Who is Dona Laressa Desmond PhD, LMFT?
I specialize in Couples Therapy in the LA area. I work with all phases of relationship, from dating, living together, engagement to marriage. Private practice since 1993. I see clients at my offices in Santa Monica, West LA & Woodland Hills, as well as via FaceTime and phone-sessions.
CA LMFT 29944
Certifications, Specialty Trainings & Degrees
Emergency Medical Technician Medical Center Pre-Hospital Care, UCLA
Masters/Doctorate Antioch/AU, Psychology & Human Sciences
Couples Communication Mentor: Dr. Alex French, UCLA
Relationship Dynamics Mentor: Dr. Alex French, UCLA
Anger Management 1 year internship at SCCC
Trauma Recovery Certified in Mitchell Technique, UC San Diego
Red Cross Certification Early Stage Disaster Management
Red Cross Certification Crisis Debriefing for Emergency Personnel
Red Cross Certification Debrief Disaster Workers & First Responders
Crossroads School Teaching Intern Life Skills Program
FBI, LA Bureau Taught "Depression, Impact & Prevention."
FBI, LA Bureau Taught "Stress Management in the Workplace."
Center for Citizen Initiatives Taught "American Psychology Techniques" to
European psychologists, psychiatrists, middle school teachers
Coach Training & Certification
Certified Professional Coach College Executive Coaching, Santa Barbara, CA.
ICF International Coach Federation
Relationship Coach Coaching for Couples
Technical Consultant for Film & TV
TV Oprah, Episode on "Infidelity"
TV Naomi Judd Talk Show Pilot
Film Bette Midler, Woody Allen,"Scenes From A Mall"
Guest Therapist for Radio & TV
CNN News "Treatment of Panic Disorder."
KRLA Radio "Issues of Life: Your Relationships."
Fox TV "Impact of OCD Parents on Children."
MTV "Effect of TV Violence on Teens."
NBC "Crisis Therapy for Families Impacted by 9/11."
Additional Skill Sets
Emotional Intelligence: Testing & Enhancement, ( Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Method)
The Gottman Method
Emotional Focused Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Brief Strategic Solution-Based Therapy
American Association of Integrative Medicine
California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Association for Traumatic Stress Specialists
International Critical Incident Stress Foundation
International Association for Relationship Research
What makes me unique as a therapist?
There are several unique qualities that I bring to my clinical practice. One interesting aspect is the way that I began my practice in the Los Angeles area. I launched my practice by doing house calls and field work with clients. The population that I initially served was those who were homebound due to PTSD or anxiety disorders such as agoraphobia. Their fragile emotional state was such that they couldn't leave their home to attend therapy.
During those home sessions, of course, it was often the case that other family members would be present, usually a spouse. It became efficient to include them in the sessions and via that I began to understand the contagious nature of emotions inside a relationship. As this process evolved I branched out in deeper theoretical and practical ways for helping couples.
The other population that I did field work with was people who had developed specific phobias such as flying, driving, elevators, etc. I went with these clients and did therapy with them in such places as airports, on planes, trains, freeways, in malls, hotels, grocery stores, etc. I accompanied them through their systematic desensitization as they regained their freedom to move normally in the world.
I saw couples at my office 3 days a week and did house calls and field work 2 days a week for 10 years. The range of my client base extended from Santa Clarita to Santa Monica. My clientele included housewives, celebrities, law enforcement, first responders, executives and business owners.
Please note: I do not treat suicide or domestic violence. If you are having any kind of urgent situation please call 911 or your local police. The phone number for the suicide prevention hotline is
1 800 273 8255 or https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Infidelity Recovery for Couples
Couples Conflict Resolution
Fertility & Pregnancy issues
Relationship Enhancement & Love Reboot
Marriage issues & Marriage Counseling
Marriage Rescue Program
Relationship Struggles with Intimacy
I definitely do work with couples who are in recovery from substance abuse/addictions as long as there is at least 1 year clean and sober and an ongoing participation in recovery such as AA, etc.
Active Drug Addiction
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder
Child custody issues
Dept of Child Family Services issues
Internet porn addiction
Sex Trafficing, Sex Offenders
Crime or legal isssues
I don't work with children or adolescents
I don't work with clients who are in danger of harming themselves or others. Additionally, I don’t counsel any issues that involve the legal system.
ISSUES THAT I WORK WITH & SPECIALIZE IN
ISSUES THAT I DON'T WORK WITH BUT CAN GIVE REFERRAL
Sex Therapy for Couples
Relationship break-up help