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Shelley Karliner, LICSW, and Tricia Bassing, LICSW, Licensed Psychotherapists image



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spacer I was born and raised in New York City and moved to the Washington, DC area about 15 years ago. I am someone who has pursued social activism, community organizing, and human development all my life. I decided early on to become a therapist and have spent the last 25 years helping thousands of clients address their emotional pain and find intimacy with the people they love.

My approach is to relate to clients as both who they are and who they are becoming. I will see you as capable of going beyond yourself and doing something other than what you are used to doing, whether that is giving someone a hug, apologizing for raising your voice, or asking for something you need. I affirm people’s ability to grow and to develop new ways of being. The work we do in therapy will support you to turn tragedies, break ups, and pain into an opportunity for developing new emotional capacities and new and deeper relationships with those you love and those who love you. I have helped clients change harmful behavior, speak up and speak out, create healthy relationships, have more intimacy, overcome emotional distance with family members, and create the life they want to live. Please visit the Tributes page to see what clients are saying about my work.

I was trained at the East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy by Fred Newman, the founder of the social therapeutic approach to emotional development, and until recently I was a member of the East Side Institute faculty. I am a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and received my training as a social worker from Howard University’s School of Social Work. I have made presentations at numerous professional conferences, including annual meetings of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and regional conferences of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

My work has been published in academic journals, including the Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics. I have written publications for the National Council of La Raza. I have also trained professionals who work in schools, hospitals, and social service and mental health agencies.

I directed the Washington Center for Social Therapy for close to 15 years, becoming well known for my expertise in group therapy, helping couples—both gay and straight—leading clinical workshops on topics like “Anger: What’s So Powerful About It, Anyway?” and organizing various cultural events including film showings, improv comedy parties, and staged play readings.

To read excerpts from some of my other workshop talks, visit our Inspirations page. To learn more about me, schedule an appointment, or set up a workshop, email me at or call me at 202-244-0442.

bio photo of Shelley Karliner, LICSW
Shelley Karliner, LICSW


  I was born and raised in Wisconsin and have lived in Bolivia and New York City. Washington, DC has been my home since 1995. I am passionate about and committed to bringing people together—in families, at work, or in communities. In my work, I create accepting and challenging environments.  People from all walks of life are inspired to create something new and powerful, using their pain to reconnect with their humanity, build their lives, and, in the process, feel a whole lot better.

I firmly believe that moments of crisis are opportunities for transformation. I have been helping people transform their emotional, personal, and professional lives for 20 years. I’ve won numerous awards for my work. I am most proud to be recognized for my accomplishments in multicultural community development and healing post 9/11—including an award recognizing my contributions toward the growth and welfare of the Northern Virginia Sudanese American Community from the Sudanese American Community Development Organization and a Psych-out Award from the East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy. Please visit the Tributes page to see what clients and colleagues are saying about my work.

I am a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Prevention Professional. My clinical focus is social therapeutic—I  am a graduate of the therapist training program in social therapy from the East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy. I received my master’s degree from the Columbia University School of Social Work. I have a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In addition to leading therapy groups in our practice, I am the Director of Prevention for the Alexandria Community Services Board, where I supervise community and school-based therapists and lead community-wide positive youth development efforts.

Thank you for your interest in my work and our practice. To find out more, I can be reached at or 202-244-0442.

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bio photo of Tricia Bassing, LICSW
Tricia Bassing, LICSW

Grow. There’s Nothing Stopping You. Feel better.

Shelley Karliner and Tricia Bassing, Licensed Psychotherapists
4115 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Suite 203, Washington, DC 20016—202-244-0442

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