About Me


Hi! My name is Joan and I am so glad you found me!

You’ve googled how to deal with your anxiety and stress, how to improve your relationships, and how to feel better about yourself and happier in your life. You’ve poured over self help books and blogs, watched videos, and downloaded apps. This has helped a little, but you still feel lost and overwhelmed some days. Maybe you have started to think about going to therapy, but it’s nerve wracking to think about spilling your life story to a stranger. You know you have to do something because you feel like you have tried everything to get out of this rut you’ve been in.

You know there is more to life than feeling stuck in this cycle of self doubt, loneliness and negative emotions but you are out of ideas on how to get unstuck.

I help smart, motivated professionals learn how to deal with anxiety, manage stress, and feel more confident in themselves and their relationships.

Deciding to start therapy is a big decision! It can be especially tough when your brain keeps running through a list of all the reasons why you just can’t do it—you don’t have time, you’re too tired, you don’t want to spend the money, especially not on yourself. Plus, you still feel like you should be able to work through this on your own. Counseling is a big commitment, so if you are feeling hesitant or scared, not only is that ok, it’s totally normal!

Knowing as much as you can about me and how I work before calling for your free 15 minute phone consultation can take away some of that worry and help you to take this momentous step for yourself!

Here’s what you can expect at sessions:

My goal is to start your healing process right away! We’ll work together to dig down to the root of the issues that are causing your anxiety and pain, and then start building coping skills to help you feel better.

Here is a brief rundown on some of the techniques I use in sessions to help you tackle your anxiety and stress, work through past trauma, improve your relationships, and start to feel more positive about yourself.


Mindfulness is about being present in each moment. It’s learning to just notice-your environment, your thoughts, your emotions, and how your body is feeling-without judging it as “good” or “bad”. Through mindfulness you can learn to let go of negative self talk, worry about the past, and what could happen in the future.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT focuses on how negative thoughts about yourself have an impact on your emotions, and your behavior. In CBT, you learn to get at those thoughts that you get stuck on (I am not smart enough, happy enough, thin enough, good enough…). You start to figure out how these thoughts become beliefs, or facts, about yourself and impact your emotions, your confidence, and how you respond to situations and relationship issues. In sessions, I give you CBT tools so you can tone down that negative internal chatter and change the way you talk to yourself.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT has four different skill areas that focus on how to manage your uncomfortable, overwhelming emotions, and change behaviors that are making you feel lousy and hurting your relationships.

The four skills areas include:

  • Mindfulness—learning to be in the moment

  • Distress tolerance—focuses on skills that help you manage overwhelming emotions

  • Emotion regulation—goal is to help you understand and balance your emotions

  • Interpersonal effectiveness—helps you learn to communicate effectively, learn to ask for what you need, and set boundaries in relationships

Somatic Psychotherapy

The aftereffects of trauma and negative life experiences can stick around long after they’re over. Because trauma impacts your nervous system’s response to stressors, you may have a big emotional reaction to what other people would consider minor things. Somatic psychotherapy involves working through trauma by connecting the dots between mind, body, and emotions through practice exercises and mindfulness.

Some other things you should know about sessions:

Therapy is all about YOU so if we are trying out a technique and it’s not working for you—I want to know about it! Everyone is different and some things work for some people, and not others. That’s ok. There are always more tools we can try and I am always learning about new ways to help my clients.

I may give you homework. Changing the way you think, feel about yourself, and react to life stressors takes not only hard work, but also practice. Humans are creatures of habit, so getting out of behaviors that aren’t working for you means creating new, more effective habits. We will work on that through those skills I was talking about.

I believe that being honest with yourself is critical to making positive changes. So….if I notice that there are some things that you are doing, thinking, or saying, that are contributing to keeping you stuck, I will call you on it. This can feel uncomfortable, but, it helps you get unstuck from patterns that just aren’t working for you.

My hope is that you will feel more confident, more content, and more balanced in your life. Call for your free 15 minute phone consultation today.

What about my credentials?

I have a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maryland, and a Masters in Social Work from Rutgers University. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (Lic 44SC05716000) in New Jersey and have completed thousands of hours of training, along with state required licensing testing.

I have experience working with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as clients with a history of childhood trauma. I am intensively trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) through my work at a trauma program for women. Additional experience and trainings are in CBT, somatic psychotherapy, and working with teens, young adults and their families.

Because I a mom to three daughters (two in college and one in high school) I also totally understand both the joys and challenges that go along with parenting, and can relate to the struggles that many teens and young adults go through.

I am happy to answer any questions you have about my work, my training, and how I can help you manage your anxiety and stress, and work through past trauma and relationship issues.

Ready to take the next step toward making some positive changes in your life? Click here, email me at joan@joan-dawson.com, or call 732-649-8112 to schedule your free 15 minute phone consultation.

Providing individual counseling in my Hillsborough office and online anywhere in New Jersey.

“Don’t look back, you’re not going that way!”

-author unknown