I believe there are many pathways to developing a more passionate connection with life.

However, I haven’t always felt safe enough to explore these routes. To do so would have meant that I would need to risk something, potentially experiencing rejection, judgment and consequently pain. This fear caused contraction, as opposed to openness.

I have come to learn that I remained fearful, and therefore frozen, because I did not have a predictable and secure relationship with dependency.

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When one is afraid, self-exploration is impossible.

A healthy and loving relationship is fostered through an emotional bond that answers our basic need for a safe haven—a secure launching point to leap out of our heads and into our lives.

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Our natural state of being is rooted in empathy.

Separateness is at odds with our biology. We are born with the capacity and the need to do better. With this neuroplasticity, we can develop more fulfilling connections by seeking and adding in the things we missed—the care, attention and acceptance that we were not given. We can come to learn that nothing is “wrong” with us at our core, but rather things went wrong for us.

So then, how do we make it right?

Researcher Jim Coan identified in his 2006 study that when a loved one holds your hand in a time of distress, it takes the hurt away. Those who were touched by their partners rated their pain significantly less than those who had to go it alone. The soothing effect of connection could be seen in scans of areas deep in the brain.

When we develop links to others, we mend the disconnections within ourselves. And yet for many legitimate reasons, closeness (platonic, romantic and sexual) is fraught with complication, struggle and hurt. Instead of identifying these boundaries by their limitations, I look at them as meeting places—a location where new interactions can take place.

I meet you humbly in this place, a site of courage and endless possibility.

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With the middle name “Love,” Lia was destined to seek connection.

She has done so in a variety of capacities including as a licensed social worker, a writer and commentator, and a community organizer implementing population-based interventions.

Lia, a white, cisgendered, queer, married, class-straddling woman, graduated with distinction from Columbia University, specializing in Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice and has received awards for innovative research and excellence in the provision of therapeutic care to vulnerable populations. Most notably, Lia has experience partnering with adolescents, adults, couples and families in community-based organizations, health centers, academic, and private practice group settings. She is oriented toward experiential and emotion-focused therapies, drawing on individualized, culturally-sensitive, and holistic models of treatment. Lia aims to make therapeutic services more accessible and less stigmatized. To this end, she has developed and facilitated support circles on sex, modern love and the body at The Wing, a social club for women on the rise.

With a commitment to social justice and health equity, Lia writes content for a variety of publications, including GLAMOUR magazine and The American Journal of Sexuality Education.

Lia began her professional career in public health, managing a national component of President Obama’s initiative to reduce teen pregnancy across the nation. In this role, she sharpened her skills as a sexual health educator and presenter, in order to ensure increased access to sexual and reproductive health care in 11 communities in the U.S. Currently, Lia practices therapy at Rennicke & Associates, at the helm of her mentor Dr. Courtney Rennicke, who leads a group practice committed to making therapy accessible to modern families and couples. She demonstrates her care and concern about the health outcomes of communities as the Director of Head and Heart of The Well, a 14,000 square foot wellness club opening in downtown Manhattan in early 2019.

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Lia supports the goals of individuals from diverse gendered, sexual, racial, class grouping, and cultural identities. She provides guidance on specific issues such as: how to have difficult conversations, how to maximize the online dating experience, and how to effectively and inclusively educate teens about sex and sexuality.