Samantha Fordwood, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist (PSY 22714)
870 Market Street, Suite 845
San Francisco, CA 94102

Phone: 415-963-3554

Individual Therapy

I AM CLOSING MY PRIVATE PRACTICE AS OF OCTOBER 2019 AS I WILL BE JOINING THE DBT-A TEAM AT UCSF. I am no longer accepting any individual or skills class clients.

Dr. Fordwood has extensive experience treating anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and personality disorders. In treating these disorders, she helps clients learn how to accurately identify and effectively manage their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. She works with adults, young adults, and adolescents.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a widely-studied therapy that has been proven to be effective at treating many types of psychiatric disorders including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders. In a CBT model, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors interact and affect each other. Mood and anxiety disorders are thought to be the result of maladaptive cognitions and behaviors. CBT involves identifying and restructuring these ineffective thoughts patterns while also modifying ineffective behavioral patterns, which leads to changes in the related emotions and moods. CBT is a very active therapy in which the client and the therapist work together on clearly defined treatment goals, learn and apply coping skills, and complete exercises both in-session and at home.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT was developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan at the University of Washington to treat depressed, suicidal, and self-harming patients. Many of these patients met criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). BPD is characterized by a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, emotions and impulse control. From a DBT perspective, emotional dysregulation (i.e., difficulty managing intense emotions) is considered to underlie the dysregulation and instability in other areas. Over the past 20 years, DBT has been used to effectively treat personality disorders, depression, suicidality, eating disorders, and substance abuse. It is an empirically-supported treatment and has been researched in many clinical trials.

DBT combines change-oriented strategies (such as those found in CBT) with acceptance-oriented strategies (e.g., mindfulness, validation). The DBT skills modules are mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and middle path skills (in adolescent and young adult groups). DBT is a very active type of therapy with clearly defined treatment goals, skills acquisition and application, diary cards, and homework exercises. Clients in DBT attend both weekly individual therapy and skills groups. They are also encouraged to call their therapist for skills coaching before engaging in self-destructive or other potentially harmful behaviors.

Treatment in DBT occurs in stages. In the first stage of DBT the focus is on acquiring skills while also decreasing life-threatening behaviors, therapy-interfering behaviors, and behaviors that destroy one's quality of life.  In the second stage of DBT, the emphasis is on emotional experiencing and trauma-related processing. The third stage of DBT is about solving ordinary life problems and continuing to build a life worth living. The fourth stage is about finding meaning and connection in life.

Additional Approaches
Dr. Fordwood has received training in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for recurrent depression and Prolonged Exposure Therapy for PTSD.

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