Sharmaine Cardenas, ACSW


Sharmaine Cardenas, ACSW (she/her) is a neurodivergent sex worker and LGBTQ+ friendly individual that identifies as a multiracial neurodivergent clinical social worker that is working towards specializing in trauma psychotherapy treatment. She received her Master in Social Work focusing on generalist practice within urban communities from California State University, Northridge (CSUN) in 2020. In 2018, she received her credential as a Registered Behavioral Technician for individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She also graduated from CSUN in 2017 with her Bachelor in Sociology degree with an emphasis in Social Welfare and Social Justice during which she spent several years volunteering for non-profits advocating for LGBTQ+, Veterans, and children with disabilities rights alongside working towards her degree.

Sharmaine was born and raised in Southern California and has moved around the state throughout her adult life. She has been practicing in Social Work roles for the last 6 years and had been volunteering for 3 years prior to that. The majority of her experience is in individual psychotherapy with several populations such as those involved with the criminal justice system, medical health care systems, teenagers and transitional aged youth, and adults experiencing serious mental illness. She has experience with crisis intervention and de-escalation, anger management, case management, jail systems, and hospital and community systems. She has a specialty in working with those often considered “difficult to reach/work with”. She is excited to work with Wombat MHS to further support individuals in need of services and work with an innovative team that is committed towards quality care and equity for the communities they serve as it aligns with her strong Social Justice background.

In her free time, she enjoys gardening, exercising, and spending time outdoors exploring new and familiar places. She enjoys spending quality time with her chosen family and listening to music/going to concerts.

Specialty Areas

  • Eating Disorder treatment
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • C-PTSD, sexual trauma, systems trauma, intergenerational trauma
  • Anger Management

Theoretical Approach
Sharmaine prefers to draw from multiple modalities to help cater to the individualized needs of each person in care. She also has formal training in:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Trauma-Informed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Treatment in Schools
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
  • Treatment Modalities for Eating Disorders through International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals
  • Harm Reduction Approaches and Safety Planning
  • Solution Focused Behavioral Therapy

A photo of Sharmaine Cardenas smiling