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About maria

Radiant heart icon from Authentic Movement Soul Freedom, symbolizing the heart of holistic healing and personal growth.
Maria Lentzou, founder of Authentic Movement Soul Freedom, smiling warmly, embodying the compassionate and holistic approach of her practice.

Maria Lentzou, LMFT, NTP

- or, simply, maria

I am deeply in love with life and am passionate about helping people discover

beauty in the world and, most importantly, within themselves.

My goal is to guide you to fall in love with yourself,

whether it's rekindling that flame or experiencing it for the first time.

 

Originally from Greece, I am an author, speaker, artist, and

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based in California.

My expertise extends across Authentic Movement, Nutritional Therapy, and Healing Arts,

with a holistic approach that nurtures the heart~body~mind~soul.

I lead the Feminine Wholeness Retreat, a heart-warming experience designed

to empower women in their journey of holistic self-discovery and soul freedom.

Additionally, my bilingual kit 'MarlaGran' is designed to spark creativity

and foster social-emotional growth across various ages.

Join me in rediscovering who you are.

Let your intuition be your guide as you express the unique essence of your soul,

a precious gift to the world. Together, let’s embark on a journey

to uncover and celebrate your authentic self – in heart~body~mind~spirit!

warmly,

maria

Play Art Terra Pist@

Play-Art-Terra-Pist@

"Being multifaceted,
there is no one word for what I do;
I define myself as a Play-Art-Terra-Pist@"

PLAY

To play is our instinctual nature; to play, is to be curious, and this inherent capacity has no age limit. By playing we discover ourselves and the world, we explore and create relationships, we learn and grow. 

 

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

 GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

ART

For me making art or 'making special' refers to any action that involves an embodied presence in the here & now, a playful attitude, and a letting go of my rational thinking to enter the world of mystery.

By 'making special' we express ourselves , we experience and transform the world, and we are transformed.

TERRA

Terra is the Latin name for Earth. Its use here reflects our relationship to nature and to our bodies; to the matter that has limits and forms; to the world that we see, hear, touch, smell, taste, perceive. 

I celebrate our being in flesh and this tangible way to share with others. It's a blessing and a passage to the mystery, the numinous that has no limits nor forms.  

PIST@

Pista in Spanish means sign, track or path. Life provides us with 'pist@s' to recognize and achieve the longings of our souls. These 'pist@s' may appear meaningless to our egos and societal structures but they are totally meaningful for the journey of our souls. I am here to help you listen to the 'pist@s' that guide your soul to a plentiful life.

Maria Lentzou in a moment of Authentic Movement, eyes closed, serene, facing the light from a window, reflecting introspection and the journey within.
My Journey

My journey

My Journey: From Inner Battles to Global Exploration 

 

My whole life has been a ceaseless journey, not only because I have lived in 3 continents, 5 countries, 7 cities, and 20 houses, but also because I am a constant soul seeker. I love journeying within, and dive into the depths of my soul, to bring light into my shadow and discover uncomfortable quirks and hidden gems that make for a plentiful life.

However my journey hasn't always been easy...

Early Challenges: A Struggle for Identity and Soul Freedom

While becoming a licensed psychologist in Greece (2004) I struggled with bulimia, depression, body hatred, insecurities, and extremely low self esteem.  Feeling confused, disconnected, alienated and lonely, I felt compelled to “run away” from my homeland in search of soul freedom.

 

There was no satisfying space to take care of my wounds, and I was unwilling to fit into any box suggested by familial and societal norms. Bombarded with messages about what we should do, how we should be, and how we are expected to look, I needed to find my own voice and truth.

 

I sought to understand and accept who I am, including both my flaws and strengths.

I wanted to discover and validate my worth as an identified woman

have a respectful relationship with myself, and others,

and find peace and a loving home within myself ,

within my heart~body~mind~soul.

 

The Path to Healing: Authentic Movement

In search of healing, I traveled to Buenos Aires (2005) and discovered Authentic Movement (2008) at The Center for Practice and Training in Authentic Movement. Initially fearful and rigid, I gradually softened and trusted the unknown of this practice where no one tells me what to do, and I can just be. For four years, I committed to this practice as a mover, weekly and in intensives, for my healing journey and soul liberation, leading to profound transformations. I slowly reconnected with my body, listened to my needs, respected my wounds, trusted my intuition, and regained confidence. My creativity awakened, first privately and then socially, as I facilitated workshops on self-development through storytelling and art-making for children and adults.

Integrating the Spiritual: A Shift in Perspective

This rebirth led me to Peru (2012), where, working as a psychotherapist at Takiwasi, I continued my inner journey and spiritual growth, with the support of medicinal plants, understanding the importance of integrating spirituality into psychotherapy for healing and complete soul freedom.

