Alumna’s journey to helping teens through therapy

Emily Sweet

Lauren Ogren sips her fruity tea, her eyes crinkling from her smile. The room around her is filled with laughter and peace. Ogren, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), said she begins each day ready for what is ahead.

“Every day is really different. I never know what’s going to kind of come at me,” Ogren said.

A licensed therapist for two years, Ogren works primarily with teenagers, providing individual and family therapy. She has been in the field for more than six years.

Currently a therapist, Lauren Ogren has also worked as a spin instructer, bartender, and matchmaker.
Currently a therapist, Lauren Ogren has also worked as a spin instructer, bartender, and matchmaker.

Ogren graduated from Redwood in 1999, majored in Psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz and became a therapist soon after. In her time at Redwood, Ogren enjoyed the community and learning opportunities, which she said prepared her well for her career.

“I loved being at Redwood. I actually did not realize what a fabulous education I got until I went to college,” Ogren said. “I didn’t realize how much had been offered to me at Redwood. I really had this great foundation not just in academics [but also] in the arts and different classes, like Social Issues, I loved.”

She was driven to practice therapy after moving to Boston and realizing that she was more interested in field work than in an office job.

“I worked in an HR position and I hated it so much, just hated being in an office and just doing paperwork. It’s so boring,” Ogren said.

After moving back to California, Ogren worked a variety of jobs in her field, ranging from matchmaker to court-appointed therapist.

Her familiarity with the Bay Area contributed to her decision to return to Marin and work in therapy.

“I’ve been in the community. I grew up in Marin; I knew some people there, and it was interesting,” Ogren said. “Even though I had went to a really great school, and had a lot of privileges growing up in Marin, there were still [social] things that were really hard.”

Once Ogren began working with teenagers she quickly began to specialize.

“I worked at another non-profit that did counseling with teenagers and families. I would do in-home therapy; I would work with kids a lot of times on probation who had been in juvenile hall,” Ogren said.

Running her own practice has brought both challenges and benefits.

“It’s hard to go off on your own completely, because you really have to build a clientele in order to sustain your own life,” Ogren said. “You have to put a lot of yourself out there to get people to come see you.”

However, Ogren loves her work as an MFT, especially her flexible schedule and her ability to help people.

“I had a mom come in last week and just really thank me, because I’ve worked with both of her daughters, and that felt really good. It’s nice to think that I affect people’s lives in a positive way,” Ogren said.