Make your emotional health a priority.

There are many factors that can contribute to feeling out of balance emotionally. The path to feeling well again can be challenging, but no doubt life changing. As a psychiatrist, I can guide you through the process with psychotherapy, medication management, or a combination of both. 

My Practice Philosphy

 My goal first and foremost is to develop a strong connection with my patients. I seek to understand each individual's life story and current circumstances to best understand how I can help. I am thorough in my assessment and mindful of your preferences throughout our work together. When prescribing medications, I aim to prescribe the lowest effective dose for your symptoms.  If you are not already meeting with a therapist, I will often recommend talk therapy with me or with another clinician. My treatment plan will also entail evidence-based lifestyle modifications to optimize your well-being, such as exercise and mindfulness practices. If you are interested in alternative treatment options, I can serve as a resource for nutritional recommendations, supplements, and/or mind-body practices.  Most often, the combination of therapy, lifestyle changes, and medication management are most effective in yielding change.

Areas of Speciality

Depression

Mood Disorders

Generalized Anxiety

Panic Disorder

Performance Anxiety

Insomnia

ADHD

PMS/PMDD

Perimenopause

Postpartum Depression/Anxiety

Peripartum Depression/Anxiety

Lactation Concerns and Medication

PTSD

OCD

Alcohol Use Disorder

About

Karla Benzl, M.D.

I am a board-certified psychiatrist and psychotherapist. I completed my training in adult psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, with a focus in women’s mental health. Prior to this, I received my bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Davis, and my medical degree from New York University School of Medicine. I provide both medication management and psychotherapy, and I tailor my treatment recommendations to meet the individual needs of each person I work with.  I enjoy working with a diverse population of adults, and have extensive experience treating mood and anxiety disorders. I have additional expertise in women’s mental health, and treat peripartum and postpartum mood/anxiety symptoms, as well as premenstrual and perimenopausal mood changes. My professional interests also include mindfulness, integrative psychiatry, and nutritional psychiatry, which are all topics I write about on my blog.

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As a therapist, I help patients process life transitions, relational problems, emotional difficulties, and work-life balance issues. I take an eclectic approach to psychotherapy. I help patients strengthen their own insight and emotional awareness, while also building coping skills to navigate stressful situations. My training includes psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, emotionally focused therapy, and interpersonal psychotherapy.  I also incorporate mindfulness practices and lifestyle modifications into therapy. Therapy sessions typically occur weekly for 45 minutes. At times, I will recommend twice weekly therapy. We may also agree to meet every other week. Therapy may be short-term for acute issues, or longer term for more chronic issues.

Medication

Management

Medication management is a process that involves prescribing a medication that will best address your symptoms, while not causing intolerable side effects.  Some patients will respond well to the first or second medication trial, while others may require multiple medication trials to find a suitable medication regimen.  For those patients who are sensitive to medications or who do not find symptom relief after several medication trials, I may recommend genetic  testing to help guide the process. During medication management appointments, we will focus mainly on symptoms and side effects. You will be provided with questionnaires to help track your symptoms and response to the medication.

Medication management appointments are typically 25-30 mins. Medication adjustments may occur weekly, biweekly, or monthly. When undergoing medication adjustments, we will need to meet more frequently. When medication regimens are stable, the appointments may be spaced out to every 1-3 months. 

When appropriate, telemedicine (video) appointments are available to existing patients. Video appointments allow for more convenient meetings for those who would not derive additional benefit from in-person meetings. The patient must have access to a private space and appropriate technology for this type of appointment.  Many patients will prefer to meet via video for some appointments, especially new parents, busy professionals, or those located far from my office.

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