Christina Pascarzi, Psy.D.
Client testimonials: "Christina was one of the nicest most understanding people I've ever had the pleasure of talking to"
"I had a great experience! Cristina was an awesome therapist, she really helped me. The offices are well located and the superbill made submitting claims easy. Thank you!"
Everyone goes through times when the challenges they face feel overwhelming. Some people may find that their tools for managing stress are worn out or ineffective. Others may feel that stress is keeping them from feeling fully engaged with their work, relationships, or other aspects of their life. As a licensed clinical psychologist, I work collaboratively with my clients to help them develop self-insight and new ways of coping. My goal is to empower my clients to use the knowledge and tools they gain in therapy to make positive changes in their lives, and to better understand and care for themselves.
My Approaches to Therapy
As a therapist I strive to be compassionate, curious, and open. I have respect and empathy for the obstacles my clients face and I take a strength-based approach to treatment, meaning I assume that my clients are resilient and capable of improving their lives. Many clients come to therapy with hope and motivation for change but may not know exactly what to expect. My goal is to create a safe space for clients to share so that I can understand how their challenges are affecting them and what they would like to see change. Because I believe therapy should be a collaborative experience, I regularly check in with clients to get a sense of how they are feeling about our work together. I invite feedback because it allows me to tailor my approach to fit the needs of each person and help them achieve their goals in therapy.
I have been told that I am warm, approachable, and supportive. Our relationship is the basis for all of the work we do together and I want my clients to trust me and feel accepted. Although my approach is gentle, I am able to challenge my clients to “try on” different perspectives or new ways of thinking.
In therapy I will often use evidenced-based approaches including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy, which emphasizes mindfulness. Research has shown that these therapies are effective for the issues I specialize in treating, which include anxiety, panic, social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and disordered eating. In addition, I enjoy working with clients who are struggling with stress management, life transitions, identity acceptance, relationship issues, and adult children of alcoholics (ACA).
I am comfortable working with people from all different backgrounds and I strive to understand how each client’s issues fit within the context of their identity including their age, culture, gender, sexual orientation, and social environment.
My Qualifications as a Psychologist
Since I began my training in 2009, I have had an interest in helping people better understand themselves and feel fully engaged in their lives. I have long been particularly interested in treating anxiety disorders, and my experiences and training reflect this.
I completed my post-doctoral residency at Kaiser Permanente in Walnut Creek and was quickly hired on as a licensed psychologist. At Kaiser I had the opportunity to work with clients facing a wide range of issues related to anxiety including panic attacks, social anxiety, specific phobias, and OCD. I used Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help clients accept, manage, and overcome their anxiety. I also led an 8-week Cognitive Behavioral Therapy group in which I provided education about the causes of anxiety as well as skills for overcoming it. I also conducted a program evaluation of this and other CBT anxiety groups at Kaiser, which showed that our clients experienced considerable improvement. It is important to me to continually assess how the interventions I share are working for my clients. I have dedicated considerable time and effort during my training to learning the most effective ways for dealing with anxiety and I am passionate about sharing this with my clients so that they can make meaningful changes in their lives.
While at Kaiser I also led a weekly Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) skills group, which focused on emotion regulation and mindfulness, and two weekly eating disorder groups that also utilized principles of DBT.
I earned my doctoral degree from the California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) in San Francisco and my BA in psychology from the University of California, San Diego.
During my graduate program at CSPP, I had the opportunity to receive training in working with a broad range of clients and psychological issues. I provided school-based therapy to children in Oakland, California through the Ann Martin Center and worked with adults in recovery from substance abuse at Health Right 360, a residential treatment center in San Francisco. Although these experiences were very different, one thing that my clients had in common was that their coping skills were no longer working for them and they felt stuck with their anxiety and stress. I worked with my clients individually to develop new ways of coping with anxiety and to deepen their awareness of their emotions. At Health Right 360, I also co-created a therapy group focused on mind-body awareness. This group promoted stress management through the development of healthy habits such as exercise, mindfulness, and meditation.
As I neared the end of my graduate program, I completed a pre-doctoral residency at the University of San Francisco (USF) Counseling and Psychological Services Center. At USF I worked with college and graduate students on anxiety and stress management, issues of identity including sexual orientation, relationship issues, and disordered eating.
Christina Pascarzi, Psy.D.
Licensed Psychologist, PSY 26772
(see here for licensure verification)
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