Where is your office located?

My office is in the James Flood Building, on the corner of Market and Powell Streets, just east of Union Square. The Powell Street BART station is just outside. Parking is available in the O’Farrell-Ellis garage, which opens to the Flood Building on the Ellis Street side.

The address on the garage side is 91 Ellis Street; on the BART side, it’s 870 Market Street.

The Flood Building is a historical landmark and the writing home of Dashiell Hammett, author of The Maltese Falcon. Enjoy the feel of walking in Sam Spade’s shoes!

You’re welcome to enjoy a cup of tea in Room 453. Please wait at either end of the hall. I’ll greet you there.

My office is on your local laptop for virtual appointments wherever you are in California!

What are your hours?

In-person appointments are:
Fridays: 10 AM – 5 PM
Tuesdays: By appointment only.

Video visits are by appointment only.

What is a "free 20-minute consultation?"
When you schedule a complimentary consultation, we’ll spend up to 20 minutes in conversation. I’ll ask you a few questions to learn about your situation and ensure I can help you. I aim to answer your questions efficiently and give you a sense of what it is like to work with me.
Do you accept insurance?

I accept Health Savings and Flexible Savings Account payments or bill for out-of-network services – this means you can use your benefits or insurance to be reimbursed for some or all of the costs, depending on your plan.

I offer a concierge service that checks your eligibility for out-of-network costs. You’ll receive an estimate of how much your insurance might reimburse you, and my practice will submit sessions to the service on your behalf. You need only relax and let the money show up in your account.

This service is of no cost to you. It’s a lot timelier and more efficient than waiting for a superbill from me, submitting it to your carrier or employer, and waiting for a check.

Does what we talk about remain confidential? What is HIPAA?

I highly respect your privacy and value your trust.

I won’t judge you for the secrets you share here; I will keep them safe and confidential. So, you should know that unless you are suicidal, harming yourself, or someone else, what you say in sessions stays between you and me.

You can rest assured that you can talk about anything without fear of that information getting out – unless the law requires me to break confidentiality. Then, for the safety of you and others, I must act and would need to break confidentiality only to the extent necessary to protect you and others. Such circumstances are rare!

Furthermore, the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects your session’s confidentiality. Medical providers – which includes me – are bound by law to protect your sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without your knowledge or consent. This protection includes Personal Identifying Information (PII) and Protected Health Information (PHI).

If you have specific questions about confidentiality, you can ask during a complimentary phone consultation or anytime during our work. Click for a link to my HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices.

What is the "No Surprises Act"? How do I get a "Good Faith Estimate?"

The No Surprises Act, also known as No Surprises billing, is designed to protect clients from receiving unexpected medical bills.

The purpose of the law is to prevent people using their insurance for medical care for emergency services from being surprised by expenses from an out-of-network provider. The law requires providers to share a specific consent document and a Good Faith Billing Estimate before beginning care.

Either my concierge service or I will ask you whether you have insurance and intend to use it for therapy or other psychological services. If the answer to either question is no, I will provide a Good Faith Estimate before your first appointment.

What are California Consumer Notices?

The State of California Board of Psychology wants to assure you of my professionalism by granting me a license to practice and through two notices to consumers.

The Department of Consumer Affairs Board of Psychology receives and responds to questions and complaints regarding the practice of psychology. If you have questions or complaints, you may contact the Board on the Internet at www.psychology.ca.gov, by emailing bopmail@dca.ca.gov, calling 1-866-503-3221, or writing to the following address: Board of Psychology, 1625 North Market Blvd, Suite N-215, Sacramento, CA 95834. Follow this link for the formal notice, which is available in several languages: https://www.psychology.ca.gov/consumers/consum_stat.shtml.

The Board of Psychology also provides a guide about the practice of psychology, Therapy Never Includes Sexual Behavior, linked https://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/proftherapy.pdf and available for download.

How do I make an appointment?
Currently, I schedule directly with my clients so that you know for in-person appointments or coordinate with you for a video appointment at a time that works for each of us.
What is your cancellation policy?

Our time is valuable, yours and mine. When things come up, please provide two days (48 hours) advance notice of cancellation.

I request credit card or debit card information be kept on file for payments. You may choose a different method of payment for sessions, but this information is on file in case of a cancellation.

Your payment method is stored separately from your clinical record, either with my concierge service or IVY, a credit card processing service for and by therapists. Please be aware that failure to cancel timely or make other arrangements with me will result in a charge.

If possible, I will reschedule that appointment for another time before charging for a missed appointment. But that means your next session may come more quickly, and you may be feel out of rhythm because of the change.

Credit card and debit card information is maintained with a HIPAA-compliant processor, and a HIPAA-compliant billing system processes all out-of-network services. Your information is private and not for sale.

