Personal experience with struggles including anxiety, compulsive behaviors, harsh self-judgment, perfectionism, procrastination, nihilism, and a lack of clarity in values compelled me to pursue deeper answers in order to both relieve suffering and become more grounded and whole. I trained as a therapist during a mid-life career transition, adding a doctorate of psychology onto my existing knowledge base of business and media within an international, multicultural and bohemian perspective.

As a human being, my core values are learning, contribution, and play. As a therapist, I strive to balance compassion with discernment. I frequently use mindfulness exercises to bring my clients back to present moment awareness. I do this in order to illustrate how each and every situation calls for a uniquely tailored response, one which calls for consideration of a balance of opposing forces. I do not preach a simple answer or strictly adhere to a manual of how to get better.

My approach is focused on helping people fine tune their consciousness, supporting a moment-to-moment awareness which is necessary to maintain the dynamic readjustments found in a stable, enriched and vibrant life.

For instance, one situation may call for an individual to practice further restraint and contemplation. Whereas a totally different situation may call for speedy action and greater assertiveness. Together in our therapeutic alliance, we take multiple factors into consideration, such as the particular stage a client is at in their life and what previous experiences they bring with them.

We work on figuring out which ingredients are missing within the range of polarities which make up the spectrum of living. For example, with regards to sexuality - a young person who has never had an intimate relationship may be in need of reconciling certain restrictive beliefs regarding their sexuality; whereas a more mature individual may be overusing sexuality as an escape; and an elder may be coming to terms with a stage where active sexuality is no longer at the forefront of their identity.

One person may need help giving themselves permission to say, "yes," whereas another person may need support in being able to say, "no." Or it could be the same person needs both these things, but in different situations. Life is dynamic and ever-changing, as are we. By clearing away the veils that obscure our vision and tuning into the essence  of one's reality, we make our own solutions.

So each person's needs are unique to them and that particular moment of encounter in therapy. I endeavor to tap into the flow of what is alive for my clients in the here and now, helping them gain clarity, peace of mind and effectiveness.

A key goal is to help individuals learn to read and trust their own signals in order to  connect with their internal compass. These signals may come in the form of emotions, physical sensations, memories, hunches, dreams, strokes of inspiration, and the like.  We search for that sweet spot where intuition and intellect overlap - what we call 'Wise Mind'.

I see my role as a facilitator, encouraging self-determination within my clients while holding a space for the exploration of thoughts, feelings, and mindful action.

My clinical foundation relies primarily on Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), which encourages a nuanced world view that accepts seeming contradiction and non-resolution - embracing paradox - as a part of a healthy mindset.  This approach emphasizes the practical development of meditative qualities to ease stress and expand awareness, and also focuses on values-driven action for greater fulfillment.

My clinical experience has covered a broad range of clientele with a particular concentration on women of color,  the LGBTQA community, and alternative relationship practices including non-monogamy and BDSM.  I also have worked extensively with elders and those struggling with serious illness, addressing the final stages of life and the grieving process with compassion, spiritual connection, and nurturance.

Academic Background:

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.), Alliant International University, California School of Professional Psychology. 

Dissertation : Development & Validation of a Problematic Smartphone Use Scale.

Publication: Co-authored book review ("Locating Neurobiological Abnormalities in Internet Addiction")  in APA's PsycCRITIQUES.

Subject matter expert for upcoming revision of the California Psychology Law and Ethics Examination (CPLEE).

More info on my profile including an audio introduction and video lecture.

Dr. Josie Valderrama

Association for Contextual Behavioral Science, SF Bay Area Chapter-Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) Researchers & Practitioners

Bay Area Open Minds: Kink Aware & Poly Friendly Psychotherapists (Founding Member)

Gaylesta: LGBTQ Psychotherapist Association

Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming, Certified by Association of Integrative Psychology

SE™ Trauma Institute

Professional Affiliations