About David Sooter, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, #52510

David Sooter

BA, MA, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, 


Online License / Registration Verification – California Board of Behavioral Sciences

Welcome to my practice. If you are considering psychotherapy for yourself, you and your partner, your family, or a loved one, you may not know what to expect and may be feeling apprehensive, fearful, or overwhelmed. Perhaps you are looking to resolve a particular conflict or trauma in your life, to make sense of a specific situation, and/or to gain a deeper understanding of yourself and any problems or difficulties you may be having. Maybe you are feeling unsatisfied or stuck, not where you imagined you would be – where you think you should be or want to be.  David emphasizes the connection between the mind and body and work psychodynamically, experientially and relationally to assist my clients in integrating the two. David aims to support his clients in uncovering and discovering the exiled parts of yourself, your neglected needs/wants, your abandoned dreams, and your overlooked value and capability.  Treatment begins with establishing a trusting relationship, and I am acutely aware that trust is cultivated over time. You are the expert on your own life and the gatekeeper of the therapeutic relationship; you choose how much or how little to share and when to share.

How do you choose the right therapist for your needs? This can be a difficult process especially when one is under emotional distress. It is often at these challenging times that the process of seeking a therapist is pursued. I can imagine that you want to begin this process with a therapist whom you feel understood by, comfortable with and has the experience, knowledge and education to help you. As an interactive psychodynamic experiential therapist, my goal is not to only deal with the symptoms at hand, but to also get to the roots of the problems.

By listening empathetically and non-judgmentally, I utilize different theoretical orientations that I believe to be appropriate for each individual in any given session. I use the process of therapy for you to gain deeper insight and to grow, living a more fulfilled life with a sense of empowerment and self-confidence.  David knows it can feel awkward to make contact with a therapist, but it can also be a relief, and he invites you to reach out. Therapy can help you to feel better, live more productively, and enjoy better relationships.  David works with adults, children, and couples struggling with anxiety, depression, relationship challenges, and life transitions. Special areas of focus include divorce, grief/loss, anger, self-confidence, and creativity.  His orientation is broadly psychodynamic and humanistic.  David considers himself an empathic and insightful therapist who listens carefully and works collaboratively to generate forward movement, self-understanding, and growth.


David has over 12 years of clinical, teaching and research experience in China, Thailand and the United States. As a Marriage and Family Therapist, he has received advanced specialized education and training in this psychodynamic work for 4,000 hours under the close supervision of a competent, licensed professional. A Marriage and Family Therapist must be licensed by passing both written and oral examinations as well as completing continuing education requirements. David has extensive training and experience with emotional triage and crisis situations. He enjoys working with adults, adolescents, and children to help them live happier, more satisfying lives and he approaches all clients with sensitivity, patience, humor and honesty. David has experience with a diverse client population and experience as both a professor and psychotherapist. He enjoys working with client’s in creative ways that allows them to take ownership of their healing and growth, and encourages them to live life abundantly. David believes deeply in the transformative potential and enduring nature of good psychotherapy. He likes to work with adults who have been abused as children, battered by life (intimate partner abuse), patients with childhood wounds and is committed to travel this journey with you with integrity, compassion, vulnerability; to learn, know and hold your story, and to help you live deeply, discovering a life built on awareness, spontaneity, and authenticity, with expertise in recognizing and treating unconscious patterns that play out in current relationships and behaviors. David believes that when we’re feeling stuck, confused or alone, therapy can help us to untangle our emotions, clarify our struggles, and better understand ourselves and others – ultimately forming inroads to real and lasting change.

David received his Master of Arts in Therapy Psychology with an emphasis in Depth Psychology from Phillips Graduate Institute, with a focus on the rich theory and practice of Attachment psychology and the Adult Attachment Interview. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Psychology from Seattle Pacific University. Most recently, David completed the Paternal Mental Health NOW certificate training on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, including depression and anxiety during pregnancy, postpartum and anxiety, OCD, and postpartum psychosis with the birth of his son. His hope is to bring light to the myths and stigmas surrounding childbirth for the entire family system and provide support. Having a baby is magical, but it can also be one of the most difficult of times for the family. Psychoeducation and support can lead to a more fulfilling parenting experience.

