Andrea Zorbas, Psy.D.
Client testimonial: "Dr. Andrea was very helpful, immediately found the right approach and helped me a lot to tackle my anxiety. I am very thankful for that."
Human beings are incredibly resilient, much more than we normally recognize. But sometimes, when we encounter challenges, we lose sight of this. We forget our strengths, we lose touch with who are, and we may even forget what it feels like to be happy, engaged, and in control.
As a therapist, my job is to help you build up your resilience by tapping into your hidden and forgotten strengths, as well as create and develop new coping techniques and strategies. I work collaboratively with you to get clear on your priorities, solve problems, set goals, and hold you accountable so that you can function at your highest level.
As a couples therapist, I make sure I understand each person’s perspective and experience in the relationship. From there, I identify the communication style pattern that isn’t working in your partnership and re-structure how you relate to each other. Whether you come in because you feel isolated in your relationship or are tired of constantly fighting, I will be sure to adjust my approach to best accomodate your needs as a couple.
My Approaches to Therapy
I work collaboratively with clients using humor and deep compassion for the human spirit. My clients have said they appreciate my warm yet direct approach as a therapist, sounding board, coach, and educator.
Because we all have differing sets of strengths and abilities, I tailor my approach to suit you best. My therapeutic approach is based in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, as it is grounded in research, and has been shown to help people understand and gain control of overwhelming anxiety and debilitating stress. I also draw on mindfulness techniques, practices which help you understand and cope with your emotions by giving you alternate ways to relate to them. I also use Narrative Therapy, which emphasizes the importance of one’s identity of gender, race, sexual orientation, socio-economics, and culture, with an understanding that these bring about their own unique strengths and stressors.
When I work with couples, I use both Gottman Method Couples Therapy and Emotionally Focused Therapy. Gottman therapy works by helping couples to create shared meaning, behave more affectionately, and better manage conflict. It touches on all aspects of a partnership; from finances, to parenting, to communication issues, and sexual challenges, etc., and it seeks to help partners to stay better connected as they face life’s inevitable challenges. Emotionally Focused Therapy considers how our early family experiences have shaped our needs for attachment and independence, and how this plays into our current relationships. Both approaches are backed by research, with high improvement and recovery rates.
Since sexual issues often play a role in relationship difficulties, I consider the role that sexual needs, identities, and difficulties can play in a relationship. As a nonjudgmental and sex-positive clinician, I welcome the opportunity to work with couples in monogamous and open relationships, struggles with porn addiction, the LGBTQ community, and sexual disorders. I often draw on my work as an instructor of sex therapy and couples therapy, which allows me to approach complicated issues of sexuality without judgment or blame. My work as a Professor teaching couples and sex therapy has allowed me to stay current on new research and treatment approaches in this ever-changing field.
Some of my areas of specialty include relationship difficulties, sexual difficulties, anxiety, trauma, loss, depression, couples, sexual problems, LGBTQ identity, physical/emotional abuse, adolescents, grief, and life transitions. I work with couples and individuals where they have been affairs, substance abuse struggles, and sexual trauma.
My Qualifications as a Psychologist
I graduated from UC Davis in 2004 with a B.A. in psychology. After college I worked with children and adolescents who have severe emotional disabilities at Seneca Center. In 2005 I entered the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Argosy University in Alameda, California.
Since beginning my training ten years ago, I have been fortunate to work as a clinician in a variety of diverse clinical settings. In 2006 I worked at the UCSF Alliance Health Project in San Francisco, where I worked primarily with gay men with HIV+ status coping with issues around sexual health, family stress, depression, identity, chronic health, and grief. I also ran a group for stress reduction and coping skills at the center. The following year I worked at the Portia Bell Hume Center where I worked with adults and children, as well as couples and families. I completed my pre-doctoral and post-doctoral training at Alameda Family Services, working with adolescents, couples, families, and adults struggling with grief/loss, anxiety, trauma, relationship issues, depression, and substance abuse. There I became a Narrative Consultant, training beginning psychology students and running Narrative Theory reflecting teams. This theory aligns with my values of social justice and advocacy for disenfranchised communities. In 2009 I was awarded the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Award and stipend from CAPIC (California Internship Council) for my work and dedication to community mental health and working with the underserved.
In 2010 I completed my dissertation research, which focused on Multidimensional Perfectionism in College Athletes, where I explored the benefits and costs of perfectionism. During this time I received my Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from Argosy University. After I received my doctorate I worked at Urban Services YMCA in San Francisco, where I worked with adolescents and families with PTSD, physical abuse, anxiety, and depression. Many of my adolescent clients were on probation and navigating the juvenile justice program. During my time as a post-doctoral trainee I clinically supervised beginning trainees from the Wright Institute. All of my training experiences have allowed me to work with wide range of diverse clients from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds, socioeconomic status, and a wide range of mental health challenges.
In addition to my work at the Center, I am a Professor at Alliant International University teaching Master’s students in the marriage and family therapy program. My expertise and courses are in theories and techniques, couples therapy, and sex therapy. I have also taught courses at California Institute of Integral Studies in the Psy.D. program and John F. Kennedy University in their Sports Psychology program. I also supervise psychology trainees at the Women’s Community Clinic in San Francisco.
Outside of work, I enjoy sports like yoga, boxing, Pilates, and Krav Maga. I also enjoy comedy shows, traveling, dreams about owning a dog, taking urban hikes, and spending time with friends and family, especially my nephews.
Andrea Zorbas, Psy.D.
Licensed Psychologist, PSY 27436
(see here for licensure verification)
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