Dr. Sarah

Dr. Sarah Villarreal is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) psychologist. CBT therapy is one of the few types of therapy that is evidence-based and proven to be effective.
“When you know better, you do better” – Maya Angelou

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Background and Training

Dr. Sarah Villarreal was born and raised in San Diego, California. She attended undergrad at Gonzaga University where she majored in psychology and minored in sociology. Dr. Sarah loved Gonzaga and especially loved their study abroad program, which was in Florence, Italy.
Dr. Sarah lived there for one year and traveled to 26 different countries during that time. Dr. Sarah has three dogs and is a huge animal lover and advocate. She is involved with several animal rights organizations. She loves to write and is in the process of writing a book. She also loves to travel and is often traveling to see clients on location. In her spare time, Dr. Sarah’s interests include running, hiking, traveling, road trips, real estate, blogging, playing hearts with family, interior design and pickleball.   
She obtained her doctorate from John F. Kennedy University.  It was an overall good experience and excellent training, however not without major bumps in the road.  Hear Dr. Sarah talk about how she almost dropped out of her Doctoral program Watch Dr. Sarah tell her story in a video below. She currently resides in Marin and sees clients all over California.

A Different Kind of Therapy

Dr. Sarah was born an empath and knew that she wanted to be a psychologist since she was a teenager. She had a simple goal: to help people.
While in graduate school, Dr. Sarah struggled to embrace some of the traditional modalities of therapy. She wanted to know why certain methods were still being used that had never been proven to be effective.

Why was anyone using methods that were not evidence-based? In fact, with some methods, what little research has been done has shown to do more harm than good.

Evidence-based Therapies

Dr. Sarah ONLY uses evidence-based therapies, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), that have been PROVEN to work.

While in graduate school, Dr. Sarah consistently received feedback that she “cared too much” and was “too honest.” Many therapists just placate and tell you what they think you want to hear.
Dr. Sarah jokingly calls them “bobblehead therapists”.

Dr. Sarah has a way of delivering her message in an honest, yet empathetic, warm manner that feels refreshingly transparent, which is essential for trust.

This non-judgmental way of challenging people is the only path to growth and change.  

Progressive, Modern Therapist

Dr. Sarah specializes in adults, teens and couples. She is skilled in high-conflict relationships with extremely challenging dynamics. She offers “intensives,” which are extended couples’ sessions. Teens find her relatable and they trust her. Parents who have struggled to find the right therapist for years have called her the “teen whisperer.” Dr. Sarah often hears in an initial meeting that the individual has gotten more out of that session than in their entire experience with previous therapists.  

Teens find her relatable and they trust her. Parents who have struggled to find the right therapist for years, have called her the “teen whisperer.” Dr. Sarah is also a seasoned expert in individual adults as well as couples counseling.  It is extremely frequent that Dr. Sarah receives feedback in a first session that the individual has gotten more out of that session than in their entire experience with a previous therapist/s.  She is phenomenally skilled in high-conflict relationships with extremely challenging dynamics. She also offers “intensives,” which are extended couples’ sessions.

Dr. Sarah has years of expertise working with professional athletes and individuals in the entertainment industry. Although public figures struggle with many of the same issues that we all do, they are also faced with niche challenges such as ‘fish-bowl’ living with unrelenting public criticism and scrutiny, they are often victims of gross manipulation and opportunism, and distortions of reality. Watch Dr. Sarah’s video on how she got started working with high-profile clientele.
Dr. Sarah helps these individuals stay grounded, find inner peace, develop coping skills to block out the white noise, strategize to weed out takers, eliminate imposter syndrome, etc. Dr. Sarah meets these clients in their homes for supplementary convenience and security.

Dr. Sarah is a think-outside-the-box, progressive, modern therapist. She is not bound by antiquated, ineffective methods. 
Dr. Sarah vehemently rejects the notion “because it has always been done this way”. It’s simply unacceptable and, you should not accept it either. As one of the top psychologists in California, Dr. Sarah applies the same dedication to each client she works with. It is due to this extraordinary, progressive level of service that many of her clients consider her to be the best therapist in California.
doctor Sarah with her dog

Dr. Sarah’s Expertise

Dr. Sarah specializes in teens, adults, and couples. She has extensive expertise and experience in PTSD, high-profile clientele, grief, depression, anxiety, ADHD, narcissistic abuse survivors, OCD, and spectrum disorders.
Dr. Sarah founded the California Counseling Group in 2013, which is made up of a team of therapists who have specific areas of expertise.  Specialties include:
* Family therapists are highly skilled in complex, high-conflict, and challenging family dynamics.
* Child therapists, who are seasoned and work with children using cognitive behavioral and other evidence-based therapies.
* Adolescent therapists who are seasoned in self-harm and other high-risk behaviors.  Therapists work closely with parents to provide the highest level of treatment.
* Couples therapists who specialize in high-conflict, challenging relationship patterns.

Contact Dr. Sarah for Consultation.

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