I first had the opportunity of interacting with Leah Niehaus, LCSW when she invited One Heart Counseling Center to share about mindfulness, emotional awareness, and facilitate an art therapy activity at one of her daughter’s National Charity League (NCL) monthly meetings.
Leah informed us that this year’s focus for the 8thgrade group was Social Awareness and Compassion. These are wonderful values for anyone but they can be especially worthwhile for teenagers to adopt. Being the grade level advisor and co-leader of her daughter’s NCL group is just one of the ways Leah is broadly involved in providing expert services for teenagers throughout the South Bay community.
Leah’s Involvement in Local Events
Leah participates in a variety of services provided for the betterment of teenage mental health. At Redondo Union High School in the fall, a wellness fair takes place during the school’s Mental Health Awareness Week. This is an opportunity for the students to meet with professionals in the community. It’s designed to be interactive and less stigmatizing for high schoolers that might need that support, or know someone who does. Leah (as well as OHCC) had a table this year, sharing about the work she does with teens. Mira Costa High School holds a similar event during their mental health awareness week. Theirs was in the spring this year.
Another local event focused mainly on teenagers, where Leah and I both participated, took place at Beach Cities Health District (BCHD) in Redondo Beach. This event, titled “Mental Health 101” was an informative presentation focused on sharing basic information on Mental Health with the community.
This was to increase knowledge, provide resources and support for community members who interact with teens on a regular basis and might know someone struggling with mental health concerns. Leah and my role during this event, was to provide support and share our knowledge should any of the attendees become triggered by the information.
Leah’s Involvement in Community Organizations
Leah has been well connected with Beach City’s Health District from the beginning of her private practice career. I was pleasantly surprised when she informed me of a program she used to be involved with that offers low-cost therapy to clients in need of affordable services. Leah’s big heart and commitment to the field expanded from here. She began offering her time to give talks in the community at places like Torrance Memorial and Fusion Academy South Bay.
Leah’s Private Practice and Groups for Teens
In her current private practice, Leah focuses primarily on working with teenage girls. In addition to meeting with clients individually, in the last five years she’s been successfully facilitating support groups for this population. See more about them here.
Leah meets weekly with a young women’s group and an adolescent girls process group. Leah’s young women’s group targets post-high school aged women who are grappling with this stage in their lives; moving from dependence on parents to more independence. The process group that Leah runs is intended for high school girls who are insight oriented and want to share their challenges with similar others.
Additionally, two other therapy groups come together weekly at Leah’s office, facilitated by her associates. There’s another high school girls group with a more skills-based focus, and an open-ended middle school girls group. Throughout the different therapy groups, Leah and her associates incorporate tools to help improve social skills, self-awareness, decision-making, stress reduction/relaxation techniques and communication skills.
I was impressed by Leah’s organization and efficiency with balancing her home life and work, while maintaining her involvement in the community to support the youth in South Bay.