Psychotherapist and Writer
Mental Health Non-Profit Founder
Travels from: New York, New York

“Laced with wry humor, Garner’s approach to emotional health is permissive without being overly self-indulgent—readers can feel their feelings without getting consumed by them, she makes clear. This is one for the feelers who need a hand.” — Publishers Weekly

Chelsea Harvey Garner is a psychotherapist, writer, and founding director of Big Feels Lab, a nonprofit promoting collective mental health. Clinically, she specializes in working with trauma survivors, self-identified misfits, and unconventional families. In both her creative and therapeutic work, she helps clients turn pain into purpose and find true belonging with themselves and each other.

A past fellow with the American Psychological Association, Chelsea holds degrees from Boston College and Creighton University. She has trained and collaborated with MIT’s Consortium of Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality, the Justice Resource Institute, the LEND Fellowship Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, The Institute for the Study and Promotion of Race and Culture, and others.

Enthusiastic, genuine, and difficult to discourage, Chelsea is always eager to collaborate with other artists and organizers working toward social progress. Her nonfiction book “A PITY PARTY IS STILL A PARTY: a feel-good guide to feeling bad” was published in July of ’23 by HarperCollins. In her spare time, she can be found starting impromptu dance parties in public and hosting cuddle puddles at her home in NYC.

Chelsea's Featured Titles

A Pity Party Is Still a Party: A Feel-Good Guide to Feeling Bad

Harper Wave |

Most of us try to avoid feeling sad, but in this candid, comical, and deeply-felt book, therapist Chelsea Harvey Garner doesn’t just argue that the future will be brighter if we learn to enjoy the unenjoyable and support each other when the vibes aren’t so good, she also shows us how.

What if all the advice we’ve received about “looking on the bright side” is wrong? What if sadness is actually the key to happiness, and can even be . . . fun? Garner is here to make that case. In this feel-good guide to feeling bad, she claims it’s not enough for us to tolerate hard feelings. We need to embrace them. We need to let them show by crying with others. Often. In public.

Playful, at times irreverent, but always sincere, Garner is the grown-up Miss Frizzle for the therapy generation. She believes that if we want to build a world where mental health is the norm, we have to lean into connection and count on each other, even—and perhaps especially—at our worst.

Through anecdotes about her own hardships and insights gained in her clinical practice, Garner illuminates the power (and embarrassment) of opening up. Featuring solo exercises, group activities, and journal prompts alongside personal essays, she invites us to see emotions in a new light and engage with them in a healthier way. A Pity Party is Still a Party helps us find the silver lining, but only after we’ve played in the rain.


Be The Cringe You Wish To See

In this intimate, accessible talk for readers and the public, we’ll dig into our collective struggle with shame and self-doubt, illustrating how these cycles keep us isolated in our darkest hour. We’ll draw from personal anecdotes and mental health research to outline the power of embracing embarrassment and how, by leaning into the cringe, we can not only turn pain into purpose but find true belonging with ourselves and our people. Featuring audience Q&A segment.


Trust Me, I'm A Professional

In this practical, interactive presentation for corporate leaders, we’ll discuss the challenges of navigating the ‘new normal’ at work in an ever-shifting professional landscape. We’ll learn strategies for managing sticky workplace situations such as: what to do when employees (or bosses!) have panic attacks at work, how to support grieving staff without getting too close, and creating a culture of trust that feels safe and inclusive without losing focus.


Reporting Live From The Wound

In this candid, timely talk for teachers and healthcare providers, we’ll walk through warning signs and strategies for managing mental health emergencies within student, client, and staff populations in a culture without much break between crises. We’ll discuss the changing nature of education and social services, and unpack strategies for keeping ourselves (and each other) safe when we’re on the brink of burnout as well.


Main Character Syndrome

In this call-to-action talk for high schoolers, we’ll offer an honest overview of the state of mental health issues, covering the good and the bad of recent shifts in social media use, self-diagnosis, suicide, and the so-called trauma olympics. We’ll outline the path to personal and collective wellbeing for a grief-ridden generation and ultimately empower young people to find healing and hope through the creation of radically inclusive communities of care.

Chelsea’s therapy link

Honors, Awards & Recognition

American Psychological Association, Minority Fellowship Program, Fellow 2018-19
Herman J. Dreyer Social Justice Fund, Fellow 2017

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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