe that the mind and body are complementary parts of the self, and that our wellness is impacted by our social, cultural, and physical environments. I often take a psychosocial approach and work to help identify and deconstruct systems of oppression and the impact these systems have on our mental health and wellness. I integrate this into the therapeutic process which I believe can be critical for healing. I also incorporate trauma-informed, culturally-responsive, harm reduction, relational, solution-focused and narrative approaches into my practice, as well the integration of non-ordinary states of consciousness. I have worked extensively with LGBTQIA+ populations and communities of color, both of which I identify with. I have expertise in queer identities and am poly-aware and kink-friendly. My priority is taking a collaborative and nonjudgmental approach to therapy and creating a safe and supportive therapeutic environment. Psychotherapy services with me can be in the form of brief or long-term psychotherapy, Ketamine-Assisted Therapy treatment, and/or psychedelic integration.
Heather "Dez" Valdez, LCSW, is a Clinical Social Worker, licensed in the state of California (#86545). She currently practices psychotherapy and Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) in private practice via telehealth statewide in CA. She is also a trainee in the MDMA-Assisted Therapy Training Program through the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Since 2006, Dez has worked in various mental health practice settings including private and group practice and in community mental health settings including outpatient, psychiatric emergency room, crisis response services, residential treatment, and substance use programs. Outside of her therapy practice, she is an organizational development consultant to nonprofit agencies primarily focusing on community mental health serving LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities. In 2019, Dez co-founded Alchemy Community Therapy Center (formerly "Sage Institute"), a nonprofit organization focusing on increasing accessibility of psychedelic-assisted therapies to un/underserved communities, where she also served on the board of directors. She is social-justice oriented and values working to ensure access to healthcare and other vital services that promote equity, equality and well-being. Dez identifies as Latinx and queer, and uses she/her pronouns.