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  • About Catherine MacGillivray

    Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist #144848


    • M.A., Clinical Psychology, Antioch University-Santa Barbara
    • Ph.D., French Literature, University of California-Berkeley
    • M.A., Comparative Literature (English, French, & Brazilian Portuguese), University of California-Berkeley
    • Maîtrise, Lettres Modernes & Etudes Féminines, Université de Paris-VIII, mention très bien
    • B.A., Women’s Studies (Literature and Philosophy), Barnard College, Columbia University, summa cum laude


    • Associate MFT, J. Woodfin Counseling, 2022-2024
    • Associate MFT, The Children’s Institute of Oakland, 2021-2022
    • Member of the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California’s (PINC) South Bay study group, 2021-2022
    • Diversity Director, Santa Barbara chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (SB-CAMFT), 2020-2021
    • Trainee, New Beginnings Counseling Center, Santa Barbara, 2020-2021
    • Trainee, Hospice of Santa Barbara, 2019-2021
    • Professor, Department of Languages & Literatures, UNI, 1996-2019
    • Director, Program in Sexuality, Women & Gender, UNI, 2014-2018
    • Fulbright Scholar to Brazil, 2017
      Postgraduate clinical study & training in relational psychoanalysis, National Institute for the Psychotherapies, New York City, 2008-2011

    Additional Information

    Visit Catherine’s Psychology Today profile

    Perspectives & Approaches

    About Appui Therapy

    Greetings! I’m Dr. Catherine, and Appui Therapy is dedicated to giving you the support you need to liberate yourself from whatever limits you.

    Appui Therapy is rooted in psychodynamic therapy and compassionate care. It’s a different type of therapy, for different types of people—all of whom share a desire to live a life more aligned with their identities and ideals.

    Together, we can start building that life.

    I am an academic, artist, and activist, whose pleasure in supporting others and helping them to grow led me to create a therapy practice informed by my decades-long career as a professor of languages, literatures, and race, gender and sexuality studies, as well as my three years of relational psychoanalytic training at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NIP) in New York City. I approach my clinical practice as a scholar of psychoanalytic readings of both literature and gender, as well as that of a feminist, a mother, and a partner.

    I hold a bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies, with concentrations in literature and philosophy, from Barnard College of Columbia University; a Maîtrise in Modern Letters from the University of Paris; and a PhD in French Literature from UC-Berkeley. My passion for critical theory and psychoanalysis inspires everything I do. In my practice, I am also guided by the ideas of contemporary clinical writers such as Judith Herman, Terry Real, and Ken Corbett–as well as many more.

    I am available for in-person appointments in El Cerrito, and via telehealth for people located anywhere in California. In addition to English, I am also able to conduct therapy in French and Brazilian Portuguese.

    Schedule an appointment now, or browse the rest of my website for more information on my methods and services, as well as additional resources–including recommended reading–that can help you on your journey.

    “Whoever wishes may accompany me: the road is long; it’s painful but it’s lived.”

    – Clarice Lispector, The Stream of Life, translated by Elizabeth Lowe and Earl Fitz.

    Land Acknowledgement

    Appui Therapy operates on the land of the Chochenyo Ohlone people. Visit the Native Land map for more information, and visit Sogorea T’ Land Trust to make an annual contribution to their Shuumi Land Tax.

    Additional Resources

    If you’d like to learn more about my clinical approach, this article, by Jonathan Shedler, PhD, gives a detailed analysis of the impacts of psychodynamic therapy. Click the title to download a .pdf of the article.

    The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy by Jonathan Shedler, PhD