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Navigating Therapy for Mental Health & Wellbeing

A Guide for New and Returning Therapy Clients

Co-taught by Gregory Whiting, MSW, LICSW and Sara Blackmur, MSW, LICSW

This course was most recently offered in August 2020.

This one-hour live course with anonymous Q&A explores the ins and outs of mental health therapy, addressing questions such as: What is mental health therapy? Why do people seek it out? What do certain professional degrees and/or specialties mean? and What exactly happens in a session?

Banister’s own mental health experts will provide an overview of different styles of therapy and the benefits for both general wellness and during times of crisis, transition, or acute distress. Content will also cover how to find a therapist and important considerations for members of marginalized communities, including for individuals who identify as BIPOC and/or LGBTQ+.


Gregory Whiting is a clinical social worker, experienced educator, and consultant. Having worked in publishing, human resources, the academy, emergency medicine, and community mental health, he possesses skills and experiences that allow him to connect across a variety of differences to solve complex human problems. In his client work as a Navigator, Gregory strives to integrate the complex needs of human beings during crises into plans of action that provide order in emergent spaces.

Gregory holds a Bachelor's degree Psychology from the University of Michigan and a Master's in Social Work from the University of Washington. His most notable educational experience at the University of Michigan was his engagement in research, dialogue facilitation, and training through the The Program on Intergroup Relations. Through this work, Gregory was able to teach and learn in Beijing, develop a study abroad program sending University of Washington students to Ghana, and cultivate shared meaning for incarcerated women in the state of Michigan. He is a clinical Social Worker, with independent clinical licensure in the states of California and Washington. Gregory's clinical social work has enabled him to serve the complex needs of a variety of King County, WA residents such as people experiencing homelessness, youth in schools, incarcerated people, and medical patients with complex treatment needs. Gregory lives in Seattle with a similarly ambitious roommate and a cat that acts like a dog. He is a Brainerd Fellow at Social Venture Partners. Gregory is an avid science fiction fan. He prefers biking over walking, and enjoys the challenge of learning new skills.

Sara is a psychotherapist who works with clients navigating a variety of life transitions. Her therapeutic approach comes from a strengths-based and social justice perspective. Her work with clients spans a variety of issues including grief and loss, attachment, depression, anxiety and family-of-origin conflict.

Sara holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Washington and a Bachelors in Social Work from the University of Texas where she graduated with Honors. She is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in the State of Washington (LW60349609). In addition to her clinical work, Sara has experience working in medical settings and healthcare compliance. In her free time, Sara enjoys spending time with family, cooking, hiking and traveling anywhere there is


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