As a Radically Open DBT therapist and trainer, I specialize in treating people who have temperaments of over-control (OC).  What is OC? Let me tell you. Having an OC temperament means that your brain often sees the negative things in life. OC people are detail oriented and hard-working, and they may have trouble relaxing or having fun. While many of my OC clients have excelled in school and careers, the very same traits that help them succeed often block meaningful connections and relationships. Common OC problems include being critical of self and others, trouble making or keeping friends, masking inner thoughts or feelings, having obsessions or compulsions, struggling with eating disorders, and having outbursts towards family or close loved ones.

The good news is there is a new, ground-breaking therapy that targets the maladaptive over-control coping, Radically Open DBT.  RO DBT is founded on over 20 years of research by Dr. Thomas Lynch.  It uses the brain-body connection to induce relaxation states, mindfulness to increase self-awareness and exploration, and behavioral skills to try new things and make meaningful relationships. RO DBT is life changing. It promotes openness, flexibility and connection.  RO DBT has changed the way I practice psychotherapy, and offered many of my clients a life worth sharing.

About Me & My Approach

Hi, I’m Heidi Petracco, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Board Certified Diplomat in Clinical Social Work, and Radically Open DBT Senior Clinician and Trainer. I specialize in providing therapy for adolescents and adults with disorders of over-control including chronic depression and anxiety, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive, avoidant, and dependent personality disorders. In a comfortable and confidential setting I offer individual therapy, group skills classes, and family interventions. My treatment style is warm, friendly, diversity oriented, and light-hearted.

Education & Credentials

I received my Master’s Degree in Social Work from Rutgers University—ranked among the Top 25 social work programs in the nation. With over a decade of mental health experience in community mental health, non-profit organizations, and higher education, I most recently held the position of Clinical Director at the University of South Florida (USF) Counseling Center.

While at USF, I served as the co-chair for the Eating Disorder Interdisciplinary Treatment Team, developed and implemented best-practice strategies for the SAMHSA Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention Grant, and presented at multiple national conferences on the topics of suicide and mental health prevention strategies.

In the summer of 2017 I began intensively studying a new ground-breaking treatment, Radically Open DBT, and working in private practice.  Currently I am advancing through the train-the-trainer program of RO DBT and attend Senior Clinician weekends with treatment developer Dr. Thomas Lynch.  As a Certified RO DBT Senior Clinician and Trainer, I offer consultation and up to one-day length trainings in Radically Open DBT to improve treatment outcomes with difficult-to-treat clients in a variety of mental health settings.  Additional RO DBT projects I’m working on include co-authoring a Family Skills Class manual for parents of adolescent and young adults with maladaptive over-control, and serve an international leadership committee using RO DBT with adolescents and developing treatment adaptations for future publication. If you are interested in learning more, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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