James Norwood, PsyD

James Norwood View Specialties

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"The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change; until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds." -R.D. Laing
Starting Therapy
I understand that starting therapy can be challenging, as it requires opening up to a stranger and sharing intimate details about what troubles us most. I have invested in my own therapy extensively, and I know that therapy can be life-changing. I am dedicated to providing a welcoming environment for patients to explore their thoughts and emotions. 
Reflections on Life
I also reflect on the difficulty of life in general, and how it can be plagued by loss, disappointment, broken-heartedness, grief, and eventual death. It is incredible how people can grieve the most trying circumstances, find their footing, and forge their way to a life of passion and happiness. I believe that therapy can be a powerful aid to help people navigate the trials of their life and find meaning and purpose. 
As a licensed psychologist located in the Cow Hollow district of San Francisco, I specialize in working with individuals, couples, and families. My approach to therapy is rooted in the existential psychoanalytic tradition, influenced by the philosophies of Jean-Paul Sartre, Martin Heidegger, Friedrich Nietzsche, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Hannah Arrendt and others, as well as the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud, Wilfried Bion, Donald Winnicott, Michael Guy Thompson and R.D. Laing.
Therapeutic Approach
In therapy, I emphasize the personal aspects of life such as relationships, choices, desire and experience, and how these can often become the source of our greatest struggles. My goal is to understand what has gone wrong in the patient's life and what they need in order to live the life they want. Patients often find my approach to be both practical and effective in addressing immediate problems, but also "deep" in that it exposes aspects of their experience and themselves that were not obvious to them before starting therapy.

Education and Training
I earned my PsyD from the California Institute for Integral Studies and have received post-doctoral existential-psychoanalytic training from Michael Guy Thompson, PhD and Free Association Inc. 
Current Positions
I am currently the Associate Director of The New School for Existential Psychoanalysis and Clinical Director of The Free Association Clinic for Psychotherapy, as well as co-founder of each. The New School for Existential Psychoanalysis started in 2022 and it is a post-licensure online training program for practicing psychotherapists with students and faculty reputed the world over. The Free Association Clinic is based in San Francisco, CA but provides referrals to existential and psychoanalytically trained therapists across the state.

Additional Research
In addition to my clinical work, I have also presented papers at Esalen Institute, CIIS, and other public forums on various topics such as Spirituality and Death, The Pursuit of Gnosis Retreat Center, The Romantic-Tragic Vision of Happiness, Altered States and Extreme States and how they can occasion breakdowns and breakthroughs.

Dr. James Norwood Reaches

San Francisco CA