Psychiat-List Now Up

Lots of people have asked me to recommend them a psychiatrist or therapist. I’ve done a terrible job responding: it’s a conflict of interest to recommend my own group, and I don’t know many people outside of it.

So now I’ve put together a list (by which I mostly mean blatantly copied a similar list made by fellow community member Anisha M) of mental health professionals whom members of the rationalist community have had good experiences with. So far it’s short and mostly limited to the Bay Area. You can find it at the “Psychiat-List” button on the top of the blog, or at this link.

My hope is to crowd-source additional recommendations to expand the list to more providers and cities. Please let me know, either on this post or on the comments to the list itself, if you have any extra recommendations to add – especially if you’re in a city likely to have many other SSC readers. Please also let me know if you’ve had any positive or negative experiences with people already on the list, so I can change their status accordingly.

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13 Responses to Psychiat-List Now Up

  1. dashdash says:

    Vanessa Layne, MEd, LMHC
    “Psychotherapist & Programmer” — Boston area.

  2. VorpalSSC says:

    1. Secular Therapy Network is a valuable resource for finding therapists who are likely to be compatible with an aspiring rationalist. The interface is awkward, though.

    2. I am an aspiring rationalist and a practicing therapist in Columbus, Ohio. I am a clinical social worker and cannot prescribe meds. I offer evidence-based interventions for trauma, depression, anxiety, and some other concerns. I work at an agency, so cannot directly accept self-referrals, and there is a waiting list. We take most but not all insurance. I can see any adult, but we particularly emphasize serving the LGBT+ community.

    Jeffdubin at equitashealth dot com
    Agency website is

  3. monistowl says:

    Christos Ballas, Philadelphia.

  4. Gabe says:

    If the list is open to PsyDs too, Samuel Stem in Portland, OR really helped me through a tough time in my life.

  5. C.H. says:

    For Greater Vancouver, I’d vouch for Dianne Semeniuk at the Fraser Health Authority. Psychiatry resident.

  6. Freddie deBoer says:

    I have no idea if he’s accepting new patients, but James Halper in Manhattan has been a godsend for me, and I say that as someone who has been in and (mostly) out of psychiatric care my entire adult life. He’s board certified in Psychiatry and Internal Medicine. Feel free to email me at freddie7 AT gmail DOT com with questions.

  7. gbankmanfried says:

    My recommendations for psychiatrists in the bay area are Carlos Greaves in Stanford, and George K Lerner in SF. They are both pretty pricy, but if you have the money or your insurance covers it, I highly recommend them (both for medications and talk therapy). Here’s a paraphrased conversation I had with Lerner:

    Me: “Should I take my ADD medication on the weekends?”
    Lerner: “I have existential worries about the meds.”
    Me: “What do you mean?”
    Lerner: “Well many people report that it feels like time is moving faster on stimulants. So maybe you’re just experiencing less of life. Which could be worth it depending on how much you care about productivity, but might mean that you want to slow down your internal clock on vacations.”

    Whether or not he’s right, it’s clear to me that he’s pretty smart. I recommended Lerner to an SSC-reading friend of mind who agreed. I have been similarly impressed with Carlos Greaves.

    Of course intelligence isn’t the only important quality in a therapist. I found Carlos Greaves to be attentive and caring. I only saw Lerner for ADD medication, but my dad happens to know him and describes him as a great talk therapist as well.

    **Contact information**

    George Lerner: e-mail or call 415-227-4953
    Carlos Greaves: call 650-321-3730

    • Creutzer says:

      Haha, that’s an awesome conversation. Also, from my experience as someone who has been taking low doses of amphetamine for years is that Lerner is spot on about them making life subjectively shorter. Which as far as I’m concerned is a blessing.

  8. theroomgotheavy says:

    More NYC suggestions please! :’-)

  9. pas says:

    Hm, this post is suspiciously devoid of comments. So maybe this is not the place to ask, but any thoughts on “online” therapy? Is text (chat, email) so poor in the nonverbal regime of the communication spectrum that it’s instantly disqualified? How about any kind of online video/audio? Maybe with a good microphone, so to get rid of that cognitive strain that comes from listening to low quality voice transmission?

    • To_do_list says:

      I don’t have all my citations at hand right now, but my understanding is that existing literature generally says that online therapy has comparable effectiveness to in-person therapy. However, this literature would have all the same limitations as general outcome research in therapy; i.e., limited number of studies, often small samples due to pragmatic limitations, few comparisons between different effective methods (as opposed to waiting lists), little attention to reproducibility, etc.

      Also, as someone who took a training course on online therapy (I am a therapist, Canada-based), I believe it matters whether a therapist participated in such additional training (as long as the training is approved by a respected professional credentials organization). Technically speaking, online counselling is considered a separate specialty and thus ethically, therapists should take additional training before providing it. Training delivers a focused package of information on research, ethics and legality, technology, suitability assessment, additional techniques and considerations developed specifically for online counselling, and so on. The amount of information I received was massive. As someone involved in digital communities for most of my life, I did anticipate some of it – yet much was also unexpected, and unexpectedly useful. Although it is possible to perform such research on one’s own, most people would not have the time.

      As you said, quality of audio and video matters a great deal. So do plans for technical interruptions and emergencies; and additional safeguards to protect confidentiality. And as for text, tools exist to promote emotional engagement to compensate for a lack of non-verbal information. If you could see me, you’d find me smiling excitedly, as I anticipate an interesting conversation and encourage you, or anybody else dropping in, to ask more questions. I’d pull out several plush chairs for us and, with all the snow falling outside my window, offer you a cup of something warm.

      • Jeffery Mewtamer says:

        Hmmm… Now I find myself curious if there’s been any studies on how the same coherent sequence of words differs in cognitive response to stimulus between the subject reading them off a screen and the subject listening to them being read by a text-to-speech program.

        I’m also curious if the difference for a blind person speaking face-to-face with someone versus listening to a screen reader read compares with the difference to a sighted person between a face-to-face conversation and reading text on a screen. I’d imagine whether blind people loose as much as sighted people talking on the phone compared to face-to-face would be an interesting study as well.

        Hey, anyone know if blind people willing to be put in a FMRI machine to study how the brain rewires itself following adult vision loss are in high enough demand that scientists are willing to pay such test subjects for their time and handle transportation to/from the lab?

    • Freddie deBoer says:

      Some people swear by it. I had a very negative experience, not because of the therapist per se but because I found the format too impersonal and strained.