Dr. Avigail Lev

1-1Dr. Avigail Lev (Abby) is a licensed clinical psychologist in California (PSY 25464) and a certified mediator. She utilizes evidence-based practices, including cognitive behavioral therapy and acceptance-based treatments, to treat both couples and individuals struggling with relationship problems, anxiety, trauma, depression, emotional dysregulation, trichotillomania, OCD, and mood disorders.

She specializes in integrating acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and schema therapy to address interpersonal problems and unhelpful patterns in relationships. Dr. Lev has provided supervision, workshops, and didactic trainings at The Berkeley Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies Clinic, Haight Ashbury Psychological Services, Argosy University, and at Palo Alto University. She has presented her research at regional and international conferences.

Dr. Lev is also the coauthor of two books. The first, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Interpersonal Problems: Using Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Schema Awareness to Change Interpersonal Behaviors, presents a complete treatment protocol for therapists working with clients who fall into unhealthy relationship patterns and helps them overcome maladaptive interpersonal behavior. The second book, The Interpersonal Problems Workbook: ACT to End Painful Relationship Patterns, combines research and evidence-based techniques for strengthening relationships.

Integrative Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

I take a unique approach to psychotherapy, which combines strategies from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy,  Schema Therapy, and mindfulness-based therapies to assist you in relating to your experiences and core beliefs differently. This frees and enables you to live a meaningful life that grows out of your most cherished values.

To help you deal with uncomfortable and troubling experiences, I utilize an acceptance and mindfulness–based approach. As part of this process, we seek to understand conditioning from your early  childhood and how it impacts your current relationships and influences your behaviors. We also explore the connection between thoughts, feelings, sensations, memories, and behaviors in order to identify barriers and where you are stuck.

How does mindfulness help with this? Through admin-ajax.phpmindfulness, we can learn to notice and observe uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, and sensations—our “internal experience”—without buying into them and without struggling to eliminate them. Rather than being invested in trying to change our internal experience, we can learn to relate to oursleves with compassion, acceptance, and loving-kindness. When we practice acceptance toward our thoughts, feelings, and sensations, we create the space for behavioral change.

Our negative thoughts and feelings don’t have to be real obstacles toward our goals. If we learn to connect with our experience, we can figure out what really matters to us and take the steps we want to take in the moment without letting fear stop or control us. We have more freedom to choose actions and behaviors that are consistent with the kind of person we want to be.

My goal as a therapist is to provide you with the tools to choose the actions and behaviors that express your deepest values. In the face of distress or other challenges, living from your values will enable you to lead a meaningful life and to be the person you want to be.