About My San Francisco Bay Area Psychotherapy Office

Marla Cass, PsychotherapistMy practice is online only. I use secure telehealth platforms to provide services for residents of California, Colorado, and Illinois. Please contact me for more information.


About You:

The issue that is making you think about therapy is likely something you have been struggling with for a long time or could be something recent. You have put a lot of time into thinking about it and you may have already talked with friends and/or family or even to a therapist (or not), but it is still there. It doesn’t feel easy to call a therapist or to try therapy again, but you are at a place where you don’t want to feel so alone and you are willing to step out of your comfort zone to try to find some answers. 

Finding the right person to work with can feel overwhelming, but you probably know a lot about what you are looking for: You want to work with someone who takes the time to get to know you, to understand how you see the world, and how you got to the place you are at now. You would love a quick fix, but you know that it took you a long time to get here and it may take some time to get to where you would like to be. You want therapy to feel like a real experience with a real person, and it would never work for you to see a therapist who barely nods at you and mutters “uh huh” when you speak. A sense of humor wouldn’t be a bad thing, either!

About My Approach to Psychotherapy:

I am an experienced therapist with a warm, relational, and genuine approach. I do my best to leave psychobabble at the door. Although listening forms the core of how I work, I do more than just listen: I am engaged and interactive, offering ideas and support for looking at your life in new ways. I can help you look beyond the obvious and find ways to change the things that can be changed, as well as help you find compassion and understanding for the things in your life that may not be changeable.

I know how important it is to look at the bigger picture — your history, culture, family, where you grew up, and the many other influences that have shaped your conscious and unconscious motivations for who you are and how you view the world. You didn’t just end up here by accident and if the answers were obvious, you would have uncovered them by now. There are reasons why you are who you are and why you do what you do, and part of our job is to try to understand the underlying reasons so that we can unravel what is not working. Looking “under the hood,” so to speak, is the best way to untangle the issues that brought you to therapy and it can open the door to new understanding and awareness, leading to lasting change.

About My Psychotherapy Influences:

I am influenced by a number of theoretical approaches, including attachment, relational, psychodynamic, and contemporary psychoanalysis, as well as by Buddhist mindfulness and current research in neuropsychology.  I am interested in what is going on for you now, but I know that how you respond to what is going on for you now is strongly impacted by many factors. My approach is collaborative and tailored to what makes sense for you and for the issues you want to work on. Therapy is not “one size fits all.” Most importantly — and the research supports this — the connection between us is the most critical component of our work together.

My work is guided by my belief that we are influenced not only by our families and by our life experience, but also by the fact that we live in a complex, rapidly changing world and are members of a larger political and social culture. In the years since I initially wrote this paragraph, the importance of this has become increasingly unmistakable and challenging.

About My Experience:

In addition to my private practice, I have supervised interns and served on the Education Committee at The Boulder Institute for Psychotherapy and Research in Boulder, Colorado. I chaired the intern support committee and mentored newly licensed therapists for the San Francisco Chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (SFCAMFT).  I have been a group supervisor at The Pacific Center and at The Women’s Therapy Center, both located in Berkeley, and an individual supervisor for Community Institute for Psychotherapy in San Rafael and for Queer Lifespace in SF.

I have conducted trainings on the topic of working with gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning people at Pacific Center, Notre Dame de Nemur University in Belmont, California, and at Haight Ashbury Psychological Services in San Francisco. I am or have been a member of numerous professional organizations including The San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis, The Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California (Former Extra Curricular Education Committee Member, Former Outreach Committee Member), The Self and Relational Psychoanalysis Colloquium, Division 39 (Psychoanalysis) of the American Psychological Association, The International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis, The South Bay Community for Psychoanalytic Study (Former Organizing Committee Member), Northern California Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology, Reflective Spaces/Material Places, the California Association for Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT), The Psychotherapy Action Network (PsiAN), and The Boulder Institute for Psychotherapy and Research.

More About My Background and Credentials:

I am licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist in the State of California (MFC 45402), the State of Colorado (MFT 836), and the State of Ilinois (166.001564). I am also a registered telehealth provider in the State of Florida (TMPF122), which means that I can provide telehealth psychotherapy services if you reside in Florida. My professional training and experience includes completion of the three-year post-graduate training program in psychodynamic psychotherapy at The Psychotherapy Institute in Berkeley, California, working with elementary school children as a school therapist, serving as a therapist in a community counseling center, and working in private practice.

I regularly attend seminars, lectures, and workshops related to the field of psychotherapy and relational psychoanalysis, and participate in both short and long-term study and reading groups. I have been a participant in several Extended Study Series year-long classes sponsored by The South Bay Community for Psychoanalytic Study, The Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California, and the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute; and I was a long-term member of the Self and Relational Psychoanalytic Colloquium. I have also been a student in the University of Chicago’s Basic Program, which focuses on depth study of classical literature and philosophy.

Prior to becoming a psychotherapist, I had several careers and spent many years working for both large and small companies. I was also the owner of a small computer consulting business. I have a deep appreciation for the challenges that different professional environments can present; for what it takes to make significant life and career changes; as well as for the difficulty of balancing work with family and personal responsibilities. This practical, real-world experience is at the core of my work as a psychotherapist.