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Welcome to my web page. I am a Psychologist in private practice, with an office in the Rockridge area of Oakland. I am licensed to practice clinical psychology in California with particular experience and expertise working with people to gain mastery over Anxiety, Depression, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), compulsive shopping, trichotillomania (hair pulling) and skin picking. In addition to these specialty areas, I also offer effective treatment for reactions to recent or past traumatic stress, work stress, relationship conflict and coping with illness or loss of a loved one. I provide practical, positive, and effective help to my clients. I am also happy to offer brief consultations (one or two meetings) to answer questions and establish general observations and recommendations.

I work with adults either individually or in couples on a variety of issues. I also work with adolescents. Most frequently when working with adolescents, I will have initial sessions with parents included to collect information and share my treatment plan. Appointments during the treatment phase will either be split appointments (half the session spent individually with the adolescent and half with the parents joining in), or alternating appointments where the teen meets individually with me and at every 6 sessions or so, we can have a session with parents included for updates. Occasionally with older adolescents, or once treatment gets going successfully, I can continue meeting with the teen individually and provide updates by phone or at a frequency the parents request.

I also hold whole family meetings or work with younger children in parent-child pairs, to supportively address OCD-spectrum issues or other issues that families are struggling with.

I use practical cognitive behavioral techniques which have very high treatment success rates. I also integrate dynamic approaches to deepen understanding of the origins of anxiety and behavior patterns. Using this combination of methods is intended to lead to the most rapid symptom relief possible as well as to solidifying feelings of self-control, calm, insight and confidence. You can look under the "treatment approach" link for more information on the techniques I use.

My most recent activities, in addition to my private practice, include teaching and supervising Psychiatry residents, Psychology postdocs and degree program students as an Assistant Clinical Professor at The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in the Psychiatry, Psychology and Nursing programs. For several years I also created and led OCD treatment and support group programs in the Stanford University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, adult OCD clinic. I have published original research in the areas of OCD and impulsive behavioral habits, and have given many talks at international professional meetings as well as for local groups.

I earned my Ph.D. at the UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology. I completed my NIMH supported post doctoral fellowship at Stanford University Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. My internship was in clinical psychology/neuropsychology at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. All are APA approved and top ranked programs. I have also taught undergraduate level classes in the Psychology departments of SDSU and SJSU.


Ruby Sarah Hartston-Epstein, born August 12th, 2008