Our professional staff includes different disciplines in health care from individuals with extensive experience and training in clinical medicine, as well as counseling and psychology to individuals who are trainees and being supervised by senior clinicians. We collaborate to provide the best care for the individuals and where possible being very sensitive to health care costs and also where possible collaborate approaches to utilize different therapeutic treatments, including medical approaches, cognitive behavioral therapy, DBT, behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, as well as relaxation approaches and other types of therapy. If our expertise is limited in an area, we gladly collaborate with professionals in the community and provide collaborative relationships where we exchange information as appropriate to maximize the benefits of our patient’s care.
Saad A. Shakir, M.D., D.F.A.P.A., Chief Medical Officer
San Jose San Francisco Santa Cruz Pleasanton
Dr. Shakir is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and also is a Diplomate and Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He is trained in medicine, neurology and psychiatry. Dr. Shakir finished medical school in Baghdad, Iraq with highest distinction being the first graduate in his class (as well as the highest graduation average in the history of the medicine school) obtaining highest honors in different fields of medicine. He also did part of his medical training at the London University in London, England. After finishing his medical training, he did a rotating internship in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Surgery, Internal Medicine, Cardiology, and Neurobehavioral Medicine. Then he did one year of Chief Residency in Neurology at Baghdad City, teaching hospital. His U.S. training has been at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and New York State Psychiatric Institute for two years and subsequently Stanford University Medical Center where he did his last year of residency and another extra year as Departmental Chief Resident and also acting Chief of the Outpatient Services in Psychiatry. Dr. Shakir has been an educator all of his life including since finishing his residency he has been on the clinical faculty at Stanford University School of Medicine where he served starting as a Clinical Instructor to most recently he has been with the rank of Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor, Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine.
In addition to his activities in the clinical care of patients as well as his teaching at Stanford University, he has been very active in a variety of leadership positions including:
- Chairman of the Department of psychiatry at El Camino hospital in Mountain View, California
- Co-founder and Past president of the Iraqi medical science Association in the United States(IMSA-USA)
- National and international visiting professor to a variety of universities, continuing medical education programs, and other medical education formats on a variety of topics including Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar disorders, ADHD, and other topics
- Consultant and serving on advisory boards and advocacy groups locally and nationally
- President of the Northern California TMS Society, which he recently cofounded
- Sports coach: In his free time he has coached youth sports for about 20 years including Soccer, Basketball, Baseball, and softball. He was elected “best youth volunteer sports coach in Santa Clara County”
- For many years in a row has been chosen by peers, patients, and medical research companies as “Best doctor” in Silicon Valley, and the United States, receiving dozens of community awards including “the most compassionate doctor award” in 2010
Tammy Saah, MD
Associate Medical Director, San Jose Office
Dr. Tammy Saah, MD, joined the practice in August 2015, after relocating back to her hometown in the Bay Area. She is licensed to practice Medicine in both California and Georgia, She is also board-certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology to practice General psychiatry.
Dr. Saah received a BA in Psychobiology from University of California, Santa Cruz, an MA in Neurophysiology from San Jose State University, and an MD from the American University of Beirut. She completed her psychiatric internship and residency at Emory University in Georgia, where she also served as Chief Resident from 2013-2014. Dr Saah was then employed as a senior associate and the first Treatment Resistant Depression Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University. During her fellowship, Dr. Saah was centrally involved in the development of the Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD) Clinic at Emory. She was also a supervisor of the department’s Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) group.
Dr. Saah’s clinical and research interests are focused in Treatment Resistant Depression(TRD), with emphasis on advanced psychopharmacology, novel therapeutics (ketamine), and Neuro-modulation (rTMS) in the management of this population.
Linda Wolbers, MD, MPH
Associate Medical Director, Santa Cruz Office
Dr. Wolbers is Board Certified by both the American Board of Pain Medicine and the American Board of Family Medicine. She has dedicated her professional life to treating those patients who suffer from chronic illness including chronic pain.
