Tom McDonagh, Psy.D.
Client testimonial: "I love working with Tom!! I felt like he was relatable and helpful."
Though I have had a wide range of experiences in my work and training, I have always had a special interest in helping people overcome stress and anxiety. Anxiety is a problem that is very distressing but also exceptionally treatable, and I enjoy seeing my clients move past their anxiety and exceed their goals.
I like working with many types of people, but my favorite kind of client is someone who is highly capable and motivated, but for whom anxiety holds them back and challenges their self-confidence. For some of my clients anxiety has been a lifelong issue, while for others it recently emerged.
In addition to my interest in treating anxiety, I have experience and expertise in the psychology of high performance. I also have a special interest in working with people who recently experienced the end of a relationship, and who are looking for ways to deal with anxiety and the emotional upheaval that goes along with this process. I am currently finishing co-authoring a book on the topic, called “State of Anxiety.”
As a licensed clinical psychologist, I believe that effective therapy requires both warmth and skill. My first priority is creating a safe and positive environment. I don’t want the therapeutic process to seem unfamiliar or intimidating, so I strive to be open, authentic, and transparent, and to help clients understand why and how our work together will lead to improvements. I take an active approach in therapy (no silent nods or blank stares), and I’ve been told that I am personable and have a good sense of humor. I see therapy as a collaborative process, and I invite clients to take an active role in shaping the therapy, and in choosing and clarifying goals that they care about.
My clients’ success is extremely important to me, so I rely on approaches that have been shown to be effective. My work incorporates Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and mindfulness techniques. These approaches have received considerable scientific support and have demonstrated a high rate of success for a range of problems--especially anxiety disorders.
Before becoming a licensed clinical psychologist, I spent years as a doctoral student at Nova Southeastern University, working in a sports psychology lab. There, we examined many performance-based skills, such as goal-setting and cognitive regulation; skills that I continue to use with my clients. My doctoral dissertation focused on burnout stress in the workplace. These experiences helped me appreciate the importance of effective stress management skills.
During my pre-doctoral residency at the Nashville VA I worked with military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, utilizing cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBT) to treat posttraumatic stress disorder. As a postdoc resident at Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa I was a member of the Adult Anxiety Team where I taught groups that focused on crisis intervention, panic disorder, social anxiety, and generalized anxiety.
These days, I work in a very different setting, here in downtown San Francisco. But I draw on these experiences, and all they taught me, to help my current clients improve their ability to deal with stress and anxiety.
I do my best to listen to my own advice regarding work-life balance, so in my free time I enjoy being outside and taking advantage of living in the Bay Area.
Tom McDonagh, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist, PSY 25741
(see here for licensure verification)
To schedule a FREE consultation appointment with Dr. McDonagh, you can either: