Aliya Saulson, LCSW


I'm a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Charlotte, NC


Part of choosing to engage in therapy is choosing to understand yourself more and to seek other perspectives to do so. I engage clients in collaborative processes to assist you not only in improving your relationships with others, but also enriching your relationship with yourself.

I collaborate with you to cultivate an intentional life by asking questions you’ve never thought about before. I take great intention in creating a space where you feel supported and accepted, because we must feel a certain level of safety and trust in order to have the courage to change, grow, and be vulnerable.

I am a welcoming therapist with a warm energy committed to providing a client-centered approach that takes into account every aspect of your identity. I have experience working with adults of all genders and all ages and particularly enjoy working with young women in emerging adulthood.

I aim to provide LGBTQIA+, sex-positive, affirming services while incorporating a social justice anti-racist framework. In my clinical work, I draw from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy modalities and mindfulness approaches to meet clients “where they are.”

Rupi Kaur writes “What is stronger than the human heart which shatters over and over and still lives?” I consider psychotherapy to be one way that clients strengthen their hearts, and I am continuously inspired by the resilience I see in therapy sessions every day. It is an honor to be a part of my clients’ journeys towards living more meaningful lives.

  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker, North Carolina
  • Licensed Telehealth Registered Provider for South Carolina
  • Licensed Telehealth Registered Provider for Florida
  • Charlotte Trans Health Member
  • Board Treasurer 2024
  • Strategic Planning Committee Member 2023-2024
  • Membership Committee Member 2022-2023
  • Extensive experience counseling adults and young women at Duke Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
  • Clinical Internship Placements at Duke Hospice Bereavement Services and Duke University Medical Center Inpatient Psychiatry
  • Involvement in multidisciplinary consultation/didactic teams focused on trauma treatment, multicultural concerns, and clinical triage processes
  • Co-leader of Community Multicultural Consultation Team
  • Master of Social Work, Smith College School for Social Work
  • Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences, The University of Georgia, Summa Cum Laude

Presentations and Speaking Engagements:

  • Saulson, A. (2023). Supporting and Advocating for LGBTQIAS+ in our Mental Health Communities. Panel session presentation at 2023 UNC-Charlotte Multicultural Conference, Charlotte, NC.
  • Saulson, A. (2023). Burnout. Open session presentation at Coca-Cola Consolidated, Charlotte, NC.
  • Saulson, A. (2023). Let’s talk about sex in the therapy room. Open session presentation at National Association of Social Workers North Carolina Chapter, Virtual Clinical Social Work Institute Conference, NC.
  • Saulson, A. (2022). LGBTQIA+ inclusive care. Open session presentation at Southeast Psych, Charlotte, NC.
  • Saulson, A. (2022). What the f*** is self care? Live stream webinar at Southeast Psych, Charlotte, NC.
  • Saulson, A. (2022). Sexual racism. Open session presentation at Brooklyn Minds Sex+ Consultation Team, Brooklyn NY.
  • Saulson, A. (2022). Grief & dating yourself after heartbreak. Podcast guest for Who You Callin’ Crazy, Charlotte, NC.
  • Saulson, A. (2021). Adult anxiety: support for parents & families. Open session presentation at Jay M. Robinson Middle School, Charlotte, NC.
  • Saulson, A. (2022). Let’s talk about sex in the therapy room. Open session presentation at Charlotte Trans Health Educational Meeting, Charlotte, NC.
  • Saulson, A. (2021). Psychotherapist explains why we get angry. TV broadcast for QC @ 3, Charlotte, NC.
  • Saulson, A. (2021). Let’s talk about sex in the therapy room. Open session presentation at Southeast Psych, Charlotte, NC.
Part of choosing to engage in therapy is choosing to understand yourself more.
- Aliya Saulson, LCSW
"What is stronger than the human heart which shatters over and over and still lives." - Rupi Kaur
Proud Member of TherapyDen
Aliya Saulson, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker based out of Charlotte, NC and employed by ChangeWell Psych

Counseling for College Students and Adults (18+)

I specialize in working with adults (18+) in the following areas:

Emerging Adulthood / College Students
Grief and loss
Identity and growth
Life transitions
Self-esteem and self-love
LGBTQIA+ identities

My Approach to Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT falls under the umbrella of CBT, but takes it a step further to not only examine your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, but to also evaluate your relationship to your thoughts, to your feelings, and to your behaviors.

