Martha Cowley, M.A., LMFT, ATR

I’m a creative licensed therapist with a unique and specialized skill set — serving children, teens, and adults in the greater Sacramento area.

I believe you have the capacity to grow. 

I am goal oriented and collaborative. 

I believe humor is one of our greatest assets. 

I believe life is about learning.


So why are you a therapist?

I grew up in Austin, Texas (hook ‘em) in a big blended family. Since I was little I’ve had an ability to feel into the feelings of people around me. I will always remember when my mother taught me the word empathy around 12 years old. She told me that having a deep sense of empathy for others could some day be my biggest strength.

After graduating high school, I moved to Southern California to attend college at Chapman University where I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art with a focus on dark room photography. Upon graduating I did what many artists do, I taught. I had the privilege of working with middle school students at an inner city charter school in Los Angeles.

A large part of my curriculum included graphic story telling or, comics. What I learned through these seemingly open and non-directive art projects is something that changed the course of my life. My students told stories about their lives, often using metaphors and symbols to represent themselves in a way that verbal conversations never had. I was astounded by how their drawings opened up topics and ultimately gave me the opportunity to support students not only academically, but emotionally as well. 

It was during this experience that I bumped into the field of art therapy. Art therapy? What is that? I was deeply moved that such a career could exist. This...communicating to others through art...was actually a thing! 


What is your exact education, training, and skill set?

After teaching, I went back to school to receive my Master’s Degree in Marital and Family Therapy with a specialization in Clinical Art Therapy. During my clinical training, I had the opportunity to develop a diverse skill set to treat a variety of mental health issues and needs. I have treated ages 3 to 75 years old in settings everywhere from daycares to most recently a Level 4 prison. I am here to help you address whatever issues are going on in your life.

I have specialized training and am skilled in addressing…

  • Trauma informed care — adults and children (TF-CBT, CBT, DBT skills) & EMDR — Level II

  • Child and adolescent development

  • Childhood academic issues

  • Behavioral problems and poor impulse control

  • Parenting

  • Mindfulness coping

  • Shame and self compassion or "counter-shame” (Center for Healing Shame)

  • LGBTQ population-related issues (including parents, family members)

  • Sexual Identity

  • Gender identity

  • TGNC — transgender and gender non-conforming

  • Polyamorous families, couples, and individuals

What else do you do besides therapy?

I used to reside closer to the prison (on a boat!), but now I happily reside in Sacramento. When I’m not at True Growth, I enjoy making art, traveling, and exploring new things. I can’t forget to mention that I especially enjoy an adventure when I can bring along my 11 year old adopted dog, Frank.

I love experiencing Sacramento for the first time — the trees, rivers, murals, events, and corn hole-galore. I still have so much to explore, but overall being away from a hectic city and in Sacramento feels like I can breathe again. Northern California region has my heart. 


What do I do next?

When you are ready, simply contact me. I offer a free 15-minute consultation. To connect, click here.

Martha Cowley, M.A., LMFT, ATR is a psychotherapist with a private practice in Sacramento, CA. Martha utilizes art therapy with children, families, adults, and couples. She is trained and specializes in EMDR, Art Therapy, depression treatment, LGBTQ counseling, as well as child and teen counseling.