About Me


pronouns: she/her/hers

Heather "Dez" Valdez, LCSW is a Clinical Social Worker, licensed in the state of California (#86545). Heather believes that the mind and body are complementary parts of the self, and that our wellness is impacted by our social, cultural, and physical environments. Heather works to help identify and deconstruct systems of oppression and the impact these systems have on mental health and wellness. She integrates this into the therapeutic process which she believes can be critical for healing. Heather also incorporates trauma-informed, harm reduction, insight-oriented, relational and mindfulness approaches into her practice, as well as the integration of the conscious and unconscious. She has expertise in queer identities and relationships, and has worked extensively with LGBTQIA+ populations and communities of color, both of which she identifies with. Her collaborative, explorative, and nonjudgmental approach to therapy creates a safe and supportive therapeutic environment.


Outside of her therapy practice, Heather is an organizational development consultant to nonprofit organizations primarily focusing on mental health, community health, and serving LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities. She values working to uplift underserved, marginalized communities by working to ensure access to healthcare and other vital services that promote equity, equality, and well-being.


Heather also co-founded Sage Institute in Oakland, CA. https://sageinst.org/

For a list of Heather's professional experience, please visit:


  • Extensive experience with LGBTQIA+ populations and communities of color

  • Sexuality and gender identity

  • Consensual non-monogamy, open relationships, polyamory, alternative and kink

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Trauma

  • Abuse - Childhood, domestic violence (survivors), historical, generational, sexual, community violence, etc. 

  • Grief, Loss, or Bereavement

  • Integration of non-ordinary states of consciousness

  • Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy

  • MDMA-Assisted Therapy Training Program Trainee

  • Nonprofit consulting

  • Program development

  • Grant writing

  • Strategic planning

  • Committee development

  • Training

  • Special projects 

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