Personal Approach and Philosophy

IMG_6585 2Unconditional acceptance, compassion, authenticity, and guidance — all serve as a basis for my approach as a psychologist. It is my commitment to my clients that I recognize each of my clients as a unique human being with his or her own gifts as well as struggles. Because of this, I do not practice a “one size fits all” approach to psychotherapy. Depending on your own individual issues and needs, I assess what combination of psychotherapuetic tools would best benefit you. Some of these tools may include humanistic, cognitive-behavioral, gestalt, somatic, EMDR, emotionally focused and transpersonal therapeutic approaches.

Finally, while I bring my expertise, training and education into my work as a psychologist, I also bring my humanity. I bring my experience as another human being who knows what it is like to navigate the challenges that life inevitably offers up. I have discovered over the many years of self reflection and personal growth, that there is always a way. I have discovered that while pain is an inevitable part of being human, suffering does not have to be.

I believe in change, and that no one is beyond help. I believe that we all have an innate capacity to heal, and that sometimes all it takes is a skilled and present guide to make all the difference in a persons life.


I am a licensed psychologist (PSY 21149), having received my doctoral degree from the California Institute of Integral Studies in 2002. I have had over twenty-five years of experience working with clients. My specializations include work with anxiety, depression and trauma. I also specialize in working with couples in crisis, as well as couples simply looking to have a more satisfying and loving connection. While utilizing various approaches in my couple’s work, my primary orientation is based in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), an attachment based therapeutic approach.

Along with my work as a psychotherapist, I have also serves as a clinical supervisor psychotherapy interns at the Marina Counseling Center in San Francisco. On a more personal note, I have been married for twenty-one years, and am a mother of a twenty year old son. My experience with marriage and parenting deeply informs the work that I do, particularly as it applies to my work with couples and families.

For more information or to schedule an initial appointment, please contact Karen at:, or by calling (415) 460-9117.


It doesn’t interest me if there is one God
Or many gods.
I want to know if you belong — or feel abandoned;
If you know despair
Or can see it in others.
I want to know
If you are prepared to live in the world
With its harsh need to change you;
If you can look back with firm eyes
Saying “this is where I stand.”
I want to know if you know how to melt
Into that fierce heat of living
Falling toward the center of your longing.
I want to know if you are willing
To live day by day
With the consequence of love
And the bitter unwanted passion
Of your sure defeat.
I have been told
In that fierce embrace
Even the gods
Speak of God.
© David Whyte