We had the good fortune of connecting with Julia Greco and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julia, how do you think about risk?
Opening my business in January of 2020 was always part of the hopeful plan to have my own private therapy practice. After many years of education and experience, I was making it happen. The imposter syndrome was real, but I was so excited and felt such alignment serving folks in our community as a sex positive psychotherapist. And then March of 2020 happened and everything changed nearly overnight. Establishing my own business during a global pandemic was not part of the plan. And thats when my relationship with risk changed. Many professional choices over the years had been methodical and predictable; this was not one of them. This new risk included staying connected with my clients while converting services to virtual, still on that learning curve as a new business owner, and ensuring I was operating within legal and ethical parameters through this transition. Everything was new. And the biggest risk of all was keeping my own mental health in check in order to hold space for, and meet the needs of my clients. Turns out, “keeping my mental health in check” included acknowledging the impact the COVID had, and has, on me as a therapist and as a person. Because, you see, although clinicians have many overlapping life experiences as their clients, it is rarely guaranteed that a therapist and a client are experiencing the same stressors, in real time. The biggest risk for me, in this process, has been leaning in to my own experience, and acknowledging that this doesn’t make me less equipped as a therapist, but in fact, more equipped as a human with relatable lived experiences.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
There is a powerful community of sex positive clinicians here in LA that celebrate expression, and I am proud to be one of them. Being a sex positive psychotherapist means delving in to how messages we have received about our bodies, our gender, our sexual expression, and our inherent value impact how we show up for ourselves and interact with others. None of this can be done without considering systems of oppression and looking at how people of color experience this criticism in ways I cannot understand.
I am of the belief that our sexuality, in whatever way we define it, contributes to the pleasure of existing. I believe that when we can access the liberation of sexual mindfulness, we can connect more intimately with others and feel more aligned with who we are as sexual creatures, ultimately combating systems and institutions that shame and oppress.
I have learned that the progress of my clients is hinged on my own progress, and I must be willing to step into the scary spaces that I invite my clients into.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
To daydream of a pre-COVID time! An ideal long weekend would start on Friday night with some homestyle Italian food for dinner at Casa Bianca in Highland Park (the red and white checkered table cloths remind me of our family’s Italian restaurant we had while I was growing up). After I’ve made brunch for our crew in the morning (don’t forget the breakfast potatoes), we would begin our Saturday wandering up and down York Blvd., stopping in the boutiques, rock shop, stationary shop and gift shops, buying unique goodies for people’s birthdays months from now and perhaps a surprise or two for a partner. We would be lucky to score a booth at Hermosillo and be sure to get a couple of orders of fried pickles to sustain our shopping. We would head down to Echo Park and paddle the swans on the lake as the afternoon sun graces us with its presence, and watch the turtles bob their little heads around the perimeter of the lake. We’d load up with blankets, lawn chairs, packages of cheese, crackers and salads and Trader Joe’s finest red wine and grab a car to Hollywood Forever to watch a double feature hosted by Cinespia beneath the stars, among the stars. After the films, we’d wander out of the cemetery at a leisurely pace, appreciating the differing headstones and plots, noticing the shadows they cast on the grass, and call it a night. Always a sucker for a good egg biscuit, we would get some grub at Fred 62 in Los Feliz on Sunday and head to the Melrose Trading Post to admire the local creations and bustling energy of vendors and creators. I will try, for the fourth year in a row, to find the shadow box I once passed up, of a green beetle riding a bicycle. I will, once again, not be able to find it. We will wrap our Sunday evening with a potluck-style gathering on the side yard of my best friend’s apartment. It is still warm enough to gather outside, and that’s the only place any of us have enough room to host more than 6 people. We’ve been planning this for a few weeks and we’ve picked up flowers from the flower district, table cloths from IKEA and pulled drafting tables out of storage that my friend makes his leather goods on. It’s all hands on deck as we transform this glorified parking lot into a North East Side dinner party. We string up white lights and project films and find our favorite playlist to set the vibe. An out of town visitor is always a good excuse to get folks together, from older times and from newer times, and we will laugh and sip and nibble until we are reminded that we are at least midway into the third decade of our lives and we are ready to sleep. But before that, I am sure to climb to the top of the stairs near my best friend’s front door and snap a photo from above of the love and the laughter and the joy that we have managed to create tonight. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Humans make my world go round. I am so appreciative to my partners TJ, Ellen and Eric for being the biggest cheerleaders and convincing me that I would not drown once I took the leap to begin my business. And for all the insider scoops, mentorship and encouragement, I would probably still be anxiously Google-ing “How to open a private practice” if it wasn’t for Kate, who talked it all out with me and humanized the experience. She still does. Thank you all!