Matt Russell, LMFT, PhD

Marriage and Family Therapist
Sacramento CA
When we are struggling and overwhelmed it’s easy to feel like life is going in the wrong direction, or worse, that there is something wrong with us. What it usually means, however, is that we are human, and that our needs for meaningful connection are going unmet—connection with ourselves, with others, with a sense of belonging, with meaning and purpose. When our attempts at getting rid of and coping with our suffering go unexamined, they often makes things worse. We continue in unwanted but all too familiar patterns and situations. But our pain does not need to determine our lives. Transforming suffering requires presence, curiosity and compassion. With the support of a gentle, caring, and non-judgmental witness who can help you hold and metabolize the pain, your relationship with that pain can transform. As this happens, compulsive coping strategies loosen their grip, greater vitality becomes available, and everything becomes workable. The resources needed for healing and wholeness are within each of us and having a companion on the path can make all the difference.
I am a graduate of the MAPS MDMA Assisted Therapy Training. As a certified Compassionate Inquiry Practitioner, I trained with world renown addiction and trauma expert Dr. Gabor Maté. I am also part of the facilitation team supporting Dr. Maté in the year-long Compassionate Inquiry training for therapists. I have trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Emotionally-Focused Couples Therapy (EFT), and Buddhist Chaplaincy. I teach Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and my therapeutic work incorporates mindfulness and somatic/body-based methods of inquiry. Prior to becoming as a psychotherapist, I earned a PhD in Spanish Literature from UC Davis, where I researched intergenerational trauma, and taught at various universities.