Dr. Ingrid Solano
One of the most important decisions you will make when considering psychotherapy is who you choose as your therapist. Can you be your authentic self with them? Are they nonjudgmental, open, and curious about you? Can they understand you, your world, and your relationships? Do they understand you in context? Can they help you? Are they good at what they do?
My supervisors and mentors have included some of the country’s leading researchers and practitioners in individual therapy, relationships, trauma, and LGBTQIA+ mental health and stigma, including Dr. K. Daniel O’Leary, Dr. John Pachankis, Dr. Elizabeth Wrape, and Dr. Leslie Morland.
I see myself as an intuitive, creative, informed, and highly trained Clinical Psychologist that provides a safe, non judgemental, and transformative environment.
Therapy with me fosters a deep sense of engagement and connection, a sense of feeling heard and understood, and clarity where there was previously ambiguity. This work is active, penetrating, and engaging. I have a strong respect for both the journey and the destination. I place high value on the therapeutic relationship, collaboratively tailor treatment to meet unique needs, and utilize interventions shown to be effective through scientific research.
Am I the therapist to help you grow, explore, and support your wellbeing?
Many of my clients are high achieving, bi-coastal, creatives and professionals in entertainment, music, art, philosophy, writing, medicine, tech, and psychology, who have challenges juggling responsibilities, deadlines, relationships, creative flow, and past experiences with their expectations and roles at home and at work.
I am a Clinical Psychologist based in Los Angeles (California License #PSY32592) and New York City (New York License #PSY024648). Throughout this website you will get a sense of what I find important, the types of therapies I provide, and who I generally provide them to. Most likely you’ll get the sense of something unique and inclusive. Something rather exclusive and special, as well. I practice evidence-based therapies and have a deep respect for clinical research and science. My expertise is in cognitive, behavioral, relational, and process-based treatments that bridge clinical science and practice. I have a distinct passion for using the most modern and cutting edge (and scientifically sound) tools to achieve your therapeutic goals. I deeply appreciate efficiency and elegance of thought. In my life, I unapologetically value change and growth, the work that needs to be done to achieve these goals, and the depth of emotions we experience when we feel messy or unaligned with our values and the important people in our lives. I have honed my intuition as a creative process of inquiry that provides interpretation with fluidity, fluency, spontaneity, skill, humor, and comfort.I have enjoyed working with unique individuals in their bespoke lives, and have always strived to help those who feel marginalized for being their authentic selves. I feel a strong kinship with those who have stood out from the crowd or those who have been told that their authentic self or lived experiences just don’t measure up, are embarrassing, should be concealed, or have been considered ‘wrong,’ weird, or wild. Mine is a story of Intolerable Uniqueness ™ - which I’ve learned is code for strength, depth, empathy, wit, innovation, tenacity, and capability. I bring these qualities and experiences (as well as my intuition, expertise, and humor) to our sessions. I work well with curious individuals who are motivated to grow, share, be vulnerable, and play in therapy and in their lives. This work fosters a client’s sense of self and a new life narrative that integrates narrative truth and identity in more helpful, effective, and deeply rewarding ways. Ultimately-- bespoke, individualized therapy helps you discover and explore the strategies that best fit your individual needs in all of your contexts.
--Therapy is fluid and ever changing.-- Creativity, openness, and curiosity in psychotherapy fosters a willingness in both psychologist and client to test ideas, explore themes, question, imagine, and reflect on thoughts and experiences with depth and authenticity. This openness to experience engenders a non judgmental, mindful, and present-focused relationship with who you are now, and where you would like to be in your life and relationships. We will explore your experiences and find new and more flexible ways of thinking and interacting. It is important to be able to imagine a new and more satisfying life with a greater sense of self and meaning. Creativity and focus in therapy enables clients to change their patterns of behavior and apply what they have learned in our sessions to successfully navigating whatever happens next in their lives... Does the therapeutic relationship feel safe, and promote vulnerability and change in you? Are you open to that vulnerability?
--Therapy itself is a context.-- The influence of the systems we were raised in, and the contexts we find ourselves in have profound effects on who we are, how we feel, and what we do. How has the world we live in affected our self-worth? What is worth? We co-create the systemic webs of our lives. We send and receive the ebb and flow of experiences and interactions that pull us in and push us out of our relationships and our selves. Similarly, the therapeutic relationship allows you to impact the world, and be impacted in return. The therapeutic relationship fosters change and a deep sense of feeling “known.” The therapeutic alliance is a transactional process- it is a new type of relational interaction. The human experience is experience.
