Dr. Felice de la Cerna | Individual Therapy in San Francisco
As human beings we successfully adapt to and overcome several changes and stressors throughout our lives. On occasion, despite our best efforts, we struggle to resolve our distress or emotional conflict with change, which affects our relationships, life goals, and well being.
As a therapist, I provide a safe and confidential space where we can discuss and identify your specific concerns and set goals and explore alternative solutions to address your concerns in therapy. We work together to build on your existing strengths and help you develop new coping skills to overcome your challenges, learn to better manage future stressors, and lead a healthier and more fulfilling life. I strive to help clients leave therapy with more awareness and insight into their struggles and themselves and to feel confident and empowered to be their own agents of change in their lives.
I offer client-centered individual therapy to adults on a short-term and long-term basis. Most of my work is present-focused and solution-focused and I also provide more in-depth therapy.
My Approaches to Therapy
The most successful outcomes of therapy are gained through a trusting relationship built between a therapist and a client and I understand it is hard to be open about personal and difficult situations. To be mindful of the significance and purpose of the therapeutic relationship, I take an interactive and collaborative style with clients, which is approachable and warm, yet direct when needed, to guide and support clients to make positive changes in their lives.
I use a strength-based and integrated approach to therapy with a primary focus on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy or CBT, which is grounded in research. CBT has been shown to reduce signs of distress and help individuals more effectively cope with future stressors by modifying the relationship between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to create better outcomes. I find CBT techniques to be relatable and teachable and applicable to a variety of situations that can easily be tailored to individual clients.
However, I am a firm believer that there is no one-size-fits-all theory and I use other theories to meet the unique needs and backgrounds of clients. I draw from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and mindfulness-based interventions, which offer a present-focused perspective to dealing with emotions and reinforce the mind-body connection. In addition, I work from a holistic and humanistic approach, understanding clients as whole persons and accepting clients as they are and with the potential for growth. I provide culturally sensitive therapy that addresses clients’ cultural identities and communities and clients’ physical, emotional, and spiritual well being, in addition to their psychological health. And I help clients to understand their struggles are a result of their attempts to cope with changes and become aware of their own resilience.
I help clients who are dealing with depression and sadness, fears and anxieties, adjustment issues and life transitions, sleep difficulties, and relationship difficulties. I also work with clients who are going through difficulties related to stress management, self-esteem, personal growth, conflict resolution, trauma and PTSD, grief and loss, and co-occurring health conditions.
I specialize in adjustment issues, cultural issues, and health psychology. And I have a particular interest in women’s issues, gender and sexual identity and other LGBTQ-related issues, and the intersection of individuals’ identities, including gender, ethnicity, and sexuality. I value diversity and believe in the rights and dignity of all individuals and welcome clients of all backgrounds. I work with clients to create their best version of themselves and lead authentic lives.
My Qualifications as a Psychologist
I began my studies in psychology during my undergraduate education at University of California, Irvine, where I received a B.A. in Psychology and Social Behavior and a minor in Management in 2005. After college, I received a M.S. in Mental Health Counseling at University at Albany, SUNY in 2007 and earned my Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology with a Gender Studies Emphasis in 2016 from California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University.
In more than five years of training, I have worked with a diverse community of individuals from various ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds with a wide range of mental health and psychosocial concerns. I have enjoyed a breadth of experience working with children from 6-years-old to adults in their 70s in a variety of settings from substance use treatment, residential treatment, community mental health, supportive housing, and hospitals.
Starting in 2007, I began providing court-mandated substance use counseling and individual and group therapy to a diverse and mainly low-income community of adolescents and adults at Equinox, Inc., Chemical Dependency Counseling Center, in Albany, NY. In the following years,
I worked as a clinician at Conard House, Inc. First at the former Jackson Street Residential Program, a transitional program for adults with severe mental and substance use disorders, I performed individual and group therapy, case and milieu management, and medication management. A few years later I worked with individuals with chronic mental health issues living in Conard House’s supportive house units providing therapy, house counseling, and case management focused on psychosocial rehabilitation and self-management. In between my years at Conard House, I worked at with Safe & Sound (formerly San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center), TALK Line Family Support Center, where I provided individual therapy and play therapy and phone counseling to children, adolescents, and adults to address child abuse and neglect and domestic violence and promote healthy families and the mental health of children.
In 2016, I finished my pre-doctoral internship at San Mateo Medical Center, where I provided brief therapy and co-facilitated therapy groups in mindfulness and weight management to underserved and uninsured patients. Using a biopsychosocial approach, I helped adults to improve their heath outcomes and cope with such issues as somatic complaints, depression, adjustment to stressors, chronic pain, and co-occurring health conditions. Additionally, I spent time on three clinical rotations (consultation/liaison and palliative care, behavioral medicine, and inpatient psychiatric unit) where I provided clinical evaluations and therapy on medical units, brief integrated consultations in the primary care clinic, and individual and group therapy to individuals with severe mental disorders, respectively. The next year, I completed my post-doctoral fellowship at Highland Hospital, Alameda Health System, where I helped individuals cope with concerns around anxiety, health issues, trauma, life transitions, and family stressors in short- and long-term therapy. At Highland Hospital I also enjoyed collaborating with doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, dieticians, social workers, and other healthcare providers in the primary care and gastroenterology and hepatology clinics and providing integrated consultations to patients seen in those clinics.
In addition to my experience with substance use, various mental disorders, and integrated behavioral health, I have a strong interest in the unique challenges and mental health concerns on the LGBTQ community, especially LGBTQ women and LGBTQ people of color. Although, I am not an accredited sex therapist, I am a sex-positive, LGBTQ affirming therapist. I have completed a number of courses and trainings regarding human sexuality and gender identity, including National Sexuality Research Center Summer Institute 2009: Race, Gender, and Sexuality (now Center for Research and Education on Gender and Sexuality), developed and facilitated a workshop on gender roles, and conducted research projects focused on gender differences, women, and the LGBTQ community, including my doctoral dissertation, Intersecting Identities: The Experiences and Positive Identity Development of Filipina Lesbian Women. I also provide therapeutic services at the historical Lyon-Martin Health Services, a community health clinic committed to providing excellent and accessible healthcare to all women and transgender individuals.
Outside of work, I enjoy cooking, reading, spending time with friend, exploring the outdoors, and watching live theater. I am also an animal lover, sports fan, and art admirer.
Felice de la Cerna, Psy.D.
Licensed Psychologist, PSY 29246
(see here for licensure verification)
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