Nova Goldberg {Women On A Mission}

Shame Slayer. Problem Solver. Trusted Therapist.

Nova is wise beyond her years. And she uses her wisdom to shine light into the parts of yourself you’ve struggled to make friends with. She teaches you how to be kind to yourself. At the end of the day Nova makes you feel that you are enough just as you are - and any changes you want to make can only happen after you accept that you aren’t broken.

She gives you permission to be real and raw and you

I was introduced to Nova by Suzannah Scully - and am so lucky because she has been my trusted therapist. Me and my inner critic are both very grateful.

In Her Own Words:

Who I Am: Outside of my time with clients, you will most likely find me in mom mode helping out at my kids' school and spending time with them after school.  I feel so lucky that I get to do a job I love and have flexibility to have time with my family. 

What I Do: I'm a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) and work with clients in San Francisco and Oakland.  The title can throw some people off as they assume I only work with married couples and families.  However, I work mostly with individuals in their 20s, 30s, and 40s and couples.  I work occasionally with teenagers but don't work with young children at this time as I have my hands full at home with an 8 and 6 year old. 

What I Love: Dancing, walking in nature, spending time with my family and friends, getting creative, listening to awesome podcasts.  Currently obsessed with the Hamilton  musical soundtrack.

How Did I Get Here:  In some ways I feel that I have been a counselor since I was 14 and started developing close friendships.  I love my girlfriends and know that in many points in my life, it has been my friends that have gotten me through the hardest struggles.  Learning to listen, figuring out boy problems,  parent problems, work problems and fill-in-the-blank problems became my favorite pastime.  I soon preferred real conversation over anything topical or superficial.  I realized how much closer I felt to people when we could open up with each other and become vulnerable (even though I didn't know that word when I was a teenager).  

Another pivotal moment in my journey to becoming a therapist, arrived in the form of an incredibly handsome and adorable college boyfriend who tragically turned out to be gay and broke my straight heart.  As he struggled with coming out, I struggled with losing him.  We were the original Will & Grace.  Even though our story has a happy ending as we are both married to the right people, we had plenty of painful moments in college that led us to seek outside help.  Fortunately, the University's psychologist was amazing and supported us through that very sad and liberating process.  We both knew we found an ally and he made an indelible mark on us both as my ex is now a Psychologist and I'm a MFT. 

{ Q&A With Nova }

What are you most excited to share with the world? I'm excited to share my work with the world.  I love my practice and I'm proud of being able to serve clients in San Francisco and Oakland.  

But also Brene Brown and her incredible work on vulnerability, courage and shame has brought therapy into the main stream.  I listen to her Ted Talk, The Power of Vulnerability every few months or so and I continue to learn new insight from it.  Every time a new client calls me to discuss coming to therapy, I always direct them to Brene's Ted Talks as it's a perfect companion to doing therapy.  I try my best to embody her work.

What is your message to the world/entrepreneurs/mothers/girls?  Possibly my favorite question, especially with the historic election underway.  Among many, the messages of being brave, taking risks, owning your power, having hope, spreading joy and laughter are my most treasured memories of my mother.  I work to bring that to others in my work and personal life and in day to day exchanges with the world just as she did.  

I was fortunate enough to be raised by a strong, loving and devoted mother.  She was an immigrant from El Salvador and as the story goes she left her home country to make a better life for herself and her future kids and grandkids.  She always saw my potential and I internalized that love and felt like I could always keep moving forward in life.  She died unexpectedly in February and even though the loss is something I'm still grappling with, I feel more empowered than ever to carry her message to world.

What does doing things differently look like to you? I'm probably a more unconventional therapist as I'm not a blank slate.  Many of my clients know odd stories about my 20's in New York, my crazy kids and how my husband and I differ.  I only share these stories if it helps my clients and brings levity into the room.  Sometimes clients think therapists have all of their ducks in a row and have perfect relationships and I want people to know that we are human too with warts and all.

Doing things differently also means I don't take insurance (because of the paperwork hassle) but I do work on a sliding scale.  I work with teachers and grad students along with engineers and entrepreneurs because I believe therapy should be affordable to everyone trying to make it the Bay Area.  

What does balance look like? I love writing about work/life balance as it's a main tenet of my work with clients.  I originally started my own therapy practice to help mothers who were struggling with this very issue.  It's close to my heart as I struggled for years with managing my work and my role as a mother.  I was exhausted, depressed and frustrated with my daily routine and I took it out on those closest to me.  My work suffered, my home life suffered and I was very far from 'living the dream' or 'having it all,' which is what I stupidly thought I was supposed to be experiencing at that time.  

After re-examining my life and my choices (and working with the uber talented Suzannah Scully), I took a risk and started my own practice during my off hours from my clinic job.  Little my little my private practice side job became my main job and with that real work/life balance grew.  Through this decision, I found my love of therapy again, I found balance in my life again and now work with all types of clients; 20 somethings looking to figure out their post college identity through work and relationships, couples looking to strengthen their relationships or heal themselves after years of hurt, men who have a hard time figuring out what to say in our first session but find themselves coming back because they haven't had a chance to talk like this before with anyone, and yes mothers, my amazing, exhausted and stressed out mothers who come to needing time to re-examine their daily routines.  I hold them all dearly and feel honored to work with each and every one of them.