Licensed Psychologist | Psychoanalyst

Dr. Johanna M. Arenaza


Welcome to my website! While you visit this site, you might wonder whether and how I may be able to help you. I invite you to read about me and the services I provide and see if my approach resonates. If you think I may be able to help you with your feelings or with challenges you face, feel free to reach out to me.


As a licensed psychologist and psychoanalyst, much of my time is spent listening and connecting with people. My many years of study would feel bare if I couldn’t help others improve their lives. While my first love was in the arts, my passion is in communicating and helping in small and significant ways.

Originally from Bilbao, Spain, a grant during my teens brought me to the Lincoln Center in New York City. After many years in the arts, and a lifestyle transformation, a scholarship at The George Washington University carried me though my Doctorate in Psychology. My keen drive furthered my studies in the depths of the human mind, and I became a psychoanalyst through a five-year training at the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis. I am indebted to all my artistic and intellectual teachers for their wisdom.

The past ten years in private practice have taught me what my interests and strengths are. I don’t shy away from challenges, and my appetite for complexity is satisfied through the awareness of the multi-determinants of our coping mechanisms. I aim to understand both the origins of pain and how such suffering is maintained today. My patients tell me I am warm and open with a ready laugh. I seem to work equally well with men and women, and adolescents when the fit is right.

Sharing my craft is becoming increasingly rewarding, so I teach, supervise, and lecture at various graduate programs, including The George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University, Catholic University, and the Washington Baltimore Center for Pyschoanalysis. More recently, I have found it both painful and gratifying to conduct court-ordered psychological evaluations for immigrants facing deportation, often on a pro-bono basis. Other activities in my professional community include serving as Co-chair for the Annual Ethics Conference Committee at the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis, Dance Advisor in the Psychoanalysis in the Arts Program, and founder of a newly established Spanish-Speaking Clinicians Group.


Board Certified by the District of Colombia Board of Psychology

District of Colombia License: PSY 1000592

Professional Membership

American Psychoanalytic Association

Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis


Many of my patients have struggled with relationship difficulties, achievement impediments, and self-dissatisfaction. Sorting out these feelings can restore a sense of well-being and improve relationships.


My approach emphasizes individualized treatment. Insight will provide you with the mental flexibility that enables constructive changes.


Psychoanalysis is an effective method of treatment for psychological problems for those who have had insufficient results with briefer therapies.


Adjunct supervisor at The George Washington University for doctoral psychology students.


Johns Hopkins University, The George Washington University, Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis, The Catholic University of America.


I believe a good therapist offers the wisdom to illuminate suffering and facilitate change. Together, we must understand why you suffer and how you can return to health. This process starts with my interest in your past and current experiences, my ability to put myself in your shoes, and a will to understand how you feel and what needs to take place. Through genuine dialogue, you may heal from painful feelings, understand situations and the world though an alternative lens, or transcend beyond previous limitations. These are all forms of change.

Therapy is not a chat, an update, or even a mere exercise of putting the pieces of your experiences together. Therapy is the work of two people working to understand deep truths, so that pain can be relived and daily life improved.

I help people heal from depression, anxiety, relationship issues, achievement impediments, and identity and personality difficulties. My consultation process begins with a discussion of your current difficulties. I then will offer my impressions and discuss with you what type of process is likely to be most beneficial. It may surprise you to find that by identifying and understanding your feelings and reactions, possible solutions to your problems will become available.


I believe psychoanalysis is a way of surviving the emotional chaos, spiritual confusion, and traumatic events that come with living life. Either in a single moment or over a number of years, one’s world can be changed for the worse. Then, a constant flow of grief, terror, shame, and despair – deeper than one could have imagined – settles in. In the aftermath of tragedy, often times nobody in one’s family is able to speak of the pain. Such silence can leave one feeling alone with all the agonizing emotions. It cuts one off from others and from one’s emotional life, leaving one feeling numb, moving through life as if only half alive.

If psychoanalysis is right for you, you will progress through past and recurring experiences, taking all the raw feelings and transforming them into words, language, memories, and ultimately wellbeing. This process, while challenging at times, brings joy and a renewed sense of being fully alive – a transformation from powerless and passive to being capable of turning suffering into lucid meaning and hope.

A further benefit of psychoanalysis comes from the telling of memories to a witness of it all. Because memories and reactions are shared, human isolation is then relieved. The outcomes of psychoanalysis enter deeply into one’s personhood, helping an individual live a fulfilling and meaningful life.

Psychoanalysis is an intensive form of therapy typically involving four 50-minute sessions a week.


Borderline Personality Disorder
Facing Deportation pp
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Sexual Boundaires Violation


If you have any questions about the services I provide or would like to schedule an appointment, please call or contact me via the form below.