I work from a cognitive-interpersonal perspective, utilizing the insights and empirical research based in Control-Mastery theory, along with the tremendous and growing insights in the developmental sciences. Control-Mastery theory emphasizes and is centered around the idea that people come in to therapy with an unconscious plan to work on their difficulties, and to remove the obstacles that prevent or interfere with the pursuit of normal development goals. Therefore, my view is extremely positive and progressive—that people come to therapy with a wish and real willingness to master their difficulties and not to remain stuck in old, unhelpful patterns.


When you enter therapy, you will be entering a collaborative process whereby you assist me in understanding both what your goals are and what beliefs, attitudes and behaviors might be undermining your conscious and unconscious life goals. You will find in our work a great deal of respect from me for your abilities to communicate just what you need—even if you have trouble talking directly about what you want.  I work with adult individuals, couples, families and youth, and specialize in working with teens and their families.

Why Developmental Science?

As noted UC Berkeley researcher Ron Dahl wrote, "adolescence [is] a period of rapid growth, learning, adaptation, and formational neurobiological development. Adolescence is a dynamic maturational period during which young lives can pivot rapidly-in both negative and positive directions. Scientific progress in understanding adolescent development provides actionable insights into windows of opportunity during which policies can have a positive impact on developmental trajectories relating to health, education, and social and economic success. Given current global changes and challenges that affect adolescents, there is a compelling need to leverage these advances in developmental science to inform strategic investments in adolescent health."


Understanding the advancements in developmental science allow us a purposive view of development, which is ultimately about knowing how the ways in which children develop is for a reason, and not evidence of pathology.  This is especially important to working with adolescents and knowing that the changes they experience are by and large filled with meaning, with the purpose of adaptation to complex environments. Developmental science "thinks" in terms of systems, and is intensely interested in the plethora of new types of data collection, from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) which "...allows the examination of how different parts of the brain work together to better ways of tracking eye movements to study attention as the interplay between the person and the environment." Consider the impact of stress on development (Aldwin, 2014): "...stress and stress-reducing processes exist at the cellular levels, impact on mental and physical health, transact with the immediate environment, and are strongly influenced by social policy. At the genetic level, stress hormones can result in the methylation and down regulation of genes that regulate the stress process, perhaps leading to greater vulnerability in adulthood." Developmental science offers a nuanced, multidisciplinary, multilayered way of understanding the human being.




About Michael Y. Simon...

B.A. / M.A. / M.S. / L.M.F.T

Areas of Focus
  • Relationship difficulties

  • Coping with Depression, Anxiety and other mood disorders

  • Working with Adolescents and Pre-adolescents

  •  Self-esteem, reaching your goals and quieting the “inner critic"

  • Healing grief and loss

  • One-to-One Parenting Consultation and Support

  • Parenting through separation and divorce

  • Dealing with Chronic Pain/Impact on Relationships

Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science in Clinical Psychology from San Francisco State University and a Master of Arts in Religious Studies/Philosophy from Temple University.  He is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LA. MFT1193, CA. MFC38305), with licenses granted by the Lousiana LPC Board of Examiners (Lousiana) and by the Board of Behavioral Sciences/Department of Consumer Affairs (California). License verification is available online.


Michael has been providing psychotherapy in private practice setting since 1997, specializing in work with adolescents and their families. As the former executive director of the San Francisco Psychotherapy Research Group, he worked closely for many years with the developers of Control-Mastery theory, promoting greater understanding of psychotherapy change processes and psychopathology from a Control-Mastery perspective. Michael is the founder of Practical Help for Parents—a support organization for those who work daily with adolescents—as well as a school counselor, educator, and author of The Approximate Parent: Discovering the Strategies That Work with Your Teenager (Fine Optics Press, 2012).


Fees & Insurance


Please call me to get specific information about my fees. 


Some services may be covered in part by your health insurance or employee benefit plan if you have an out-of-network benefit. However, I do not currently accept insurance for payment. You can check with your insurance company to see if they’ll reimburse you for “out-of-network” therapy services. If your insurance company offers this benefit, I can provide you with a monthly billing statement to submit to your insurance company. You can check on your benefits by asking the following questions:

  • Do I have mental health insurance benefits?

  • Do these benefits include payment for out-of-network therapists?

  • What is my deductible and has it been met?

  • How many sessions per year does my health insurance cover?

  • What is the coverage amount per therapy session?

  • Is approval required from my primary care physician?


Reduced Fee/Sliding Scale 
Reduced fee services are available on a limited basis. If you cannot afford my full fee, I hope you’ll feel welcome to ask about it.


When meeting in person, cash, check and credit card are accepted for payment. Payment for the session is expected at the time of the session. When meeting via my virtual office online, payment is accepted by credit card.


Cancellation Policy 
If you do not show up for your scheduled therapy appointment, you will be required to pay the full cost of the session. However, I recognize that emergencies do arise. If we are able to reschedule your session during the same week as your cancelled appointment, there is no additional charge.

Offices in California and Louisiana

(510) 867-3800

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