About Dr John O’Brien

Therapeutic Approach and Background


I take a client-centered approach, which basically means understanding and meeting each individual where they are in their life circumstance.  I focus on creating a safe comfortable space for clients to grow.  This can occur in different ways but usually includes gaining a better understanding of one’s thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and actions, as well as gaining clarity of social and environmental realities such as relationships, school and work settings, or family life. For the client, the sense of support and the increased understanding often results in relief from emotional pressure, a gained sense of direction, and more creative resources to tackle the challenges of life.

I base my work on theories and techniques from humanistic, gestalt, and psychodynamic psychologies, and am also informed by attachment theory, human development, mindfulness and body-mind research.  I work with the client on what is present in the moment, knowing the past is the prologue, informing the moment but not defining the future.  Primarily I employ talk therapy, but occasionally with adolescents and sometimes adults, I may incorporate art therapy or psycho-educational activities depending on the client’s unique circumstance and comfort level with talk therapy.


  • Licensed as a Psychologist by the State of Colorado. License # PSY 6311
  • Doctorate in clinical psychology from Alliant Int’l University in San Francisco.

Trainings at:

  • Community Institute for Psychotherapy doing long-term work with adults, youths, families and couples in a private practice type setting while running a social-emotional art and mindfulness group for adolescents at area middle schools. (Focus on relationship issues, anxiety, depression, life skills, symptom management).
  • Clinicians Consultation group at Dream Institute of Northern California
  • Alameda Family Services doing short term individual and group work (anger management, substance abuse)
  • Y-team School-based counselor for middle-schoolers.
  • Psychological Services Center – High school life skills and social-emotional group.
  • Mental skills mentor for youth, collegiate, and professional level male and female athletes
  • Bachelor’s Degree from Antioch University completed, Los Angeles with a concentration in Psychology
  • Prior experience includes youth groups, youth sports, non-profits, and NGO involvement
  • Professional Soccer player representing the U.S. in the Olympics and the World Cup, playing domestically and overseas.


  • American Psychological Association
  • Sandplay Therapists of America Associate