Jennifer Leftwich, LCSW

My path to working as a mental health clinician is a long one, shaped by my values from family roots in service. I have 10 years of combined experience in crisis intervention and emergency services, formal peer support, volunteerism, and professional clinical mental health practice through the continuum of care from the field and 911 PSAP to the hospital and therapy office for both civilians and uniformed professionals. I’m proudly married to a career Firefighter/Paramedic, am a proud prior 911 Emergency Communications Officer and creator/coordinator of my agency’s CISM/Peer Support program where I prioritized proactive approaches, and come from a family of first responders/emergency services professionals, healthcare professionals, and military veterans spanning all disciplines. Because of this I tend towards a “put the wet stuff on the red stuff” approach to helping and have dedicated my focus to, and greatly enjoy working with, responders and public safety professionals, and their immediate family members.

I see adults and am experienced in addressing varying forms of developmental, operational, and organizational trauma and stress injury, responses to critical incidents, anxiety, depression, relationships and communication trouble, and consultation for Peer Support. I use a blend of traditional psychodynamic talk therapy, EMDR, ego state therapy, neuroscience psychoeducation, polyvagal theory, somatic skills, and meaning-centered approaches identifying values and healthy boundaries. I plan to incorporate AAT (animal assisted therapy) in the future through the use of a therapy k9 and walk and talk therapies. These approaches are your choice and tailored to where you’re at, and I provide full education on what they are designed to address and can help you with so you can make a well-informed decision. What is most important is that you feel comfortable with me and our therapeutic relationship. I welcome you as you are, understand your challenges, lifestyle, and schedule, and share your humor. It takes guts to show up for yourself the way you show up for those you protect.

A special note on moral injury: While it is not pathological or a diagnosis (and I do not believe should ever be framed as such) soul wounds require repair and may also manifest as the physiological and psychological signs of posttraumatic stress. These wounds go beyond our brain’s survival mechanisms deeper to parts of our core self that may result in us wrestling with deeply existential questions, and can certainly show up as despair, grief, guilt, and shame. As a Christian I believe those of us called to work that exposes us to the worst of the human condition, human suffering, and death, are closest to Jesus Christ, even when He feels absent or feel He’s abandoned us, and I can personally and professionally appreciate the impact of cumulative trauma on our precious human psyche. While I support Christian clients in integrating theology as desired, you do not have to be a practicing Christian or subscribe to a faith practice at all to come see me.

Clinical Background:

  • Virginia Licensed Clinical Social Worker # 0904016134
  • Social Worker – Central Virginia VA Healthcare System, Inpatient Psychiatry
  • MSW Clinical Social Work – Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Clinical Traineeship/Residency: Central Virginia VA Healthcare System, Inpatient Psychiatry
  • MA Trauma and Crisis Response Human Services Counseling – Liberty University
  • BS Psychology – Regent University
  • Forensic Social Work Certificate NOFSW
  • THRIVE Learning – EMDRIA EMDR Basic Certification – under consultation towards certification with EMDRIA approved Consultant
  • National Emergency Responder & Public Safety Center Emergency Responder & Public Safety Clinician Certification – in process

    Public Safety Background:

    • Virginia DCJS, VCIN/NCIC, and APCO EMD certified 911 Emergency Communications Officer, Powhatan County Sheriff’s Office and Powhatan Public Safety Communications
    • CCISM and peer support – ICISF, Virginia Law Enforcement Assistance Program, UMBC PACE – Developed team SOP and manual, psychoeducation library and trainings for agency, vetted mental health clinicians listing, newsletter, activities
    • CIT – Thomas Jefferson Area Community Criminal Justice Board
    • Crisis & Hostage Negotiations – Chesterfield Police Department