Elsa Asher

I am a practitioner of somatics with a specialty in healing developmental and intergenerational trauma.

My ancestors are yidden (Jews) recently from Podolia and Poltava in the Pale of Settlement (also called Ukraine) with earlier roots in Turkey, Greece and Italy, and Canaan before that; Jews who lived in England with earlier roots in Turkey and likely Spain; Scot-Irish settlers who lived on occupied Tsalagi land (also called Kentucky), native North Americans who lived on Tsalagi land (tribe unknown), and settlers who lived in the Dakotas who were from Scandinavia, likely from Sapmi.

I hold a master’s degree in Narrative Medicine and multiple certifications in bodywork and somatic therapy. I’ve trained with leading teachers in their fields, including: Anna Chitty, John Chitty, Ray Castellino, Myrna Martin, Daniel Foor, Rita Charon, Sayantani DasGupta, and Maura Spiegel.

I work with the modalities of Prenatal, Birth and Attachment Therapy, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, and Ancestral Lineage Healing and support individuals and families in-person and online. I have received smicha (ordination) as a Koheneh (Hebrew ritualist/priestx) by the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute, and facilitate life cycle rituals and rites of passage. Additionally, I am a professor of Narrative Medicine and teach in both academic and community spaces.

I was born and grew up on Duwamish land - Seattle, Washington, lived on Lenni Lenape land - Brooklyn and New York, New York for a decade, and I currently live on Ohlone land - Berkeley, California.

I am a queer, non-binary trans person. My pronouns are they/them/theirs.

Email: elsa@elsaasher.com
Phone: 210.413.5029

Follow me on Instagram @tendernessftw 


Formal Education

  • MS, Narrative Medicine, Columbia University, 2012 - 2014

  • BA, Healing and the Humanities, Antioch University and The New School University, 2004 - 2010


  • Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist (BCST & RCST©), 2018 - present

  • Wilderness First Responder, 2017 - present

  • Prenatal, Birth & Attachment Therapist (PBA-T), 2016 - present

  • Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers, Red Cross, 2016 - present

  • Neonatal Resuscitation, Newborn Breath LLC, 2016 - present

  • Ordained Kohenet, 2015 - present

  • Certified Doula, DONA, 2010 - present

Selected Work Experience

Trauma Healing Training

  • Verbal Skills & Polarity Therapy Coaching, Anna Chitty, 2019 - present

  • Body into Being: Somatic Trauma Resolution Advanced 350-Hour Practitioner Training, Anna Chitty and Ray Castellino, 2017 - 2018

  • Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy 700-Hour Practitioner Training, Anna Chitty and John Chitty, Colorado School of Energy Studies, 2016 - 2018

  • Perinatal, Birth & Attachment Therapy 700-Hour Practitioner Training, Myrna Martin, 2013 - 2016

  • Full Embodiment: Foundation, Anatomy of Arousal and Embodied Relationships Workshops, 2016

  • Assistant Facilitator, Birthing Yourself Womb Surround Workshops, 2014 - 2016

  • Teaching and Clinical Support Apprenticeship, Embodied Beginnings, 2013 - 2015

  • Participant in Womb Surround Birth Process Workshops, 2011 - 2017

  • Loss and Grief Course, 2009

Holistic Reproductive Health Training

  • Full Spectrum Doula Training, Bay Area Doula Project, 2015

  • Birth in the Garden: Birth Worker as Healer, Year Long Course in Holistic Health, Embodied Beginnings, 2014

  • Lily Flower Essences in Bodywork, Julia Graves, 2014

  • Lily Flower Essences for Conception, Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum, Julia Graves, 2014

  • Acupressure and Craniosacral Therapy for Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum, Embodied Beginnings, 2012 - 2014

  • Acute Homeopathy for Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum, Embodied Beginnings, 2012 - 2014

  • Western Herbalism for Conception, Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum, Embodied Beginnings, 2012 - 2014

  • HypnoBirthing® for Birth Professionals, Embodied Beginnings, 2013

  • Mamma Primitiva Traditional Midwifery, 2012 - 2013

  • Advanced Midwifery Skills Intensive, The Farm Midwifery, 2012

  • Beginning and Intermediate Midwifery Skills Practicums, Embodied Beginnings, 2012

  • Herbs and Homeopathy for the Childbearing Years, Tioma Allison, CNM, 2012

  • Herbs for Conception, Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum, Sacred Vibes Apothecary, 2012

  • Fertility Awareness Method, Planned Parenthood NYC, 2012

  • DONA Birth Doula Training with Penny Simkin, Bastyr University, 2010

  • Removing the Barriers: LGBTQ Healthcare, National Lesbian Health Organization, 2010

  • HIV/AIDS Training, 2009

  • Certified Nursing Assistant, Washington State, NC 60135737, 2009

Ritual Facilitation Training

Creative Writing Training

Teaching Experience

  • Childbirth Education and Care Provider Trainings, Birthing Beyond the Binary, 2017 - present

  • The Body of the Story: 8 Week Online Workshop, 2017

  • Emotional First Aid, The Icarus Project, 2017

  • Street Therapy: Emotional Resistance in Action, The Icarus Project, 2017

  • Cultural Humility in Gender, Sexuality in Reproductive Health, Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine, 2017

  • Moon Tools: Primal Creative Process workshops, Moon Tools, 2016 - 2017

  • Gender and Sexuality Competency Webinar, Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, 2017

  • Narrative Medicine and Prenatal and Perinatal Somatic Health Webinar, Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, 2017

  • Reflective Writing & Narrative Medicine in Osteopathic Education Presentation, Touro University, 2016

  • Introduction to Somatic Trauma Healing in Your Practice 3-Part Webinar Series, The Simkin Center at Bastyr University, 2016

  • Creator and Lead Facilitator, Primal Sequence + Body-Mind Centering Workshop, co-taught with Chanti Smith, 2016

  • Narrative Medicine Workshop, Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa, 2016

  • Narrative Medicine Workshop for Clinical Students, Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine, 2016

  • Comprehensive Reproductive Health, guest speaker, Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine, 2016

  • Lead Trainer, Full-Spectrum Doula Training, LA Doula Project, 2015

  • Narrative Medicine Workshop, California Academy of Family Physicians Conference, IONS, 2014

  • The Body of the Story: Introduction to Illness Narratives, Antioch University, 2014

  • Beautiful Terrible Things: live storytelling performance [graduate thesis] with Bit Smith, Columbia University, 2014

  • Creative Writing for First Year Medical Students, Columbia University with Chris Adrian, MD, MFA, MDiv, 2014

  • Writing the Way Through: Workshop for Caregivers, Gilda's Club NYC, 2014

  • Stories from the Narrow Place: Narratives of the Exodus, Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, 2014

  • Panelist, Calling, Career, and Commitment, The New School University, 2014

  • Womb Wit: Writing Workshop, Mother Wit Conference, 2014

  • Healing and Childbirth Trauma, Association for Pre and Perinatal Psychology and Health Conference, 2013

  • Honey from the Rock: Notes from the Canyon of Fetal Loss [undergraduate thesis], Antioch University, 2010

  • Poetry readings in: Washington, New York, Connecticut, and California, 2000 - present



Residencies & Fellowshops

  • Narrative Medicine Fellow, Columbia University, 2015 - 2016

  • Writer-in-Residence, Richard Hugo House: Consultant, Youth Writing Camp Teaching Assistant, Open Mic Night Host, 2003 - 2004

Professional Memberships