Michelle Pantoja-Hooley, MSW, ASW
University of Southern California
Michelle is a Child and Family Therapist who strives to support and strengthen the mental health and well being of children and families by utilizing a strength-based broad systems approach through individual, family (dyadic), and group therapy. Empathetically, Michelle works to establish positive rapport to provide a safe and non-judgmental place for children and teens to begin the process of understanding how their thoughts and feelings affect their behaviors. Understanding that there is a place to express “difficult” feelings provides the child with the first step towards discovering positive strategies to improve behaviors. As a parent herself, Michelle understands the boundless joys and sometimes, tough hurdles in the journey of parenting. She works to provide culturally sensitive support to improve the bond between parent and child as well as between siblings. She finds joy in witnessing the immense capabilities of parents, even when they feel “at wit's end.”
Michelle completed her undergraduate studies for Social Work at California State University, Los Angeles, including a specialized coursework focused on Child Maltreatment and Family Violence. Michelle received her Masters in Social Work from the University of Southern California with a focus in Children and Families and Child Welfare Policy.
She has worked in agency, school, and juvenile hall settings. Michelle has experience in helping teens, adolescents, and children cope with anxiety, depression, grief and loss, self-harm, low self-esteem, bullying, and juvenile delinquency, as well as experience working with clients impacted by issues stemming from poverty, homelessness, abuse, and other forms of trauma. She has assisted parents in gaining valuable parenting or co-parenting skills to support their desire to foster better relationships with their children. She has completed trainings in Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Incredible Years, an evidenced-based intervention geared toward reducing challenging behaviors in children by providing parents and caregivers with tools to help their child gain emotional regulation and improve social skills.
In her free time, Michelle can be found spending time with her husband, two teenage children, two dogs, and two cats. She is an avid reader who enjoys running, practicing Bar Method yoga, and relaxing through various DIY and craft projects.
ASW #67054, supervised by Annalise Kordell, LCSW#28268