Three Steps to a Better Relationship With Yourself

“If you want others to

be happy, practice compassion. If you

want to be happy,

practice compassion.”

Dalai Lama

Many of us are our own worst critics. When we make a mistake, we often say harsh things to ourselves. If we feel we like we’ve blown it or stepped out of line, we can fire off bitter comments aimed at our self. “You jerk!” “You’re a loser!” “What’s wrong with you?” These verbal assaults can wear us down and make it difficult for us to enjoy our personal and professional lives. We can end up feeling depressed, anxious, or stressed out. Not a fun way to go through life.

Have you ever noticed that you would never say these severe comments to a dear friend who came to you having just made a similar mistake or found herself in a troubling situation? Instead, you would be supportive and understanding and try to help your friend feel better. You might reassure her that you’ve felt similarly, you still respect her and you don’t think she’s a bad person. Why deal with your friend with this kindness, but not yourself? You deserve to treat yourself with the same compassion.

The good news is that self-compassion can be learned. What’s self-compassion? Kristin Neff has been studying and teaching self-compassion for about 10 years. She breaks it down in to three components:

  1. Kindness. Being soothing and comforting with yourself as you imagine a nurturing mom would care for her child. Or being as understanding and supportive with yourself as you would be with a good friend.
  2. Common humanity. Recognizing that you, along with everyone else, are a flawed human being. Holding in mind this connection provides you with more balanced perspective on your shortcomings and difficulties.
  3. Mindfulness. Accepting what is happening in the present moment. Being aware of your feelings in a way that neither dismisses nor exaggerates your suffering.

Treating ourselves kindly when looking at past mistakes, failures or humiliations, makes it easier for us to own up to what we’ve done and make things better. Self-compassion helps us interact with ourselves and others in a way that promotes not only our own well-being, but the well-being of others we interact with, as well. It also helps us live up to our fullest potential since people who practice self-compassion know how to pick themselves up, brush themselves off and start all over again. They are not caught in anxiety and stress.

I bring the practice of self-compassion in to my work with my clients. If you’re interested to find out how self-compassionate you are, you can take this test by Kristen Neff of here: (Test copyrighted by Kristin Neff Associate Professor of Human Development and Culture, Educational Psychology Department, University of Texas at Austin.)

I have years of experience helping people to become more self-compassionate. Contact me for more information.

Beth Levine, LCSW

Beth Levine, LCSW

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

About Beth Levine, LCSW


Hi!  Thanks for taking the time to find out more about me.

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, having earned a master’s degree in Social Work from the National Catholic School of Social Service, Catholic University.  I have about 20 years of experience working with adults in individual and couple settings.

Ever since I was young, I thought about being a therapist.  Maybe it was when I saw Ordinary People.  I was envious of the therapist, played by Judd Hirsch, who had the opportunity to develop a deep and meaningful connection with Conrad, played by Timothy Hutton, and helped him go from a place of despair to a place of realizing his life force.  Wow!  What could be better than that?  Helping someone tap into their strengths and heal? Making the world a better place is a driving force for me.

Internal Family Systems (IFS) and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) are the foundational models for my work.  After taking a training with Bessel van der Kolk, an expert in studying and treating trauma, I began to take trainings in models and techniques that are supported by research for their effectiveness for treating depression, anxiety, and trauma.

I find that having different techniques to choose from is useful because I don’t think that there is one technique or treatment method that works for everyone.  I can work with my clients to see what works best in our individual counseling or couple counseling.  In addition to IFS and EFT, the techniques I draw from include emotional freedom techniques, somatic experiencing, Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness, expressive therapies, and movement.

People ask me what my style is like.  I find it hard to describe, but I’ll do my best.  I am collaborative.  I am interactive.  I like to bring in humor when appropriate. (Nothing like bathing the brain and body in serotonin.)  I point out patterns.  I ask questions.  I reflect what I am seeing.  I use the relationship to promote healing. I can be pragmatic and solution focused.  I can offer behavioral changes. I work to promote curiosity.  I draw from different modalities and life experience.

