If you are here, you’re probably living in the Bay Area and struggling with anxiety of some sort – obsessive thoughts, panic attacks, relationship or social worries. Anxiety can take you off the path of living an enjoyable social life, achieving at work, and sleeping well at night.
You are also here because you are thinking of starting therapy, which can be anxiety-provoking in and of itself. You might 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 big 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 and I was very hard on myself. 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 and self-criticism. 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 and self-compassion. Meditation gave me a tool to observe the patterns of my mind and truly understand myself. After completing college and graduate school, I continued to deepen my study of mindfulness-based therapy. At the age of 28 I received my license as a psychologist and shortly after decided to open my own private practice.
To this day, I practice yoga and mindfulness meditation regularly. These practices provide me with a sense of inner peace and light-heartedness. They have helped me create a more peaceful and loving relationship with my mind, body, and emotions. Given my experience, I am passionate about teaching mindfulness to others and incorporating self-compassion practices into therapy. I believe therapy and mindfulness practices can make the world a more loving and peaceful place for us all.
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.
Since starting my private practice in Rockridge, Oakland, CA in 2015 I have had the honor of supporting hundreds of people in the Bay Area live with more peace, purpose, and presence. Contact me today for a Free 15 minute phone consultation.