PPA Blog

New Additions: Larissa Smith


We have a new addition to our practice, Larissa Smith, MSW, LCSW, CRP, EMDR Specialist. We're excited to have her start with us this fall. So that you can get to know her better, we've asked her a bunch of questions, just for you. Take a peek, below.

How would you describe your work in a six word sentence?

Fulfilling, exciting, challenging, positive, intriguing, rewarding

What makes you smile? Why?

Most anything....especially seeing someone else smile.

What was the last book you read that had an impact? What were your thoughts on it?

In a Dark Dark Wood....I usually like to read field related, educational books, but love mysteries. It wasn't as creepy as I had hoped for, but loved the comment at the end. The plot is a girls getaway weekend, which the main character does not want to attend as she keeps to herself as a mystery writer. Someone in the party ends up being murdered and she has no recollection of the event. The part that I was drawn to was when she was being interrogated, she was scared to answer any questions for fear of making up her own reality, since that is her form of work. I found it intriguing psychologically, wondering how often many do this. I just recently started Yoga and Psyche....to be continued.... :-)

What was the most interesting place you have traveled? Why?

Paris....I studied abroad and found the culture to be extremely interesting in many, many ways. The experience of a different culture was so very eye opening. We had a death threat letter at our hotel room door on July 4th, I climbed the Effiel Tower in bare feet because the elevators were down and my heels couldn't keep up, I asked for a coffee to go and they looked at me like I had 5 heads, saw people randomly dancing on the Seine River, experienced the Louve...I could go on, but I'll spare you ;-)

What is the word you use most often?

Dog Biscuits...long story, but a woman that I used to work with would say that every time that something would be off, odd, go wrong, be strange...etc...I just always found it hilarious.

What was the funniest thing you have ever experienced?

I've had many, but one that comes to mind is when our flight from AC to PGH was grounded. due to weather. We were stuck on the runway for 5 hours and it turned into an insane happy hour with all of the passengers, crew, and even pilots taking off ties and randomly mingling. They brought out the drink and food cart and told everyone to "have at it". We were all put up in a hotel in Philly and my friends and I had no new clothes since all was stuck in our luggage underneath the plane. So we went to the gift shop and got random shirts that we could find....we proceeded to the lounge to get something to eat and the waitresses, bless their hearts, were closing up. She kindly said, well, we'll still serve you (looking at us in our attire like we needed mental health treatment), but you will be our last customers. My friend's father says "I hate to break it to you, but there's a hundred more coming. Like an entire plane load". It was a night that will live in infamy. :-D

What is a small act of kindness you experienced and will never forget?

I would have to say when my daughter saw a man standing outside of the liberty tunnels with a homeless sign. We had groceries in the car and she, out of no where asked me to unlock her window. In doing so, she reached in a bag a took out bagels and cream cheese and handed it to him. She said sweetly, I'm sorry, I don't have any plastic knives, but can come back and bring you a blanket too. Made my heart smile so. :-)

When did you first know you wanted to work in the helping field?

I think that it's just the way that I have always been wired. Back in school I would gravitate to the one kid that you could tell didn't have much money and compliment their outfit, regardless. I used to like to volunteer at the nursing homes that my mom worked at, and started to learn sign language since there was an elderly man there who was deaf. I suppose that it just went from there? :-)

If you could be an insect, which would you be?

Even though that thought creeps me out...probably a caterpillar.....moving about with the positive thoughts of what I am going to become and beautifully fly free.

What was the last movie you saw? Thoughts on it?

Actually last night, I took my daughter to see Abominable. I loved the premise that the one that is over looked triumphs and would go to any lengths to help a cause/person/animal that she believed in. She overcame fear and connected with her inner being to lead her through struggle. She never gave up and got "Everest" back to his home, giving her a sense of peace. I think that's what we all strive to do in life.

What was your latest binge-watch show?

I don't really think that I have one....unless you consider old school flashbacks of Friends and Will and Grace. I have been watching Mindhunter, but tend to fall asleep by the time we start watching it. My bad.

What emotion do you think is most difficult to express?


How do you build trust in clients?

I tend to be open and honest with them...I always state that if they have any questions about me at any point to feel free to ask so that we can build an open relationship. I do always gauge this however as I come to know more of them and their situation.

If you could have dinner with anyone, whether they are dead or alive, who would it be?

I know that this is going to sound creepy, but both Hitler and Angelina Jolie. I find both so intriguing and would love to try to understand their thought process.

What is your favorite childhood memory? Why?

I have so many.....either making carnivals with my best friend for my little sister to see her smile, my going away party in 5th grade because I was surrounded with my besties for a pool party, or simply floating in my best friends grandmother's pool feeling the black intertubes burn our skin, but not caring because we had matching swimsuits. I know. Total Cheese.

Did you have a role model when you were growing up? Who was it? Why?

I think it to be my father. He was always, and still is, so very caring, understanding, and meets you where you are at. He knew how to set expections within reason and was always there to help when needed. He also taught me to think outside of his realm of thought and become my own person.

What is the most recent photo saved to your phone? Why did you take the photo?

Honestly, at the movies last night of the police cars outside of the theatre. Joker was out and it sadly blew my mind that this is what the world has come to and that my 9 year old finds it commonplace. She asked me to take a picture because she said that they make her proud for putting their life on the line.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee!!! Tea reminds me of being sick :-(


If you want to schedule an appointment with Larissa, give us a call at 412-367-0575 or click here.

Service List

  • Individual Therapy
  • Couples & Marital Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Co-parenting Therapy
  • Child & Adolescent Therapy
  • Groups
  • Group Supervision
  • Workshops
  • Classes



Pittsburgh Psychotherapy Associates is under new ownership as of August 2018! If you see Alissa Klugh, MS, LPC, or Lauren Heaton, MS, LPC, ICAADC, be sure to congratulate them on their new journey.

We are continuously adding new blogs, groups, classes, and services to our practice, with a focus on overall wellness. Check back frequently for updates!

Contact Information

9401 McKnight Road, Suite 105 
Pittsburgh, PA 15237

Call: 412.367.0575

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