doreen maller, marriage and family therapist :: 650 777 7885 :: 101 north el camino #7 :: san mateo, ca
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There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
    -- Anais Nin

I believe that all people have innate skills and strengths and have the potential to live rich and meaningful lives but sometimes get stuck in patterns and behaviors that interfere with their ability to grow. I believe psychotherapy is an important tool to help people discover their natural ability to heal, to love and to live healthy and fulfilling lives. I engage with clients from a systems perspective to explore the whole of the client’s life and address the complex and varied realities that impact them and their families. I have a warm, non-judgmental approach that provides an opportunity to address both short- and long-term goals, crisis situations, and long-term underlying issues. I work to help individuals better understand themselves, families and each other. Grief, loss, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, adoption, divorce, and the challenges of our fast-paced and demanding lives can create uncomfortable stressors in individuals and families. My time with each client provides an opportunity for calm and reflection in challenging and stressful lives.

As of October 2021, I am available to “see” clients in my office, or using any technological means available to you (telephone, video call, etc.).

I believe I best help my clients by forming a collaborative partnership, working together to meet my clients’ goals.

I begin with each individual, group and family by creating a safe and welcoming environment where trust is built. I incorporate specific and appropriate methodologies and interventions to deepen and explore current circumstances, personal history and goal setting for the future. Sometimes, this involves revisiting past hurt and trauma in order to more effectively manage or express oneself in the present. Sometimes we explore current life circumstances and choices that may be creating difficulties. By exploring my clients’ past trauma and challenges, we can better understand their present reactions and redefine their relationship with their own history, change their life patterns, and move forward in a more meaningful and satisfying way.

I believe in both brief and long-term approaches. I work with school-age children, pre-teens and adolescents and their families, as well as adults, including the elderly. I believe that a child’s health and happiness is directly related to their family’s health and happiness, and I incorporate whole family sessions to support growth, connection and positive change. I believe our families and early life experiences help define who we are at all of our life stages. Exploring, understanding and working through our early imprints is key to living a full and meaningful life.

I am a strong believer in a collaborative approach with my clients. I work with them as a coach, and I provide assistance them in navigating their relationships within the family and their communities. I am available for consultation with schools and health care professionals to create an appropriate system of care to best meet the client’s needs so that they can achieve their full potential. My broad range of services incorporates behavioralism, school-based collaboration and problem-solving, developmental education, as well as medical collaboration as necessary and indicated.

I hold an M.A. in Expressive Arts Therapy and a Ph.D. in Transformative Learning from the California Institute of Integral Studies ( I was the Chair of Holistic Counseling Psychology at John F. Kennedy University ( in their Masters in Counseling Holistic Psychology department. I have authored a variety of books and journal articles including test books on Community Mental Health and Mental Health and the Aging Population. I have lectured all over the world on topics related to family therapy.

I am licensed in California as a Marriage and Family Therapist (license #45737).

Here is a photograph of my office. I look forward to your visit.