Hello and welcome to Marital and Family Psychotherapy Services, the private practice of Laura R. Brooks, Licensed Certified Social Worker – Clinical (LCSW-C). I am located in Ellicott City and serve individuals, couples and families in central Maryland. These pages have been especially designed to help answer questions you have about psychotherapy, how therapy might help you and to tell you about me, Laura R. Brooks, LCSW-C.  Also, my blog on this home page (see below) will include my on-going thinking about families, relationships, and systems view of current events and the natural world.


Marital and Family Psychotherapy Services, the private practice of Laura R. Brooks, LCSW-C, offers psychotherapy to individuals, couples and families who are experiencing such problems as marital conflict or distance, parent-child relationship difficulties, depression or anxiety in one of its members, separation or divorce, adoption issues, and family of origin issues. I worked at Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Psychiatry for several years before opening a private practice. In 2008, I joined the faculty at The Bowen Center for the Study of the Family in Washington, DC.



I have many years of in-depth clinical experience with non-profit organizations and private practice. Since working at Johns Hopkins Hospital, I have been in full-time private practice for over 20 years. I am a faculty member at The Bowen Center (https://www.thebowencenter.org/faculty-bios/laura-brooks) where I supervise and teach in the Postgraduate Training Program. I regularly present at conferences and meetings, and serve on the Board of Directors as well as the Editorial Board for Family Systems Journal. Also, I serve as  Coordinator of the Research Committee and the Internship Program. I have a Masters in Social Work from the University of Iowa School of Social Work. I have  participated in several years of postgraduate training programs at the Menninger Foundation in Kansas and the Georgetown Family Center (now known as The Bowen Center for the Study of the Family) in Washington, DC, both nationally renowned programs in family theory and psychotherapy.
In addition, I am conducting a longitudinal research study of adoptive families.


The Chinese character for "crisis" has two parts - one stands for danger, the other for opportunity.

The Chinese character for “crisis” has two parts – one stands for danger, the other for opportunity.

You will begin with an assessment which may take one to three interviews during which a history of your problem as well as your own personal and family history is explored. Your history is critical to developing a clear understanding of the nature and depth of the problem as well as recommendations for addressing it. You are free to ask as many question as you need and your own thinking about the problem will be thoroughly explored. Each interview takes approximately 50-55 minutes. All information you share will be held as strictly confidential.

For the first several appointments, you may come in once per week and then less frequently. Eventually, you may come in once a month or two  to bring a focus and clarity to your on-going efforts to address the problem. Couples will be seen together initially and often separately at times to allow each individual to maintain a clear and consistent focus on addressing their part in the problem. Similarly, families are seen together initially and then the child is seen separately from the parents.

Many people experience relief of the immediate problem within six to ten sessions. Others will continue therapy to address the underlying factors contributing to the development of the symptoms. For some, it might be helpful to explore relationship patterns in the family of origin as they relate to the problem. To learn more, please call Laura R. Brooks at: 443.956.7282 or email: info@laurarbrooks.com



Research has established that psychotherapy is beneficial to addressing many types of symptoms including depression, anxiety, marital problems, work issues, parent-child problems, life transitions, stress, trauma, recovery challenges, lack of direction, and health issues.I offer an objective and broad perspective on the problem in a way that taps into your capacity to get calmer and think more clearly. Most people report feeling calmer within a few meetings. When this happens, the ability to think more objectively about the problem improves and possibilities for addressing it come into focus. In marriages, each person reduces blame of the other or self and identifies long-standing underlying patterns in the relationship. As you get more objective about your part in the patterns, change becomes more possible. In families, the child has an opportunity to clarify ways to improve their own self-responsibility. The parents learn about the ways their relationship may be contributing to the issues with their child and focus more on their part in the problem and in the solution. Some have found it helpful to focus on the family relationship patterns through the generations that contribute to the current problem.



Brooks, Laura (June/July, 2005)  Adoption and your family. Adoption Today

Aging and Family Emotional Process – click on the title for a link to this journal article by Laura Brooks, LCSW-C

Bowen, Murray. Family Therapy in Clinical Practice. This book is written for the professional but may interest others who want a detailed description of the development of Dr. Bowen’s thinking starting in the 1950’s.

