About Me

“The millennial program is to put the art pedal to the floor.” -Terence McKenna

Hi, I’m Annalise!

I’m an Integrative EMDR Psychotherapist in Hayes Valley, but you might also call me an inner child whisperer, fairy godmother, Alan Moore-dork, ultra-Pisces and Dionysian artist.  I help artists and creatives who want more than anything to show up fully in life, in love or in their life’s work, but get hung up because of some seemingly impenetrable thicket of self-doubt, apathy, anxiety, depression, or maybe even trauma or terror.  I embolden them to love themselves more deeply than ever, so that they can take the wild, brave leap into the purposeful life they were born to live.  I know from nearly seven years in the mental health field that a beautiful inner garden of self-compassion, self-love, peace and purpose is the best gift you can offer to yourself and to the world, and it also seems to be a great way to get onto your artist path, contrary to popular belief. I also know that there is magic and mystery shimmering through every life, and that this is so even when it’s not obvious.

My Top Five (Wait, okay, nine?) Auditory Pleasures:

  • Terence McKenna (the brilliant psychedelic bard of the 1990s)
  • The Brian Jonestown Massacre (a band)
  • WITCH (We Intend to Cause Havoc) (another band)
  • Amadou et Mariam (delicious music)
  • Abner Jay https://youtu.be/WPFMMCQ__f4 (Need I say more?)
  • The Craft Soundtrack (So I can pretend like I’m in the movie…..Yeah.)
  • Nick Cave. And Roky Erickson (Just saw his last ever show in SF, and love him forever.)
  • Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes (In my opinion, the greatest living psychoanalyst, and a writer of books that I would prefer over food even if I was starving.  Many of her books are on Audible, and she has a voice that could bind anyone in a spell they’d be glad never to leave.)

My Creds (if you’re concerned about that):

(Most importantly, I’ve completed 31 years of being a fragile, imperfect human with an artist soul. I don’t pretend to know more than I do, as I believe the most important part of the therapeutic process is the fact that you have another human sitting across from you who is willing to be as present as possible with you, exactly as you are, even if you’re going through hell. I’ve done my best to hold onto my heart and soul in all I’ve done, including every therapy session.)

  • Oxbridge Masters in Philosophy from Trinity College Dublin (2010) (followed by a jaunt to India where I volunteered in an orphanage for HIV-positive children in Jaipur)
  • Masters in Social Work (Mental Health Concentration) from USC (2015)
  • Seven years of experience in mental health at the time of this writing (working mostly in residential programs and community-based mental health programs for traumatized children and youth, with only one of those years a blend of chemical dependency inpatient and outpatient experience, interspersed with some visits to clients in an adjunct skilled nursing home for people with HIV/AIDS)
  • Approved in February 2019 by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences to practice psychotherapy under my own license (hence the ‘L’ in LCSW). (It means I’ve collected thousands of post-Masters clinical hours, done a bunch of post-Masters trainings, and passed a couple of truly butt-numbing exams, years after finishing grad school.)
  • EMDR trained and cleared by EMDRIA and the EMDR Institute to use this heavily evidence-based trauma treatment in my practice. (By the way, it’s not ONLY effective for adult-onset, specific, “big T” trauma.) “CBT” has been a buzz word (or acronym?) in mental health for the last couple of decades (mostly because insurance companies love it). Think of EMDR as “CBT-plus”. CBT appears efficacious when outcome measures are taken immediately following treatment. Years later, however, the results do not seem to hold up. It’s because CBT does not address the “root” of the current distress (if you will), and modalities that allow for deeper work (as EMDR does) tend to produce longer-lasting results. I think of EMDR as the icing on the cake of the last century of Western developments in understanding the unconscious, blended with modern developments in neurobiology. It’s powerful stuff, y’all. (It’s like expedited depth work.)
  • Finally (in 2019) saw the official publication by Oxford University Press of Women’s Journey to Empowerment in the 21st Century: A Transnational Approach, to which I contributed (or, wrote) a chapter.  The original tract of writing was completed in 2015.
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I believe that love (starting on the inside), cognitive freedom, and “put[ting] the art pedal to the floor”* will change the world.  That’s why I hope you will begin practicing self-love and radical self-acceptance today, because sometimes the revolution starts as an inside job.  And schedule a free 20-minute consultation if you can dig.

Request Appointment

Request Appointment

Annalise Oatman, MA, LCSW 88254
45 Franklin Street, Suite 214, San Francisco, CA 94102

949-533-4651 annalise@awaketherapysf.com

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