Danna Bodenheimer

Dr. Danna Bodenheimer

     Dr. Danna Bodenheimer, LCSW, writes about clinical social work topics. Danna is the author of Real World Clinical Social Work: Find Your Voice and Find Your Way and On Clinical Social Work: Meditations and Truths From the Field (The New Social Worker Press).

     Danna is the founder of Walnut Psychotherapy Center, and the executive director of the Walnut Wellness Fund. A teacher, author, consultant, supervisor, and businessperson, Danna is above all else a therapist at heart. She lives in Philadelphia with her wife and two children.

     Danna graduated from Smith College, earning her bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies. After wholeheartedly planning on attending a Ph.D. program in psychology, going so far as to get her post-baccalaureate degree in psychology from Columbia University, Danna discovered the intricate beauty and possibility that social work offers. Turning down psychology programs to receive her MSW from Smith College, and returning to her educational roots in Northampton, Danna found her clinical self. After completing two internships in Philadelphia, one in a partial day treatment program and another at a school for psychoanalysis, Danna began her career at the Tuttleman Counseling Center at Temple University.

     Three years later, while in the middle of her doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where she received her DSW, Danna began a teaching career and her own private practice. She has taught at Rutgers, Temple, the University of Pennsylvania, and Bryn Mawr’s Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research.

     In 2015, Danna founded Walnut Psychotherapy Center to address the need for long-term trauma-informed psychotherapy for the LGBTQ community. The practice took off, and is now a leader in Philadelphia for its work supporting LGBTQ mental health. Danna’s newest project is the Walnut Wellness Fund, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to providing financial support to LGBTQ people seeking mental health treatment. Learn more about her work here:

     Danna received the 2011-2012 Award for Excellence in Teaching from the University of Pennsylvania. She was also selected as a fellow for the American Psychoanalytic Association for 2012-2013. In 2018, she was a semi-finalist for Philadelphia Magazine’s Health Hero Award for her work with the LGBTQ community at Walnut Psychotherapy Center.

Of course, there is no universal feeling that defines being a social worker. However, I do believe there are some unifying, unsaid themes. Read more

Clinical Intersections

What should I say next? This question, arising after the paperwork of intakes and goal setting, can feel terrorizing to social work students and new clinicians. It gets at the heart of what we do and the desire to always say the right next thing. Read more

Clinical Intersections 1 Comments

Danna Bodenheimer interviews 8 1/2-year-old Lee about being a trans/non-binary kid. The important thing for parents to know is that they cannot make their children trans and they also cannot stop their children from becoming trans. Read more

, Clinical Intersections

Given that trauma, which I am defining as an assault on vulnerability, attachment, and development that leads us to feel endangered and out of control, enters us throughout our work days as social workers, what are we supposed to do about it? Read more

Clinical Intersections

The more we talk about being in the same sea as our clients, the more we can demystify the stigma around mental illness that keeps all of us from building the robust teams we need to continue our work in this powerful field of social work. Read more

Clinical Intersections 5 Comments

Let me tell you what I know at this exact moment, as a social worker who loves this work and loves this world and is really worried about everything. I know this might hurt a little, but I think it might help, too. I hope it will. Read more


The more we use the word trauma to describe the sequelae from psychological stressors, the more we lose the nuance around ways trauma can show up and make itself known. These questions and answers clarify differences between grief, trauma, & C-PTSD. Read more

Clinical Intersections

What does it mean to have bad boundaries and what are good ones? How can I get some and keep them? And why is this so hard? Professional and personal reflections on boundaries and empathy. Read more

Clinical Intersections 1 Comments

Something is wrong. Free yourselves from the idea that you are what is wrong. You, social workers, are the most right thing out there. This is the first entry in the new Clinical Intersections blog. Read more

Clinical Intersections 2 Comments

Danna Bodenheimer has some thoughts for social workers for New Year 2018. These are not exactly resolutions - more a sharing of myths that she refuses to continue to subscribe to, some goals, and a mantra. Happy New Year! Read more

Real World Clinical 20 Comments

When we provide individuals with the space to think, to broaden their emotional literacy, to feel what feels un-feelable, we send change agents out into the world. Dr. Danna Bodenheimer signs off with her final weekly blog post. Read more

Real World Clinical 4 Comments

It is essential to remind ourselves and our clients that we are not working to eliminate painful affect states. We are working to find the tools to survive the inevitability of these states. Read more

Real World Clinical

Dr. Danna Bodenheimer on micro/macro practice, the economy, trauma, social movements, and the future for social workers and their clients after the election. Read more

Real World Clinical 3 Comments

There is so much that we get wrong about grief, and it isn’t surprising. Like most things in life, we are desperately trying to keep an unwieldy process orderly and comprehensible. The fact about grief, though, is that it is neither. Read more

Real World Clinical 4 Comments

It is important to know that being triggered is about having first been traumatized. The word triggered signifies that a trauma has occurred and that specific stimuli can bring us back to this triggered state. Read more

Real World Clinical

Without taking too much of a stance on this either way, I want to share some thoughts on how deep work with personality disorders can feel. I also want to address the ways in which one can identify the presence of a personality disorder. Read more

Real World Clinical 1 Comments

One of the best parts of starting a private practice is that you can take it slowly. You can rent an office full time or for just a few hours a week. If you are ambivalent, I think it is worth finding out how it feels by giving it a shot. Read more

Real World Clinical 1 Comments

Let me be clear - not all social workers should quit their jobs. In fact, some of you are at perfectly stimulating and meaningful jobs. And some of you aren’t. Read more

Real World Clinical 3 Comments

Over time, I have found tremendous comfort in the NASW Code of Ethics. I have also come to some additional conclusions about how to practice ethically, born of work with a highly diverse caseload across multiple practice settings. Read more

Real World Clinical

Empaths feel with exquisite precision, are quite vulnerable to absorbing the energy of those around them, are easily hurt, are often considered “over-sensitive,” cannot easily compartmentalize psychological experiences, and are innately intuitive. Read more

Real World Clinical

The New Social Worker magazine presents its top six articles of 2017, plus Editor's Picks, and what will be new in 2018. Read more

Linda's Agenda

Introducing On Clinical Social Work: Meditations and Truths From the Field, a new book by Dr. Danna Bodenheimer. This beautiful, full-color volume is Bodenheimer's "love letter" to clinical social work and clinical social workers. Read more

Social Work Books 2 Comments

Jonathan Singer of the Social Work Podcast interviews Dr. Danna Bodenheimer on what it means to be a clinical social worker. A phenomenal conversation between two social workers. A must-listen! Read more

Real World Clinical

Praise for Dr. Danna Bodenheimer's book, Real World Clinical Social Work: Find Your Voice and Find Your Way. Read more

Real World Clinical

Author biography for Dr. Danna Bodenheimer, author of Real World Clinical Social Work: Find Your Voice and Find Your Way. Read more

Real World Clinical

Read about Dr. Danna Bodenheimer's book, Real World Clinical Social Work: Find Your Voice & Find Your Way, including the full Table of Contents. Bodenheimer serves as a mentor or a supportive supervisor as she shares practice wisdom. Read more

Social Work Books

  • Dr Danna Bodenheimer

    Dr. Danna Bodenheimer


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