About Dr. Jessica E. Wilson
and existential psychotherapy
Jessica Ellen Wilson, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist and gender specialist working in Portland, Oregon. Her clinical work takes an existential approach to psychotherapy, developing a collaborative approach with clients to help them regain a sense of control and meaning in their lives. Existential psychotherapy theorizes that individuals can learn to identify and face struggles we unconsciously avoid, and through this process we overcome underlying feelings of anxiety, frustration, and dissatisfaction with life. This process moves away from the sometimes pathologizing medical model of mental health, instead seeing psychological distress as a normal human reaction to stressors that can be understood and addressed.
In her work focused exploring and expressing gender identity, she engages in supportive affirming therapy, helping clients to make informed decisions and explore challenges in a safe environment. The process of coming out or beginning a social or medical transition does not necessitate someone need to engage with psychotherapy, however some do find it beneficial to use this time to work through past concerns and enter into their next phase of life with a clearer sense of meaning and purpose.
Dr. Wilson received her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and completed her Masters of Science and Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University's Center for Psychological Studies, a program accredited by the American Psychological Association. Dr. Wilson's dissertation focused on developing evidence-based programming for transprejudice reduction in cisgender populations. She completed her predoctoral internship program at the University of Central Florida's Counseling and Psychological Services, an APA accredited program, where she focused her work on improving inclusive services for students of differing cultural identities as well as researching the effectiveness of the Safe Zone trainings for increasing LGBTQ cultural sensitivity for with both staff and students. She completed her postdoctoral residency at Reed College's Health and Counseling Center, where she continues to collaborate on trainings and programming to support transgender students.
Dr. Wilson is an active member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), the Oregon Psychological Association, the American Psychological Association's Division 44: Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues, and serves on Division 44's Committee for Transgender People and Gender Diversity. She has been awarded the 2010 A. Gordon Rose Scholarship for her research on queer identity, was an Aqua scholar in the Aqua Foundation for Women, and received the Voices of Leadership Award for her advocacy work from NVEEE: National Voices for Equality, Education and Enlightenment, addressing the needs of queer and trans youth affected by harassment and bullying.
Originally hailing from Las Vegas, Nevada, Jessica previously lived in Texas, Colorado, and Florida before finally calling Portland Oregon home. Jessica enjoys spending time alone in the beautiful natural areas of the pacific northwest taking photographs, hiking, and gardening. When not at work she can often be found at home reading, painting, or spending time with her partner Rachel and rescue kitties Erzsebet and Lenore.