David trained at the Georgiana Rodiger Institute for Psychoanalytic Studies (GRIPS). This program combined the latest in psychoanalytic research and theoretical thinking with the classical foundations of our understanding of the development of the personality. David also trained under the Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM), which is a mind/body approach that focuses on the biological basis of trauma. TRM is designed as a trauma reprocessing treatment model as well as a self-care model. Through learning skills that one can practice and learn independently, the nervous system re-sets or rebalances itself. Providing one with the tools of self-care and self-management over stressful emotional and physical states can give a renewed sense of hope. David has experience with an incredibly diverse client population, having worked with clients of various ages, cultures, and lifestyles; in private practice, and in a non-profit setting providing therapy services to both self-referred and court ordered clientele. His ability to remain accepting, non-judgmental, respectful, and genuine are some of his personal strengths as a therapist. Combined with his ability to establish quick rapport and a sense of calm, David gives the immediate sense that he truly understands and cares, providing his clients with the confidence to work through their challenges.

David attended seminars with Bessel van der Kolk, MD, is a clinical psychiatrist whose work integrates mind, brain, body, and social connections to understand and treat trauma. His research ranges from the impact of trauma on development and brain imaging, to the use of yoga, neurofeedback, EMDR, and theater for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Previous to that, David worked for a Family Services school-based program where he practiced psychodynamic therapy for children between the ages of five to eighteen. He incorporated exercise, and art therapy and play to help understand my client’s thoughts, feelings, struggles, and motivations with the goal of helping them learn better regulation of traumatic emotions.

Although David’s primary therapeutic modality is psychoanalytic/psychodynamic, he is proficient in many modalities. David prefers an eclectic approach to therapy, combining psychodynamic, existential-humanistic, cognitive behavioral, family systems, dialectical behavior, mindful based and postmodern techniques, so each of his clients may have a unique, organic experience tailored to their specific needs. David’s unique combination of modalities allows him to view and treat the entire person; body, mind, and spirit. Together with his unique skills, life experience and personality, there are psychodynamic techniques and concepts that he uses to customize an approach that will help produce optimum growth in his work with you. He will support you, challenge you, and offer a new way of understanding yourself. Ultimately, he will attempt to help you overcome your struggles and reach a more balanced life. Only by coming to have a healthier relationship with yourself will you be capable of having healthier and rewarding relationships with others.

We have all felt it at one time or another. Lost. Alone. Uncertain and hesitant. Less than. The life that is wanted just out of reach. In the modern world, greater connectedness often rings hollow and false. We want to be connected. To be seen. To be known, deeply, authentically, for who we are in our core. We weren’t born to feel the way we do, but for something more. Something better. David is a therapist who focuses on connecting with you in order to help you become the person you want to be. Being deeply known by another allows us all to better move from a life that is isolated and empty into a life of authenticity, vibrancy, and abundance.

Have you ever been lost in a dark forest? You feel helpless, out of control, very scared, or confused. If so you need someone to hold your hand and walk with you until you get home safely. When you are going through very painful suffering, your brokenness can lead you to discover how your childhood wound might affect your self-esteem and your relationships. Every situation is unique, and difficult problems must be deeply understood to effect lasting change. Together we will identify and work through the underlying dynamics that contribute to your current concerns. Psychodynamic work is beneficial for those who have an interest in, and a capacity for, self-reflection and personal growth. Therapy is a safe, confidential, non-judgmental partnership which elucidates those factors which are not always easily identified, yet which continue to shape and influence your life. These factors may cause depression or anxiety, may affect your important relationships, may contribute to your difficulties in work, and may even interfere with the healing process itself. Effective treatment requires MORE from a therapist than compassionate listening. It requires clinical experience, knowledge, and wisdom so that meaningful insights can be actively brought to bear on the realities and struggles of adult life. Deep and abiding change can be hard work, but for many it is well worth the effort. David’s approach integrates the vital benefits of understanding the past with a focus on changing the present in practical, active ways. He believes in the enormous benefit of relating one’s life story to a trained listener who can offer a new perspective within a safe, compassionate, and professional relationship.

