Alan Rappoport, PhD
Redwood City, San Francisco
Tel: 650-556-9500
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Redwood City California psychologist home about Dr. Rappoport publications & writings control-mastery theory resources additional resources contact Control Mastery theory or Control-Mastery theory
Control-Mastery Theory in North Bay California psychotherapy practice Cognitive-Behavioral counseling for anxiety and depression in Marin County Family and individual therapy for grief and loss
Alan Rappoport, MFT psychologist offers counseling by phoneAlan Rappoport's psychotherapy practice in the San Francisco Bay Area

Psychotherapeutic Style
Professional Activities
Areas of Practice

I am a psychologist and psychotherapist with offices in San Francisco and Redwood City, California, and have been in practice since 1980. This website describes my professional practice and makes my writings on Control-Mastery theory available to others.

I have devoted my professional life to helping people through psychotherapy. I have studied the art and science of psychotherapy for forty years, and, in addition to my practice as a psychotherapist, I write, teach, lead case conferences, and have done research in psychotherapy.

While my approach to psychotherapy is primarily informed by Control-Mastery theory, I incorporate understandings and techniques from a number of other theories as well: Attachment theory, Cognitive-Behavioral theory, Rogerian theory, and others. This wider perspective helps me to provide rich and individualized experiences for my patients, and to find the approach best suited to each of them. Whatever the approach, I find that a genuine person-to-person relationship is the foundation of successful psychotherapy.

I like helping people to be freer and happier in their lives, and I like the sense of connectedness that develops as I work with people in therapy. It is also very gratifying to provide an environment that people can use to become more truly themselves in life, to participate with them as they do it, and to see the wonderful effects in their lives that result from our work. I also like the intellectual challenge of understanding what has been holding people back, and of figuring out what is necessary to free them to make progress. In my years as a therapist, I have developed a profound sense of respect for people. I am often amazed by what people have been through, and am impressed by the efforts that we all make to cope with, and overcome, our difficulties.

I am very attuned to my patients' needs. It is important to me that my patients get better, and I make every effort to insure that they do. I pay close attention to the progress we are making. If things are not changing for the better I feel concerned, and make sure to do something to address the problem. I am very pleased that almost everyone I work with makes significant progress towards his or her goals.

Control Mastery theory for conarcissist patients in Northern CaliforniaAlan Rappoport's Psychotherapeutic Style

My style as a psychotherapist is warm, informal, and personal. It is very important to the success of therapy that people feel safe, relaxed, and open, and I do my best to create such an atmosphere. People frequently say that they appreciate my non-judgmental and accepting attitude, and comment on how safe they feel to be themselves in our sessions.

In addition to fostering a comfortable, friendly relationship, I pay particular attention to developing an understanding of my patients' problems, and on getting clear on what went wrong in their lives to create their current issues. Both my patients and I find that having a clear picture of these matters is of great help in overcoming their problems. Often people blame themselves unfairly for their difficulties, and it can be very relieving and orienting to understand that these problems typically resulted from multiple factors, many of which were out of their control.

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Professional Psychotherapy Activities in Redwood City and San Francisco

My primary professional activity is the practice of psychotherapy. My main practice is located in Redwood City, CA, and I also have an office in San Francisco. I am a member of the San Francisco Psychotherapy Research Group (SFPRG, the Control-Mastery professional group), and have been studying control-mastery theory for about 25 years.

In addition to doing psychotherapy, I also write and teach. I have written several articles on Control-Mastery theory and an article on the difficulties that people develop as a result of having had narcissistic parents. I have given numerous presentations on Control-Mastery theory at professional conferences and have taught many classes and workshops on this subject. I have led case conferences for professional psychotherapists for years. I have also taught classes for psychotherapy interns at the SFPRG clinic, and have given many workshops and seminars for the SFPRG.

I currently co-lead a psychotherapy case conference in which professional therapists study cases in great depth. We may take a year or two focusing on only one case, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the psychotherapy process.

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Office location for Alan Rappoport PhD marriage and family counselor Specialties and Areas of Psychology Practice

Most people I work with are seeking relief from anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, lack of fulfillment in life, problems resulting from one's parents being narcissistic, and/or difficulties in forming and maintaining satisfying intimate relationships.

I am very skilled at understanding how to help people with these problems, and almost everyone who comes to see me has benefited from my work with them. As my patient, I will do my best to help you understand yourself better, be freer to live the life you want, have richer and more satisfying relationships, and enjoy your life more. You will be less defined by your family history and more able to be your authentic self.

My particular specialty is psychotherapy with individuals, adults, and couples. While I certainly do brief or crisis work when appropriate, most people who I work with are trying to overcome lifelong dysfunctional pattern that originated in childhood. These kinds of problems usually take some time to unravel, and so most of my work is relatively long-term.

Anxiety and depression are common symptoms people experience that move them to seek psychotherapy. These symptoms may occur across all areas of life, or may relate to a specific area, such as a relationship problem or work difficulties. The symptoms will lessen as we make progress in therapy. Sometimes we can deal with the problem by looking only at the current situation, but more frequently, we need to include family-of-origin issues as well so that we can fully understand and resolve the problem.

An area I have a particular interest in is working with those who have had narcissistic parents, that is, parents who were relatively rigid, self absorbed, and unable to accept their children for who they were and relate to them realistically. This relationship pattern produces a sense of separateness and unhappiness in the children that can continue throughout adult life. It can be very painful and often requires professional help to overcome.

I have had many years' experience working with anxieties and phobias. I have helped people with fears of heights, driving, markets, dentistry, and numerous other situations. Simple phobias are often very responsive to treatment and can be dealt with quickly. Agoraphobia, which is experienced as a fear of a variety of public situations and of leaving home or familiar people, is a more difficult problem, which requires a more comprehensive treatment.

An additional specialty I have developed is doing psychotherapy by online video. Initially, several of my patients left the local area, and we decided to continue our work by phone. This proved so successful that when people out of the area looking for a therapist contacted me I discussed the possibility of phone therapy with them. Some people started on this basis, and we found it to be quite helpful. I have since transitioned to the use of online video (Skype and FaceTime) for people who cannot come to the office. Video formats now make up a substantial portion of my practice, and I find them to be very effective modalities for many people.

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Alan Rappoport's Personal and Educational Background

I grew up in New York City, attending Stuyvesant High School and the City University of New York, from which I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. I worked for Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in Sunnyvale, CA for five years, and left Lockheed due to a fundamental dissatisfaction with the field of engineering as a career. I was a hippie for a few years, worked as a carpenter and studied Zen Buddhism, and got into graduate school for clinical psychology in 1975. I am one of the founding members of Palo Alto University, from which I graduated in 1981, from which I graduated in 1981. I received my license as a Marriage Family Counselor in 1981, and my license as a psychologist in 1984. I have been in private practice as a psychologist and psychotherapist ever since, primarily in Menlo Park, California.

I am married and have a daughter in college. I play the guitar and am a member of a Klezmer music band. I have a great interest in eastern spirituality and philosophy that started with an attraction to Zen Buddhism in college, and is still fundamental to my life and work.

I have found that being married and having a daughter has greatly increased my understanding of couples and parenting issues. My interest in narcissistic dynamics in families comes from having had these issues in my own family of origin, and working on these matters personally has given me a great appreciation of the difficulties that arise from them, and of what may be required to overcome them.
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