She received her BA degree from University of California, San Diego and a Master’s degree in Public Health from University of California, Berkeley. She worked for many years in the field of worker health and safety as an Industrial Hygienist before following her passion to become a physician. She earned her MD degree from George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and completed her residency in Family Medicine at David Grant Medical Center affiliated with University of California, Davis. She served her country as a Family Medicine physician in the US Air Force serving in Korea and the San Francisco Bay Area. Later she treated both active duty and veterans at the VA Hospital, Palo Alto Health Care System.
She then founded the Pain Clinic of Monterey Bay and partnered with other health care professionals to treat patients suffering with chronic pain using an integrated patient-centered approach including physical and psychological modalities, medication management and when needed, injections and advanced neuromodulation treatments.
She is passionate about ensuring that patients with chronic illness including chronic pain are well educated about their options for treatment including risks and benefit and always emphasizes lifestyle changes to optimize overall health and to maximize the benefit of the patient’s individualized pain management strategies.
She has been involved in medical research, most recently as Primary Investigator for the ACCURATE study which investigated the safety and utility of a new dorsal root ganglion implanted device for lower extremity pain which was recently FDA approved.
She is very excited to join Dr. Shakir and colleagues in introducing transcranial magnetic stimulation to the Santa Cruz area. She is interested in studying the many applications for this non invasive neuromodulation treatment and being on the forefront of broadening the indications for this treatment.
Lawrence Poree, MD, MPH, PhD
Consulting Pain Management Physician
Dr. Poree holds the position of Clinical Professor in the Department of Anesthesia at the University of California in San Francisco where he serves as the director of the Neuromodulation service. He started his career in the pain field at UC Berkeley where he earned his PhD and investigated the pain-relieving properties of compounds found naturally in the human body. He continued his pain research during his postdoctoral training in the department of biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins where he studied how spinal cord stimulation activates the pain control circuits in the spinal cord. He decided to apply his basic science research to medical practice and enrolled in the medical degree program at Stanford University where he earned his medical degree and completed his residency in anesthesia while continuing to conduct research on new non-opioid based pain medications. He then completed an interventional pain fellowship at UCSF. He worked in private practice for 15 years in Santa Cruz county during which time he also served on the Board of Directors for the North American Neuromodulation Society and the California Society of Interventional Pain Physicians. He served as a primary investigator for the FDA PMA dorsal root ganglion stimulator trial and continues to work with various companies on the development of new neuromodulation devices. He was recently recruited back to UCSF to direct the neuromodulation program but continues to provide consult services 1 day a week in Santa Cruz.
Hope Thao, Psy.D.
San Jose Pleasanton
Dr. Thao received her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) from California School of Professional Psychology, San Francisco-Bay Area. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from CSUS and earned her M.A. in Counseling from SJSU. Dr. Thao has clinical training and experiences in utilizing evidence-based treatment modalities; Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Psychodynamic Theory. She has trained and worked at Community Mental Health Programs, Assessment Clinic, John George Psychiatric Hospital, Fairmont Hospital, Palomar Hospital, and Fremont Hospital. Dr. Thao has experience treating patients with acute and chronic mental illness (psychotic disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, and substance abuse disorders: PTSD, OCD, Depression, Bipolar, Anxiety, Eating Disorder, and dual diagnosed) and medical conditions (developmental and physical). In addition, she has experience working with behavioral and cognitive concerns, crisis interventions, psychological and neurological assessments. She is culturally diverse and has worked with patients across the lifespan. Dr. Thao is passionate about helping patients strive for recovery to live life through enhancing strengths and building resiliency.
Thanh Nguyen, PhD
Dr. Nguyen has received her Ph.D in Clinical Psychology with emphasis in Depth Psychology. She is a mental health professional with 20 years of experience working with adults, children, family, couples, and group therapy. The many areas that Dr. Nguyen has worked under the umbrella of mental health management include Stress, Anxiety, Trauma, Domestic Violence, PTSD, Depression, Bipolar, Addictions, Chemical dependency, Prop 36, HIV/AIDS, and Post-incarceration syndrome. She draws from treatments that are supported by research and combine those treatments with an approach tailored to meet the specific needs of each individual. Dr. Nguyen has extensive training and experience in providing evidenced based treatments and her treatment orientation includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Acceptance Commitment Therapy(ACT) Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Brief Therapy.
