Before we go further, I’d like to express my gratitude to you for taking a moment to read through this site. You have many options when it comes to your mental health, and it is worth taking some time to explore them. I encourage you to learn about the providers you’re interested in working with in order to find someone who is the best match for you and your specific needs.


Dr. Stacy T. Watnick


What’s The “T” For?

Not long ago I restarted my life after divorce. When it came time to reinstate my maiden name, I realized that I couldn’t simply return to Stacy Beth Watnick. I wasn’t that person anymore. I couldn’t keep Stacy W. Buhbe because I wasn’t that person either, though it would have been easier professionally to keep my married name. No, I needed something else. I had learned and grown so much through the divorce. I needed a name that represented that process and redefined me as the woman I have become today.

I chose Stacy Tikvah Watnick because it incorporated all the parts of me. Stacy is my given first name, and is the name people closest to me use. Watnick is my family name, and represents a carrying forward of tradition, ideas, connection and culture that I value. I chose Tikvah as my middle name because it means “hope” in Hebrew. It signifies a conscious choice to focus on my hopes and dreams going forward, and allows me to carry a positive, growth-oriented frame of mind in my moniker every day.

I tell this story here because this model is one I often use with clients. Therapy is a collaborative process. Together we can ask the questions:

  • Who are you?
  • Are you who you wish to be?
  • If not, what would it take to get there?

If exploring those questions seems of value to you, please feel free to contact me via the contact page, and let’s get started.

Dr. Stacy T. Watnick

The Office


exteroprMy practice is located at 2991 Kalmia Street, in the historic neighborhood of South Park. South Park is Southeast of Balboa Park in the heart of San Diego, California. The practice is in a Craftsman house, built in the late 1930s. It is a comfortable, welcoming space.

I share the building with several other therapists and doctors. Street parking is convenient, free (no meters) and easy to find. There is easy access from several bus lines just across the street from the office.

IMG_4983The neighborhood of South Park is populated by unique Craftsman and Spanish-style houses, coffee shops, independent retailers, and a wide range of restaurants and offices. It’s a unique place to explore.


Area Map

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What Is Therapy Really?

What is therapy, really?

Therapy is a fascinating process. It is first and foremost a safe space; a relationship designed to address the issues you bring to the table. It is an intentional working partnership, with clearly articulated goals, and ways to evaluate progress toward them. At its best, therapy is collaboration between therapist and client(s), a team working together to address specific concerns. There are as many styles of therapy as there are therapists, but at its core, growth toward a healthier self is the goal of psychotherapy.

Okay, but what kind of therapist are you?

blackshirtI am a licensed clinical psychologist. That means I went to school to get a Bachelor’s Degree, a Masters Degree and Doctoral Degree in psychology. I completed 3000 hours of clinical experience, took two licensing exams, and have to complete 36 units of continuing education every two years to maintain my license.

What kind of theories do you use?

My approach is psychodynamic and developmental, with a cognitive-behavioral application. I think the history you come into the room with—your family background, your relationship experiences, school, work, friends, all the ways you learned to be in the world—have an impact on how you function now. Most of what we do that doesn’t work for us is a learned thought pattern or behavior. Typically when we learned it, it was useful, maybe even necessary, for our survival. Human beings are adaptive creatures. But now, those strategies just don’t work as well, and we need to do something else. Psychodynamic and developmental models help us understand how that happened. Cognitive-behavioral approaches help us identify and adjust those strategies to make them work for who we are today. Used together, they create a robust system designed to really understand ourselves and make positive, lasting changes in our lives.

So, how do you actually work?

I consider myself to be a “consumer-oriented provider.” That means I tailor my approach to the person sitting in front of me. Some clients want homework assignments, journaling, books and websites to look at. Others say, “Welllll…I’d really rather not think about you except for the hour I’m in your office.” …and everywhere in between. When we work together we will establish a pattern that works best for you.

How often will we meet?

The standard of care is once a week, for a 45 – 50 minute session. Most clients choose that model. However, the realities of finances and scheduling lead some clients to come in every other week, or even once a month. Clients who start at the once-a-week model often transition to less frequent meetings over time.

I have a unique occupation: It is ultimately my job to make myself obsolete. My goal is to provide scaffolding to clients, an external support structure that carries them until they feel ready to stand on their own again. Some people will continue therapy off and on throughout their lives. Having it in place is a coping strategy they actively employ. Others come in for a short time, as little as few months, then move on. If you and I meet, we will talk about what model makes sense to address the concerns you have within the realities of your day-to-day life.


People use therapy to address a wide range of concerns. When setting up a website, consultants tell psychologists to use the words “anxiety and depression” in their pages. Those are the most frequently searched terms when it comes to therapy, and many people have issues that fall into those categories. Most people come in to talk about their lives. They talk about relationships, with partners, spouses, children, colleagues, family and friends. They talk about stressors, like kids, work and money, finding motivation, staying healthy, or struggling to strike a balance in their busy lives. Some people come in to talk about trauma they’ve experienced, violence, sexual assault, or other difficult issues. Some clients come in because they feel lost, and are looking for a safe space to find themselves again. People sometimes find that what they came in for initially resolves fairly quickly, and stay to address other deeper issues because they enjoy the process. There isn’t a “right” thing to use therapy for, and how you use it may change over time.