my approach to care
My approach is comprehensive, holistic, and individualized.
I work with each client to identify the type and range of services and approaches that she or he feels best meets her or his needs and preferences. I have worked with individuals, couples, and families for short and more long term treatment, using different psychotherapies including supportive, cognitive behavioral, and more insight-oriented or analytic approaches.
Although I prescribe medications, I am conservative in off-label usage. I do not automatically promote a new drug
the moment that it is released onto the market and I do not believe that pharmacological interventions are always necessary or appropriate.
I have knowledge and experience with alternative treatments and consider lifestyle and quality of life factors to be critical in mental health and sustained recovery from illness. Important quality of life issues may involve physical health, regular exercise and fitness, healthy diet, regenerative sleep, meaningful work, financial security, residential stability, satisfying interpersonal relationships, recreational pursuits, creative expression, and spiritual practices.
I have a lifetime of experience as a family member.
My mother suffered from untreated Bipolar Disorder and my sister was disabled by Schizophrenia. Both died prematurely and neither was well served by either the public or private mental health system. I have also personally suffered from depression and anxiety throughout my life. I believe these experiences have made me a better person, physician, and healer.
While I currently work in private practice, one of main goals is to establish a multidisciplinary center for mental health and wellness in the San Francisco Bay area, one that is driven by principles of recovery and provides integrated mental health, substance use and primary care; a variety of healthcare approaches; and a range of residential, rehabilitative and vocational services including self-help, fitness, and peer support programs for individuals and families.
"Dr. Janice E. Cohen is the most professional, caring and committed physician I have had the great fortune to become acquainted with in some time. I have been seeing Dr. Cohen professionally for this past year. From the first time I spoke with her by telephone, I knew I had found the best therapist for me. She took the time to listen and work me into her already bulging practice as one of her full time clients.
Dr. Cohen's approach to therapy is customized to the individual needs of the patient; she takes a very holistic view in order to truly give me the tools I need to manage my concerns and challenges in life. She is a highly educated, well read, thoughtful professional. She has always taken a very mindful approach with me. I have benefited greatly from her care. Dr. Cohen is also always willing to listen or have a conversation with me and/or my husband regarding my progressing care. For me Dr. Cohen has been a Godsend; I am more than grateful for her ongoing care and guidance. By working with her diligently and honestly, my life has improved immeasurably. I would recommend Dr. Cohen to anyone serious about therapy and improving their own personal circumstances."
Taylor D., 2011
"I got injured at work and was out for five months without getting better. I'd gone to several doctors to try to treat the panic attacks I'd started having since my injury, but to no avail. Out of desperation, I checked out Yelp for recommendations for psychiatrists, and saw Kat C's review. I figured that I didn't need a doctor that was knowledgeable of the SF party scene, so I checked out Dr. Cohen's website and gave her a call and talked to her for well over a half hour about the panic attacks I'd been having and how I wasn't able to return to work. Dr. Cohen made an appointment to see me ASAP.
I saw her weekly over the period of a month, and she was able to prescribe me an effective mix of medications that put a lid on the panic attacks, worked with me to devise a goal-oriented treatment plan, provided a lot of support navigating the worker's comp system, worked with me to determine reasonable accommodations that I needed to return to work, and helped me to handle the harassment that I endured after I returned to work only a month after I started seeing her.
Dr. Cohen is a resource that not only provided medical care, but advised me of rights that I had as an injured worker, and provided contacts to attorneys when I ran into problems that she didn't have an answer for. In my experience, Dr. Cohen has been as much of a life coach, adviser, and mentor as she is a doctor as we've navigated through my recovery from my injury and has helped me to move beyond the anger, anxiety, and depression that I had since my injury and has helped me to improve my relationships with my family and friends. With her help, I was able to get out of a very bad mental state, and start functioning again. Dr. Cohen has absolutely improved my life, and I am extremely grateful for her help."
Nom D., 2011
"Dr Cohen has been such a great help. When I went in I was not a very happy camper. She really helped me work out a lot of issues. shes honest and kind. Most therapists I had been to in the past just listened without giving any advice. Dr Cohen is very thorough and professional I would highly recommend her!"
Karina F., 2010
"After 3 failed therapist attempts, I was introduced to Dr. Janice Cohen through my wife and she really pulled me out of the darkest place I never thought I could go. Within a week of 3 sessions, I started to have hope and feel better. She has helped me rise up from a bedridden panic stricken man in his 30's to helping me tackle my life's biggest challenges on my own again. In short she set a care plan into motion that worked for me and helped me stay on course to recovery. Now I'm back...and my family and myself love it! To any naysayers about her out there, she may not be the right fit for you but if you let go and let Janice, she'll tell you the truth and fix you."
