About Dr. Christina Nelsen, PsyD
Dr. Nelsen is trained in Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT), Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) and the Gottman Method Couples Therapy, all three are highly effective, evidence-based treatments for couples counseling and therapy. Additionally she has certifications in Sex Therapy through (CIIS) California Institute of Integral Studies and through individual consultation with sex therapy experts.
I am passionate about healthy, loving, equitable, secure-functioning relationships. My professional and personal interests include attachment dynamics & relationship issues, nonviolent communication skills, intimacy, sexuality & sex therapy, parent-child attachment, perinatal psychology, pregnancy issues & positive parenting, foster and adoption issues, spirituality, transpersonal psychology and holistic wellbeing.
I am most interested in helping people to cultivate loving intimate relationships, whether that relationship is to one’s own self or with others. Intimacy and love begin with ourselves and then extends into our connections with others. To have compassion for others, first requires to have self-compassion.
I wrote my doctoral dissertation on sexuality, attachment bonding in intimate relationships and the impact of trauma. I understand the complexity of attachment dynamics and strive to help facilitate the healing process. Secure attachment leads to emotional closeness and safety, which is crucial for intimate healthy partnering.
I believe we all have the capacity to generate self-awareness and have an innate ability to heal our pain. Assisting couples and individuals foster deeper compassion, healthy attachment and intimacy in their relationships is what this work is about.
Dr. Nelsen has a Doctorate and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis on attachment and relationship dynamics. She also has a Bachelors degree in Human Sexuality & Psychology and a BFA in Studio Arts. She is a published author in the field of gender and sexuality. She has presented her research at national conferences, as well as internationally. Excerpts of her research work have been used in a university course entitled "Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies: Race, Sex, Gender and the Body" at Cal State Long Beach. Dr. Nelsen regularly contributes to various blogs and was recognized as one of the "Planet's Top 100 Bloggers on Marriage Counseling" in 2017. She is currently writing a book to help couples have deeper sexual intimacy from an attachment-based perspective.
She is trained in Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT), Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy for Couples (AEDP), Sex Therapy, Somatics Experiencing (SE), Child Therapy, Art Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), EMDR, is certified in Clinical Hypnotherapy and is working towards her certification in sex therapy through The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) and California Institute of Integral Studies.
Areas of particular passion to Dr. Nelsen are all things related to healthy attachment, sexuality, relationships, parenting and pregnancy issues, LGBTQ issues, Gender Identity, intimacy & sex, nonviolent communication, art therapy and helping survivors heal sexual trauma. She has a lot of experience with gender expansive, non-binary folks as well as LGBTQ+ individuls and couples. Dr. Nelsen's training and experience qualifies her as a gender specialist, rather than simply a gender therapist.
Some issues addressed in Dr. Nelsen's work with individuals and couples include sex and relationship issues, attachment, secure-functioning partnerships, effective communication, sexuality & intimacy, gender identity, LGBTQ+ issues, trauma, (C)PTSD, Dissociative Identity Disorder, grief, parenting and pregnancy issues, and spirituality & mindfulness. As a Costa Rican born, POC & LGBTQ identified woman, Dr. Nelsen is particularly drawn to work with people dealing with minority and diversity issues. She has dual citizenship, is bilingual and has lived in and traveled to many countries.
Her clinical interests are deeply rooted in attachment and relationship issues. Dr. Nelsen welcomes and values cultural and sexual diversity. She is Poly and Kink friendly and uses the pronouns She/Her/They.
