Westside Counseling Center

Susan Zinn, Founder

I am a licensed psychotherapist specializing in heart-focused psychotherapy for adolescents and adults in Santa Monica, California. I provide individual, family, and group psychotherapy for people looking to develop the tools and resources needed to make lasting positive changes in their lives.

Whether you are seeking psychotherapy to overcome an eating disorder, wanting to learn life-changing skills to improve your relationships, or needing support to help your teen through a life transition with more ease, healing and growth is possible here.


As a psychotherapist, I am committed to empowering people to build the internal strengths needed to explore the challenging emotions and experiences that have blocked them from living the life they desire. As humans, we are wired to heal and regardless of our genetics or life's challenges, there is no limit to the capacity of the human body, heart, mind, and spirit to positively transform. I look forward to supporting you to realize your fullest potential.

I welcome adolescents, families, and adults seeking psychotherapy services for support with the following challenges: 

  • Life Transitions

  • Relationship and Family Issues

  • Psychological Trauma (Single Incident, Developmental, Complex, PTSD)

  • Anxiety and Depression

  • Disordered Eating and Body Image Issues

  • Sexual Trauma and Sexuality

  • Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem

  • Self-Identity Formation and Young Adult Individualization

  • Academic, Sports, and Professional Performance

  • Pregnancy and Postnatal Mood Changes

  • Parenting

  • Addiction and Recovery

I encourage you to spend time on my website learning about my practice and the various services I provide to see if I am the right therapist for you. 


How Therapy Works

Psychotherapy and personal development are an investment of your time, resources, and energy. It has been my experience that the more informed you are about the process of therapy, the more benefit you will receive from the therapeutic experience.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any additional questions that are not provided in this guide. 

What to expect

All initial sessions are treated as a consultation to determine therapeutic compatibility.  We will discuss what brings you to psychotherapy and I will provide an honest assessment as to whether I can help you achieve your therapeutic goals. We will also discuss your important background information to provide context for the reasons why you are seeking psychotherapy and you will also have the opportunity to ask me questions.  Subsequent sessions will be 50 minutes in length.

Duration of psychotherapy 

The overall duration of treatment can be mutually decided upon and should be based upon the objectives, needs, and goals of each client seeking psychotherapy treatment.  Some clients prefer short-term therapy while others prefer a long-term approach. Feel free to discuss your preferences. 

Approach to psychotherapy

I approach psychotherapy holistically by integrating heart-fcoused, psychodynamic, somatic, and behavioral modalities tailored to each client's therapeutic needs. While Psychodynamic Theory, Interpersonal Neurobiology, and Attachment Theory guide my theoretical orientation, I am also skilled in using evidence-based behavioral interventions such as Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I am experienced in various mind, body and heart interventions such as HeartMath, Sensory Experiencing Psychotherapy, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), Internal Family Systems (IFS), and mindfulness and meditation awareness practices. My goal in using these interventions is to help target and alleviate activating symptoms, increase healthy coping skills, improve self-regulation and self-care, and treat traumatic memories to get people out of their heads and more into their hearts.   

I realize a multidiscipline approach may be best to support some people's therapeutic needs. In this pursuit, I collaborate with a trusted team of physicians, dietitians, psychiatrists, mindfulness and body practitioners to provide individuals with every opportunity to improve their quality of life.  

Please feel free to contact me with any questions regarding any one of these modalities or for additional information about treatment. 

Cost of sessions

While therapy is costly, it is also an investment in yourself. All fees will be discussed by phone prior to booking your initial appointment and sliding scale rates for individuals experiencing financial difficulties may be available. Payment of cash, check, or credit cards are accepted and due at the end of each scheduled session. 


I understand that one of the main obstacles in receiving professional support can often be financial and I will do what I can to ensure you are able to receive the help you need. At this time, I do not accept private insurance and I am considered an out-of-network provider. However, dependent upon your insurance plan, I am able to provide you with a superbill at the end of each month that you can submit to your insurance company for potential reimbursement. 

If you choose to utilize your insurance, I encourage you to contact your insurance provider prior to our first session to determine your reimbursement rates by asking the following questions:

  • Do I have mental health coverage?

  • What percentage of my bill will be covered for services obtained by an out-of-network provider?

  • How many sessions will be covered per calendar year?

  • What is my deductible and has it been met?

