Choosing a psychotherapist is a very personal decision. While “satisfied customers” are the best referral source, many people today are faced with choosing a therapist from a list provided by their insurance in hopes of finding someone close to their home or work. The purpose of my website is to tell you something about me and my work and, hopefully, to answer some of your immediate questions. As you peruse this site, ask yourself, “Does this therapist seem like a good fit for me and my concerns?”

Cynthia A. Woelfel PhD

Areas of Practice


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Depression and Bipolar Disorder



Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


Physical, Sexual and Emotional Abuse

Stress Management


Marital and Relationship Problems

Child Behavioral and Learning Problems

Parenting Training

Medical and Health Concerns

Including Pain Management

Adjustment Disorders

Divorce, life transitions, grief

About Me:

I am married, have three young adult sons and lived in Orange County since earning my doctoral degree in 1986. Recently, I moved to San Diego where I continue to practice via telemedicine. As my children left for college, I found myself caring for several rescued dogs who I have now adopted. I enjoy the practice and teaching of yoga, bicycling, gardening, fitness, cooking and travel. As the pandemic recedes, I hope to increase my engagement with social justice activism, aiding unsheltered families and outreach to those affected by suicide.

About My Patients:

Due to my exclusive practice via telemedicine, I currently accept new clients that are 16 years and older. I am bilingual (Spanish) and multiculturally competent after living in Latin America for several years. People come to me to improve both their mental and physical well-being (See Areas of Practice for more information).

About Psychotherapy:

Psychotherapy is a collaborative process in which my responsibility is to listen carefully to your description of your distress in the context of your unique life experiences. Your responsibility is to be as honest and thorough about your experiences as you can. Together, we will bring our mutual knowledge and expertise to understand and address the source of your distress. We will create an individualized treatment plan exploring which interventions seem most appropriate. In this process, you will learn about yourself, and through practice, increase your capacity to decrease your suffering while cultivating self compassion and an improved sense of well-being.

Methods Employed:

Your treatment plan will be individually tailored to meet your concerns using a biopsychosocial model of diagnosis and treatment. First, we will evaluate the quality of your sleep, nutrition, physical activity, social connections, thoughts, mood and overall health and well-being. Next we will examine the sources of your distress and employ multiple modalities to reduce symptoms, increase resilience, and improve your health. These may include (but are not limited to) mind-body medicine, mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy, positive psychology, EMDR, MBSR, and interpersonal psychotherapy approaches. (See Psychotherapy Methods for more information). Mental health education and skill development through homework practices will be a primary focus of psychotherapy.

Resources and Links

Common Questions

How long are the sessions?

Therapy sessions are generally 50-60 minutes long. If you arrive late to a session, we will still need to end our session on time. If I begin our session late, you will have at least a 50-minute session.

How often will I come?

Typically, we will meet once per week to begin and then gradually taper to every two weeks or once a month until treatment is no longer desirable or beneficial. Sometimes, especially during times of crisis, we may arrange to meet twice per week.

Is therapy confidential?

The law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a patient and a psychologist. Information is not disclosed without written permission. However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule. Exceptions include:

  • Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse. Health care providers are required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
  • If a patient is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s. Health care providers must notify the police and inform the intended victim/s.
  • If a patient intends to harm her or himself. Health care providers make every effort to enlist patients cooperation in insuring their safety. If they cannot or will not cooperate, further measures may be taken without their permission in order to ensure their safety.

How long will therapy take?

The length of treatment will depend mostly upon your individual concerns, your readiness for change and the investment you make to follow through with your weekly practices. In general, the longer you have been suffering, the longer it usually takes to recover.

What are the benefits of therapy?

Many people find that working with a psychologist can optimize brain functioning which in turn, enhances personal development, improves relationships and productivity, while also building resilience to ease the challenges of daily life. Having someone you can trust, who listens attentively (me), combined with your skill development between sessions, can lead to improved health and greater quality of life. Some of the benefits from psychotherapy include:

  • Modifying unhealthy behavior and long standing problems
  • Developing new skills for handling stress and anxiety
  • Improving ways to manage anger, depression and moods
  • Enhanced focus and concentration
  • Improving listening and communication skills
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems
  • Attaining insight into personal patterns and behavior that can lead to increased awareness and capacity to make positive changes
  • Navigating life's obstacles more effectively
  • Effectively manage acute and chronic illnesses including pain management
  • Increased confidence, joy, peace, vitality and well-being

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