Riley O., 2009
"I've been in and out of the therapy for well on 30 years but I never found a Doctor who took the time and had the compassion to really get to the root of my issues like Dr. Cohen. Simply put she completely changed my life. Together we established a treatment plan uniquely tailored for me, my body chemistry, and my condition and went through careful monitoring and talk therapy sessions to make sure we were on the right track. I highly recommend her. Don't believe the negative reviews from the little club kids - they're not interested in really dealing with their issues in the way you can with Dr. Cohen. She saved my life and my happiness and for that I am very very grateful."
David A., 2009
"I saw Dr. Cohen after I had a really bad fall that required two surgeries as a result of my injuries. The fallout of the accident was that my body started exhibiting symptoms similar to what many people know as post traumatic stress. Since I had never experienced this before, it was difficult to know what path to take. Dr. Cohen was willing to try many things, both from a traditional medicine standpoint and a natural/homeopathic view. She never looked down on anything I researched or wanted to try. As a result, I got through an excruciatingly awful part in my life a lot easier than I would have without her help. She is easy to talk to, offers great advice and is extremely supportive. I feel very lucky that I found her when I did."
Lori M., 2009
"A day hasn't gone by over the past 3 years that I haven't thought how lucky I am to have had Dr. Cohen as my provider. Her individualized approach to treatment and focus on self-empowerment are some of the major factors behind my recovery from depression and an eating disorder. She worked with me in creating my own treatment plan and we discussed in detail what I would be comfortable with while taking the necessary steps towards recovery. Moreover, she was my advocate when other providers (doctors, RD's, etc) were less than adequate. All in all, I worked with Dr. Cohen for 18 months and STRONGLY recommend her to everyone!!!!"
Emily R., 2009
“Dr Cohen is the best! She has literally transformed my life! After cycling thru a half dozen providers over a period of 3 years, I finally found someone who was able to help me get my life back on track and feel like a valuable member of society again. She worked with me to create a personalized plan which included a combination of therapy, activity and nutrition. In less than a couple of months I was enjoying life again after what seemed like a very long time. She has shown me that you have to plan for success and has taught me how to work through and overcome any obstacles that come up. She’s not just a doctor, she’s a life couch!”
Sarah S., 2008
"Dr. Cohen is truly the best psychiatrist! She not only focuses on my emotional needs, she actually makes sure my physical health is maintained too. It's very hard to find a psychiatrist that shows this kind of care."
Jennifer F., 2008
"After 10 years of therapy, I can honestly say that I met someone who has changed my life for the better. Most of the doctors I have visited in the past tend to throw medications at you and hope for the best. Dr. Cohen did no such thing; rather she took a detailed inventory of my symptoms and issues and only after a few sessions did she decide to put me on medication. The thing that surprised me most, however, is that she actually asked me my thoughts on the medication before we made the decision. I think that this is Dr. Cohen's best quality, she does not act as if she is the one in command of your treatment, rather she approaches it as a collaborative effort.
She has never made me feel as though I had to listen to her because she is the professional, she always asks my input when we discuss different forms of treatment. Dr. Cohen is the first doctor I have ever been to who has actually cared about my progress. I have heard her say "I am so proud of you" more times than I can count, and I owe my recovery to her dedication and belief in my ability to get better. I went from a crying, hysterical mess that couldn't even go to work and thought of suicide often to a woman who loves her life and is finally able to experience and cherish it to the fullest. The best part? It has lasted. Instead of the quick fix medication, we came up with a comprehensive plan that includes so much more then just meds. I have been stable for well over a year thanks to her. I cannot recommend Dr. Cohen enough. I literally owe her my life. She is an extremely smart, dedicated and passionate individual who not only cares for her patients but who will go as far as necessary in order to ensure their recovery. In conclusion, SHE RULES!"
Ashley K., 2008
"I feel very lucky to have found a therapist like Dr. Cohen. I have been to many psychologists and psychiatrists who were quick to diagnose and even quicker to prescribe. Most of them never looked past the diagnosis of depression to find out what the actual cause was. Dr. Cohen did something different. She listened to me. I told her I had issues with attention. She did not judge me. I told her my problem wasn't that I couldn't focus because I wasn't happy, my problem was I wasn't happy because I couldn't focus. She believed me. She actually trusted that I knew myself. Everything was taken into account and an extremely professional and thorough evaluation was performed. We are now working together to meet my number one goal of finishing school.