What’s your relationship with that heart-racing anxiety showing up? How do you feel about that depression bully kicking you around inside?

As such, we will often challenge the language you use to talk to yourself about these different pieces of your being. In this therapy, we take a look at the values that are important to you and consider ways you can move your life in the direction you want it to go.

ACT is about accepting the things you cannot change (psst, like your feelings) and making committed action to change the things you can, all in the name of living a more fulfilling life. This therapy is one where it’s easier to experience than it is for me to talk about, so sometimes you’ll hear me ask “Can we try an exercise together?”

Cognitive Processing Therapy for Trauma (CPT)

CPT is a protocol-based, home-practice-heavy treatment used specifically to treat trauma. It is often considered the gold standard of treatment used in Veterans Administrations across the country and was originally developed to treat survivors of rape and sexual assault. CPT is both hard and worthy, mind-changing work.

The goals of CPT are to help you accept the reality of the traumatic event/experience, to feel your emotions about it, and to help you develop balanced and realistic beliefs about the trauma, yourself, and others. Just about every client I’ve used CPT with notices significant positive differences in the way they think after treatment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a large umbrella, and the core tenets of the umbrella are that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors all connect and interact with one another.

Unfortunately, we don’t have the ability to just change our feelings at the drop of a hat. We can’t just say “I don’t want to feel sadness” and *poof*, it’s gone (if you figure out how to do that, please do let me know). Our feelings are our feelings and they are valid. Period.

However, where we do have more control is over our thoughts (hence, the cognitive) and our behaviors (hence, the behavioral). The good news is that our thoughts and behaviors connect to our feelings so sometimes when we change what we are saying to ourselves or how we behave, our feelings can shift as well.

In session, I will often be asking you to attend to your thoughts and feelings. Remember, if it can be used to describe pizza, it’s not a feeling (for example, fine, good, great, bad, so-so, shitty, pineapple, etc.).

Psychodynamic Threapy

Psychodynamic therapy brings the unconscious to the conscious realm. There are ways we all behave, respond, and react that may be totally unconscious and we do these things without real awareness.

Psychodynamic therapy ties those strings to our awareness–we can’t change a behavior without first becoming aware of it. This type of therapy also examines how your attachment patterns with your caregivers growing up impact your current relationships and experience of the world today.

Freud called our dreams “the road to the subconscious,” and because psychodynamic therapy conscious-fies the unconscious, we can always process any dreams in session to see what’s on the road.

In session, you might hear me say things like “How old do you feel when you say that?” or “What does this experience/pattern/feeling/thought remind you of, does it feel familiar in any way?”


Maybe you’ve heard a lot of people talk about this thing called mindfulness and its numerous benefits. Well, it sure does get a lot of hype.

Why is that? Because it actually works. Mindfulness practices can be super varied but ultimately all have a foundation of approaching ideas, experiences, body sensations, environments, and feelings, with curiosity, awareness, openness, and nonjudgmentalness.

The way we will practice mindfulness in session includes being mindful of the language we use to talk to ourselves, bringing awareness to body sensations, and learning coping skills focused on groundedness. All this effort in awareness is fundamental to creating a more intentional, values-aligned life.


Meet ChangeWell Psych's Therapists

Leia Charnin, Ph.D.

Licensed Psychologist

Talley Mortara, LMFTA

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

Emily Soukhanouvong, Psy.D.

Licensed Psychologist


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