--Therapy is ultimately a context of support.-- Together we work towards defining and achieving your goals. How do we find our personal goals and values? How do we fulfill them? How you accept, give, and react to support is about openness and vulnerability with yourself, and with others. You are the expert on you, but are you your most content and mindful self? Are your relationships as fulfilling as they could be? In therapy, you work on becoming more effective in your life and relationships. I encourage you to consider your intentions, and your impact on the systems you are a part of. How do you impact others? How do they impact you? Where did you learn about intimacy with others? Have you explored intimacy with yourself?
This is an exciting time in the history of the psychology of relationships, and the psychology of sexual orientation and gender diversity. My clinical focus in these spaces has recently become prescient; maybe even de rigueur. I think of our identities in context, more specifically the relational spaces between, as the human experience: that’s Relational Alchemy. My practice thus explores how our contexts (relationships, communities) and the systems we live in can protect us (support) or harm us (stigma, trauma). And so I hope to honour the importance of both our selves and our relational experiences with intelligence, grace, and empathy.
Am I the therapist to support your creativity, vulnerability, and joy?
I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (with a concentration in Neuroscience) from Bryn Mawr College. After completing my pre-med requirements, I decided that hard-science wasn't the only skillset I wanted to use (for the rest of my life) to explore this journey of the human experience. So, I explored my interests and strengths both professionally, and personally. I've lived an incredibly fulfilling life that affords me a wealth of experiences that have honed my intuition, creativity, understanding, and sense of (sometimes dark) humor. When I understood my aspirations and my goals, I began my clinical journey with a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy at Hofstra University. I then attended the Clinical Psychology PhD program at Stony Brook University. SBU is a bastion of clinical science, ranking 3rd in the country in 2020 US News and World Report. Since 1966, it has been part of the origins and history of modern psychology, especially cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). There, I continued to receive extensive training in evidence-based treatments for a range of disorders and relational issues. I gained essential clinical and research experience working with my mentor Dr. K. Daniel O’Leary, one of the founders of couples research in psychotherapy. My work at SBU included (but was not limited to) custody case evaluations, therapeutic visitation, individual/couples/family/group therapy modalities, and research on pornography consumption in relationships, sexual coercion, intimate partner violence, relationship distress, and aggression.
During my PhD program I completed two years of externship working with the LGBTQIA+ community in New York City with Dr. John Pachankis at the Yale School of Public Health. Here I was a therapist for the first (and still only) evidence-based clinical trial of affirmative therapy using the Unified Protocol for emotional disorders. These experiences and inspirational mentors have brought more sophistication to my ‘literary’ case formulations, and crystalized my interests in who we are as individuals and how we experience our relationships – the good, and the bad. I have a passion for bringing attention to the importance of satisfying and authentic relationships in our lives, and advocating for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Adding to the diversity of cases and experience, I served Veterans and Veteran relationships at 3 VA hospitals around the country while obtaining expertise in cutting-edge and gold-standard trauma-focused therapy and couples therapy. In the VA I served as as an advocate of non-judgemental, systems focused approaches to mental health, relationships, trauma, serious mental illness, and at-risk populations. I continued to work with couples and families, as well as individuals, and focused on the impact of sexual assault, Military Sexual Trauma, trauma-focused therapies, intimate partner violence, and providing LGBTQIA+ affirming therapy and safe spaces for sexual and gender minority Veterans. I also continued to publish and be a part of research supporting LGBTQIA+ experiences and mental health.
Eventually, I opened my private practice --first in California and then in my beloved New York City. Through Relational Alchemy I bring this extraordinary training to relationships and individuals who align with my passion for connection, creativity, individuality, joy, openness, and authenticity in life, art, and the human experience. Most recently, I also bring this stance, these interests, and my passion for teaching clinicians, to my work in the Couples and Family Therapy Program at Alliant International University as an Assistant Professor. There, I hope to continue my research on the impact of concealing one's authentic self and experiences related to invisible stigmas and stigmatized identities such as being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community; having experienced sexual assault or coercion, emotional abuse or intimate partner violence; sexual dysfunction; engaging in non-traditional relationships (poly, ENM, swinging, FWBs, etc.); kink and BDSM identities; and pornography consumption.
My expertise is in cognitive, behavioral, relational, and process-based treatments that bridge clinical science and practice.
I help individuals, couples, families, and friends, bring more balance, authenticity, creativity, connection, openness, and joy to their lives.