Gilbert, Roberta. Extraordinary Relationships: A New Way of Thinking about Human Interaction. Connecting with Our Children: Guiding Principles for Parents in a Troubled World.  Dr. Gilbert’s books make the theory accessible to the layperson. More books and articles are listed on her website at   www.hsystems.org and amazon.com.

Kerr, Michael.  Family Evaluation: The Role of the Family as an Emotional Unit that Governs Individual Behavior and Development. Written for the professional and those who are interested in an in-depth understanding of Bowen Theory. Publications written by Dr. Kerr for the layperson are listed on The Bowen Theory Academy’s website, http://bowentheoryacademy.org.

Find The Bowen Center on Facebook!

  • Papero, Daniel. Bowen Family Systems Theory. A clear and concise overview of the theory.
  • Titelman, Peter  Emotional Cutoff: Bowen Family Systems Theory Perspectives. Triangles:Bowen Family Systems Theory Perspectives. Mr. Titelman’s books are a compilation of articles by various authors on the application of Bowen Theory to a variety of problems. More books edited by Mr. Titelman can be found at Amazon.com
  • Below are two taped interviews for Family Matters, sponsored by the Bowen Center and University of the District of Columbia Family Matters:  Adoption and the Extended Family–www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtC2PYSMsuI; Interdependence in Family Relationships — www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3n36i1Sv90


What if my partner or child refuses to participate? Since I view the family as a system of relationships, any one motivated parent or spouse who is willing to take the lead can affect change in the system
What is the difference between a social worker, psychologist, and psychiatrist? In terms of psychotherapy, there is very little difference. The psychiatrist is the only one who can prescribe medicine, if needed. Otherwise, all three disciplines do psychotherapy using different theories and treatment methods.
Do you use a particular theory of human behavior? Yes, I use Bowen Theory. For more information about the theory, please go to thebowencenter.org.
Is Marital and Family Psychotherapy covered by insurance? For individual therapy, I do participate with some insurance companies if you decide to use your insurance. Please be advised, however, that most insurance companies do not reimburse for marital and family therapy.
What if I think I need to be on a psychiatric medicine? I am not licensed to prescribe medicine. When we meet, we will discuss your thinking about medicine and your options.
What is my next step? Just call the number listed below and leave a message for me. I will return your call at my earliest opportunity and we can set up a time for your first appointment. I look forward to hearing from you! Please print out the forms on the Contact page, complete and bring with you to the first appointment.


Laura R. Brooks, LCSW-C

3355 St. Johns Lane, Suite F
Ellicott City, MD 21042

Telephone: 443.956.7282 Email: info@laurarbrooks.com
Office hours: by appointment



If you have made an appointment, please  fill out this form and submit it before your appointment

Click title to read more

the Holidays

The following quotes offers a perspective that could be specific to the holidays as well. “We must be willing to let go of the life (holiday) we planned so as to have the life (holiday) that is waiting for us.” - Joseph Campbell If you simply show up, that's 50% of...

Uh Oh, here they come again…the holidays!

The holidays can be challenging on many levels when it comes to family gatherings, food, drink and gifts. Before you know it, you've had too much of all of them! What is the problem? Many families avoid each other through the year and then come together with...

Which brain is in control?

The brain, a product of evolution, has three distinctive and integrated parts as shown here. The Reptile brain, that which we share with the reptiles, correlates with the survival instinct. Translated into human behavior, it is revealed in the automatic, predictable,...

Interdependence in human family relationships

"I say that it touches a man that his blood is sea water and his tears are salt, that the seed of his loins is scarcely different from the same cells in a sea weed, and that of stuff like his bones coral is made. I say that the physical and biologic law lies down with...

Family Vacations: boom or bust for self

These days in my clinical practice, I'm hearing a lot of reports back about the challenges of family vacations. A few observations: Most people need a vacation to recover from their vacation. Many families have a 'leader' who organizes activities and they are often...

How broadly can you think?

John Muir from My First Summer in Sierra -- When we pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe If we apply this thinking to the family as an emotional unit, can we think about a family member without thinking about everyone they...


Hello and welcome to Marital and Family Psychotherapy Services, the private practice of Laura R. Brooks, Licensed Certified Social Worker – Clinical. I am located in Ellicott City and serve individuals, couples and families in central Maryland. These pages have been...