Name: Erika L. Seid, MFT
Occupation: Psychotherapist in El Cerrito Plaza
Can you tell me a little bit about what you do? I'm here to help people process through challenge in their lives and decide how they want to go through them based on who they are.
How did you get into this profession? I took a job in intercultural communication helping people who have been assigned to work in foreign countries deal with the stress of transition, not having a place to belong or anyone to talk to. I liked that work, but the interactions with my clients were very brief. I wanted to find out what happened to them as they adjusted and have more continuity in the relationship.
So how long have you been practicing? I've been practicing for over 10 years, and I work with a large variety of people, from teenagers who have gotten in trouble to adults who just need some help getting through challenges. I see clients in Spanish and French as well.
How did you get to work in other languages? I started studying French when I was younger, and I was rather enthusiastic about it. I went to university in Montreal, and I worked with a Belgian company where most communication was conducted in French. Later I was working at a domestic violence center where the clients were split 50/50 — English and Spanish speakers. At the time there wasn't anybody who spoke Spanish, and there was such a massive need. I knew some Spanish, and having learned French it came quickly to me. I'm a language person. At this point I'd say that about a quarter of my clients are Spanish speakers.
What do you like about working in El Cerrito? I do a lot of work in Contra Costa County, and I saw that West County was very under-served , especially with young clients who have to get places on public transportation. It's very nice and very convenient. I'm glad it's so close to BART. I've been here for about three months, and I like it very much.
Could you tell me about your work with teenagers? I work a lot in the area of sexual abuse. Either teens who have gone through it, or have gotten into trouble because of some sort of sexual behavior. What we work on a lot is basic social skills and self-confidence. I've seen many teenagers become more comfortable in their own skin and being more open and engaged.