"We must be the change we want to see in the world." -- Gandhi

Dr. Staci Emerson
Dr. Staci Emerson
7080 Hollywood Blvd.
Suite 502
Los Angeles, CA 90028

2900 Bristol Street
Suite A207
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

(310) 225-5220


Frequently Asked Questions

Do you accept insurance?

Do you provide online therapy?

How many sessions or how long can I expect to be in therapy?

What’s your cancellation policy?

Is it OK to contact you outside of therapy?

What is Holistic Psychotherapy?

Do you practice from a particular theoretical orientation?

Do you work with Couples?

Do you work with Children and/or Adolescents?

Do you accept insurance? [Top]

Since I’m a licensed psychologist, most insurance will cover sessions with me. If you have a PPO or any policy that offers outpatient psychotherapy, you will be able to utilize your insurance. However, I am not an in-network provider. Several years ago, I decided to stop any association that would require me to surrender confidential information and spend hours each week filling out paperwork and arguing with insurance representatives by phone. It’s disruptive to our work and is not cost-effective as it leaves less time for us to do therapy together. However, insurance is a reality for many, so I’m happy to help you use yours if you want to. I will determine your benefits (I can usually do this during or before the first session) and let you know how many sessions your insurance will cover and how much you can expect your insurance company to pay. I’ll either give you a bill or submit one for you. We can talk about this, my billing procedures, and any other special arrangements more when we decide that we’re a good fit and are going to embark on your therapy together.

Do you provide online therapy? [Top]

No, not really, but sometimes in special circumstances. Therapy over the internet doesn’t work, in my opinion. I talk online with many of my patients on an on-going basis, but I don’t conduct therapy online. If we already have a relationship and we know one another well enough to interpret communication in written form, then we can talk online when we can’t meet or when you need me in between sessions. It’s a great way to stay in touch and for me to give you advice regarding specific situations you may be facing. I’m very accessible via email, but I generally refrain from getting into any deep processes or interpretations online. I’m not rigid about this, but that’s my policy in general.

How many sessions or how long can I expect to be in therapy? [Top]

As you would expect, it varies, depending on what you present as your problem or issue. When we meet for our consultation session, I can usually give you a pretty good estimate of how long it will take to address the issues concerning you. If my estimate changes after we’ve dug into the therapy process, I’ll communicate with you openly and we will find a way to design therapy around your needs, ability to attend sessions and pay.

What’s your cancellation policy? [Top]

If I have an emergency and need to cancel (this doesn’t happen very often), there’s no charge ever. If you have to cancel, let me know 24 hours in advance so I can give your time to someone else, as I usually have a weekly waiting list. If you don’t give notice, you’ll be charged. If you’re sick and can’t give me notice, we can usually reschedule your session or talk on the phone later in the week. If it happens a lot, you’ll be charged and we’ll talk about how to make things work better for you. If I have to keep you waiting for your session, I’ll usually offer to extend the time so that you get your full time with me. If you’re late, I can’t always go over our time limit without it throwing off everybody else’s schedule. When I can, I will, but don’t expect it.

Is it OK to contact you outside of therapy? [Top]

Absolutely! I encourage it. As much as possible, I am available to you everyday, not just on session days. Therapy happens all week long and I encourage you to keep the process going in between sessions. If you need me - call, email, text, or roll down your window and scream! I always do my best to be available and I’ll always get back to you within the day, except in extraordinary circumstances. Overall, we’ll develop a relationship of trust and you’ll feel cared for in sessions and in-between them.

What is Holistic Psychotherapy? [Top]

I am a classically trained psychologist, but in the years since my formal training, I’ve discovered a number of alternative healing techniques that I believe are helpful, and sometimes essential to the effective process of psychotherapy. Compelling research has shown that exercise, combined with psychotherapy and proper nutrition, is more effective than taking anti-depressants for the treatment of depression and anxiety-related disorders. Research has also shows that over half of the individuals taking antidepressants in the US don’t need them and would be much better off learning homeopathic and natural lifestyle changes than being dependant upon medication for the rest of their lives. Despite what drug companies want you to believe, chances are you don’t need their wares. But, I don’t simply encourage people to go off their antidepressants. I have designed a program for helping people wean themselves (often with the help of your psychiatrist or physician) from medications. I am involved with every step of the process and will guide you step by step until you’ve developed a lifestyle that will support your body and mind in health without psychotropic drugs. I am an athlete myself and I understand intimately the challenges and benefits to an exercise program that is right for each individual. Before becoming a psychologist, I was an aerobics instructor and personal trainer, so I have considerable training and experience not only in exercise physiology, but also in the motivational factors that determine whether a person will experience a permanent lifestyle change that will prevent relapse. I also have training and experience in nutrition and the resulting brain physiology and I regularly incorporate this knowledge into treating people. In addition, I include hypnosis in the treatment of just about every ailment, when a person is motivated and interested in learning this technique. Over the past decade, I’ve watched people utilize self-hypnosis to conquer numerous problems and conditions that they never thought possible. Finally, I hold a Master’s degree in theology from Fuller Seminary. During and since obtaining that degree, I’ve studied and engaged in numerous religions, theologies and healing practices, which inform much of my work as a psychologist. I have found that most people have spiritual issues and dilemmas that underlie much of their troubled experiences. I encourage everyone to ask the tough questions of themselves and their world in order to evolve, but I never push any beliefs or customs on anyone. Wherever you’re coming from, I’ll meet you there and journey with you as we explore together this odyssey of life.

