DR. KATIE ARFA
Evidence-based therapy specializing in health conditions and lifestyle medicine
If you've found your way here, chances are that you or someone you love is feeling:
It's not your fault.
Our schools don’t teach us how to have healthy bodies, minds, or relationships.
Our reactive healthcare system typically treats symptoms instead of looking for root causes.
Our government permits the use of substances and additives that are known to disrupt brain functioning and other aspects of health.
It’s like being thrown into rough water without any swimming lessons.
HOW THERAPY CAN HELP
relational & lifestyle toxicity
physical & mental "illness"
unhelpful coping & lifestyle habits
Traditional therapy works by identifying and adjusting the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional ways we react to the stress and toxicity in our lives.
Unfortunately, most treatments ignore lifestyle factors like sleep, nutrition, and exercise that heavily influence our physical and mental health...even though chronic inflammation is now known to be a major factor for many conditions.
My approach incorporates psychological and lifestyle functioning that helps reduce inflammation, re-tune the nervous system, balance the microbiome, and improve mind and body health in a comprehensive way.
Call for a consult
WHAT TO EXPECT
We don’t always have the benefit of knowing what to expect in life. However, when it's possible to set expectations—whether it be at work, in relationships, or (yes) in therapy, it can make things a lot easier. So with your comfort in mind, I would like to introduce you to what you can expect if you choose to work with me.
WE'LL FOLLOW 4 SIMPLE STEPS:
It's important to me to hear what you're looking for and make sure I am the right person to help.
We have a conversation that introduces me to who you are and what has caused you to feel stuck.
Collaboratively, we identify goals that will help you exit the feedback loop and start moving forward.
Start implementing changes that have the power to modify how you think and feel.
Did you know that “goodness of fit” (i.e., how well-matched the client and therapist feel) is a huge predictor of success in therapy?
“Good” therapy can mean a lot of different things, but to me it feels most like a meaningful conversation with a trusted friend or someone you’re comfortable with. I try to balance flexibility and structure using a warm yet direct style, while infusing a sense of humor for life’s quirks and ironies.
Did you know that some techniques are more strongly supported by research than others?
I believe that when people seek help, they deserve the best treatment available. That’s why I work with my clients from approaches that are supported by research, using cognitive-behavioral strategies (CBT) and other evidence-based techniques to achieve change that feels valuable.
Did you know that your feedback about the therapy itself is a valuable part of the process?
I like to discuss which approaches may or may not be working in order to find the best style for your needs. Overall, the tone I try to create is one that feels both comfortable and gently challenging. The last thing I want is for you to feel unheard or for therapy to feel unhelpful.
Call for a consult
Health psychology settings I’ve worked in:
UCLA Medical Center
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Primary care & doctors’ offices
Clinical populations I’ve worked with:
Autism & Schizophrenia
It's always been one of my strongest-held values to lift up other people and advocate for those who need a voice. I’ve had a lot of educational experiences that make me qualified as a psychologist—some more valuable than others. I will let you decide which ones are most important to you:
My formal education followed this trajectory:
BA Psychology, UCLA
MA Clinical Psychology, Antioch University Los Angeles
PsyD Clinical Psychology, California School of Professional Psychology; Health emphasis
The “School of Life” taught me:
What it's like to feel betrayed by your body or controlled by your emotions.
What it’s like for your health to make you question everything that you thought was “normal.”
What it’s like to try to make changes only to keep falling off course.
While I was pursuing graduate education, I worked in the health and fitness industry as an NSCA certified personal trainer gaining expertise in the physiology and biology of lifestyle medicine.
Health professionals I work alongside:
Doctors & nurses
Psychiatrists & other therapists
Licensed Clinical Psychologist CA PSY31016
Recognizing the overlap and importance of both health worlds, I have focused my career on bringing psychology, medicine, sleep, exercise, and nutrition together with the goal of improving clients’ mental and physical health at the same time. My work includes individual and family therapy, research, program development, consultation, teaching, writing, and speaking.
