About Elisa Gottheil, PhD EMDR Certified Therapist

Elisa A. Gottheil is a licensed psychologist, who offers psychological services and consultation. She is an interactive psychologist, versed in treatments that have recorded evidence of being effective -evidence based approaches. Without disregarding the personal history that each client brings to therapy, her specialty is working with strategies that use scientific principles to engage the resources we have in support of emotional healing.

She uses eye movement desensitization reprocessing, imaginal strategies, hypnotherapy, neurolinguistic programming, somatic strategies, as well a as a variety of cognitive and behavioral strategies to help you let go of maladaptive patterns of living. Important work in therapy focuses on working mindfully, paying attention to what presents -to what is- in the moment.

Through training and working with patients, she has learned that stress, anxiety, and trauma are easier to dissipate when working on the resulting sensations and experiences  in the body -bodily sensations and experiences- rather than 'talking them away.' That is, she helps folks change the way they experience themselves, the way they feel about things, which is faster than through talking therapy. Her preferred modality is eye movement desensitization reprocessing. Check this link  for more information on emdr

Elisa is available for short term and mid term therapy (not long term). Her work is focused on targets (behaviors, trauma, what is causing the depression, management of anxiety, or triggers for post traumatic stress disorder). 

With over 17 years of experience working for the Behavioral Wellness Department, in the County of Santa Barbara, Elisa has experience in working with a broad spectrum of clients and ages, mental health disorders and addiction. She is fully bilingual; English-Spanish. She also worked in the Emergency Psychiatric Services, Cottage Hospital between 2016 and 2017 and at the Aegis Treatment Centers (Santa Barbara and Santa Maria) as their Regional Clinical Director through May 2019. Since 2019 Elisa has been in private practice exclusively.

Elisa also developed a unique process, imaginal in nature, geared to help clients effectively address personal life problems or challenges, that is supportive and practical. Besides having used this model with groups and individually, she has presented this model at the American Psychological Association, the Brief Therapy Conference, and has taught it as a Spirituality course at Antioch University, twice. 

In summary, Elisa integrates complementary methodologies and techniques to offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each client, addressing every day challenges, as well as more complex issues, such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and stress. With compassion and understanding, she works with each individual to help them overcome obstacles while building on their strengths so that they can attain the personal growth they are committed to accomplish.

Elisa A. Gottheil, PhD; Santa Barbara, California

Psychologist in Santa Barbara

EMDR Certified Therapist


[email protected]


Education and Certifications

1974-1981    Completed two BA programs (Licenciaturas) in Argentina on Business Management and on Personnel Management at the Universidad Argentina de la Empresa, UADE

1985-1987   School of Social Psychology Pichon-Riviere; one year; Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) – 2 years

2001-2004            Masters’ in Counseling Psychology with Emphasis in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, California.

2003                      Certified as a Hypnotherapist.

2002-2004            Certified as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor from Santa Barbara City College.

Feb 2007               Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute; licensed   in 2009

June 2016             Trained in EMDR (eye movement desensitization reprocessing) 

April 2019              Certified in EMDR therapy

2021                       Became an Approved Consultant in EMDR 

2021                      Taquion International Certification in Decision Making

2022                       Ericksonian Hypnotherapy through Ericksonian Institute

February 2022     Registered as an Approved EMDR Consultant 

Trainings Taken

2021-2022  Hypnosis and Neurolinguistic Programming Training, refresher for the improvements

2021            emdr.2.0 with Ad de Jong

2020            Did I Lock the Door? with Laura Paulsen; emdr for dissociative disorders and obssessive compulsive disorders

2020             Flash Technique with Philp Manfield

2019             Somatic Experiencing and EMDR level I with Craig Penner, EMDR Consultant

2014   Certified in the Trauma Resilience Model (certified as trainer)

2013   Certified in the Trauma Informed System of Care (certified as trainer)

2013    Trained in the WRAP, Wellness Recovery Action Planning (facilitator of level I)

1997 & 2007  Became Trainer of Trainers, through completion of twos-six day Training of Trainers intensive programs (twice certified, 1997 and 2007) through Sentient Systems Inc., to train others on how to offer excellence in trainings

2009-2016     Attended intensive trainings on , Seeking Safety; Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (certified as a trainer), Aggression Replacement Training (certified as trainer), Moral Reconation Therapy (facilitator), Measure of Recovery Scale-MORS, The Addictive Brain, Domestic Violence, Dual Diagnosis, Best Practices for the Treatment of Antisocial Youth, ASAM (American Society for Addiction Medicine, revised version) Substance Abuse Placement Criteria for Adults, Best Practices for Substance Abuse Treatment, MATRIX, Relapse Prevention and Motivational Interviewing, Motivational Interviewing, Methamphetamine Addiction, Friendship Training on Social Skills for children with FASD, Rorschach Intensive Training, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Rational Living Therapy (CBT approach), and Family Behavioral Therapy; this is not an all-inclusive list

1999-2000 Hypnosis training at Hypnotherapy Training Institute, Santa Barbara

1987   Neurolinguistic Programming training at the Chrem Institute, Buenos Aires Argentina

Trainings Offered

2004-2017     Yearly and biennial trainings on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, ranging from two days to one hour, to: Santa Barbara County Behavioral Wellness staff; CASA workers, Santa Barbara; Perinatal Residential program Good Samaritan- Santa Maria, Casa Pacifica, Camarillo; Juvenile Justice System/Probation Officers, Santa Barbara; Child Abuse Listening and Mediation – CALM, Santa Barbara; Community Action Commission – Children Programs, Santa Maria; Probation Department, Clallam County; Santa Barbara County Psychological Association; as well as presentations to the community at large.

Jun 2013-2016  Trained the clinical staff of the Children System of Care of the Behavioral Wellness Department, County of Santa Barbara on Trauma Informed System of Care (TISC); trained trainers of community based organizations on TISC so that they could train their staff.

2015-2016   Three regional county wide Trauma Informed System of Care conferences, in partnership with Social Services, Santa Barbara.

Jun 2013-2016  Trained clinical staff in Behavioral Wellness, Santa Barbara, as well as community based organizations on Co-occurring Disorders recognition and treatment, Recovery and Wellness strategies and skills, Implementation of the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) form, completing Clinical Assessments with clinical integrity and according to State regulations; how to a conduct thorough Mental Health Status Examination; Assessing for Functional Impairments; Conducting a Cultural Interview according to the DSM5; How are Strength Based Case Presentations different; Treatment Planning according to State regulations and clinical integrity; and Concurrent Documentation; this is not an all-inclusive list.

Feb 2016   Weekly Trauma Resiliency Model trainings to line staff in Behavioral Wellness

Aug 2016  Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) level 1 workshops to Peers and Clinicians in County of Santa Barbara

Nov 2016      Training of Trainers to Behavioral Wellness staff in Santa Barbara, on how to become effective trainers