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.