I believe in therapy.  I have struggled with depression, anxiety, and relationships. Individual therapy has helped me live more authentically, trust myself to handle life’s challenges, and have healthy relationships.  Therapy can be hard, but it’s worth it.

If you think we would be a good fit, the next step is to call or email me so we can schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation.  If that goes well, then I recommend that we have an initial session. Having a session is probably the best way to tell if you think I would be a good fit.

I am thankful to the many people who have shared their lives with me and taught me about people’s courage and capacity to heal and change.

Beth’s Philosophy

It is hard to narrow down my philosophy of individual therapy or couple counseling to one option, but I want to share with you the following way of looking at ourselves, our relationships, and life that I, and others, find helpful.

The 400+ year old Japanese art of kintsugi (golden repair) or kintsukuroi (golden joinery) honors the pottery’s unique history by emphasizing, not hiding, any breaks or cracks.

This philosophy embraces flaws and imperfections and acknowledges that “scars” are a part of the unique design.

Kintsugi offers us an important metaphor:  In the process of healing ourselves or our relationships, we can create something more unique, beautiful, and resilient.

Embracing this philosophy, can help us deal with depression, despair, anxiety, stress, relationship difficulties, loneliness, and trauma, among other life’s challenges.




Advanced Trauma Treatment – Level I (The Institute for Advanced Psychotherapy)

Level I Certification in Internal Family Systems (IFS Institute)

Emotional Freedom Techniques – Professional Skills I (Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology)

Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy)

Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy Supervisor – for therapists earning their Certification (International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy)

Highlighted Trainings

Somatic Experiencing

Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score

Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness



LCSW-C, National Catholic University, School of Social Work

MBA, University of Rochester, The Simon Business School

Professional Presentations/Activities

September 2017.  Published article, Enhancing Therapeutic Effectiveness When Working with Vegan Clients, News & Views, The Greater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work.

June 2016. Published article, Food for Thought, New & Views, The Greater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work.

  1. Interviewed by Elisabeth Brown for Freedom2Do (

September 2011 through April 2012. Assisted EFT trainer, Rebecca Jorgensen, with Core Skills Advanced Training (4 weekend-long trainings) to EFT colleagues.

September 2010 through April 2011. Assisted EFT trainer, Rebecca Jorgensen, with Core Skills Advanced Training (4 weekend-long trainings) to EFT colleagues.

September 2010 through June 2011. Led Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT) supervision group for EFT colleagues based on the training manual, Becoming an Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist: The Workbook.  Met once a month.

March 2009. Through The Greater Washington Society of Clinical Social Work, I presented  Introduction to Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy.

October 2008. Through The Greater Washington Society of Clinical Social Work, I presented Attachment Theory, Love and Neurobiology.  In this course, I talked about eight ways in which Attachment Theory informs couple work, and the research that helps us understand the neurobiology of when couples have a secure attachment and when they are in distress.

January 2008. As part of the above training, I presented on Attachment Theory and Work with Couples. My presentation was titled: Eight Ways That Attachment Theory Informs Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT).

January 2008.  Attachment Theory:  Basic Concepts and Clinical Applications in Work with Individuals, Couples and Children. I coordinated the training with Mauricio Cortina, MD, Director, Attachment and Human Development Center.


Professional Memberships

I am a member of:

  • Greater Washington Society of Clinical Social Work
  • International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy
  • National Association of Social Workers

Get in touch.

I'm always happy to hear from people.
If you have any questions, need more information, or would like to make an appointment, you can call me at 301-279-7779, email me at, or use the form below.

I see clients using a video-chat platform called VSee. It is free to download and easy to use. Please ask me about that option, if you are interested.


11 + 11 =

About Beth

Licensed Clinical Social Worker • Over 15 years of experience • Certified Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist and Supervisor • Member of The Greater Washington Society of Clinical Social Work • Member of the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy • Member of Clinical Social Work Association • Member of National Association of Social Workers

© 2017 Beth Levine Site Design by Tim Kenney Marketing

Serving All of Maryland through teletherapy, including Rockville, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Kensington, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Potomac, Silver Spring
Phone: 301-279-7779

Hours by appointment only

On Being: Lessons I Learn From Animals