Andrew Pari, LCSW, Diplomate, has been called the nation’s leading authority on the neuro-biological arousal response mechanism (ARM) in sexualized violence.
Founder and Director of Sexual Assault Awareness, LLC, he is a psychotherapist with over 20 years’ experience treating survivors, including specialized populations in the sex industries and victims of trafficking.
Andrew’s path to this point is a winding one, reflective of his passion and focus on “the human gaps.” What is unseen and un-discussed in human behavior captures his attention. At 15 years old, he saw a documentary on CSECY (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children/Youth), what was then called “teen prostitution.” It opened his eyes to a part of life he knew nothing about. These were girls his age, like the friends he knew at school, forced into a life they didn’t want, often because of harms committed by others. This was the beginning of a life dedicated to reducing harm and understanding the complexity of human sexuality.
His naturally quick mind and desire to live in the moment led him on a path through stand-up comedy, improvisation, two degrees in psychotherapy, director of emergency psychiatric response for L.A. County, inpatient and outpatient psychotherapy, documentaries, a radio show, and, all the while, providing dedicated care to women suffering from abuse and sexual assault.
Andrew began writing, answering questions, and providing support for survivors on blogs and forums in the ’90’s. A Q&A on the topic of sexual arousal in sexualized violence on a popular social media site catapulted him to the national stage when he was invited to present his unique work at a survivors’ conference. This led to his presenting his psycho-therapeutic and forensic concepts at some of the most prestigious conferences in the country and abroad, including End Violence Against Women Int’l (EVAWI), Conference on Crimes Against Women (CCAW) and the European Society for Trauma & Dissociation (ESTD).
Andrew consults and trains forensics and mental health professionals internationally, is available for expert testimony, and has assisted in curriculum development for SARS and campus sexual assault awareness programs.
He is one of the NASW’s “1000 Experts,” selected to respond to media inquiries/interviews on trauma, sexualized violence, and disaster response. He serves on a national task force creating policy for sex work and commercialized sex trade. He directed the psychiatric emergency response team for West Los Angeles, responding to anything from celebrity interventions to airline crashes. His skill as a clinical supervisor and versatile trainer is highly praised by both trainees and colleagues as a trauma-informed clinician experienced in multiple models of trauma recovery.
Mr. Pari hosted the largest ever public discussions on topics related to sexual abuse and rape. He moderates online forums on rape and recovery. He is a sought-after speaker, a talent demonstrated as co-creator and former host of the Los Angeles radio show Chasing the Why, where he covered a wide-range of social topics from the Japanese tsunami disaster to the international SlutWalk movement.
He is an accomplished performer, lending to his personal interests in acting, directing and performing improvisational comedy, an area where he also provides self-care training to fellow clinicians to assist them in thinking on their feet and extending their Gestalt and therapeutic drama skill. He was the recipient of a 2015 Los Angeles regional theatre award for his portrayal of Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and a devoted Hamilton fan. (Ask him to shoot off a round of “My Shot”)
He received his Master of Social Work degree from California State University, Long Beach in 1992, and currently practices, trains, and consults as Director of Sexual Assault Awareness, LLC.