Conversations with Clinicians: Chris Doorley

Conversations with Clinicians interview: chris doorley

Conversations with Clinicians interview: chris doorley

In our Conversations with Clinicians series, we interview one of our associate therapists so that you get to know them in more depth. They share more about the work that the do, the clients that they work with, their inspirations, passions, personal interests and more. Today, we’re talking with Chris Doorley.

Conversations with Clinicians interview: chris doorley

Where is your office located?

I’ve been working remotely using tele-health (video) since 2020 in Marin County (North Bay), CA.

What is your therapeutic orientation? 

What are your areas of specialty? 

  • ADHD
  • Anxiety
  • Creativity
  • Habit Change / Recovery

What other modalities inform your work?

Vipassana meditation & Narrative Therapy (creative writing, poetry, journaling, challenging beliefs) 

What is it like to work with you? How would you (or clients) say you are in the room?

I’m calm, engaged, and an active listener during therapy. Also, I intentionally bring in an awareness of word choice followed by inquiries about what’s meaningful for my clients.

Who do you LOVE working with?

I love to support people who feel motivated / ready to discover new ways of living, which is why I love listening to individuals who value art, creativity, learning, and philosophy.

What inspires you about this work?

Meeting people who have rebounded from suffering inspires me not only to provide support to them, but also to persevere in my own challenges.

What is something new you have in the works?

After almost a decade of supporting individuals and groups through addiction recovery, I’ve been offering treatment plans (alongside individual therapy) that address smoking habits. For those ready to change their relationship to smoking, I can provider targeted approaches in addition to traditional individual therapy goals.

What do you do outside of this work to stay inspired?

My two go-to activities are hiking and creative writing. Pretty often, I’m doing those two things at the same time (think, haiku). Additionally, about music I am a freak— a pan-genre nut about sounds and songs of all kinds from all times, from Tibetan singing bowls to ‘50s jazz to alt rock to electronica (& praise be, Radiohead).

Best job (or most interesting job) before becoming a therapist?

For almost a decade I worked in fine dining on the East coast which led me into sommelier (wine tending) work. There’s something really evocative about that discipline, which embodies knowledge about farming, ecology, language, history, and gastronomy. In 2009, I left that world behind.

We’d Love Some Recommendations From You …

… for managing moments of overwhelm:

Body-based interventions for overwhelm can be as simple as changing posture, noticing your feet on the ground, extending one’s exhale (slowing breath, no fancy exercise), and naming five colors wherever you are. Realistically, managing overwhelm takes practice and repetition over time. Navigating feelings of overwhelm is a focus of therapy with me, a core competency of my approach.

… for the best place to cry in the Bay Area:

I’m a big fan of giving sorrow to the ocean. We have a pretty great ocean and waterways here in the Bay Area. Go ahead and give it up to the sea whenever you can. I like to feel my feet in the sand, too, so flip-flops are my mourning attire of choice. When the ocean isn’t accessible, I recommend music. 

… for the best place to find a laugh in the Bay Area:

I think the whole world is ripe with comedy and laughter. But, when a person feels overwhelmed (or underwhelmed) by it all, a trusty comedy program— a sitcom, a stand-up, sketch comedy, even an old movie— can be a prescription for a reset. Don’t go down the streaming rabbit hole, but if you need a change of mind, maybe give yourself a 30-, 60-, or 90-minute laugh break and see if you can return to what you were doing later (sometimes later means tomorrow).

See what other therapists say are the best places to laugh and cry in the Bay Area.

 … for self-care practice on a budget: 

For me, you can’t beat walking outside, and journaling for self-care. Getting your body out of its interiority or freeing your inner world onto a page allow for change to take place intuitively. They’re also both almost free (if you own shoes, pen, and paper).

Here are some additional affordable self-care tips.

… for self-care practice investment:

For people who have enough time to get out of town for even a weekend, I’m a huge fan of investing in relaxation away from normal demands and work routines. Do you have enough time and money to tent camp, or car camp, or to spend one or two nights in a cabin or a yurt, or to go on a fun day trip to an open space? There are cheap ways to give yourself nothing-to-do and see the lush world, the recycling of seasons, the natural wonder of it all.

Favorite non-therapy book:

Desolation Angels, by Jack Kerouac ( the Desolation Peak fire watch scenes )

Favorite self-help book/ therapy book:

Already Free, by Bruce Tift 

Favorite quote:

“When you know your own nature, you are free.”   G. DuBois Kuffner – Writer, Healer

See other therapists’ favorite quotes.

Anything else? Closing words or something about who you are/ how you identify that you would like to share?

Whatever challenges a person may be facing, change is possible. Recovery and healing have infinite variations. I believe discovering / uncovering / recovering what works for you to be one of humankind’s most noble quests. Support is out there.

How can people contact you?

  • Name:  Chris Doorley
  • License#:  AMFT#117475
  • Supervisor:  Gieve Patel, LMFT# 47196
  • Phone number:  628-246-1333
  • Website: 
  • Email:

Center for Mindful Psychotherapy is a non profit collective of approximately 100 Associate Marriage and Family Therapists in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can learn more about each of them from perusing our Therapist Directory. You can find Chris’s profile in our directory here.

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