Monica McGarva, LMFT

Monica McGarva, LMFT


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July-August 2017

Member Profile by Shelley Horner, LMFT

Monica McGarva, LMFT

I had the opportunity to get to know Monica McGarva, LMFT while enjoying lunch on the outside patio at the Corner Bakery in the Calabasas Commons. It was a perfect Southern California day and Monica looked lovely in her bright floral shirt, sitting at our table, telling me all about her.

Monica majored in journalism in undergrad and began a long successful career at KNX Radio as a writer. Monica majored in journalism in undergrad and began a long successful career at KNX Radio as a writer. Her wit and intelligence was evident and came to life as she described events along her journey. Monica wrote for KNX radio almost 30 years and won writing awards for news, editorials, and public service announcements. As a therapist, she often pulls on her experience from radio as she understands creativity, deadlines, and being in a corporate structure.

When it comes to romance, Monica feels lucky to have met her husband online. David McGarva is from Scotland, where he was living when they first connected. At the time, he was an attorney working for the government council. Their mutual adoration soon turned to love and David moved to the United States to take his bride. Once in the states, David decided to leave his legal career and pursue the helping profession as a marriage and family therapist. He studied at Philips Graduate Institute (now Phillips Graduate University) while Monica continued at KNX Radio. Monica stated, "Over dinner he would talk about his classes and I would see his assignments and I thought they were really interesting. I thought maybe I could manage his practice but the more I thought about it, the more I thought I could do this." At work people often came to her office and she listened to their problems; so soon she joined her husband and not long after found herself studying for her license for marriage family therapy as well.

Monica earned her license in 2010 leaving KNX radio and her career in journalism. Since then, she has been enjoying her private practice; specializing in trauma and anxiety. Monica, also a certified hypnotherapist, further specializes in pre-marital therapy and is certified as a FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study) facilitator. She attended Phillips Graduate Institute and later supervised interns there in the postmodern program. Her Solution Focused orientation helps her clients focus on what is going on now and how to make it better. Monica likes working with her clients to find answers.

On occasion, Monica and her husband work together, helping couples in therapy. Collaborative therapy can help each person feel safe and supported.

Monica enjoys attending the SFV CAMFT workshops and became a volunteer for the Soldier's Project after being introduced to their work at one of our Sunday workshops. Her interest and devotion in helping the traumatized is very admirable!

Monica finds SFV CAMFT useful in many ways. She said "there are so many ways to connect." She likes building relationships with colleagues plus being at the meetings helps to decrease the isolation that a therapist in private practice often experiences.

When asked what she enjoys as a therapist, Monica indicated it is people's stories she enjoys and the opportunity to help them. She also likes figuring out the puzzle of their problem and helping her clients "connect the dots."

Monica shared her wisdom for working with her colleagues, saying, "Make time for yourself, it's not a luxury." She also recommended physical exercise since it can help to let go of incessant over-thinking. Monica believes physical and mental health is essential for all therapists. Spending time with this articulate woman was invigorating. I encourage you to find an opportunity to chat with Monica someday!

For more information or to contact Monica please visit, call her at 818.835.2514 or email

This Member Profile was written by Shelley Horner, LMFT. Shelley enjoys connecting with fellow SFV-CAMFT members, helping clients in her Calabasas private practice, and being with her family, friends, and kitty cats.

San Fernando Valley Chapter – California Marriage and Family Therapists