Rebecca J. Lester

Associate Professor of Anthropology at Washington University in Saint Louis


Psychotherapy Practice


Wait…Anthropologists Do Therapy?

Not usually. In my case, in addition to being an anthropologist, I am a licensed clinical social worker (MO License #2007031682) and have been in private practice since 2009. I specialize in eating disorders, mood disorders (depression, bipolar disorder), anxiety, self-harm, trauma/PTSD, and personality disorders. I have experience working with clients engaged in alternative relationships and/or lifestyles, and I am LGBTQ+ and kink friendly. I provide traditional in-person sessions as well as tele-sessions via the internet.

What is Your Treatment Philosophy?

My treatment philosophy is client centered and strengths based. I believe each person’s history and circumstances are unique, and that true wellness requires a thorough understanding of the sociocultural realities that constrain and animate our lives. In other words, I engage the whole person, not just the “disorder.”

As a result, my therapeutic approach is eclectic and personalized--I draw from a number of modalities in order to tailor treatment to a specific client and specific issues. In addition to having proficiency in the primary modalities, I have pursued additional trainings in Dialectical-Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS), Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), and Sensorimotor Therapy.

At the end of the day, however, I believe that clients are the first and best experts on their own experiences, and that the resources for healing ultimately reside within them. My job is to help them identify and nurture those capacities. I work with each client to devise a strategy suited to their particular needs and goals, and we build towards this together.



The Money Stuff

I do not take a salary for my psychotherapy services. I am registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and 100% of my fees go toward maintaining my therapy office (rent, utilities, office supplies).

I use a sliding fee scale because I believe everyone should have access to quality mental health care, regardless of income or insurance status.

I do not take insurance directly, but I am happy to provide documentation for insurance reimbursement.