If you are here, you’re probably struggling with anxiety of some sort – obsessive thoughts, panic attacks, relationship or social worries. Anxiety shows up in a variety of forms and in many different situations.
You might also be wondering who I am and if I can really help you. To answer that, you can see my education and experience at the bottom of this page. You can also check out what others have said about me on yelp or facebook.
However, I think what most qualifies me to support you is my own experience with anxiety, and perhaps more importantly, my process of learning to let go of my struggle with anxiety.
While therapy is a process of mostly focusing on YOU, I thought I’d share a little bit about my story with anxiety and how it led me to become a psychologist and help others with similar struggles.
I’ve always been interested in helping others. When I was younger in school, my classmates would come to me to ask me for help on homework assignments. I enjoyed sitting with them and helping them understand the subject in more detail. Even as a teenager, my peers seemed to trust me to be the one that could help them with their problems.
During my adolescence, I worked as a youth basketball coach. I enjoyed helping children learn how to play the game and improve their basketball skills. I became interested in understanding the learning process and teaching children both the physical and mental game of basketball.
While I loved helping others, I also struggled with anxiety throughout my teenage years. Meeting new people, pursing a romantic interest, or just giving a presentation for a class was a struggle. I would jitter, sweat, and just be awkwardly nervous in any sort of social or performance situation. Anxious thoughts would keep me up at night. I was smart, but I did not understand my own psychology or how to help myself with anxiety.
In high school, my strongest subject was math so I decided to enter college as a mathematics major. I enjoyed math because it helped me learn how to effectively solve problems. However, as I continued to study math, I felt like something was missing. Upon taking a psychology class as a freshman, a lightbulb went off in my head. I realized that human beings were far more interesting to understand than math equations.
Studying psychology allowed me to use my analytical skills in combination with my love for helping others. It also was the key to helping me understand myself and my struggles with anxiety. I felt I had found my true field of study and never looked back.
Growing from my love of psychology, I pursued meditation practice in college and graduate school. I became especially fond of mindfulness meditation and found it helpful in reducing my anxiety and cultivating self-awareness. Meditation gave me a tool to observe the patterns of my mind and truly understand myself. As I pursued my doctorate in psychology, I continued to practice meditation and became interested in the intersection of meditation and psychology.
To this day, I practice yoga and mindfulness meditation regularly. These practices provide me with a sense of inner peace and light-heartedness. I am also passionate about teaching mindfulness to others and incorporating it into therapy.
Ellis was born and raised in Oakland, CA and graduated summa cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology in 2009. Ellis received his Doctorate of Psychology (Psy.D.) from the California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) in San Francisco in 2013 where he wrote his dissertation on teaching mindfulness to socially anxious young adults. He has worked in community mental health, college counseling, and various Bay Area schools helping people from a variety of backgrounds improve their mental health and live more fulfilling lives.