Oscar Hernandez-Sutton PhD
Dr. Oscar Hernandez-Sutton was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of San Francisco, in psychology, and in 2011 he obtained his PhD in clinical psychology from Sophia University. He completed his pre-doctoral internship at Kaiser Permanente, where he was part of the chemical dependency team and had the opportunity to co-lead a chronic pain management group. Dr. Hernandez Sutton also worked as a substance abuse psychotherapist at the Salvation Army, where he offered counseling to recovery victims of substance abuse. He has a special interest in Buddhist psychology and in teaching mindfulness techniques to treat anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and trauma. Dr. Hernandez Sutton believes that to achieve a state of well-being requires cultivation of your physical body, the mind (cognition / emotional components), social relationships, creativity, and spirituality.
Philip Takakjian, PhD
San Jose Mountain View
Dr. Takakjian is a 30 year, expert psychologist with specialty training and experience in Addiction, Relationships and Mind/Body Conditions. In addition to his Western training Dr. Takakjian also trained for 20 years in Zen Buddhism. Dr, Takakjian is deeply compassionate and very active in doing psychotherapy. A large element of his treatment involves emotional education, skills building and helping the client recover more of his or her emotional world and then learning how to work with those feelings in a skillful way. Dr. Takakjian is a graduate of Cal Berkeley, he did his internship at the Stanford VA and was previously in private practice for 18 years.
Yaser Eid is an Intern of Marriage and Family Therapy (IMF), excited to be working under the supervision of Dr. Saad Shakir. For the past 3 years Yaser has counseled children and adults in various settings such as schools, homes, field locations, and clinics. Many of his previous clients have been underserved, struggling populations, suffering with anxiety and depression, eating disorders, PTSD, anger outbursts, and substance abuse. Their range of functionality includes those diagnosed with Autism to high functioning clients. Working with special needs clients as a behavior interventionist, and experience with Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), gives him a unique perspective of the challenges parents and caregivers go through with caring for a special needs individual. Every session, Yaser creates a calming environment using unconditional positive regard for the client, empathic understanding, and congruence to help bring the most growth for the client. Yaser plans on obtaining his license within a year and continue therapy, using Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Art therapy, Solution Focused therapy, and groups and family therapy, from a person-centered approach. Yaser received his BA in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz and his MA in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University.
Yaser’s passion for therapy only grows with each day due to the improvements he sees in his clients. He has learned to appreciate the process of working with each clients’ individual needs.
Azmeena Amir Hashem DNP, NP-C, MSN, BScN
Doctor of Nursing Practice/Adult Nurse Practicioner
San Jose Pleasanton
My name is Azmeena Amir Hashem (NP-C). I relocated to Bay area, California in June 2016 from Michigan, which was my hometown for almost 12 years. Before advancing my career as a Nurse Practitioner, I was a Registered nurse at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where I practiced critical care nursing for almost 4 years. I graduated in 2008 from an Adult Nurse Practitioner program at Madonna University in Michigan. I am also board certified by an American Academy of Nurse Practitioner since 2009. Recently I was awarded Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree in May, 2016 from Madonna University in Michigan. Currently I am also a member of California Association for Nurse Practitioners (CANP).
Before moving to California, I was working as an independent consultant with Senior Psychiatric Services in Michigan. I have more than 8 years of experience working with mental health patients in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities and group homes. I have an experience in treating adult and geriatric patients with dementia, acute and chronic depression, anxiety, psychotic disorder, OCD, bipolar and schizophrenia diagnosis. My clinical research focused on delirium screening in long-term care facility. I am very much interested in educating patients and their families about mental health issues and always encourage them to stay compliant with the treatment plans to maximize their health benefits.
