DR. KATIE ARFA
Specializing in Health
Licensed Clinical Psychologist CA PSY31016
I have always known I wanted to spend my life advocating for other people and I have been working in the field of psychology for 10 years. I earned a Bachelor’s in psychology at UCLA and a Master’s degree in clinical psychology at Antioch University before going on to complete my training with a doctorate from the California School of Professional Psychology, where I specialized in Health.
Throughout my education I worked as a professional in the health industry, gaining expertise in physiology, exercise, nutrition, sleep, and stress. My clinical training includes clinical work in a variety of health settings (UCLA Medical Center, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, doctors’ offices, research labs, community clinics) and populations (anxiety and depression, dementia/Alzheimer’s, autism, schizophrenia, etc.) and I have many years of experience working alongside doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, pharmacists, personal trainers, dieticians, and other health professionals.
Recognizing the overlap and importance of both health worlds, I have since focused my career on bringing psychology, medicine, 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.
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 your goals and/or contentment. For most of my clients, health and lifestyle habits are an integral part of treatment; folks who want to minimize medication find my approach to be a good fit.
In some situations, I offer sessions via secure video conference.
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. I then write up a detailed report, integrating all of the information and breaking down how (based on the science) your brain, body, and lifestyle habits are all affecting your overall health. In addition to identifying patterns in your health, I also provide individualized recommendations and resources to help you solve the problem you're facing.
This is a cutting edge approach to improving a person's 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 also advise and speak on corporate wellness.
WHAT TO EXPECT
We don’t always have the benefit of knowing what to expect in life. However, when setting expectations is possible—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.
“Good” therapy can mean a lot of different things, but to me it feels most like a meaningful conversation with someone you’re comfortable with. I work to maintain a balance of flexibility and structure and a warm yet direct style, while infusing a sense of humor for life’s quirks and ironies. Overall, the tone I work with my clients to create is one that feels both comfortable and gently challenging. I am also a believer in feedback—I like to discuss which approaches may or may not be working in order to find the best style for each person’s needs. The last thing I want is for you to feel unheard or for therapy to feel unhelpful.
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 and other evidence-based techniques to achieve change that feels valuable. The first few sessions are spent in assessment mode—trying to understand everything that has been going on and conceptualizing a model for what is causing someone to feel stuck or dissatisfied. Then, I work with each client to formulate a plan that addresses their concerns from multiple angles. Because I specialize in health psychology, a large part of my approach is to help my clients understand what health and lifestyle factors may be playing into their dissatisfaction with life. Often, this means discussing how factors like sleep, nutrition, exercise, and stress management can help us reestablish contentment from the inside out--adjusting our biology through our behaviors. That said, it is important to note that regardless of where each person might be on the spectrum of health—whether they are a proud couch potato or a triathlete—any status is a great place to start. I believe people do the absolute best they can with what they are given.
Common Health Psychology Questions
WHAT EXACTLY IS HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY?
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.
WHAT TYPES OF CASES WOULD BE RIGHT FOR A HEALTH PSYCHOLOGIST?
Health psychologists work in many different settings with a variety of conditions, including: cancer, dementia/Alzheimer’s, smoking, obesity, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, chronic pain, perinatal issues, seizure disorders, physical trauma (e.g., concussions), GI irregularities, 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 FOR WORKING WITH A HEALTH PSYCHOLOGIST?
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
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
And…anyone who feels like their life and happiness are being dictated by their health or bodies 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
I encourage you to give me a call with any questions or concerns you may have.
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.