Areas of Specialty
Anxiety and Depression
Binge eating & Weight management
Chronic & Complex illness (including POTS, EDS, dysautonomia, etc.)
Dementia & Caregiver burnout
Exercise & Cognitive Performance
Insomnia & Sleep issues
Postpartum depression & anxiety
Lifestyle medicine for caregivers of Autism and Schizophrenia
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi)
CHANGE YOUR PATH
Through therapy, I will help you:
- recognize how your brain and body are designed to protect you -
- identify the patterns and influences that are keeping you stuck -
- gain a better understanding of how your body and mind influence each other -
- develop tools that can make a difference in how your mind and body feel -
- learn how your personal programming shapes your biological health and personal relationships -
- experience relief by shifting patterns and implementing new ways of responding to stressors -
Call for a consult
Human beings are built to be resilient, but our biology doesn’t thrive unless we have support.
If you’re tired of feeling overwhelmed, being at war with your body, or questioning which direction to go,
I can help you develop tools and a new plan that will put you back in charge.
SERVICES I OFFER
INDIVIDUAL AND FAMILY THERAPY
In therapy, I work with each individual, family, or caregiver to create a plan that is specific to their health, condition, and situation. Together we then work to make small, manageable shifts that will help create change in habits, patterns, and beliefs that might be holding you back from feeling healthy and peaceful. For most of my clients, health and lifestyle habits are an integral part of treatment; folks who also want to minimize medication find my approach to be a good fit.
I am currently taking new patients and am conducting all
sessions via secure video chat.
HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY ASSESSMENTS
Similar to neuropsychological testing, I perform comprehensive health assessments by gathering data about current medical condition(s), personal/health history, symptoms, mood, cognitive functioning, and lifestyle factors, etc. Then I write up a detailed report, integrating all of the information and outlining how your brain, body, and lifestyle habits are all influencing your sense of health. In addition to identifying patterns that are keeping you stuck, I also provide individualized recommendations and resources to help you resolve the factors that are making you feel bad.
This is a cutting edge approach to improving your health that you may not be able to find anywhere else.
CONSULTING, SPEAKING, AND PROGRAMMING
I provide consulting, speaking, and programming services to individuals, organizations, and schools who are seeking motivating and engaging expertise on health, lifestyle habits, and brain functioning. Typical topics include optimizing work/life/brain functioning through exercise, nutrition, sleep hygiene, stress management, meditation, and relationships. I love to tailor my content for each specific audience so that they walk away feeling interested and motivated to make changes.
Common Health Psychology Questions
WHAT IS HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY, EXACTLY?
Health Psychology, in general, is a branch of psychology that focuses on the overlap between physical health (things that you would go see a traditional doctor for) and mental/emotional health. Illness—whether life-threatening, slow-burning, or just a miserable cold—can wreak havoc on our mood, habits, and psychological wellbeing. Sometimes, it can feel like our health is ruling our lives instead of the other way around. It is the goal of Health Psychology to help people regain their sense of control and contentment using therapy, advocacy, and education. In my practice specifically, I also help people adopt lifestyle changes that, according to science, can reduce effects of the illness while improving psychological functioning.
DO YOU WORK WITH ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION TOO?
Absolutely. Addressing anxiety, depression, or trauma related to your health is a central part of my work. It’s a rare to find someone whose health condition hasn’t caused some feelings of anxiety or depression somewhere along the way. In addition to the physical symptoms of your illness, feelings of anxiety and depression are one more sign that your body is out of balance and in need some support to re-regulate. I help my clients understand the connection between “biological” and “psychological” then work with them to improve both at the same time.
WHAT TYPES OF CASES WOULD BE RIGHT FOR A HEALTH PSYCHOLOGIST?
Health psychologists work in many different settings with a variety of conditions, including: hormonal imbalances, GI irregularities, cancer, dementia/Alzheimer’s, smoking, eating issues and weight loss, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, chronic pain, perinatal issues, seizure disorders, physical trauma (e.g., concussions), cardiac and stroke events, end of life issues, and much more.
