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about me

It takes vulnerability to show up here, to reach out and ask for help. Thanks for showing up. It took me the courage to be here too. I uprooted my life to leave the business world and follow my passion for therapy.


My 20+ years of experience in business, both in the corporate world and as an entrepreneur, combined with my philanthropic efforts helped shape me as a creative and innovative therapist. International travel, working with multicultural teams, and my clinical work in diverse settings informed my humble approach to cultural differences.


I am constantly learning and increasing awareness of my own values, beliefs and biases while expanding my knowledge of unjust historic realities, power differentials, and institutional barriers. I offer you a place to freely express your experience, your reality, and your needs. 

Michelle L Bakalarski portrait marriage and family therapist tramua specialist in santa cruz california
I believe    are the expert in your life, and together we will reveal the answers already within you.


Photo of therapist Michelle L Bakalarski monterey santa cruz california

my life outside of therapy

When I am not in session, I am usually spending time with my husband, tweenager son, and two dogs in our home in the mountains.


I enjoy going for walks in nature, spending time at the beach, doing yoga, knitting, gardening, and cooking. I love to travel, whether to see family and friends or to experience new people and places. 



Associate Marriage and Family Therapist

Associate Professional Clinical Counselor

Registered License #134798

Registered License #12257

EMDR Trained - 2022

Certified Trauma Professional - 2022

Master of Arts in Counseling

Bachelor of Business Administration

Palo Alto University (2022)

University of Michigan (1998)

professional affiliations

Supervision of David Powers

practicing under

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist - License #110906
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor - License #7534

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