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Guy Burstein, LCSW

Healing begins when we embrace the mystery of life’s terrible richness; healing deepens as we embrace our history, looking squarely behind the curtain of remembrance; healing transforms when we embrace possibility, playing with our waking dreams & our potential. — (GB)

Before becoming a social worker and psychotherapist, I spent six years as a welder, shipfitter, and union Boilermaker at shipyards and construction sites on the West Coast, in the Midwest, and in the South; four years working a 45-acre organic and alternative energy homestead in the deeply rural Missouri Ozarks; and ten years as a paid community organizer and grassroots political activist for social and racial justice in the United States and Central America.

In 1991, I was the Development Director for the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) and responsible for a fundraising staff and charged with raising a large yearly budget. During a ten-day silent meditation retreat of that year, I experienced an epiphany guiding me to work more deeply with individuals to ease pain and help with recovery and growth. After another year finishing my organizing projects following the 1992 U.N.-brokered peace agreement in El Salvador, I left Washington DC and returned to college – spending two years completing my BA in Psychology and then two years in graduate school to earn a Masters of Social Work degree.

For the past 25 years, I’ve worked in Portland, Oregon as a psychotherapist, first working for five years in a variety of community mental health clinics and hospitals treating clients diverse in ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, gender, age and life circumstances. Since 2002, I have worked full-time in private practice. I also supervise students and new psychotherapists working towards their licensure. 

In 2004, I completed two years of advanced post-graduate training in Contemporary Relational Psychoanalysis at Portland’s Northwest Center for Psychoanalysis. I have practiced meditation for thirty years and taught mindfulness meditation to personality disordered patients at intensive outpatient treatment centers.

My Education & Experience

I have a Masters Degree in Social Work (Portland State University 1997) and have been licensed by the Oregon State Board of Clinical Social Work since 1999. I am a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) the Oregon Friends of Jung, and the Northwest Association for Death Education and Bereavement Support.

I have particular interest and training in couples therapy, and in adult difficulties stemming from early childhood trauma, abandonment, emotional isolation and neglect, as well as helping facilitate characterological transformation for clients challenged by chronic and troublesome personality traits.

From 2005 to 2018 I was a founding board member, volunteer provider, and clinical consultant with the Returning Veterans Project, which provides free counseling for returning veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, and have expertise treating combat veterans for Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) and depression.

Continuing Education:

Listed below are advanced post-graduate trainings I’ve attended in order to increase my knowledge and competence in providing psychotherapy to my clients:

Couples Work 

  • Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) with Couples — 70 hours
  • Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) with Individuals — 35 hours
  • Couples Work from a Gestalt Perspective
  • Working with Couples’ Core Wounds from Humanistic-Existential Perspective


  • Readjustment and Treatment of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans 
  • The Spiritual Experience and Unconscious Response to War 
  • Hidden Wounds of War: Pathways to Healing
  • An Integrated Mind-Body Approach to Working with Stress and Trauma Reactions
  • EMDR Basic Training
  • Dreamwork and Nightmare Therapy for PTSD in Veterans
  • Assessment and Treatment of Veterans and Their Families
  • Somatic Experiencing 

Children and Adolescents: Precursors to Adult Emotional Challenges 

  • Individuation Process in Sandplay Therapy 
  • Adolescent Treatment
  • Asperger’s Syndrome: Identification and Treatment - Attachment, Child Abuse and Loss 
  • Therapy with Traumatized Children
  • Practical Tools for Building Family Strengths
  • Child Art Therapy 
  • Rebuilding Our Families and Communities 

General Mental Health 

  • Insights into Poverty 
  • Dilemma of Self in a Gay/Lesbian Cultural Context - The Art and Science of Meditation 
  • Women’s Hormones and Mood Disorders 
  • Clients with Thinking Errors 
  • Psychobiological Development, Brain Organization, and Psychotherapy 
  • Public Policy and Co-Occurring Disorders 
  • Narrative Therapy from a Jungian Perspective - Exploring Financial Issue in Mental Health Counseling 

Providing Supervision and Consultation to Other Therapists and Therapists-in-Training

  • Thinking About Supervision 
  • Collaborative Supervision 
  • The Voice of Theory in Supervision 
  • Ethics for Social Workers: Boundary Issues and Dual Relationships 

Group Therapy

  • Group Therapy: Process and Theory
  • Group Therapy: Structure and Ethical Considerations 
  • Group Therapy: Understanding and Working Through Resistance 

Contemporary Relational Psychoanalysis

  • Erotic Transference and Psychosexuality 
  • Vulnerability of Desire in Contemporary Relational Psychoanalysis 
  • Neo-Kleinian View of Language and Bodily Experience 
  • Queer Theory in Psychoanalysis 
  •  Relational Theory and other Psychoanalytic Perspectives 
  • Emotional Relatedness in Transference/Countertransference Conversations 
  • Complexity Theory and Contextualism in Psychoanalysis 
  • Projective Identification 
  • Evolution of Psychic Skin and the Practice of Psychoanalysis
  • Gathering Evidence for Interpretation 
  • The Multiplicity of Subjective Experience
  • Application and Relevance of Analytic Tools for Psychotherapy 
  • Experience and Transformation in Psychotherapy