Cheri Tsai LMFT, Marriage & Family Therapy in Oakland, California, 94607

Cheri Tsai


Cheri Tsai


Professions: Marriage & Family Therapist
License Status: I'm a licensed professional.
Primary Credential: LMFT - 104656
Billing and Insurance:

I don't currently accept insurance, but I can provide documentation if clients wish to submit to an insurance company for "out of network" benefit coverage

Fees: $120 session. Sliding scale available upon request. Free 15 minute phone consultations.
Evening Availability


725 Washington Street
Oakland, California 94607

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My Approach to Helping

My approach is to take into account the whole person by utilizing psychodynamic psychotherapy. Unlike other therapies, this approach takes into account both the conscious and unconscious parts of the mind. About 75% of our mind is buried in the unconscious. Much of what drives our motivations, beliefs, desires, and wishes lies in the unconscious. Our unconscious is the primary driver of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Thus, we are not aware of much of why we think what we think, why we feel the way we feel, and why we do what we do.

Much of our suffering comes from our everyday stressful incidents with others as experienced as raw bits of experiences that we have trouble processing. For example, when a baby, without a yet developed central nervous system, cries in pain, it needs a caregiver to pick up the baby and help the baby troubleshoot its distress. John Bowlby purported that when a baby did not receive proper care from its caregiver, it will not be securely attached. Insecurely attached babies later in life as adults will find it challenging to troubleshoot their everyday stressful experiences.

When one does not feel safe in the world, one feels a loss of trust. Also, one feels anxiety about being further harmed. So naturally people will build defenses to guard as protection from further hurt from others. Over time, built up defenses inadvertently webs a personality map of complicated split lanes and detours thereby splitting the mind into fragments. Thus, dis-integrated internal experiences can create further anxiety, fearfulness and so disorienting that it can feel like a loss of control. These incoherent fragmented states can feel intolerable that it can manifest as self-harm, intense fear, panic attacks, others as threatening, nightmares, numbness or health concerns. In addition, anxiety is discharged through substance use, exercise or distractions such as tv or internet. Being defended makes it confusing to navigate one's emotional state and find it difficult to relate to others. One tends to have a black or white view of others thereby overlooking the nuances. To build emotional intimacy with others, it requires a slow breach of our defenses; this, in turn, builds the mental capacity to experience self and others differently.

In this way, psychodynamic psychotherapy helps develop people's mental capacity to take those raw bits of everyday experiences and to process them, just as the caregiver did for the baby. Over long-term therapy conducted at least once a week, people can develop slowly begin to build these mental capacities, in their conscious and unconscious, to reintegrate the internal experience in the self and with others in order to achieve a fully functioning mind.

More Info About My Practice

I am also trained in MBT (Mentalization-Based Treatment).

My View on the Purpose of Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy can provide a powerful experience for people suffering from everyday experiences with self and others. With depth and continuity, therapy has the potential to alter one's mind and personality.

Services I Provide

  • Individual Therapy & Counseling

Ages I Work With

  • Teens
  • Adults
  • Elders


  • English
  • Mandarin

Groups I Work With

    Queer LGBTQI

Client Concerns I Treat

  • Abandonment
  • Academic Concerns
  • Addictions and Compulsions
  • Adjusting to Change / Life Transitions
  • Aggression and Violence
  • Aging and Geriatric Issues
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Attachment Issues
  • Behaviorism
  • Body Image
  • Breakup
  • Bullying
  • Cancer
  • Career Choice
  • Caregiver Issues / Stress
  • Codependency / Dependency
  • Communication Problems
  • Compulsive Spending / Shopping
  • Control Issues
  • Depression
  • Dissociation
  • Divorce / Divorce Adjustment
  • Drug and Alcohol Addiction
  • Eating and Food Issues
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Emotional Overwhelm
  • Emptiness
  • Exercise Addiction
  • Family of Origin Issues
  • Family Problems
  • Fear
  • Forgiveness
  • Gender Dysphoria
  • Grief, Loss, and Bereavement
  • Health / Illness / Medical Issues
  • Helplessness / Victimhood
  • Identity Issues
  • Immigration issues
  • Inadequacy
  • Individuation
  • Irritability
  • Isolation
  • Jealousy
  • LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) Issues
  • Life Purpose / Meaning / Inner-Guidance
  • Midlife Crisis / Midlife Transition
  • Money and Financial Issues
  • Mood Swings / Mood Disturbance
  • Multicultural Concerns
  • Narcissism
  • Panic
  • Perfectionism
  • Polyamory / Nonmonogamous Relationships
  • Power
  • Prejudice / Discrimination
  • Racism
  • Rejection
  • Relationships and Marriage
  • Self-Confidence
  • Self-Criticism
  • Self-Doubt
  • Self-Esteem
  • Sensitivity to Criticism
  • Shame
  • Social Anxiety / Phobia
  • Stress
  • Trust Issues
  • Values Clarification
  • Women's Issues
  • Workplace Issues
  • Worry
  • Worthlessness

Types of Therapy

  • Anger Management
  • Mentalization-Based Therapy (MBT)
  • Object Relations
  • Psychoanalysis / Modern Psychoanalysis
  • Psychodynamic
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