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Leon Paparella

28 Oct
We proudly salute Leon Paparella, MSW, CGP (Certified Group Psychotherapist) and clinical mainstay of The Parkinson Foundation of the National Capital Area, an extraordinary organization that educates, supports, serves and advocates for the Parkinson’s community and PD carepartners.
We proudly salute Leon Paparella, MSW, CGP (Certified Group Psychotherapist) and clinical mainstay of The Parkinson Foundation of the National Capital Area, an extraordinary organization that educates, supports, serves and advocates for the Parkinson’s community and PD carepartners.

At PFNCA, Leon provides psychosocial consultation to individuals, couples, and families who are struggling with the symptoms and impact of Parkinson''s. He also runs a ton of Parkinsons support groups for people with PD and their care partners, with uncommon depth, skill and mastery. He’s introduced time-limited couples’ groups, groups for people without their care partners, and many other much needed services.

In fact, we think it’s safe to say that Leon is the ultimate groupologist, a veritable tuning fork of interactive sensitivity. Furthermore, he has a fearlessness with his own vulnerability and internal process, which he uses ingeniously and strategically in his groups, to catalyze levels of intimacy, honesty and mutual support in sessions, like you’ve never seen.

We know this because, back in the day, BR and Leon used to run groups together, when they were both at The Woodburn Center for Community Mental Health in Fairfax County, Virginia. BR ran the Consultation and Education Unit, and she would sweet-talk, cajole, beg, harangue and bribe Leon, who was a master clinician even then, into providing training and consultation for her peeps whenever possible. (It was just a magical coincidence that BR ran into Leon again at the time she was researching her new imagery for Parkinson’s.)

What is most impressive about Leon, however, is the fact that this virtuoso psychotherapist has Parkinsons himself - the young onset type. And true to form, Leon uses his own symptoms, frustrations, aggravations and vulnerabilities to help the people in his care. It makes him an extraordinarily invaluable, double-threat resource, and he gives talks and writes papers on the special impact and challenges of being a member of the Parkinson’s community himself and a staffer at the same time.

For his clinical mastery, his creativity and his ability to make multo lemonade out of lemons, we take our hats off to Leon and wish him great continued success!

For questions or comments, you can write him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award

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