ADDITIONAL TRAINING & EXPERIENCE (Including but not limited to):
- A Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy® (PACT) 2014-current, level 2, under PACT founder, Dr. Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT
- Certification in Sex Therapy through The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) and California Institute of Integral Studies (in progress, expected 2018)
- Mentoring by world renowned Sexologist, Sexuality Educator, Pioneer of sex coaching and former President of AASECT, Dr. Patti Britton. 2017-ongoing
- Ongoing supervision in Sex Therapy under acclaimed author, clinical psychologist, past President of the Western Region of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality and esteemed Sex Therapist Dr. Stella Resnick, PhD 2017-ongoing
- Clinical Hypnotherapy Certification (200 clinical hours),with Naomi O'Keefe, Ph.D. & Steve Johnson, Psy.D., San Francisco, CA 2010-2011
- Group and individual consultation with couples therapy expert, Dr. Michael Kline, Ph.D. utilizing Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP,) Psychophysiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT), Internal Family Systems (IFS), Emotionally Focussed Therapy (EFT) training & consultation. 2012-2014
- AEDP for Couples, Core Training (2 years) with David Mars, Ph.D., MFT and Karen Pando-Mars, MFT, San Rafael, 2012-2014
- Practice in Transformative Action Leadership in Mindfulness Program, East Bay Meditation Center (2013-2014)
- Somatic Experiencing Practioner 2012
- Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) for Couples, level three
- Trainings on treating and assessing intimate partner violence (IPV) in LGBTQ survivors, via The Northwest Network for Bi Trans Gay and Lesbian Survivors of Abuse, Seattle, WA, 2013
- Training in Sex Therapy, under supervision of ASSECT certified clinical psychologist and sex therapist, Dr. Naomi O'Keefe. 2009-2010
- AEDP Essential Skills (1 year) with Diana Fosha, Ph.D. (Founder of AEDP), Karen Pando-Mars, MFT and others, San Francisco, CA 2013-14
- AEDP Immersion Course with Diana Fosha, San Francisco, CA June 2013
- EMDR training, 2017
- Treatment and Assessment of Substance Abuse & Addiction Training 2008-2009
- Outpatient community mental health services for adults over 21 years in age with moderate to severe mental illness, Led Dual Diagnosis (mental illness & substance abuse) group as well as worked with adult individuals dealing with addiction issues at Portia-Bell Hume Center 2009-2010
- AEDP Parts Work Training with Jerry Lamagna, San Rafael, CA 2012
- On-going AEDP Couples Consultation with David Mars, PhD., MFT (2012-2014)
- Various Control Mastery Trainings with the San Francisco Psychotherapy Research Group
- Eating Disorders and Body Image training (1 year) with Ondina Nandine Hatvany, MFT. 2008-2009
- Group Therapy training (1 year) under the supervision of Dr. Ireland, Ph.D. 2008-2009
- Advanced Skills training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, with Dr. Lou Rappaport, Ph.D. 2008
- Sandtray and play therapy training for children 2008-2010
- Member of AEDP WEST, Marin, CA
- Member of AEDP
- Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) Couples Externship with Sue Johnson, San Francisco, CA 2014
- 500 hours internship at the Art of Yoga Project, working directly with founder, nurse practitioner and yoga instructor, Mary Lynn Fitton, in co-facilitating groups with high-risk incarcerated teenaged girls, utilizing processing, art therapy, creative writing and yoga as a means to bring personal and interpersonal awareness to the participants 2005-2007
The Art of Yoga Project focuses on early intervention to help marginalized and justice-involved girls prepare for a positive future. They are leaders in the treatment and rehabilitation of justice-involved girls by offering gender-responsive, trauma-informed, culturally-responsive, and strengths-based programming. Their mission is to lead at-risk, exploited and incarcerated girls toward accountability to self, others, and community by providing practical tools to effect behavioral change. We send specially trained yoga teachers, art therapists, creative arts and writing educators into facilities to deliver our mindfulness-based curriculum
- Certified Birth Doula, Seattle Midwifery School (Now Bastyr University), 2004
- Master program in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture at Traditional Chinese Medical College of Hawaii, 2004-2005
- Member of The American Psychological Association’s Division 56, Division of Trauma Psychology, 2010- Present
- Member of The American Psychological Association’s Division 43: The Society for Couple and Family Psychology 2012- Present
- Member of The American Psychological Association’s Division 44, The Society for Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Issues, 2010- Present
- Member of The American Psychological Association’s Division 12: Society of Clinical Psychology
- Member of The American Psychological Association’s Division 35: Society for the Psychology of Women
- Member of The American Psychological Association’s Division 32, The Society for Humanistic Psychology, 2010- Present
- Member of The American Psychological Association’s Division 30, The Society for Psychological Hypnosis 2010- Present
- American Psychological Association (APA) Member 2007-present
- AEDP WEST 2012-present
- Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy
- Member of the San Francisco Psychotherapy Research Group 2010-Present
- California Psychological Association (CPA)
- Member of Gaylesta: The Psychotherapist Association for Gender and Sexual Diversity
- International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (ICEEFT)
- Northern California Emotionally Focused Therapy (NCEEFT)
- Accelerated Experiential-Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP)
- WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health)
- The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists
- Esalen Institute
- The Gestalt Journal Press and The Gestalt Therapy Network
- Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality
Christina Nelsen, Psy.D. (# PSB37421), is a Registered Psychological Assistant to Dr. Miguel Hidalgo-Barnes, PsyD. A psychological assistant works under a supervisor to gain hours (a minimum of 1500 pre-doctoral and 1500 post-doctoral hours) for licensure before taking his or her exams. Dr. Nelsen has accrued her hours and will be taking the license exam this Fall. Her clinical interests are deeply rooted in intimacy, attachment, sexuality and relationship issues. Dr. Nelsen welcomes and values diversity.