santa rosa marriage and family therapist
female sonoma county psychotherapist
coparent and co-parent counseling and coaching in northern california group therapy for shyness and self esteem in santa rosa
Shonnie Brown, marriage and family therapist in sonoma county
Licensed Marriage &
Family Therapist
MFC# 30787
405 Chinn Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Santa Rosa: 707-526-4353
Healdsburg: 707-526-4353

LifeStory Therapy™:

therapeutic writing specialist in sonoma county Click here for more info

Separation/Divorce Support Group for Women

santa rosa separation and divorce support group Ongoing / Weekly
Click here for more info

Recommended Reading

recommended coparenting web sites and books on Co-Parenting
and Divorce
books and resources about infidelity and marital cheating on Infidelity

Articles by
Shonnie Brown:

feelings "I Just Can't Help What I Feel!"
therapeutic writing classes Writing: A Healing Art
writing as therapy in santa rosa, california Uncovering Trauma Through Therapeutic Writing: Part Two
divorce support groups in sonoma county Recession Depression
Facebook and narcissism Facebook: Healthy or Unhealthy Narcissism?
recession depression counseling Healing and Recovery in a Divorce Support Group: Part One
santa rosa group therapy for divorced women Healing and Recovery in a Divorce Support Group: Part Two
coping with trauma with therapeutic writing Uncovering Trauma through Therapeutic Writing
unhealthy attachment and dependence in marriage Divorce and Attachment Issues
mother daughter relationship issues Adult Daughters and Their Mothers: A Tenuous Bond
Divorce Poison book about co-parenting 5 Co-parenting Interventions from "Divorce Poison"
writing for therapy and anxiety relief Writing as Therapy
coping with infidelity and betrayal in a marriage The Affair, Part 1
therapy to deal with husband or wife affair The Affair, Part 2
marriage and family therapist in the santa rosa area The Power In Being Wrong
co-parent empowerment group of sonoma county Inside a COPE Group: 1
help in mediating co-parenting issues Inside a COPE Group: 2
children raised in two different households Inside a COPE Group: 3
therapy for shyness, self-esteem and social anxiety Moving Beyond Shyness
good parenting practices for divorcing couples Parenting During Divorce
support groups for separated and divorced men and women The Role of Support Groups in Divorce Recovery
the stigma and shame of divorce The Stigma of Divorce
coping with one-sided divorce and feelings of betrayal and abandonment The Unilateral Divorce




sonoma county
marriage family counselor Shonnie Brown

A Personal Message:

I'm a northern California native, yet have spent much of my adult life living in other places, adapting to other cultures. Life's challenges and transitions, including divorce and shyness, have facilitated my growth as a psychotherapist, helping me view change as part of life. In my private practice office at 405 Chinn Street in Santa Rosa I work primarily with individuals and couples and facilitate support groups for separation and divorce and co-parenting education. Particular areas of interest are: major life transitions including separation and divorce, couples counseling, co-parent education, shyness and social anxiety, self-esteem and women's issues. In 2004, I co-created the Co-Parent Empowerment Group of Sonoma County. Most recently, I have developed LifeStory Therapy--memoir or autobiographical writing for spiritual and emotional healing from loss and trauma.

Educational Background and Work Experience:

  • B.A. University of California; Berkeley, CA; 1967
  • California Elementary Teaching Credential; S.F. State University; 1970
  • Hospice Bereavement Counselor Training Program; 1985
  • M.A. in Counseling Psychology; J.F.K. University; Orinda, CA; 1989
  • Marriage, Family and Child Counselor License; 1993
  • 3 years community clinic experience
  • Specialized training in transpersonal and body-oriented psychotherapies
  • 13 years experience as licensed clinician in private practice
  • 12 years experience facilitating separation/divorce groups
  • 5 years leading groups for divorcing parents through "Kids' Turn" of Sonoma County
  • 5 years teaching "Parenting through Divorce" class at Kaiser Permanente
  • Founded psychotherapists' community lecture series in both Marin and Sonoma counties
  • Presented numerous lectures and workshops in Sonoma County
  • Published articles on Separation and Divorce and Social Anxiety in various professional journals and newsletters
  • Co-founded Co-Parent Empowerment Group (COPE) of Sonoma County; 2005

My Approach to Therapy:

My philosophy has changed as I have changed. So many people I see are trying to stabilize from overwhelming loss—from separation or divorce or inability to sustain relationship. They feel huge disappointment and panic, having not learned to withstand the pain or free themselves from old constraints. They feel incapable of tolerating intense feelings, adjusting to change, and building a rewarding, happy life. My job is to inspire self-acceptance and support risk taking. I encourage self-affirmation and freedom from perceived limitations. The goal of my work is to help each person discover a whole and complete life, not bound by past or present circumstances.

Particular Clinical Specialties:

  • Separation and Divorce
    Divorce remains a stigma in our culture and people who are going through separation often feel shaken to their core. Divorce affects almost every area of one's life. There is the legal divorce process and the emotional process—greatly complicated by betrayal, shared children and assets and length of time together. I see many people who were abandoned almost overnight, without any closure. They suffer from huge self-esteem/self-blame and betrayal issues. It takes time to regain trust because of the deep sense that an inviolate bond was ruptured. People left in this manner have a great need to be heard and to tell their story in the presence of a compassionate witness.

  • Separation and Divorce Support Groups
    People find comfort and safety in the presence of others who understand the unique "roller coaster ride of emotions" associated with divorce. Often the very foundation of life has been shattered, leaving one with feelings of anxiety, grief, betrayal, guilt, rejection, and injured self-esteem. What helps is to be with others who offer validation and normalizing and to offer mutual support by sharing information/resources that ease the transition.

  • Co-Parenting Education
    I believe passionately in supporting divorcing parents in building a cooperative co-parenting relationship. A substantial part of my work is the Co-Parent Empowerment Group—a six week skills class offering co-parents concurrent but separate groups—focusing primarily on feelings management, de-escalation of conflict and effective communication skills.

  • Shyness and Social Anxiety
    Many people fear or simply avoid social situations because they experience anxiety, shame and deep inadequacy. In most cases we find a personal history of ridicule, shame and/or extreme criticism or judgment. Withdrawal or avoidance has become a way to cope—but a lonely way. Shyness and social anxiety are deeply intertwined with self-esteem. My clients say that they feel "weird, isolated, and very different from everyone else". To learn that this condition has a clinical diagnosis and is treatable through one-on-one therapy or group therapy comes as a huge relief.

  • LifeStory Therapy™
    Research shows that autobiographical writing, when used therapeutically, can heal us spiritually and emotionally. Shyness, lack of confidence and shame may impede one's ability to talk, but they are not impediments to writing from our authentic self. Often, writing about one's life and reading it in the presence of safe witnesses is the opening to acceptance and to claiming oneself in the complexity of pain and love. LifeStory Therapy™ may be done individually or in LifeStory Therapy™ groups.

Other Specialties include:

  • Life Transitions
  • Couples Counseling (includes premarital, pre- or post-divorce)
  • Grief and Loss
  • Self-Esteem
  • Women's Issues
  • Please see Specialties page

Professional Affiliations:

  • California Association for Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)
  • Redwood Empire Chapter of CAMFT

©2005-2019 Shonnie Brown, Chinn Street Counseling; all rights reserved.

Shonnie Borwn, MFT marriage and family therapy