I advocate for expecting the unexpected, and in that spirit, I allow one missed session as long as it is within a three-month period.

How long is a typical session?
Typically, sessions run 45-50 minutes. We can arrange for longer sessions by prior agreement. In some cases, we can schedule EMDR sessions for 90 minutes.
I'm nervous about starting therapy. Is that normal?

Therapy can be vulnerable and new – even when you worked before with a therapist, so it’s natural to feel nervous!

And it cannot be easy to find the words for what you feel. Maybe you got tongue-tied when you tried to open up to friends or loved ones in the past. The fear of how others see you can feel overwhelming.

Therapy is a space where you can be yourself, show up as you are, and feel safe from judgment. I’m committed to finding a way to help move you through your anxiety and ensure sessions are as comfortable as possible.

I’m here if you want to discuss it during a complimentary phone consultation.

How do I know if you're the right therapist for me?

Take your time to read through my website. Please call me if you sense that I may be a good fit based on your reading.

During a complimentary phone consultation, you can ask me how I helped other people with similar concerns, what a typical session with me is like, or any other specific questions you may have. You’ll also be able to tell me what’s up, and we can determine how I could best serve you.

It may be helpful to think of the first sessions as trying out the waters together. You’ll be able to see how you feel working with me. My approach is not going to work for everyone. What’s most important to me is finding someone you feel is the right fit for you. We can explore that together.

What if I don't want to talk about something?

If something feels overwhelming or terrifying to discuss, that’s normal.

It can often feel difficult to talk about some things. You might not even know what drives a need for relief, and that’s okay.

You can also share how it feels to open up about something; we can talk about that, too. Your feelings are welcome, as are your feelings about how you feel. How’s that for throwing a loop? I’m here to help you with whatever is going on for you.

It will always be up to you during our sessions if you feel ready to discuss something. I can’t always know; no therapist is a mind-reader, and we want to be accurate about reading the signs of what’s up. I may be your compass, but I’ll need your help guiding our next steps. And I’ll help you get there safely.

If I open up, will you think I'm a bad person?

If you open up to me, I will not think you are a bad person but courageous and human. Many of my clients have had the same fear (that people would think they are bad).

I’ve worked with people who did some highly regrettable things. But I practice therapy in a judgment-free zone. You’re free to call me on it!

I can be curious about how you learned to see yourself as a bad person, and I hope you’ll join me in figuring that out when that’s where our resources need to go.

Just know that nothing you can say will prompt me to judge you. Whatever you’re going through, I provide a calming space where I respect you and listen with focus, compassion, and empathy.

How long will therapy take?

You might ask how long therapy will take because you currently struggle and want relief fast.

If this is true for you, I want you to know that, on average, my new clients start seeing positive effects after the first few sessions.

By that point, clients may begin to make connections they hadn’t seen before and use this knowledge to make different decisions. Telling your story is powerful!

The total duration of therapy varies from client to client. Some clients find immediate challenges can be resolved in six weeks or less. Other clients feel more benefit through longer-term therapy.

My goal is to move you through the work at the right pace and the time required to achieve your goals. Therapy is not a forever project.

We will work together to find the time that works for you.

What's the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

The glib answer is that psychiatrists prescribe and psychologists do the rest – but that’s not fair to either profession.

Psychiatrists are physicians who specialize in diagnosing and treating mental health disorders, including prescribing medication.

Psychologists often teach in medical schools but more often provide a range of clinical services, including diagnosis and assessment through formal testing, treat mental disorders, and help solve many problems of living and human development, whether or not the problem carries a diagnosis.

Both have intensive doctoral-level training in the systems of the body. Psychiatrists focus more on the body, with psychologists focusing more on the psycho-social presentation of our psychophysiology over time.

You didn’t ask, but I’ll throw more here. The term “therapist,” especially concerning mental health, is an extensive category. The broader definition can include any of the following: psychiatrists, psychologists, some social workers (not all have training in providing therapy), marriage and family counselors, licensed professional counselors, and people trained with a focus on improving a specific area of functioning, such as ABA behavioral therapists who work with people with pervasive developmental disorders.

We all have a great love of people and a desire to care.

What are the different types of therapy? What is your approach?

How much time do you have? Just kidding – If you noticed on my About page that I enjoy “nerding out,” you might sense this is a big question to answer. There are wide varieties of therapy.

As a dinosaur in the field, I have joined the crowd that takes a “transdiagnostic” approach to understanding psychological issues, wellness, and therapeutic strategies. This approach means simply that one person’s panic disorder might be another person’s orthostatic hypotension, the second of which is much easier to address (see your physician as well as your therapist, briefly, and drink water – regularly!). I attend to the differences as I get to know the people I work with and design a treatment plan. I also pay attention to what works – for the individual in front of me.