She has also helped me a great deal with other areas of my life. I've made many positive changes and I know I was only able to do this because I finally found someone who is serious about helping people. Also, on her website, she posts her resume so anyone can read it and talks a little bit about her own personal experience with mental illness in her family. In my opinion, this says a lot about a doctor. Oh and (even though he's never met her) my boyfriend LOVES Dr. Cohen! Apparently, I was a little hard to live with before I started seeing her."
Marisha H., 2008
"I agree with the person that thinks she is a godsend. She gives me the support that no one else is willing to give. She's amazing!"
Deb M., 2008
"When my son was discharged from John George Hospital in May of 2008, I found myself with the challenge of helping my mentally ill son regain his life again. I didn't have a glimmer of hope, because every where I turned for answers, I was turned away. That was until I found Dr. Janice Cohen. Dr. Cohen not only helped my son medically, but also educated our family about his illness and the many resources that existed. She has been interested in all aspects of my son's life and has helped him address his recovery like a whole person. Dr. Cohen proved that what I thought to be impossible was actually very obtainable.
In the six months that we have worked with Dr. Cohen, my son has made outstanding progress. Prior to seeing Dr. Cohen, my son had two very traumatic hospitalizations and was discharged on high doses of six medications with no supervision. These medicines caused him very bad side effects, which led to an emergency room visit and then a second hospitalization. Dr. Cohen reduced the number of his medications and lowered the amount to a point where he now has no more side effects. From the first day of working with Dr. Cohen, I felt her warmth and sincerity. Not only has she helped my son recover, but she has helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel - a light that everyone else told me was lost. I highly recommend that anyone faced with a mental illness or simply seeking therapy for life problems give Dr. Cohen a chance. You'll find what you're looking for."
Layla K., 2008
"I have been seeing Dr. Cohen for two years now. She has been my life saver. Over the past two years, she has worked very closely with me to work on my care plan. During this time, she has helped me to establish independence from my family, which included moving into my own apartment and having my own car. She has also been a huge supporter and ally when it comes to making very difficult personal decisions. Dr. Cohen and I discuss the pros and cons first, and based on that conversation, she helps me decide on the option that works best for me.
Her strong belief in me that I am capable of doing anything no matter how hard it may be, has led me to successfully return to school after a long break. Before I met Dr. Cohen, I had gone to a lot of doctors that were not a good fit for me. None of them were good at working with me when it came to managing my medications or my personal life. They would tell me what was best for me, without my input, as if my opinion didn't count. But with Dr. Cohen, I do count--I am a person first, and a patient second, not the other way around. She has shown me that there is more to me than just a mental illness. I am defined by more than just my illness. I would like to thank Dr. Cohen for helping me to realize that and so much more about myself."
Danielle L., 2008
Patrick L., 2007
"I love her. She is amazing, and here's why: my initial visit, she met with me, spoke with me for quite a while, and set a plan for how she was going to help me, based on my own needs and what I was okay with. She would argue with me on all of my stupid pitfalls, and she got me to open up!--who else is going to set me straight? Ultimately, she helped me overcome a huge part of my major depression, and I recommend her to EVERYBODY."
Joanna R., 2007
"Healing involves commitment - on the part of the patient and the doctor. If you are truly ready to do your part in working openly & honestly through your emotional issues, I highly recommend Dr. Janice Cohen in San Francisco.
As an adult female who was diagnosed 22 years ago with major depression, I have had experience with various psychiatrists, psychologists, and other types of therapists. I have worked with Dr. Cohen over the past three years and am quite pleased with the results of our therapy and medication management.
In particular, I am impressed with Dr. Cohen's ability to keep our therapy sessions "on track" - she gently, but purposefully keeps me from going off on tangents. Dr. Cohen always performs a "check in" to get an overview of my symptoms at the beginning of a session. She then works with me to develop "tools" for managing my particular symptoms. Dr. Cohen helped me learn the difference between a legitimate feeling of sadness and the sadness that results from my depression. Learning to speak openly about my feelings, use my tools, and check in with the doctor regularly has increased my enjoyment of life. I now am able to manage my depression effectively; it no longer runs my life.
