Call us: 800-263-1352 - San Francisco ~ Corte Madera ~ St. Helena ~ Oakland ~ Sonoma

Struggling with medical diagnosis and treatment? Call for free consultation.

Why seek psychotherapy when you’re already overwhelmed with a significant diagnosis and its treatment, or caring for a loved one? Because health is about more than the body. When you confront significant illness, receive a life-altering diagnosis, face end-of-life choices, or have a spouse, parent, child, friend, or loved one you’re trying to support, your emotional life is inevitably affected. We’re here to help.

Diagnosis, treatment, and the road ahead

News of a significant medical diagnosis tends to stir up a lot of emotions; it's common to feel sad, angry, scared, anxious, depressed, and more. Treatment options often bring significant changes in routine, relationships, and self-image. Humans are still, after all these years of evolution, not "wired" to embrace changes that aren't in our control. Our goals include helping you manage the uncertainty, process the changes, and integrate the new realities into your ongoing experience of yourself in the world.

Caring for a loved one

Nothing fully prepares you for the experience of caring for a seriously ill loved one. Taking on this role changes your relationship with this person in ways that can be really stressful. While you want to be good and generous, you might find yourself feeling angry, resentful, anxious, or depressed. It is complex, but all of these mixed feelings can also bring new depth and richness to the relationship.

Body image and changes in identity

Body image is complex, embedded in physicality, emotions, spirituality, sexuality, and more. It can be difficult to develop and maintain a positive relationship to one's body even in good health; serious medical conditions and their treatment can bring very real changes to the body you're so familiar with. Some have to cope with ongoing pain, others feel powerful emotions every time they see their own scars. Some are bothered most of all by changes to their sexual experience, including drive, arousal, and activity. Athletes can have the most difficult time of all as they deal with injuries or changes to their physical abilities brought on by medical conditions or their treatment. Processing and adapting to new physical realities occurs over time, on multiple levels.

Coping with an ill child

Most parents find it stressful enough when a child has the flu; serious illness or a chronic condition in a child bring multiple layers of stressors that are exponentially compounding and affect the whole family. Marriages are strained, and siblings might try to be perfect so they cause no additional stress, or begin to act up just to get some attention. Grandparents who ought to be supportive and critical of the way things are being handled. Happy families may all be alike, but a child's illness affects every family uniquely.

End-of-life issues

We help patients and their loved ones think through treatment options and other important choices about how to live, and sometimes how to die, in ways that best affirm their values and preserve their dignity.

Infertility, pre- and  peri-natal/post-partum issues

Everything tells us that pregnancy, childbirth, and new parenthood should be a joyous time. For some, the “blessed event” feels more like going to war – with one's body, hormones, partner, and even, sometimes, your newborn. We can help women who find becoming mothers more challenging than they'd imagined. For those struggling with infertility, we're able to help process grief, anger, disappointment, and other feelings that might arise as you explore your choices.

Integrative consultation with other health care providers

Palliative care may include end-of life issues and interventions such as hospice, but it’s also appropriate for any serious medical illness, and  emotional well-being is a significant component of any palliative approach. We work closely with physicians and other health-care providers to deepen their understanding of variables that might influence symptom presentation and treatment compliance, and to make sure we’re aware of all the interventions our patients are receiving, the potential side-effects they may be experiencing, and their most current status.

Because medical conditions affect more than the body, and emotional health involves more than the mind.

Call Us: 800-263-1352