I practice from a holistic and integrative perspective, drawing on my broad training and experience. Some of the modalities I use include the following: psychodynamic therapy, cognitive and behavioral therapies, cultural-relational therapy, sensorimotor psychotherapy, etc. This training allows me to select interventions that map onto what you and I discover happening.

I’m impressed with EMDR for many issues related to anxiety, panic, and trauma; see more about that on my services and specialties pages.

How do I know if therapy is working?

We’ll set goals, decide what indicators are meaningful in your life (along with a couple or three of mine), and measure what’s going on.

Bear in mind that setting a goal can be a focus of therapy itself. We don’t always show up exactly knowing what it is that leads to psychological discomfort.

What is your treatment philosophy?

Job one? – Safety first and avoid harming.

Beyond that, and in simple terms, I believe individuals carry a lot of wisdom about themselves. They benefit from working with someone who can set the stage for that wisdom to emerge and take mastery over the goings-on of life. Be prepared: I aim to help you be in charge of yourself!

Many of us are afraid of our power. And some of us misuse our power out of mistaken ideas about being whole, solid, and grounded. So, my approach is like helping the person who sees themselves in a carnival mirror either find a new mirror or fix the old one.

What are your credentials and education?

As a late bloomer, my formal education and training in psychology got underway later in life. I graduated from Tufts University in 1992 and the University of Michigan in 2002. I completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship with SAMHSA in 2004.

My graduate program put us to work as psychologists-in-training in the second year of the program (1996 for me). We provided testing, assessment, and therapy to various individuals in different settings. My rotations include working in a personality disorders unit, a forensic unit, college counseling, school counseling focusing on attention deficit disorders, a behavioral health clinic, child and adolescent care, and couples and family counseling. I worked on a wrap-around team for individuals with eating disorders.

My two-year predoctoral practicum was primarily providing adult psychotherapy. I completed a second, one-year practicum in child and family assessment.

As an undergraduate, I worked in a private hospital setting for individuals needing in-patient care for 30 days to six months. As a postdoctoral resident, my work included forensic assessment of potential child predators, family reunification, and overseeing clinical research on assessment for special populations.

Click here for my curriculum vitae.

How long have you been in practice?
I am a licensed clinical psychologist who first registered to practice in California in 2003 (with a full license since 2006). I’ve also been licensed in Michigan and Indiana and registered to practice in New Zealand.
How do you take cultural, religious, gender, sexuality, and other social identity factors into account?

I see each person I work with not as a collection of categories but as a collector of information. Each person represents an individual formed by temperament and how they came to understand how relationships and social life work, as conveyed by caregivers and family, and then in the world emerging around them.

I respect human differences and the ways we express them. I ask about social identities important to you and how you prefer that I engage with those aspects of you in therapy.

Beyond that, having grown up as a minority in many ways, I’ve been sensitive to diversity, equity, and inclusion issues from a young age. I am the daughter of civil rights activists.

I trained to facilitate antiracism workshops with the National Coalition Building Institute and as part of my religious institution’s Inclusive Parish initiative when I lived in the Boston area. I was an antiracism trainer at Tufts, Episcopal Divinity School, and while at Wellesley College for the school and the surrounding community. My initial master’s research was on the intersection between whiteness and egalitarianism, and I participated in a productive research lab on prejudice and racism in U. S. and international contexts under the direction of Dr. James S. Jackson. (Look him up! He was amazing, and I sorely miss him.)

I also won a two-year National Science Foundation fellowship to study Culture and Cognition. I keep abreast of current information and ways of thinking about facilitating equitable and inclusive communities, including training offered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration.

I follow the National Cultural and Linguistic Standards (CLAS) in Health and Health Care as they apply to mental health services.

Is there homework?
Living life is homework. We can make it more effective if we choose the right work to do outside of therapy, then do it.
How can I contact you if I have more questions?
I’m best available through email and have two numbers that I check daily. I tend to reply to email more quickly. But I respond to messages generally within 24 – 48 hours.
Do I have to lie on a couch?
Sissela Bok’s ground-breaking book indicates there are seven ways to lie. But you don’t have to lie on a couch. 😊
Should we test the waters or dive into the deep end?
We can do either or both.
Crunchy or smooth?
Choices! Choices!
Sweating or shivering?
It depends on the weather!
Fiction or nonfiction?
French fries or onion rings?
Why is life full of so many impossible choices?
Here are a few questions I want to ask you.

You can send your nonserious answers through the contact form. Please do not send any clinical information through the contact portal.

Vacation or staycation? Owe money or a favor? Be embarrassed or afraid? Attend a party or host a party? Winning the lottery or finding your soulmate?