About Us

Dr. Barbie Hessel, LCSW, SEP, SP

As a Tennessee Licensed Clinical Therapist and Somatic Experiencing Practitioner®, I specialize in trauma, and have worked extensively with survivors of sexual assault as well as folks struggling with depression and anxiety. I am passionate about helping adults and teens reclaim their hearts, minds, and bodies. I practice from an attachment and holistic perspective, honoring your thoughts, feelings, and visceral responses to trauma, while acknowledging an individual’s environment and context.

A native of Miami, Florida, I moved to Nashville close to 10 years ago with my family. Prior to moving, I earned a Doctorate in Child and Youth Services, with an emphasis in voice and self-authorization in young women. I worked in education and development coaching, along with professional training. Through this work, I honed my passion for working one-on-one with adults and teens. Once in Nashville, I earned an MSSW from the University of Tennessee with a certification in trauma treatment and have dedicated myself to working with trauma survivors and their loved ones. I interned in agencies specializing in trauma and worked for the Sexual Assault Center, a leading trauma center and clinic in Nashville. While there, I worked with individuals impacted by sexual abuse and was also an intern supervisor. I have advanced training and certifications in Somatic Experiencing® and Sandplay Therapy. I also have extensive training in a variety of therapeutic modalities, including EMDR (Level II), Therapeutic Yoga, Mindfulness Practice, CRM, SomEx, TF-CBT, CPT, and ACT. I find that with varied experience and training, I am better able to develop personalized therapeutic plans to meet your needs.

I live with my husband and teenage son, plus our three dogs. . .busy house. I like spending time on my back porch drinking tea and reading. I am inherently curious about all things mental health, and spend lots of my free time learning new ways to grow as a person and therapist.  

Although I am equipped to work with any number of emotional and psychological issues, my specialty is trauma and related areas include:

  • Trauma / PTSD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sexuality
  • Sexual Assault / Abuse
  • Attachment Wounds
  • Family / Relationship Issues
  • Women’s Issues
  • Gender Issues and  LGBTQ+
  • Adolescence
  • Toxic Stress
  • Chronic Pain
  • Work or School-Related Issues
  • Group Therapy


The foundation of my practice is layered. In order to effectively work together, I believe that it is important to understand your past, as it informs your present. I believe that much of our resilience stems from our interactions with attachment figures—It is necessary to consider the context of your life in order to guide you toward finding peace and ease in the moment. Basically, your past matters, but it does not have to define you.

Our attachment to others goes hand-in-hand with how we view and interact with the whole of ourselves. I can help you to recognize and accept your psychological and neurophysiological responses to disappointments and all forms of trauma. All of this will allow you to build capacity to hold and resolve your pain. I incorporate knowledge of the brain and body in my practice, using both “talk” therapy and somatic approaches.

I established Simply Being to be a safe and therapeutic space and community for survivors of trauma and those experiencing attachment wounding and chronic stress. At Simply Being, we offer individual and group services as well as a variety of events to enhance community. 

“Who looks outside, dreams, who looks inside, awakes.” C. Jung

Christi Sidwell, LMSW

I am a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and my therapeutic approach is rooted in experiential and integrative practices.  Through my training and experience, I deeply believe that as humans we are wired for healing and repair; we just have to learn how to access it.  Learning how to reconnect to our body is at the heart of personal transformation, particularly when we are working with trauma and attachment wounds. I am passionate about partnering with teens and adults as they bravely break down barriers and seek the life they desire.  In my practice, I specialize in trauma and have extensive experience with working with survivors of sexual violence in addition to folks who experience attachment wounds, depression, and anxiety.

Since obtaining my MSSW from the University of Tennessee, I have continued to advance my knowloegde and skill through specialized training ranging from: EMDR (level 2), Comprehensive Resource Model (CRM), Trauma Sensitive and Therapeutic yoga, Somatic Experiencing, Mindfulness Practice, and Attachment Regulation Competency (ARC).  With varied training it allows me to navigate a theraputic approach to healing that is holistic and tailored to each client’s needs and desires. Since 2016 I have worked at the Sexual Assault Center (SAC) in both their education and clinical department. I continue to clinically practice at SAC in addition to Simply Being.

In my down time, I try to spend as much time as I can outside. I have two dogs, Newman and Phoebe who keep me busy and remind me of the importance of play. And I enjoy learning how to garden and keep house plants alive.

[email protected]



I believe that we all deserve support and at the core of personal transformation is a duality of self-compassion and desire for change. As humans we are intrinsically wired for connection, resiliency and healing. However, sometimes there are things from the past or other life stressors that cause us to feel stuck and that healing is out of our reach. I am deeply interested in the mind-body connection and believe reconnecting to our bodies can be incredibly transformational. In my practice, I work with folks in adolescence and adulthood who are desiring to address trauma, chronic stress, depression, anxiety and life transitions.

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