I truly wish Dr. Cohen accepted insurance, but she does not. I choose to work with Dr. Cohen anyway because she is the ONLY psychiatrist who has respected me as an individual during treatment. Past doctors have treated me like a "sick woman." Dr. Cohen has always included my ideas into our plan - even when I was more symptomatic. Dr. Cohen's help has been worth every penny to me."
Post-treatment update: "When I met Dr. Cohen, I was dealing with the loss of my sister to Bipolar Disorder, my own depression & anxiety, and food issues that were interfering with my daily functioning and quality of life. I am now married with a beautiful daughter. I am successfully managing my depression and enjoying my life."
Jennifer T., 2007
"I want to thank you for those critical insights at a vulnerable time for me. I am pretty sure that without them, I could have tanked. I still don't want to accept fully that I had lots of control over whether I got this job, but the reality is that I did -- and the last couple of weeks are proof of that."
A man who was having problems in fulfilling a particular emotionally charged requirement of a job that he had trained four months to learn to do and had to overcome in order to get the position (which he did), 2005.
"Your insight and practical tools to manage my panic attacks and anxiety were so effective that I was able to get my life back on track in a very short period of time. You became my advocate with both my employer and my insurance carrier. Knowing that I could rely on you for a voice when I could not find my own was exactly what I needed to continue on the path to recovery. We set reasonable goals and devised practical methods for dealing with my anxiety. Through our work together, we continued to set goals, meet them and set new goals. As we did this, I began to feel more and more empowered and in control of my life. You were able to instill a sense of hope in me through your common sense and practical approach to every situation. Your resolve and advocacy drove me to want to succeed and live the life that I knew I wanted to live, as a confident, happy, self-actualized woman."
Excerpts from a letter from Kelly W., 2005.
"Though I am no longer your patient, I just wanted to let you know that I am fully recovered from the last time that I met with you. I graduated from Vassar this past May, traveled for a month in Australia on my own, climbed half dome last week, and am currently in a healthy relationship. Thank you for your help during that rough time in my life."
A young woman who saw me during a summer to help her address issues following a sexual assault, 2005.
"Thank you so much for your time and help. You helped my son feel so much better about himself and helped all of us – my son, my daughter, and myself interact better as a family. We’ll miss you."
A single mother whose 12 year old son saw me for weekly psychotherapy (and lots of art and basketball) for one year, 2000.
"I thought I would never have someone who I could count on in my life, but I found it in you. Thanks a million."
A single mother with two children who saw me twice weekly for psychotherapy and medication for two years. The client moved from homelessness and unemployment into a good home and employment, 2000.
"I have found Janice Cohen to be a very professional, competent doctor, who always demonstrated great empathy for her patients. I have found her to work with the families as much as with the clients themselves; and I have seen her work just as hard for those clients who have no families or anyone to advocate for them. She treated their mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction, but also made sure that their other health problems: diabetes, high blood pressure, etc., were being addressed. She is always warm and approachable. This family appreciates the fact our family member is in a better place because of her care, understanding and professional abilities. Her clients are lucky to have her for their doctor."
A family member of a young person I treated for one year in an inpatient setting. The client is now living independently in the community and attending college, 2002.
"Dr. Cohen was instrumental in helping me provide the necessary care to a severely depressed and anxious older woman. Dr. Cohen helped design and implement a comprehensive care plan, which not only addressed the patient’s acute psychiatric problems, but also those related to her medical and financial needs and her complex support system of family and friends. Dr. Cohen functioned on many levels providing support, concrete information and the broad overview needed to work with both the family, the patient and the professional community. She brought enormous knowledge, skill and compassion to a complicated situation."
Leah Cohen ACSW, LMSW/ACP, RG, RM, Care Coordinator, 2005.
"Dr. Cohen is helping me get through a difficult time in my life. She treats me like a healthy person. She acknowledges my strong points and small successes, and reminds me of my worth. This helped me to remain confident while searching for a job – and then getting a job!"
A client who saw me for medication management and psychotherapy following two psychiatric hospitalizations for Bipolar Disorder, 2005.
"I first met Dr. Cohen when she was my sister’s psychiatrist at San Francisco's Mental Health Rehabilitation Facility. As the conservator for my sister, I have been closely involved with her care for over twenty years and have met many psychiatrists. Dr. Cohen's professionalism, dedication, knowledge, warmth, and experience set her apart from all the other doctors that I have come in contact with."
A family member of a client treated for one year in an inpatient setting – a talented woman who sang and played guitar, 2002.