Do you practice from a particular theoretical orientation? [Top]

I have training in intersubjective/self-psychological/analytic psychotherapy, as well as in mainstream cognitive behavioral approaches. When I’m working with couples and/or kids, I employ several family systems theoretical frameworks. During 7 years of graduate school, I studied under numerous clinicians who practiced from a wide variety of perspectives. I gained valuable experience and information from each. From the beginning of my work as a therapist 17 years ago, I’ve specialized in psychoanalytic psychotherapy, but about 10 years ago I began varying my approach to suit each individual’s needs and personality. I’ve studied extensively Eastern philosophy and religion, as well as the best treatment approaches Western science has to offer. Research shows that the theoretical orientation of a therapist doesn’t affect the outcome of therapy as much as the overall clinical skills and experience of the therapist. I’ve developed my own style of working with people. I have a hands-on, multifaceted approach which employs many treatment modalities. My personality is positive and hopeful, but I have no difficulty engaging the darkest experiences and questions posed to humanity. I’m quite interactive with people and I believe mutual respect, a balance of power, and cooperation are essential to the process of psychotherapy. I have a lot of technical training and skills, spanning almost 2 decades so I have a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience to draw from in figuring out exactly what you’ll need to reach a place of contentment and perhaps enlightenment through your time with me. But despite all of my technical knowledge and clinical experience, talking with me doesn’t feel “clinical” most of the time. Rather, it will seem like a friendly conversation, often consisting of humor and thoughtful banter. I’m a human being before being a doctor with my patients. I understand and truly care about people, and that translates into a warm and empathic experience, which I will always value as the most important aspect of being me.

Do you work with Couples? [Top]

Absolutely. Since relationships are one the biggest reasons people consult a therapist, it happens frequently that a person will seek my help for issues that stem from a significant romantic relationship. I believe we are relational beings and cannot be interpreted outside of the systems within which we operate. Often, it makes good sense to incorporate both parts of the couple in therapy from the beginning of treatment, but sometimes I’ll work with each individual briefly before beginning couple’s work. My design for tackling relationship issues is unique and customized for each couple. Sometimes, the work with couples is around specific conflicts and problems that have arisen through the course of life. Sometimes, couples seek my help when they have lost the meaning and joy in their relationship. In this case, I coach couples in the science of love and relationships to enable them to heal themselves and their relationships. I really enjoy helping couples resolve issues and find new ways of relating to one another. Sometimes it happens, though, that couples find themselves at a crossroads in their relationship and in their lives. During these times, I work diligently to bring about the objective of the couple, which occasionally involved the dissolution of the relationship. Whatever the couples’ objective, I provide a safe and open environment within which couple’s can explore their relationship and themselves as individuals. I always promote consideration, respect, mutual vulnerability and love in all of my interventions.

Do you work with Children and/or Adolescents? [Top]

I began working as a therapist in a group home for emotionally disturbed children 20 years ago. It was my work with kids that lead me to become a psychologist. During graduate school, I conducted my dissertation research with emotionally disturbed children and troubled adolescents. My research lead me to develop a treatment program for adolescents who had a variety of behavioral problems due to their intense experiences of shame. My internship and post-doctoral training included intensive therapy with kids and adolescents, surrounding a multitude of issues, including eating and body-image disorders, academic and learning problems, ADHD, issues surrounding divorce and/or loss of a parent, substance abuse, and depression. I’ve always looked young and I am child-like in my spirit, so I understand and get along with kids and adolescents well. After spending years as a testing psychologist, I am of the opinion that many childhood disorders are grossly over and wrongly-diagnosed. I specialize in helping families find effective alternatives to unnecessary labeling, treatment and medication for their kids.

310.225.5220  •   DrEmerson@Yahoo.com