Cristina Castagnini

PSYCHOLOGIST

HOW I KNEW

Born and raised in the Bay Area,I spent my teen years writing a column for the Conta Costa times called "Teen-to-Teen," and I gave advice to teenagers about parents, relationships and how to cope with life's ups and downs. This experience gave me a passion for helping people and after high school, I pursued my bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

MY SPECIALIZED INTERESTS

My work with such a variety of clients led me to have an interest in adopted children and adoptive families, as I started to become aware that adoptees have a unique set of clinical concerns. Thus, I completed my dissertation on the topic of adoptees, comparing those adoptees in open versus closed adoptions.

After completing my Ph.D. at USC, I went on to work at Kaiser Permanente as a post-doctoral resident, where I saw adults in individual, group, and couples' therapy.  I was licensed in the state of California in August, 2005, and have continued my clinical work at Kaiser Permanente, providing individual and group therapy to adults as well as supervising post-doctoral interns.  I opened my private practice 11 years ago, where I also treat children, families and couples.

My work with such a variety of clients led me to have an interest in adopted children and adoptive families, as I started to become aware that adoptees have a unique set of clinical concerns. Thus, I completed my dissertation on the topic of adoptees, comparing those adoptees in open versus closed adoptions.

EDUCATION

My studies at UCSC provided me the opportunities to work with autistic children and their families as well as to study for a year at the University of British Columbia. After just three years, I graduated with my B.A. with honors in Psychology from UCSC, and I went onto the graduate Clinical Psychology program at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, which had an emphasis on Marital, Family, and Child Therapy.

While at Pepperdine, I began working with teenagers at a local high school, conducting individual and group therapy. During my 2 years of studies there, I was inducted as a lifetime member of Psi Chi, the National Honor Society for Psychology.

After much contemplation about my professional goals, I pursued my doctorate in Counseling Psychology at the University of Southern California.

During the 4 years as a doctoral student there, I was able to work at several different elementary schools and high schools, providing individual, family, and group therapy.

I was also able to work for a year at California State University, East Bay providing individual and group therapy to adults.  I completed my pre-doctoral internship at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Counseling Center, an APA-accredited program,  where I was also able to provide career counseling, individual and group therapy.  During my year in Hawaii, I was also on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which provided me the opportunity to learn a great deal about crisis work and handling a multitude of clinical situations.

KAISER PERMANENTE

After completing my Ph.D. at USC, I went on to work at Kaiser Permanente as a post-doctoral resident, where I saw adults in individual, group, and couples' therapy.  I was licensed in the state of California in August, 2005, and have continued my clinical work at Kaiser Permanente, providing individual and group therapy to adults as well as supervising post-doctoral interns.  I opened my private practice 11 years ago, where I also treat children, families and couples.

MY APPROACH TO THERAPY

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Each and every individual has a different reason for why they may be experiencing their own symptoms, and I do not use a “cookie-cutter” approach to therapy. I see each client as a unique individual with their own, unique history and circumstances that contribute to what they are experiencing.

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If you decide to call to make an appointment, I will spend some time asking you some basic questions so that both you and I can see if we both feel we are a good fit to work with one another. If we do, then at the first appointment, we I will spend quality time building a therapeutic relationship with you. This includes getting a solid understanding about what is bringing you in, your background, and hearing what you need from your time in working with me.

Together, we will establish goals, and continually re-evaluate them throughout the therapeutic process to make sure that you are progressing. If clinically necessary, I do make referrals to psychiatrists and nutritionists in the area.