Pacifica Psychological Services is founded on the philosophy that an organization comprised of caring, experienced experts can partner with parents, schools and community agencies to offer high quality, cost effective therapies and educational interventions to children, adolescents and young adults enrolled in Regular, Gifted and Special Education Programs.


In an endeavor to support parents, educators, and administrators as they address the many demands facing them in their daily academic and interpersonal interactions with students, Pacifica Psychological Services offers consultations, workshops, and educational presentations to explore the multiple developmental challenges facing our young people.

Please call our office for a Free Consultation to determine the individualized services appropriate for your needs.

Psychological and Educational Assessment

A full range of psychological and educational testing services is available including: Psychological, Cognitive, Social-Emotional, Developmental, Neuropsychological, Gifted, Learning Disabilities, Academic, and Vocational Testing.

Individual and Family Psychotherapy

Individual and Family Psychotherapy sessions provide an opportunity for children, adolescents and their families to talk with psychologists about a broad range of concerns in order to facilitate optimal personal, academic, social and vocational development.

Children’s and Family Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy helps children build autonomy, positive self-reliance, and self-esteem through understanding their feelings, consideration of others, and through more effective problem solving. The therapeutic modalities typically depend on the child’s age and presenting problems and include: play therapy, role-playing, art and music therapies, symbolic-dramatic play, therapeutic stories and bibliotherapy, and other creative techniques.  Psychotherapy with children involves both individual and family sessions.


Family sessions consider the context of the family’s interactions with one another, and what interventions may enhance positive and supportive relationships. Patterns of communication and cooperative living styles, unique to each family, are explored and reconsidered.  New problem-solving techniques are created to build respect, a stronger sense of belonging, and a unity of purpose for the family.

Adolescent Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy helps adolescents develop a strong sense of themselves, identifying who they are as individuals, in reference to their personal lives and meaningfully connected to the world around them. The therapeutic modalities used typically include individual and family psychotherapy. Problem-solving strategies are explored, and alternative therapies (such as Yoga, Relaxation Training, Guided Imagery, Tai Chi, and other creative techniques) are combined with traditional models.

Therapy Groups and Workshops

Joining others with common interests and concerns is often the most constructive and supportive way to work.  Support groups and workshops are typically offered in personal, academic and vocational development issues; eating management; gay and lesbian issues; chronic illness, and personal relationship concerns.

The Intellectually Gifted Child

child_family_psychotherapy1It’s hard to overlook the talents of an intellectually gifted child. Their curiosity, ability to grasp novel ideas quickly, and leadership skills usually sets them apart from their peers.  Childhood ought to be a time of discovery—of self and the world in which they live.  So why do some kids spend their school years frustrated, struggling with low self-esteem and wondering why they don’t fit in?  Often, the exceptionally bright child fails to thrive in certain settings particularly an unchallenging classroom. They often develop behavioral and emotional problems that prevent them from reaching their full potential both as students and well-developed young people.

Because gifted children often set exceptionally high standards for themselves, there is the potential for frustration, especially for the child who is experiencing problems at school.  Without help these students can loose self-esteem and become anxious and depressed.

How to Recognize the Gifted Child:

• Daydreaming
• Boredom
• Being out-of-step with peers
• Withdrawal from school activities
• Avoidance of schoolwork
• Poor study habits
• Resistance to learning basic skills
• Inappropriate conduct (showing off and aggressive behavior or shyness)
• Divergent Thinking—the tendency to look at situations from unconventional perspectives
• Intense concentration and distractibility
• Frustration over not meeting his or her own high standards.

What About Attentional Difficulties?

Children who are intellectually gifted also frequently demonstrate signs of attentional problems. Sometimes, the difficulties with attention and hyperactivity are diagnostic of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder– ADHD. This disorder is a chronic neurophysiological disorder that makes it difficult for a child to stay focused on activities or to control his or her behavior despite trying. The characteristics of ADHD are: restlessness, distractibility, difficulty listening and following directions, forgetfulness, disorganization of simple tasks, shifting from one incomplete task to another, impulsive behavior without regard to consequences, and Family History of ADHD.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

Whether a child or adolescent’s academic and emotional difficulties stem from Giftedness, a Learning Disability, Attention Deficit Disorder, or some other difficulty both parents and educators are concerned.  About three percent of school-age children have been identified as talented or intellectually gifted; and about five percent have an attentional disorder. With proper diagnosis and a carefully structured treatment plan, young people can learn new ways to succeed and enhance their ongoing academic and personal development. The good news is – we can help.