• Psychiatric evaluation without jumping to conclusions, and explained in plain English
• Traditional psychotherapy — only flexible, non-stuffy, and straightforward
• Exploration of mind-body interactions: how the body affects the mind, and vice versa
• Prescription writing when needed, with a light touch and full attention to pros and cons
I share a pleasant Victorian suite located in the Laurel Heights (some say Presidio Heights) neighborhood of San Francisco. My office is up a flight of carpeted stairs, on the second floor — no wheelchair access unfortunately. Several windows, shaded for your privacy, admit lots of natural sunlight. We have no receptionist or office staff. It's private, with a homey, non-medical feel. A psychologist and another psychiatrist have offices down the hallway.
On your first visit we'll meet for an hour, occasionally a little longer. I will want to hear in detail what's on your mind, and I'll also have questions to guide the discussion. I take written notes during the first visit, which I consider an evaluation session. By the end of the hour I can usually offer my impressions and recommendations for the next steps to take. Meanwhile, this first visit also gives you a feel for working with me.
I am happy to provide just an assessment, or a second opinion. Sometimes the best treatment for a particular problem is with someone else — and if so, I will tell you. More often I can help with treatment as well. This often means psychotherapy (talk therapy), sometimes in combination with medication, although other factors like diet, exercise, journal writing, and lifestyle changes can be important, too. These are all welcome topics, and can be crucial for taking control of your own well-being. I am familiar with mind AND body treatments, including practices such as meditation and yoga.
Psychotherapy sessions are 50 minutes long. I am punctual, and aim to give you my undivided attention, uninterrupted by phone calls, computers, or note-taking. My approach is mainly psychodynamic. This means I listen for underlying thoughts and feelings that may not be readily apparent, search for emotional patterns that link disparate parts of your life, and pay attention to how you function in the session itself. I also incorporate cognitive (CBT) tools when applicable, generally in the context of psychodynamics. I'm not silent or a "blank slate," but the focus will be on you.
Medications can offer much-needed symptomatic relief; I've prescribed plenty over the years. However, I give equal time to potential side-effects and other drawbacks. Sometimes simplifying or decreasing psychiatric meds can help more than adding something new. I always consider the context: what are we hoping to accomplish? What is the likelihood of success, and how is success gauged? In general, I think of my practice as primarily psychotherapy, sometimes with the addition of medication, but always with an openness to your ideas about what helps or hurts.
By the way, while I work primarily with individual adults, it's sometimes helpful to have one or more couples sessions that include a spouse, partner, or other loved one. I do that too, and I'm happy to discuss the pros and cons.
Emotional health goes well beyond the absence of a diagnosable mental disorder. We all have room to develop and grow. With over 25 years of experience studying, practicing, and teaching psychotherapy, I will collaborate with you to explore your thoughts, feelings, and life patterns, to help you gain insight and discover new perspectives. While it is serious business, psychotherapy doesn't have to be mysterious, "clinical," or grim. Empathy, sensitivity, and gentle humor foster a good working relationship and create a safe place to learn more about yourself.
What You Can Achieve
Gain insight and understanding
Break cycles of self-defeating or self-sabotaging behavior
Deal with conflicts over competition, success, or power
Overcome past trauma/abuse
Relieve self-blame or guilt
Live up to your potential
Discover more serenity, meaning, creativity, and joy in life