Itala Azzarelli, LCSW
Itala brings 20+ years of experience working in the field of developmental disorders, intellectual disabilities, and comorbid mental health concerns; she enjoys working with individuals, families, and groups. Itala received her undergraduate training in psychology with a specialization in child development and completed her masters degree in Social Work at UNC Chapel Hill in 2007. Prior to graduate school, Itala gained experience as a direct support professional and later as a supervisor in residential settings for individuals with special needs and autism.
During her time at Duke University Medical Center, she received her clinical training in the Department of Social Work and specialized in pediatrics, working with children and families affected by chronic or acute illness. She then went on to work in the outpatient department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences/ Division of Child and Family Health, and the Duke Autism Clinic, where she was able to focus her efforts on providing both short and long-term therapy.
Itala’s approach to working with clients is informed by her training in development over the lifespan, family systems theory, the TEACCH method for structured teaching, Positive Parenting, and other evidence-based and manualized methods such as: CBT, DBT, and ACT. She believes in a holistic approach to care that includes foundations of health and wellness such as sleep, diet, and exercise, and will use this to inform areas for intervention when possible. Itala’s approach is client and family centered. She understands that clients must feel safe and connected to achieve their best outcomes and welcomes learning ways to improve her clients’ experience.
When not working, Itala enjoys listening to music, practicing her bass, taking care of her plants, cooking, hiking with her dog and spending time with her friends and family.
Itala has expertise in the following areas:
ADHD/executive function and organizational skills
Adjustment to life event
Emotional regulation/impulse control
Grief and loss
Interpersonal effectiveness skills
Negative self image
Transition to adulthood