I am a clinical psychologist who provides therapy, assessment, and consultation to individuals, partners, and families who are struggling with stress, depression, anxiety, trauma, relationships, sexuality, identity, and/or life transitions. I identify as a queer, white, gender variant woman who is flexible with their pronouns - they, she, he, etc. are all fine. I am passionate about supporting people creating positive change in their life, whether they are focusing on reducing symptoms, adapting to change, or rekindling their resilience.
My Approaches to Therapy
My work is grounded by techniques shown by research to be effective, in particular, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). I consider myself to be integrative in my approach, meaning that I am flexible to utilizing strategies from a variety of modalities (such as Dialectal Behavior Therapy [DBT], Motivational Interviewing [MI], Family Systems, and Narrative Therapy) in order to best meet the needs of the individuals I work with and their specific concerns.
My practice is attuned to aspects of identity, guided by each individual's values and informed by social justice. Whether you are beginning to explore a new aspect of your identity, in the midst of a transition, or well along in your process, exploring how different elements of your identity (race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, disability status, etc.) impact your experience can be an important part of making meaning from our lives. Additionally, I have experience working with individuals and partners with a variety of relationship configurations (polyamory, nonmonogamy, monogamy) and sexual identities (kinky, BDSM).
My work with clients is centered on their specific goals and I aim to encourage progress with gentle accountability. I take a collaborative approach and am open to feedback, which I consider to be an important part of guiding the process. I find that a strength-based approach is often a good starting point and can produce particularly generative results.
My Qualifications as a Psychologist
My training has incorporated a broad variety of education and clinical experience, and most importantly, built my experience working with people of diverse identities and experiences. I completed my doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at Alliant International University - California School of Professional Psychology with an emphasis in Social Justice as well as a certificate in LGBT Human Services and Mental Health. While completing my degree, I trained at a variety of community clinics and hospitals, including Northern California Veteran's Affairs Health Care System, Anka Behavioral Health, Berkeley Mental Health - Family, Youth, and Children's Services, and San Francisco Veteran's Affairs Health Care System. This training cultivated my skills working with individuals and families experiencing a broad cross-section of difficulties including stress, anxiety, depression, chronic mental illness, and substance use disorders.
I completed an internship in Primary Care Behavioral Health at Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, where I provided therapy to support individuals making health behavior changes, including eating and exercise, managing chronic diseases, chronic pain, and insomnia. Behavior change is challenging, and many people benefit from support with this process. I work to support individuals in designing their personal goals and taking manageable steps toward these goals, whether they're related to improving health, shifting habits, or coping with and adapting to change.
I completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Interprofessional LGBT Healthcare Psychology at San Francisco Veteran's Affairs Health Care System, where I worked primarily with LGBT individuals with a broad variety of concerns, including depression, anxiety, and trauma. I also gained specialty training to provide evaluations for gender affirming surgeries. Additionally, I provided sex therapy to individuals of a variety of sexual identities seeking to address difficulties they experienced in their sex lives.
I have cultivated specialized skills in addressing gender and sexual identity and sexual concerns via additional training at San Francisco Sex Information, where I taught for seven years. I continue to guest lecture at a number of local schools and clinics. Additionally, I have contributed to research with gay male couples at the Center for Research and Education on Gender and Sexuality and with transgender people for my dissertation on their experiences of gender affirmation.
I continue to work primarily with LGBT individuals as an integrated psychologist at Lyon-Martin Health Services, and I enjoy my work with individuals of a broad variety of identities.
Anja Bircher, Psy.D.
Licensed Psychologist, PSY 29502
(see here for licensure verification)
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