Phyllis Klein, LCSW

Phyllis Klein, LCSW

License number LCS11342
Practicing since 1976,
Licensed in California since 1984

Offices: 870 Market Street, #944
San Francisco, CA 94102
825 San Antonio Road #101
Palo Alto, CA 94303

Call for free phone consultation   ‐   Phone: 415-273-1036
or email to
See also


Areas of interest include:

  • Depression, anxiety, and trauma
  • Eating disorders, anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive eating
  • Alcohol and Drug recovery
  • Low self esteem
  • Childhood sexual, emotional, and physical abuse
  • EMDR (Eye Movement, Desensitization, and Reprocessing) Therapy
  • Chronic illness
  • Life transitions such as getting started in adulthood, divorce, career change, and sudden change
  • Grief and Loss
  • Relationships and couples therapy
  • Writing for Healing and poetry therapy

In the desert of the heart
Let the healing fountain start

W.H Auden

I’ve been a therapist for over 30 years, and I’m interested in helping you uncover your heart’s knowledge. My approach is integrative, combining my personal style with several theoretical approaches in a desire to create safety, learning, and growth.  I use psychodynamic, control mastery, cognitive behavioral,  focusing, a somatic based therapy, and EMDR therapy. I also work with stress reduction techniques including breath work, imagery, and restorative yoga.

My belief is that change comes from motivation along with a healing relationship based on your special needs and unique history. The progression from the desert that Auden talks about in the excerpt above, which could be depression, panic attacks, a life transition, loss, an eating disorder, etc., to the healing fountain, includes understanding your thoughts and feelings, noticing how you treat yourself and how others have treated you, currently, and in the past. In psychotherapy it may be useful to use guided imagery, visualization, creativity, soothing/relaxation, and grounding techniques. Writing can be  a significant healing tool for individuals and also groups. I can also work with collage, drawing,  and dreams is any of these feel right.

today… we wake up empty and frightened–Rumi

Life has its own difficulties though out the life cycle, and stress, coming from change, both positive and negative is an expectable feature of life.  People are influenced by the care and attitudes of family and and events of childhood. You can find yourself in challenging or unfulfilling situations that feel predictably familiar. I believe that therapy, through the relationship with the therapist, can bring a new way of experiencing yourself. For example, if you are used to criticism, you may find encouragement and support, or if you are used to experiencing rejection, you may find acceptance. If you have fear about getting close to people, you may find a slow path towards emotional intimacy and trust, or if you believe that no one could handle your anger, or it is unacceptable to feel anger, you may find strength and helpful boundaries.  There will be times in therapy when the therapist makes mistakes or even inadvertently lets you down. Through careful consideration and caring attempts to understand and repair, these experiences have the capacity to be healing.

Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument… —

Sometimes the way towards healing is to try something new. As Rumi suggests, “Take down a musical instrument”. You may have little or no idea how to “play” your new instrument, but with willingness, new ways of approaching life can emerge. This could mean recognizing when you are falling into an old pattern and finding new ways to cope. For instance, you might feel anger, but also find empathy for  another person’s point of view. You might feel fear, only to realize that you are not alone. You might want to take a drink after a period of abstinence, binge eat, but find you have other coping skills available. You might be able to handle a problem or disappointment without condemning yourself.

 I am surf on the cliff
mast, rudder, helmsman, and keel,
I am also the coral reef they founder on

 If you have experienced trauma in your life, you may feel disconnected from yourself. This means that you may have self harming behaviors that feel very hard to understand and nearly impossible to stop. You may feel confused or divided in how you experience daily life. You might have physical health concerns that are connected to your emotions.  And you might have a way of seeing situations in black and white terms instead of somewhere in the middle–where there are many more choices than just black and white. Having choices could translate into permission to eat some of the food you are craving while doing so in a safe way, going to yoga instead of running miles when you are too tired, or spending some time alone and some time with people instead of either one or the other.

I am dust- particles in the sunlight
I am the round sun
to the bits of dust I say, stay
to the sun, keep moving

My hope is that you will find a way forward away from the darkness and into the light.