*Please note that insurance companies require a mental health diagnosis in order to qualify for reimbursement. 

California Victim Compensation Program

If you are seeking therapy as a result of having been the victim of a crime, I may be able to support you under the California Victim Compensation Program. Please go to victim.ca.gov for more information. 

Cancellation policy

All appointments require at least 48-hour notice of cancellation to avoid a charge for the full amount. Appointments for Monday should be cancelled by Friday afternoon.


It is of the highest importance that all information about you be kept confidential and this office adheres strictly to all HIPPA standards.


In the event of an emergency (a situation that requires immediate attention due to concern for harm to self or others) call 911 or proceed to your nearest hospital emergency room.



In order to support your personal growth and development, here are a few select resources to guide you. This list is compiled from mental health and wellness educational resources that clients have found useful over the years but is by no means comprehensive. Please feel free to inquire about any additional resources needed.

National Support Associations

National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI)

Academy for Eating Disorders
Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders (F.E.A.S.T.)
UCLA Semel Institute Mindful Awareness Research Center
National Center for PTSD



  • How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Over-parenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success, Julie Lythcott-Haims (2015)

  • The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, Jessica Laney (2015)

  • Smart But Stuck: Emotions in Teens and Adults with ADHD, Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D. (2014)

  • White Fragility: Why I't’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, Robin Diangelo (2018)

  • How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish (1999)

  • The Whole-Brain Child, Daniel Siegel (2012)

  • Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls, Lisa Damour, Ph.D. (2019)

  • The New Adolescence, Christine Carter, Ph.D. (2020)

  • The Teenage Brain, Frances E. Jensen (2016)

  • Trauma-Proofing Your Kids: A Parent’s Guide for Instilling Confidence, Joy, and Resilience, Peter Levine, Ph.D. (2008)

  • Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity, Peggy Orenstein (2020)Adolescent Body Image Issues and Eating Disorders

  • Brave Girl Eating, Harriet Brown (2010)


Meditation and Mindfulness

  • Quick Calm: Easy Meditations to Short-Circuit Stress Using Mindfulness & Neuroscience, Jennifer Wolkin, Ph.D. (2021)

  • Heart Intelligence: Connecting with the Intuitive Guidance of the Heart, Rollin McCraty, Howard Martin, Doc Childre, Deborah, Rozman, (2016)

  • Resilient: How to Grow An Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness, Rick, Hanson, Ph.D. (2018)

  • Mindfulness for Student Athletes, Todd Corbin and Gina Biegel (2018)

  • The Mindful Teen: Powerful Skills to Help You Handle Stress One Moment at a Time, Dzung Vo, M.D. (2015)

  • Uncovering Happiness, Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. (2015)

  • Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life for Teens: A Guide to Living an Extraordinary Life, Joseph V. Ciarrochi, Louise Hayes, and Ann Bailey (2012)

  • Real Happiness, Power of Meditation, Sharon Salzberg (2010)

  • The Mindful Child: How to Help Your Kid Manage Stress and Become Happier, Kinder, and More Compassionate, Susan Kaiser Greenland (2010)

  • Destressifying: The Real World Guide to Personal Empowerment, Lasting Fulfillment, and Peace of Mind, davidji (2015)



  • The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself: Self Compassion, Kristin Neff, Ph.D. (2011)

  • Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find and Keep Love, Amir Levine, M.D. and Rachel S. F Heller, M.A. (2012)

  • Hold me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, Sue Johnson (2008)

  • The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, Gary Chapman (2010)


Anxiety and Depression

  • The Worry Cure, Robert L. Leahy (2006)

  • The Mindful Way Through Depression, Mark Williams and John Kabat Zinn (2007)


Trauma Recovery and Bereavement 

  • You are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide for Grief, Healing, and Hope, Debbie Augenthaler (2018)

  • The Body Keeps the Score, Bessel Van der Kolk, M.D. (2014)

  • In an Unspoken Voice, Peter Levine, Ph.D. (2010)

  • Healing from Post-Traumatic Stress, Monique Lang (2007)

  • How To Do The Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal From Your Past, and Create Your Self, Nicole LePera, Ph.D. (2021)

  • The Body Remembers, Babette Rothschild (2010)

  • Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror, Judith Herman (2015)



All material provided on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or mental health provider. Direct consultation of a qualified provider should be sought for any specific questions or problems. Use of this website in no way constitutes professional service or advice.