Stephen McDonough, LMFT
Stephen “Steve” McDonough, LMFT, is a primary therapist who joined Alta Mira in July of 2021. Steve obtained his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Carnegie Mellon University in 1988 and spent the next 20 years conducting research in the fields of immunology, protein expression and folding, diabetes, and cancer, first at Harvard Medical School and then UCSF. He eventually returned to school at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, where he received his Master’s in Counseling Psychology with a focus on Integral Counseling Psychology in 2010. He completed his practicum at the Center for Creative Growth, a John Bradshaw-affiliated therapy and training center that specializes in codependency, family dynamics, and process addictions. Following that, he worked as a therapist at the New Bridge Foundation, a residential substance use treatment facility in Berkeley, CA, and then at Kaiser Permanente’s Addiction Medicine Recovery Services in Vallejo, CA, under the clinical direction of Alta Mira’s current Executive Director Karen Spedowfski, Ph.D.
Steve has been trained in several psychotherapeutic modalities, including CBT, DBT, Gestalt, Psychodynamic, Psychodrama, Motivational Interviewing, and Mindfulness-based therapies. As with all of Alta Mira’s primary therapists, his approach is always trauma informed regardless of which modality he is currently employing. He thinks of his primary approach to psychotherapy as being a CBT-based psychodynamic approach, exploring the client’s relational, cognitive, and behavioral patterns to uncover and resolve any maladaptive unconscious processes that might be interfering with their sobriety and exacerbating their other mental health issues. He considers psychoeducation and issues related to setting and maintaining boundaries to be particular areas of expertise.