Matthew Van Pelt
- Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist
Master of Arts, Counseling Psychology
When we feel threatened and vulnerable, we resort to desperate behaviors to get us through the day: numbing out with screens or drugs, revving up with anger, and a hundred other fight/flight/freeze responses. The problem is that these behaviors can become calcified, and we get stuck in a pattern. What starts out as protective becomes a prison.
I work with teens and adults to explore new behaviors and develop insights into these psychological snags. The aim is to build executive functioning and emotional intelligence while facilitating the transition to healthy independence. In my conception of therapy, these “upward spirals” are both supported by and promotive of a more loving relationship with the self.
My style can be directive or non-directive, depending on the needs of the individual, but is always warm and engaged, with a healthy dash of humor.
My passion for working with individuals to promote self-acceptance and sustainable growth traces back to my experience as a tutor and college application consultant. Through that work, I gained expert knowledge of the worlds of high school and college education and became specially attuned to the unique difficulties—and opportunities—of youths in transition. I also came to realize that most often, the fundamental barriers to change are internal and emotional in nature.
I have lived and worked in countries around the world, but the Bay Area will always be my home. I’m a lover of art, music, and beauty of all forms, and constantly seek out opportunities to incorporate creative expression and appreciation into my practice.
I begin with the understanding that transition is hard.
Not only is the future unknown, but the foundations of the past, once familiar and secure, become destabilized as well. Anxieties encroach. Connections are lost. Yet, I believe that moments of transition also contain immense potential for positive change. Helping my clients discover that potential is what I love most about my work.
The individuals I work with often know what they want less of—be it self criticism, tension in a particular relationship, or any of the myriad other challenges that enter our lives and create a sense of overwhelm or fatigue.
Therapy helps, and I am here to lend skillful support in finding relief. However, my work with clients also focuses on evoking and identifying what they want more of in their lives—what nourishes them, what instills energy and fulfillment. With curiosity, warmth, and acceptance, I walk beside my clients, helping them to forge brighter paths forward.
- Youth: 12-18
- Young Adult: 18-25
- Adults: 25-65
- Seniors: 65+
Social Anxiety, Performance Anxiety, Sleep Problems, Body Dysmorphia, Grief, Loss, and Depression, Social Isolation, Online Learning Challenges, Maintaining Healthy Relationships in Quarantine, Video Games/Screen Addiction, Loss of Rituals/Markers of Transition, Needs of Gifted Students, ADHD
- Emotionally Focused Therapy
- Gestalt Therapy
- Humanistic Therapy
- Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
- Relational Psychotherapy
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Existential Therapy
My other areas of interest and expertise include grief counseling, pandemic counseling, “Post-Trump Stress Disorder,” and work with older adults. That said, the most important element of a productive therapeutic relationship is chemistry, so regardless of your specific concern, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you feel we may be a good fit.
- Credit Card
I’m offering sessions online for now, but will be considering spaces in East Bay with the eventual return to normalcy.
To set up a free 20-minute consultation, please call, email, or send a message through my website.
Rawna Romero, LMFT #41466