2018: Safe Space: WILA + WIF Women’s Initiative

Women in Film partnered with WILA to launch an entertainment industry-specific support group for survivors of sexual harassment. Together, we ensured women at all levels of the industry were supported.

SafeSpace groups at WILA have ended, but the work we started has continued in another form. Visit the Women In Film Help Line page to learn more.

Since October 2017, growing attention has been focused on the stories of countless allegations of sexual harassment perpetrated in the entertainment industry. In response, Women In Film launched a Sexual Harassment Help Line — an integrated program to refer survivors of harassment to attorneys, designated mental health counselors, and law enforcement professionals.

The WIF Help Line partnered with Wright Institute Los Angeles to offer an important resource to survivors, particularly those who cannot afford expensive private treatment or who have inadequate insurance coverage. “Safe Space” is a free and confidential support group for women in the entertainment industry who have experienced sexual harassment, facilitated by therapists who specialize in empowering survivors of trauma and abuse.

About The Groups

WILA is no longer offer SafeSpace groups.
Previously, groups met weekly for five consecutive weeks.

Location: WILA’s center in West LA
11845 West Olympic Blvd., Suite 505W
Los Angeles, CA 90064 [map]

Our Team

Marcia Nimmer, LCSW, Psy.D.
Group Supervisor

Marcia is a clinical psychologist and licensed clinical social worker. She received her doctorate from Pacifica Graduate Institute, where she specialized in depth psychology. Marcia is the author of Finding Meaning in Later Life​, an exploration into how the second half of life holds hidden gifts and treasures. She is known for her warmth and intuitive style. As a clinician, she enables individuals of all ages to make emotional contact with their authentic inner experience, allowing for growth and transformation.

Ilana Bar-Din Giannini, LCSW
Safe Space Founder & Group Therapies Program Director

“After 20 years working as a professional writer, my decision to train as a psychotherapist came from a strong sense of personal optimism: I believe that people can write -- and change -- their own stories. With the right help and support, even traumatic stories can be reworked and lives reimagined. Social work underscored my sense that we heal best if gently moved from a place of isolation to a place of supportive understanding."

Katherine Smith, LMFT, Psy.D.
Group Supervisor

Katherine is an LMFT with a doctorate from Pacifica Graduate Institute. She believes therapy is more than just overcoming life’s challenges – it is an opportunity for you to explore and create a new relationship to your self. Katherine approaches therapy with kindness, compassion, and humor. She has worked with individuals and couples of diverse backgrounds, sexual orientations, mental health concerns, and integrates social justice and feminist perspectives in her approach to therapy.

Michele Gomes, Psy.D.
Safe Space Co-Founder & WILA Executive Director

Frequently Asked Qs

What were the groups like?

Each of the five sessions was centered on a topic. The facilitators briefly introduced and educated members on the topic, followed by a group discussion and space to give and receive support. Group topics included:

  • Confidentiality, group respect
  • Safety: how to reinstate & maintain a sense of safety
  • Sharing your story while maintaining privacy and boundaries
  • From a psychological standpoint: What is harassment? What is assault? What is trauma?
  • Recognizing symptoms and their connections to the event(s)
  • Triggers
  • Resourcing & referrals for ongoing support
What is confidentiality in therapy?

Confidentiality – knowing that what you talk about in group will not leave the room – is the cornerstone of therapy. In all forms of therapy, there are some exceptions to confidentiality and it is important that you know about them. In all forms of therapy, you should receive an Informed Consent document with detailed explanations. In some specific situations, therapists can disclose your private information without your consent. Common exceptions to Confidentiality include:

  • To protect you or the public from serious harm — if, for example, you discuss intent and plans to attempt suicide or harm another person.
  • Therapists are required to report ongoing abuse or neglect of children, the elderly or dependent adults (people with disabilities). However, if an adult discloses that they were abused as a child, therapists typically aren’t bound to report that abuse, unless there are other children continuing to be abused.
  • Therapists may release information if we receive a court order. That might happen if a person’s mental health came into question during legal proceedings.
Did participants have to share details about what happened to them?

As a part of the screening call and the first group meeting, each participant was asked to share their reasons for interest in the group. However, we encouraged and regularly reminded each participant to share at their own level of compfort.

Were participants required to name their perpetrator(s)?

No. Participants were only asked to share information that were comfortable sharing, in as much or as little detail as they chose. In fact, during the 1st group meeting, facilitators discussed confidentiality, safety, and the psychological risks and benefits of sharing what has happened.

Was the group really free?

Yes. There was no cost to participants for the entire 5 week group experience. WILA recognizes that providing accessible mental health support services will make an impact on the community’s ability to heal and grow in the face of individual and collective trauma.

Who facilitated the Safe Space groups?

Safe Space groups were facilitated by pre-licensed therapists enrolled in WILA’s Psychology Internship and Postgraduate Fellowship. The facilitators were supervised by licensed mental health professionals on WILA’s Teaching and Supervising Faculty with input from WILA’s Executive Director, Michele Gomes, Psy.D.

Where did the Safe Space groups take place?

Initially SafeSpace groups took place at WILA’s West Los Angeles clinic which provides a safe, comfortable, accessible, and confidential atmosphere. WILA is conveniently located at 11845 West Olympic Boulevard, Suite 505W, Los Angeles, CA 90064. Ample street parking is available nearby.

Due to COVID-19, Safe Space groups were then conducted online.

What is WILA’s mission?
The mission of Wright Institute Los Angeles (WILA) is to keep high quality, long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy available and affordable. WILA is an affordable alternative for those without adequate health insurance benefits or the ability to pay for expensive private treatment. We remain one of the very few settings in Los Angeles where no limits are placed on treatment length or session frequency. Our aim is to help the individuals, couples, and families we serve lead richer, deeper, more fulfilling lives.