Tejal Jakatdar, PhD

Founder and Director

Approach To Care

Tejal’s clinical philosophy is to approach you as a whole person and not just your target symptoms. Dealing with anxiety, sadness, OCD symptoms, reproductive issues, or post partum depression can create guilt, shame, and isolation, making it more difficult to live a full and healthy life. Tejal will teach you how to change your ways of thinking and behaviors that are keeping you stuck.

 

Empathetic and thoughtful, she tailors a personalized, cutting edge treatment plan specifically for your needs and level of readiness. Although typically described as gentle and warm, Tejal offers tough love too as she holds you accountable as you work to confront your fears. She uncovers what is stopping you from living according to your values and helps you to remove those barriers. Ultimately she helps you to achieve measurable progress toward your goals as she encourages you to live the best life you can.   

Methods Of Treatment

Tejal’s has a reputation for excellence in treating OCD and anxiety. She practices under the umbrella of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT has been widely researched for decades and is the gold standard for treating many types of anxiety and mood disorders. CBT is collaborative, structured, problem focused, and hands-on.

 

Based on her expertise and history of effective treatment outcomes, Tejal is often sought out to treat complex cases of OCD and anxiety. She combines the optimal mix of elements from CBT, exposure therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and mindfulness so you gain the ability to manage your issues effectively and live a meaningful life.

Cultural Sensitivity

As an immigrant from India, Tejal is keenly aware of how culture and family values shape a person. Having lived in 2 very different cultures, she has learned to understand cases from both the complexity of the diagnosis and the cultural implications. She is well aware of the impact that family pressures, high expectations, challenges with independence, and language and cultural adaptations can have on mood and anxiety. As such, she is sensitive to cultural issues when devising treatment interventions with clients of different ethnicities.

Education and Experience

Tejal received her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Temple University in Philadelphia, one of the top 10 clinical psychology programs in the country. Tejal was trained by Dr. Richard Heimberg, an imminent clinical researcher and mentor. She completed her internship at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. In 2010, she co-founded the Anxiety and OCD Treatment Center of Philadelphia, one of the preeminent national programs for OCD treatment. Tejal was mentored by Dr. Jonathan Grayson, a highly sought after OCD expert who eventually became her business partner. She has been practicing in Silicon Valley since 2016.

 

A passionate and respected educator, Tejal served as adjunct faculty for the clinical psychology program at Temple University and has supervised numerous practicum and postdoctoral students. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals and she has written a book chapter on treating social anxiety disorder. In addition, she frequently presents at national conferences for mental health professionals as well as in community settings to educate the public on anxiety, perfectionism and OCD.

Niko LaValle

M.A., AMFT

 

Supervised Staff Therapist

David Aitken

Doctoral Trainee

Niko is a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who enjoys working with adults, children, families, and all members of a diverse community. Her approach is grounded in evidence-based treatment, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), family-focused therapy, behavioral coaching, and mindfulness techniques. These methods of treatment are applied with utmost compassion and empathy. Niko cares deeply for her clients and guides them to push past hurdles and face challenges. Opting for therapy is in itself a major milestone, and while the journey to well-being is not always easy, Niko will help you by teaching you the tools required for self-improvement. She will focus on your goals and assist you in meeting your commitments as you progress through your therapy. She is dedicated to creating and implementing an effective and specialized treatment plan that will work for your unique needs. 

 

Niko grew up in Santa Cruz, CA and is a lifelong Bay Area native. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz she worked for many years in food sustainability. However, her interest in psychotherapy began when she volunteered with the YWCA answering calls on their crisis line. Niko is now a graduate of Santa Clara University where she received her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology. She has gained experience working at Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC), where she specialized in working with children and adolescents. She treated a range of anxiety disorders including generalized anxiety, separation anxiety, social anxiety, and PTSD. She also treated depression, grief and loss, perfectionism, and body image issues. As part of treatment Niko worked closely with her clients’ families, providing them support and guidance to improve outcomes. Under Dr. Jakatdar’s supervision, Niko is continuing her work at Willow Anxiety & OCD. She is now applying her knowledge and skills to help individuals with OCD and anxiety related disorders. She is dedicated to helping clients reach their goals with a therapeutic approach that employs empirically supported treatment with a focus on holistic well-being.

Shefali Thaman

M.ED, M.A., AMFT

Supervised Staff Therapist

Shefali is a registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist in California, trained and supervised by Dr. Jakatdar. Shefali has expertise in treating children, teens, families, and adults. She especially enjoys working with children and teens stemming from her prior experience as a child counselor in school and clinical settings. Shefali uses evidence-based practices like cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy to help her clients reach their goals. She believes that a therapeutic relationship also thrives on connection and a strong client-therapist relationship along with the structure of CBT.  In therapy with children, Shefali understands that play is the main language. And so, therapy with children (and yes, telehealth as well) involves delivering CBT using play-based techniques like playing games, drawing, reading stories, listening to music, brain gym exercises and other creative activities. Shefali’s clinical philosophy is to take a collaborative approach and work as a team. While working with her child/teen clients, she focuses heavily on parent coaching. This approach empowers both parents and children with the necessary tools to live the life they want to live. 

