Laurie Barrett, Ph.D.,
Clinical Psychologist

About Me

Laurie Barrett

Laurie Barrett, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist
California License #PSY13640

I am a licensed clinical psychologist who works in private practice in Palo Alto, CA.  I have worked and trained for more than 20 years in a variety of clinical settings, including inpatient care facilities, community mental health settings, and health maintenance organizations.


  • Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, California School of Professional Psychology – San Diego (1992)
  • Master of Social Sciences, University of Chicago
  • Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, UC San Diego

Training and Professional Experience:

  • Private Practice, Palo Alto
  • Director, Adolescent Substance Abuse Program, Kaiser Santa Clara
  • Post-doctoral Fellowship, Kaiser South San Francisco Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program

My expertise in working with a broad range of client concerns includes:

Interpersonal Challenges
Difficulty forming relationships, current conflicts in relationships, learning to assert yourself, difficulty with dating or maintaining relationships

Mood Disorders
Depression, sadness, irritability, mood swings, fear, worry, nervousness

Couples Counseling
Communications skills, working through conflict, infidelity, premarital counseling

Parenting Support
Skills and support for parents of children of all ages, including adolescent struggles and conflict

Substance Abuse
Exploring your own or someone else’s alcohol and drug use

Increasing ability to find meaning, feel positive emotions, and engage in a healthy lifestyle

Exploring sexual identity, challenges in intimate relationships

Work/Life Balance
Finding balance between work and your personal life, clarifying personal beliefs, values, and goals

Developmental Concerns
Life changes, role changes, career planning, young adult stressors, changes in independence and autonomy


Why Therapy

When is it appropriate to seek psychotherapy?

We all experience sadness, loneliness or fear at times, and our mental health changes depending on our circumstances. The reasons for this vary for each person, but we know that the way you were brought up and your life experiences shape the way you perceive the world around you and the way you see yourself.

Psychotherapy allows the exploration of one’s sense of purpose, as well as helping people in a way that creates meaningful change in their lives. Psychotherapy is a valuable means to help you better understand your thoughts, feelings and behavior in order to find new ways to deal with and alleviate your troubles.

Not every situation needs exploring, but there are times when our usual coping skills are not enough. Many people have tried to solve their problems on their own for weeks, months or even years before starting psychotherapy but have found that that it’s not enough.

Deciding to start psychotherapy doesn’t mean you’ve failed, just like it doesn’t mean you’ve failed if you can’t repair your own car. Reaching out for help is a sign of strength and the first step to having the life you want.

Many areas of emotional distress can be addressed in psychotherapy, including:

  • Feelings of depression, sadness, or grief
  • Anxiety, panic attacks and phobias
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Coping with the effects of abuse
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Difficulty making or sustaining satisfying and positive relationships
  • Marital stress
  • Parenting issues
  • Sexual problems
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive behavior
  • Addiction

How Does Psychotherapy Help?

Clients who engage in psychotherapy can experience:

  • Symptom relief
  • Clarity about goals, values, and life direction
  • Deeper connection and ability to relate with others

Increased understanding of themselves and people in their lives.

My Approach

The key to successful therapy is finding the right therapist for you. However good a therapist is, it is the relationship between the two of you that determines whether you trust them enough, and they come to understand you enough, to help you explore and find solutions for your problem.  Having confidence in your therapist is essential.  Psychotherapy offers a safe environment in which you can talk openly, express your feelings, gain insight, and resolve your problems.

I work primarily from a psychodynamic background, which includes understanding a person’s early history as it connects to the forming of patterns that may influence people in the present day. To help make changes in one’s day-to-day life, it is important to understand what purpose these patterns served in a person’s early history. Often, it is these old behaviors that get in the way of people enjoying their life today.

My aim is to build a relationship of trust with you, and create a safe space in which you will feel able to explore possibly painful, emotional issues that have been troubling you, and develop coping strategies to help you move forward.  Our work together can help you make sense of and work to change the difficulties that keep you from achieving your full potential in all areas of your life.

Couples Therapy:

While the relationship with the therapist is important for both members of a couple, it is not the method for change in Couples Therapy. My work with couples is based on the Gottman Method of Couples Therapy, derived from 40 years of research by John and Julie Gottman at the University of Washington. Through research-based interventions and exercises, it is a structured, goal-oriented, scientifically-based therapy. Intervention strategies are based upon empirical data from Dr. Gottman’s study of more than 3,000 couples. This research shows what actually works to help couples achieve a long-term healthy relationship.

Gottman Method Couples Therapy was developed out of this research to help partners:

  • Increase respect, affection, and closeness
  • Break through and resolve conflict when they feel stuck
  • Generate greater understanding between partners
  • Keep conflict discussions calm


660 Middlefield Road, Suite B, Palo Alto, CA 94301


My office is conveniently located in downtown Palo Alto within easy access of Highways 101 and 280. The office is easily accessible from most of the cities within the Silicon Valley, including Menlo Park, Atherton, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Saratoga and San Jose.

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