Finding My Identity: The San Francisco Chapter and beyond

In San Francisco (2014), I completed my MA in Expressive Arts Therapy at CIIS (2017), integrating my multiple facets into one identity – a play-art-terra-pist@. Here, I'm an interdisciplinary visionary artist, international speaker, author of 'MarlaGran', a bilingual interactive creative kit for children, and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice. I founded Authentic Movement Soul Freedom, facilitating individual sessions, groups, workshops, and retreats.

Among these offerings, I'm particularly passionate about the Feminine Wholeness Retreat, a culmination of my journey and expertise. It's a space where women can explore and embrace their femininity, guided by the principles of Authentic Movement, Healing Arts, and the wisdom of the Greek Goddess Archetypes.

My Mission: Inspiring and Creating

Through my life, work, and art, I inspire self-love, create spaces for creative expression, and coach adults to nurture their inner child, co-creating a more loving world. I am committed to building a community of movers to explore the symbols of our psyche and the endless journey of our souls. 

 

Our souls' wisdom, rooted in our bodies, is waiting to emerge,

now more than ever, as the world needs the power of our true gifts.

Deep within, we always know what we truly desire to live a meaningful, soul-liberated life.

warmly,

maria

"To be what we are,

and to become what we are capable of becoming,

is the only end of life."

Robert  Louis Stevenson

being real is my essence

2023
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EXPERIENCE

2017 ~ Current

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

Authentic Movement leader

AUTHENTIC MOVEMENT SOUL FREEDOM

 ~ In private practice, helping adults & kids to thrive in their lives

 ~ Promote the practice of Authentic Movement and the principles of Authentic Movement Soul Freedom

2015 ~ 2021

Associate MFT

CHILD THERAPY INSTITUTE

 ~ Mental health consultant in preschools, Berkeley, facilitate play groups & individual attention. 

 ~ Individual Child Therapy 
 

2015 ~ 2017

Expressive Teaching Artist

SPOTLIGHT; GO GIRLS (Summer camps)

 ~ Run opening and closing circle each day, teaching and reinforcing social/emotional skill building. 
~ Lead art classes, honoring art as a reflective, sensory part of each camp day.

2012 ~ 2014

Psychotherapist & Clinical Coordinator

TAKIWASI, rehabilitation center

 ~ Provide individual psychotherapy and expressive arts therapy group workshops.
~ Communication, evaluation and administer acceptance of new clients.
~ Create, review, and classify medical records.

2010 ~ 2012

Psycho-educator & Workshops Coordinator

FUNDACION GIRASOL (Sunflower Foundation)

 ~ Create and coordinate educational workshops on self-awareness and skills development through storytelling and art, at public schools for children and teenagers at an economic disadvantage and at-risk neighborhoods.

2003 ~ 2016

Expressive Bodywork Workshop Coordinator

INDEPENDENT

 ~ Extensive experience creating and coordinating workshops of expressive body work and creativity with children, adolescents, and adults in Greece, Argentina and Peru.

EDUCATION

2022 ~ 2023

Certificate

NUTRITIONAL THERAPY ASSOCIATION

~ Certified as Nutritional Therapy Practitioner after completing 1,226h of Nutritional Therapy Program.

2015 ~ 2017

Certificate

CHILD THERAPY INSTITUTE (of Marin)

~ Two-year training program in child therapy, play therapy, and sandplay.

2015 ~ 2017

Auditing Master's of Arts Degree

CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF INTEGRAL STUDIES & CHICHESTER UNIVERSITY, ENGLAND

~ M.F.A., Theatre Performance Making.

2014 ~ 2017

Master's Degree

CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF INTEGRAL STUDIES

~ M.A. in Counseling Psychology, with a concentration in Expressive Arts Therapy.

2008 ~ 2012

Specialization

CENTRO de MOVIMIENTO AUTENTICO, Argentina  ~ CeMAAR. Dirección Karin Fleischer

~ 4 year training in the theory and practice of Authentic Movement, with regular weekly meetings and intensives

2008 ~ 2010

Training

CENTRO de Investigación y Estudio de Técnicas y Lenguajes Corporales. Dirección Silvia Mamana.

~ Training in Integración Somática® 

2006 ~ 2011

Certificate

INSTITUTO DE LA MASCARA, Argentina

~ Associate of Arts, Expressive Skills and Body Work Coordinator.

1999 ~ 2004

Bachelor's Degree & Master's Degree

ARISTOTLE UNIVERSITY of THESSALONIKI, Greece

~ Degree in Psychology

~ Licensed Psychologist in Greece since 2005. 

AFFILIATIONS

Authentic Movement logo from Karin Fleischer's organization in Argentina, representing Maria Lentzou's foundational training in Authentic Movement.
Logo of The Child Therapy Institute, representing Maria Lentzou's affiliation with a renowned child therapy organization.
Logo of CAMFT, highlighting Maria Lentzou's membership in the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.
Nutritional Therapy Association's logo, signifying Maria Lentzou's connection to nutritional therapy practices.
Psychology Today's 'Verified' badge, denoting Maria Lentzou's verified professional profile on their platform.
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