Sara Ouimette (pronounced “we met”) is a licensed psychotherapist located on the Oakland/Berkeley border specializing in women’s issues, psychedelic integration, spirituality, cannabis use, cannabis-assisted psychotherapy, and various forms of trauma. She helps people make the changes necessary to feel more joy in their lives. Often this involves a paradigm shift: a realization that the deeply held fears and beliefs that hold people back can be dispelled. Sara was first introduced to the potential power of plant medicine during her undergraduate studies at Claremont McKenna College. It was in a class about Amerindian Psychiatry that Sara first was introduced to native peoples’ concept of soul loss and soul retrieval. Inspired by her Peruvian Indian professor, Sara wrote her thesis on Susto (the equivalent of P.T.S.D.), and the ancient South American treatment using ayahuasca with a shaman. After graduation, Sara worked in a series of counseling positions. Her decade of experience with children and their families now informs her work with adults (and the wounds often left by early experiences). From this work, Sara also developed an interest in women’s issues, as she observed the debilitating messages girls received while growing up, discouraging them about their own potential. Sara received her M.A. in Integral Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies and went on to pursue intensive training in psychodynamic psychotherapy at The Psychotherapy Institute in Berkeley, CA. Sara is a member of The Society of Cannabis Clinicians and provides cannabis-assisted psychotherapy. She is also an adherence rater for the Phase 3 studies on MDMA for PTSD at MAPS.
How I work with clients
People come to see me for pre and post-ritual counseling, cannabis-assisted psychotherapy, individual psychotherapy, or a combination of these. Primarily, my approach recognizes the benefits and challenges that can come from accessing altered states of consciousness. In my psychotherapy practice, I focus on spirituality, psychedelic integration, women’s issues, millennials and late GenXers, trauma and PTSD, anxiety, depression, relationship and dating challenges, chronic pain and physical symptoms, perfectionism, obsessive-compulsive traits and behaviors, and body image concerns. Clients describe me as warm, compassionate, interactive, and non-judgmental.
My style focuses on developing trust so we can enter into a co-exploration of you and what you want and need. My therapeutic frameworks are best described as relational, psychodynamic/psychoanalytic, transpersonal, and somatic. To use less jargon, this means that we will spend time exploring your early memories and experiences, and looking closely at how they shape your current reality. Finding compassion for yourself often begins with acknowledging where your wounds came from. In gaining insight into yourself and what causes you the most suffering, you can come to trust and follow your inner guidance system. I’ll also be very interested in what comes up when you’re with me; I work intuitively and will respond to you with presence, interest, and empathic attunement.
From time to time, I may be asking you to notice where you feel things in your body. This can help you develop a better understanding of your emotions, as you tune in and learn to better listen to yourself. I have been studying the psychological and spiritual properties of cannabis for many years, and I offer cannabis-assisted psychotherapy after a period of discussion and a process of informed consent. When used in a particular way, cannabis can amplify or exacerbate your internal experience. You may have access to thoughts, emotions and sensations that are normally out of reach. Psychological defenses are lessened. In these ways, cannabis can help deepen your therapy process.