Liv Larsen, PMHNP-BC
Liv Larsen is an ANCC board certified psychiatric nurse practitioner. She received her BA at Endicott College and her master in science of nursing from Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions in Boston. She is certified to treat the lifespan, pediatric into adulthood.
Before relocating to San Fransisco, she worked for several years at the Cambridge Eating Disorder Center’s Acute Residential Treatment program. She has had extensive experience serving as medical provider and psychiatric prescriber to adolescents and adults, implementing medication management, addressing comorbid medical complications, as well as providing supportive psychotherapies within a multidisciplinary team. Prior to this, she has had various clinical training opportunities working with adolescent populations in a variety of settings, including Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, MA. In addition, she has provided nursing services overseas to impoverished populations in the Dominican Republic. She has experience treating patients with depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, eating disorder, ADHD, PTSD and psychosis.
She is passionate about integrative and holistic care and addresses symptoms through medication management as well as supportive non-pharmaceutical approaches to achieve best outcomes. In addition to utilizing evidence-based research and gold standard care, she approaches each patient as an individual and is dedicated to fostering a collaborative working relationship in which patient care is met with compassion and understanding.
Bio Coming Soon
Laura Brash, LMFT
San Jose San Francisco
Laura Brash is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, who has been with Dr. Shakir’s practice since 2007. She holds an Honors MA in French and German Language and Literature from Glasgow University in Scotland, and an MA in Counseling Psychology from Santa Clara University. She works with adult individuals and couples and with older adolescents. She has experience of helping people with a broad range of issues, including depression, stress and anxiety, bipolar disorder, substance dependence, relationship problems, trauma, and grief and loss. She integrates techniques from different treatment modalities, and is flexible in her approach. She has advanced training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and combines it with Mindfulness. She is also trained in EMDR.
Born in Scotland, Ms. Brash has lived and worked in a number of countries and cultures, and understands the challenges of immigration and assimilation. Before becoming a psychotherapist, she worked in education and in technology development, which allows her particular insight into work-related issues.
Ms. Brash speaks Spanish, French and German.
Amy Wright, LMFT
My name is Amy Wright, and I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I have been licensed for 6 years and have worked in the mental health field for 17 years. I utilize a strength-based approach in working with adults, children and families. My goal in providing therapy is to help those I work with learn and develop new coping skills to help change the narrative of their life. I utilize Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, and other modalities depending on what the needs of the client are. I look forward to working with you and your family.
Marlene Decker, LMFT, CADC, MFA
Believing that we cannot permit our labels to define us, believing that we are all mixed people: gender, color, psychic wounds, continuum of traits, Marlene utilizes her background in teaching in the Chicago barrio, technology in Silicon Valley, addiction studies, twenty years of responding to the emergency room at Good Samaritan Hospital for psychiatric and substance abuse emergencies, as well as inpatient and outpatient assignments. Marlene follows her family therapy mentor, Virginia Satir and the recovery and relapse prevention innovators Terrence Gorski and Roland Williams. She utilizes her varied training to address the presenting problem in a uniquely person-centered approach to assist each client to find their voice of wholeness and move past depression, anxiety, grief, relationship struggles, ineffective learned behaviors, and carried trauma.
Whitney Walker, LMFT
Whitney Walker is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who joined Dr. Shakir’s practice in September 2018 working with adults, teens, and children of all ages. She holds an MA in Counseling Psychology from Argosy University and completed her BS degree in Psychology at Tulane University in New Orleans. She has several years of experience providing therapy and crisis intervention for children, adolescents, and adults dealing with a broad range of issues including depression, stress, anxiety, substance abuse, and trauma. Whitney has a focus in Cognitive Behavioral and Solution Focused Therapy.
Whitney was born and raised in the Bay Area and enjoys spending time with her dog, exploring the gorgeous California Coastline, and listening to good live music. As a clinician, Whitney strives to provide thoughtful and authentic care for her clients, build genuine and collaborative connections, and produce optimal beneficial results.