Health psychologists also work with patients’ parents, family members, and caregivers who they feel the need to improve the way they are dealing with or providing care for their loved one’s illness.
WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF PEOPLE THAT WOULD BE A GOOD FIT?
A mother in remission from breast cancer, who is having difficulty readjusting back to life because she is scared of getting sick again and leaving her family behind
A middle-aged man who has been diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes, and erectile dysfunction and is having difficulty exercising and taking his medication
A trans person who has a medical condition and has had traumatic experiences surrounding medical care
Adult siblings whose elderly father is having increased difficulty remembering basic things, is getting lost often, and seems to be getting more moody as time goes on. They disagree about how to treat their father and want help understanding about what is going on and how to advocate on his behalf
A hard-working woman who travels frequently and is experiencing sleep issues, heightened stress, mood swings, and weight changes
Parents who are discouraged and upset about their young child’s recent diagnosis and would like guidance about how to provide the best parenting
A young man who has developed chronic pain after a sports injury and is depressed
A family who is facing some difficult medical decisions and feels completely overwhelmed by all of the information, opinions, and implications of their treatment options
A middle-aged woman who would like to stop smoking but can’t seem to quit on her own
A father who cannot work because of his chronic illness and feels depressed. He believes he is not good enough as a man since he cannot provide for his family.
A couple with one partner who just experienced a major stroke or heart attack. They want to learn how the incident will impact the partner’s (and couple’s) functioning and what lifestyle changes they can make to reduce the chances of another one
A driven man who is generally in good health but wants to learn about and improve his sleep cycles, nutrition habits, and exercise routine so that he can get ahead at work and in life. He also wants to learn about meditation.
A young woman who has been depressed and/or anxious for some time, and feels that being overweight is contributing to her mood issues because of her poor self-esteem and social life. She has tried many times to lose weight but can’t figure out why it’s not working
Essentially, anyone who feels like life is being dictated by their health or body rather than the other way around.
DO YOU TAKE INSURANCE?
Currently, I do not take insurance but I am happy to provide you with a “superbill” (a statement listing all of the charges) that you can submit to your insurance provider. Some insurance providers will reimburse you a portion of the bill, while others won’t. If being reimbursed is very important to you, make sure you call your insurance company to find out whether or not they will cover any portion of my services. If you have any questions or concerns, I am happy to help you.
WILL YOU WORK WITH MY DOCTOR?
Absolutely! I wouldn't consider myself a helpful advocate otherwise and I routinely collaborate with my clients' health providers. I believe that we get the most out of our healthcare when all of our "team members" are on the same page. Of course, I would only work with your health professional(s) if that is what you prefer.
YOU SAY "ADVOCACY" IS A SERVICE YOU PROVIDE. WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?
Many times, people with either acute or chronic health concerns find themselves overwhelmed with all of the doctors, appointments, medications, treatment options, and (sometimes the worst thing!) differing opinions between providers. When we find ourselves in these situations, sometimes the most helpful thing is to have someone whose only priority is YOU. When I work with clients who feel overwhelmed by their healthcare, I act as an advocate for them by:
guiding them through a neutral decision-making process that translates medical jargon into understandable concepts and identifies how their treatment options may affect their mental health and lifestyle
discussing relevant points with their medical team to make sure their mental health is being prioritized
providing resources that can help make decisions, transitions (and life!) easier
helping them prepare for important meetings with their provider by clarifying their health goals, life values, and which questions they should be asking
reviewing their medical records, lifestyle, and health factors to make sure their treatment matches their values
clarifying which steps to take to successfully navigate the complex and confusing healthcare system
"Your body is your most priceless possession. Take care of it."
I encourage you to give me a call to schedule a complementary consult. I would love to provide you with clarity about where to go from here.
11500 W Olympic Blvd, Suite 460
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Parking is available via meters on the nearest streets, for free in
adjacent neighborhoods, and for a fee underneath the building.
The parking entrance is located off Colby Ave.
If I'm not the right person to help you out, I will connect you with someone who can.