Erik James Escareño, LCSW, DSW


Dr. Erik James Escareño, LCSW, DSW identifies as a two-spirited, indigenous (Yavapai Apache and Chiricahua Apache), Los Angeleno fueled by social justice and perpetuating meaningful change. Having expertise in the field of mental health, Dr. Escareño specializes in interventions for LGBTQIA2S+ and Deaf folx, HIV advocacy, BDSM advocacy/education, and non-profit program development. This unique and diverse background fuels their passion and advocacy for further research in the mental health and social work fields through a strong social justice lens.

Dr. Escareño has skillsets already aimed at creating purposeful social change and positive disruption of injustice for underserved and under-recognized communities. As a grassroots social impact leader, they embrace strategy and collaboration as the impetus for designing meaningful change.

Their collegiate achievements include a Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) from University of Southern California, Master of Social Work (MSW) from California State University, Northridge (CSUN), a dual Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Deaf Studies and Linguistics from CSUN, an Associate of Arts (AA) in Language Arts from Mt. San Antonio College, and an AA in Human Behavior from Rio Hondo College.

With over 15 years of behavioral health experience, their skills have served diverse and intersectional underserved populations including: BIPOC, HIV individuals, Unhoused persons, Recovery individuals, LGBTQIA2S+, and Deaf folx. Dr. Escareño has worked in a professional capacity within varying sectors of the mental health field ranging from individuals, community-based organizations, private entities, academic institutions, and government entities.

They have been an active member of several advocacy organizations including the National Association of Social Workers CA, Rehabilitation and Inclusion Council, Advocacy Council for Abused Deaf Children, Access for All USCCDMH, STEM-OPS, and more.

Specialty Areas

  • Marginalized communities:
    • Deaf and Hard of Hearing issues (language deprivation, cultural conflict, intergenerational trauma, discrimination)
    • Disability issues (discrimination, cultural conflict, intergenerational trauma)
    • LGBTQIA2S issues
  • Intersectional Issues (cultural conflict, intergenerational trauma, narcissism)
  • Systemic Oppression (agency, isolation, acculturation, appropriation)
  • Community Organizing & Empowerment (burn out, community care, resiliency)
  • Non-“Traditional” Relationships (non-monogamy, BDSM, kink, power exchange)
  • Student Issues (challenges in higher education, transitions, executive functioning)

Theoretical Approach

  • Trauma-Focused and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (meditation, deep-breathing, radical acceptance)
  • Interpersonal Therapy (minority stress model, anti-racist perspective, feminist perspective, sex/kink positive, person-centered)
  • Strength-based Perspectives (empowerment model, recovery model, harm reduction)
  • Inner Child Work (ancestral work, intergenerational transmission)
  • Narrative Therapy (storytelling, art, role playing)
  • Solution-Focused Perspectives (goal setting, reality therapy)
  • Integrative Approach (Relational Cultural Theory and CBT)
  • Managing and Adapting Practice (MAP)
  • Gestalt

Languages Spoken

  • English (fluent)
  • American Sign Language (ASL) (fluent)
  • Spanish (conversational)
  • Crow