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Catherine MacGillivray  in
Catherine MacGillivray , AMFT

El Cerrito, CA

Online & In-Person

Accepting new clients

About me

Greetings! I’m Dr. Catherine, and Appui Therapy is dedicated to giving you the support you need to liberate yourself from whatever limits you.

Appui Therapy is rooted in psychodynamic therapy and compassionate care, and informed by my passion for languages and literature, and my many years as a professor of both. It’s a different type of therapy, for different types of people—all of whom share a desire to live a life more aligned with their identities and ideals.

Together, we can start building that life.

I am an academic, artist, and activist, whose pleasure in supporting others and helping them to grow led me to create a therapy practice informed by my decades-long career as a professor of literature, languages, and gender and sexuality studies, as well as three years of relational psychoanalytic training at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NIP) in New York City. I approach my clinical practice as a scholar, mentor, and translator.

You may be an artist. You may be an academic. You may be an activist. I have been all three of these–I speak their languages, and I know their stories. Whether you’re building a dream, a movement, a family, a new future, or just beginning to pick up the pieces of your life, Appui Therapy is here to support you every step of the way, with a long-term focus on liberation for your mind and body.

Especially in this time of upheaval and unrest, you may be hurting–feeling lost, adrift, burned out, under- or over-stimulated, or simply sad. I am here to connect with you. To listen compassionately. To make space for you to better hear yourself, and to encourage linkages, mentalizations, and trauma metabolizations that will allow you to better listen to the rhythms of your body and to use your own mind. I offer you my mind in this pursuit.

I hold a bachelor’s in Women’s Studies with concentrations in literature and philosophy from Barnard College of Columbia University, a Maîtrise in Modern Letters from the University of Paris, and a PhD in French Literature from UC-Berkeley. My passion for critical theory and psychoanalysis inspires everything I do. In my practice, I am also guided by the ideas of contemporary clinical writers such as Judith Herman, Terry Real, and Ken Corbett–as well as many more.

I am available for in-person appointments in El Cerrito, and via telehealth for people located anywhere in California.



Fees and insurance

Specialties and clinical interests

Therapy types

Community specialties

Years in practice


Service types

  • Therapy / Counseling

Types of clients

  • Adolescents (13-17)
  • Adults (18+)
  • Older Adults (65+)
  • Individuals
  • Couples
  • Families
  • Parents & Caregivers


  • German
  • Spanish
  • English
  • Portuguese
  • French

Website and social media

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