What brings each person to therapy is unique:

• Are you in crisis mode? Have you reached your emotional capacity and are feeling overwhelmed? This might be due to trauma, abuse, grief, addiction or the struggles of adolescence. You need support for your emotional and physical well being.

• Has feeling anxious become the norm for you? Is it impacting how you live your life and relate to others?

• Have you been experiencing feelings of sadness and depression? Perhaps you feel sad, hopeless, isolated, fearful and you need a safe, caring and supportive environment free of judgment.

• Do you feel stuck in one or several aspects of your life? Maybe it’s repeating unhealthy patterns or taking the same emotional roller coaster ride. It’s time to take control of your life and make healthy choices that empower you.

• Are you facing the end of a relationship and need closure and support to move forward?

• Is your life in transition and you’re seeking clarity and a way to adjust to these major life changes such as becoming a parent, children growing, a career change, the angst of adolescence, or college life?

Many of us appear to be functioning well in life, but in reality feel like imposters, often stressed and unsatisfied in our lives and relationships. David fosters the discovery of genuine peace and fulfillment through “undoing aloneness,” helping patients embrace their best and worst selves, and unearthing a more self-compassionate and authentic way of being. In this way, David has helped with issues of confusion about personal and professional identity. When we find ourselves feeling burdened or “blocked”, or when a certain satisfaction in life seems out of reach, it is often difficult to understand why things aren’t clearer to us, or why we can’t simply make the changes we want. The truth is that for all of us, there is much that goes on in our psyches which eludes our awareness, but which nonetheless informs how we think, how we feel, and even how we act. So, the question becomes “how can we open a window into those pockets of our inner world which somehow keep us stymied?” In working together, David’s focus is on uncovering and processing the underlying dynamics which find expression in the issues that trouble. Through the insights achieved, new perspectives and ways of experiencing both for ourselves and others become available to us. Most people David sees, have a history of trauma of one sort or another. Trauma comes in many forms and could include physical, sexual or emotional abuse, divorce in the family or neglect of physical or emotional/psychological needs. Often this sort of neglect is “invisible” to the patient as, by all accounts, the family of origin seemed normal, unremarkable. Identifying and articulating these events can begin the process of their resolution. In this way, the past can truly be put into the past, allowing for the development of a richer and more vibrant present.

“My years of experience working with children, teens, and adults helps me get quickly oriented to the needs of each individual client. I have a passion for helping as many types of people with as many kinds of issues as possible, approaching challenges with both knowledge and hope. I currently see diverse men and women in a private practice in Bangkok. Most recently, I supervised teens at outreach program, where I oversaw teens that talk to other teens about issues ranging from suicide, drugs and alcohol, bullying, abuse, sex, identity, and relationship issues, as well as provided outreach in the community where Teen Line serves as a positive resource.
For more than six years, I provided adult psychotherapy for individuals at the California Counseling center where I received EMDR training. During my time at The California Counseling Center, I helped many individuals control their life challenges, including complex trauma, PTSD, anxiety, depression, personality disorders, and Asperger syndrome. I also developed expertise in Intake and Assessment.”

“To seek therapy is the first and most important step in achieving your goal of creating a happier, healthier you! It often takes great courage to make that first step towards becoming your best self. Know this…You are not alone! I’m here to help you and it is my absolute honor and privilege to help tweens, teens, adults and families rediscover the best version of themselves. You can feel happy, complete, whole, and more alive than ever! Are you experiencing feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, grief or trauma? Or are you searching for personal growth and a more meaningful life built on self awareness? Let’s work together to help you refocus, redirect, and enhance the quality of your life.”


Assessments click here: assessments

Contact details click here: contact

Training click here: Sooter Success System