 

Shefali completed her Masters in Applied Psychology with a specialization in clinical psychology from University of Delhi, India. She pursued an Advanced Diploma in Child Guidance & Counseling from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, India for licensure to practice as a child and adolescent counselor in India. As a school counselor, she spearheaded social skills programs for children with special needs and parent training programs to strengthen parent-child relationships. At the child guidance clinic for the Government of India, Shefali conducted extensive assessments to diagnose childhood disorders and provided tailored suggestions for school accommodations and modifications. Being a seeker and passionate about learning, Shefali was curious to learn more about how evidence-based prevention (social emotional learning) programs can mitigate the impact of mental health conditions. After she moved to the United States, she completed a second Masters in School Psychology from Penn State University. At Penn State University Shefali further developed her expertise of evidence-based treatments. Shefali’s experience and educational background have given her a unique perspective in the clinical field. Outside of her profession and in her leisure time, Shefali loves to travel, dance, listen to music, spend time with children and watch movies with her husband. 

David Aitken

Doctoral Trainee

Dave is a sixth-year clinical psychology student who retired from a career in the software industry to begin a new career as a clinical psychologist. He is in his third year at Willow Anxiety and OCD, treating anxiety, depression, OCD, and body-focused repetitive behaviors (e.g., skin-picking) under Dr. Jakatdar’s supervision. Dave has acquired significant experience treating OCD with exposure and response prevention (ERP), the gold standard treatment for OCD, and dealing with that disorder’s subtleties and pitfalls. He is currently undergoing training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and is starting to use ACT for OCD and social anxiety disorder. He believes that the ultimate goal of psychotherapy is to help clients form a clearer picture of the kind of life they want and learn how to move toward that life more often than they move away from it.

 

In addition to his current training assignment at Willow Anxiety and OCD, Dave has trained at the Association of Professionals Treating Eating Disorders clinic in San Francisco, where he gained experience treating hoarding, and at Turk Street Mental Health clinic in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, where he worked with clients who were coping with homelessness and addiction. Dave’s goal is to become a licensed psychologist able to help clients struggling with a wide range of life circumstances and symptoms move closer to the life they want.

 

He is doing his PhD dissertation on the use of mental rehearsal to enhance self-control.

Jessica Jacobson

Doctoral Trainee

Jessica is entering into the final year of her PsyD program and has an extensive background in education, business development, and life-coaching. Her prior history and excellent training under Dr. Jakatdar over the past year have offered her eight years of experience helping clients work through many of life’s challenges. She has developed in-depth knowledge in treating clients with various anxiety disorders, depression, OCD, body dysmorphic disorder, and PTSD. Her approach is well-rounded and client-centered yet rooted in evidence-based treatments such as CBT, ERP, ACT, and mindfulness. Jessica recognizes and utilizes her clients' strengths and enjoys helping them reach their goals to attain the life they seek to live. Her knowledge, experience, passion, and sincere desire to see her clients overcome challenges is witnessed in her work with her clients.

 

In addition, Jessica has trained experience working with trauma, family-centered therapy, and learning challenges. She has been a leader for the Youth Crisis Hotline, helped incarcerated youth, volunteered at a woman’s shelter, and was a certified elementary school teacher. Over the years, she helped develop programs for teens and young adults who struggled with learning. She helped developed curriculum for reading, at-risk youth, and transitions programs for high school students. Her goal is to incorporate beneficial approaches to life where people can learn skills-based treatments to better understand how to explore what is important for personal growth.

 

Jessica is working on the final stages of her dissertation, where she is studying the effects of mind-body modalities integrated with cognitive behavioral approaches for depression. On a personal front, Jessica is the mother of two children. She also enjoys reading, travel, dance, skiing, nature, and finding ways to make people smile.

Alfredo Perez

Office Assistant 

Alfredo is a graduate of California State University, East Bay, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. He is currently working as an office assistant for Dr. Jakatdar to assist the practice and gain relevant clinical experience prior to applying to masters programs within the mental health field. Outside of being an assistant for Dr. Jakatdar's practice, he is also volunteering as a research assistant at East Bay Anxiety Lab where he assists with research aimed at understanding and treating anxiety disorders. His personal research project in the lab examined whether different emotion regulation strategies changed the relationship between attention to emotions and emotional clarity. He has presented research posters at the regional Western Psychological Association conference where he received student scholarship awards and has most recently presented a poster at the national 2021 Anxiety and Depression Conference hosted by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Alfredo strives to reduce mental health stigmatization and discrimination through psychoeducation and empathic listening.

Willow Anxiety & OCD

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Center For OCD, Anxiety, And Related Disorders

Book Consult

Treating patients virtually throughout the states of California and Pennsylvania

431 Monterey Ave., Suite 7. Los Gatos, CA 95030