Mark Purcell, PsyD

Clinical Psychologist


"Psychotherapy offers an opportunity for growth and lasting change.  I believe that the client-therapist relationship has the greatest healing potential in therapy. I strive to compassionately work with clients to reveal their true self by identifying the patterns and obstacles that often create internal stress and interpersonal conflict."

-- Mark Purcell --

Psychotherapy Services

Mark strives to holistically, and collaboratively work with each client to realize their potential for growth and happiness. Mark has extensive experience working with  adolescents, children, and adults with a broad range of challenges and difficulties. Mark is  trained in specialized treatment approaches for specific problems. He has received extensive training in the following evidence-based treatment approaches: Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Attachment Focused Family Therapy, and Expressive Arts Therapy. Mark can also provide psychological evaluations to identify psycho-educational needs and navigate the different systems of care they may be involved with.



Adolescents and Transition Age Youth (TAY)

Adolescents - Mark provides sensitive youth-centered therapy to help teens identify their goals, and areas that they would like to work on. He also help teens and parents to develop a relationship of mutual understanding. He has extensive experience working with adolescents who may have a broad range of difficulties, from common developmental tasks to more concerning psychological diagnoses.


Transition Age Youth (TAY) - Mark also provides therapy and support to Transition Age Youth (TAY), who typically are between the ages of 17 to 25. He has found that TAY may experience different challenges as they prepare to launch into early adulthood. These may include: identifying educational and vocational paths to developing independent living skills. Mark extensive experience helping these young adults figure out how to meet the challenges of emerging adulthood.


Below are some of the different issues that Mark has expertise in helping adolescents and transitional age youth work through.



Adolescent & TAY Issues and Areas of Expertise

Social/PeerSubstance Use/AbuseDepressionAnxietyRelationshipsAttention DifficultiesIndependent LivingAcademic/VocationalParent - Youth ConflictEmotional InstabilityAggression/AngerSelf HarmMood DisordersLearning DifficultiesSchizophreniaTraumaLegal Issues


As a child therapist, Mark strives to provide a comfortable and nurturing space where each child feels valued and safe to explore their feelings. A significant amount of my professional experience and training has focused upon helping children dealing with challenging emotional, learning, or behavioral issues. Below are some of the issues which he has particular expertise diagnosing and treating.


Childhood Issues and Areas of Expertise


Shyness/ Social AnxietyAttention/ADHDBehavioral ProblemsTemper TantrumsDepressionAnxietySleep DifficultiesSeparation AnxietyTrauma and LossParent SeparationLearning DifficultiesAsperger's/Autism



As a therapist, Mark can provide the space  to focus upon issues that may have become barriers to attaining the life you want. He  strives to compassionately work with clients to reveal their true self by identifying the patterns and obstacles that often create internal stress and interpersonal conflict. Below are some of the issues which Mark has particular experience working with.


Adult Issues and Areas of Expertise


Relationship ProblemsCareer/VocationalStage of LifeMood DisordersDepressionAnxietySubstance AbuseAttention/Adult ADHD Anger ManagementLegal IssuesDivorce/SeparationSchizophrenia

Family & Co-Parenting

Family Therapy - The family system is a signficant aspect of the challenges experienced by children and adolescents. In addition to the young person in therapy, family members may need support and guidance. In order for lasting change to occur,  it is important to involve the family in the therapeutic process. The type of family involvement will depend upon the specific issues being addressed.


Co-Parenting Counseling - Separation can be very painful and difficult for all members of a family. When parents are divorced or separated, reaching mutual agreement in parenting issues can be challenging. As a family-focused therapist Mark can help mediate differences in order to provide the most nurturing and consistent environment for the children.


Group Therapy

Therapeutic groups can often offer the structured social interactions so important for treating many difficulties. Mark has led numerous groups for children, teens, and adults, and finds this to be a valuable therapeutic modality. Clients often gain the support and understanding from other members that they cannot find in other aspects of their lives. Below are some of the different types of groups which Mark has led over the years.


 CHILDREN'S GROUPSSocial SkillsBehavior DifficultiesArts - BasedGROUPS for ADULTSInterpersonalSubstance AbuseMindfulnessTEEN GROUPSDBT Skills GroupsSubstance AbuseArts & Murals





In addition to current psychotherapeutic approaches to working with youth and adults, Mark has specialized training in certain treatment approaches. Depending upon the presenting problem, he may recommend a specific treatment approach.. Below are descriptions of some of the specialized treatment approaches that he has used with considerable success.


Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) combines cognitive-behavioral techniques for emotion regulation and reality-testing with concepts of distress tolerance, acceptance, and mindfulness practices. This approach has proven successful in treating individuals who easily become emotionally dysregulated, and as a result, may engage in high-risk or self-destructive behaviors. Mark has extensive training in this approach and has previously developed DBT programs, as well as training DBT to professionals and parents.


Mindfulness Practice

Mindfulness has increasingly become integrated into main-stream psychotherapy. It has been scientifically-proven to be helpful in treating a broad range of psychological symptoms. Mark has  been trained to teach Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and in the use of mindfulness-based techniques and practices for alleviating emotional distress. For those interested in this approach, Mark teaches skills for practicing mindfulness to alleviate specific symptoms or simply to enjoy a more personally satisfying lifestyle.


Substance Abuse Treatment

Substance abuse and addiction can be a very confusing and devastating problem, which many individuals struggle with. Mark has a great deal of experience working with adolescents and adults with varying degrees of substance use issues. He is familiar with various treatment approaches, from Twelve-Step Programs, to Motivational Interviewing and group treatment. His approach is to work with the person where they are in their substance use, try to help them identify whether it is a problem, and motivate them to make the steps towards lasting change.



Expressive Arts

The arts can be a powerful tool for expressing and working through emotions. Expressive arts therapy encompasses all art forms, and is a powerful therapeutic approach that can access areas of awareness other than talk therapy. Mark was trained in Expressive Arts Therapy at CIIS, and finds this to be a very effective approach for youth and adults interested in integrating creative expression into treatment.




Psychological Evaluations

As a clinical psychologist, Mark is trained in conducting psychological testing and evaluations for a range of purposes. During initial psychotherapy sessions, he will conduct an assessment of the presenting problems and provide an initial diagnosis. In addition to the clinical interview, Mark can conduct more in-depth psychological testing and assessment. This may be recommended to confirm possible diagnoses, or in order to gain a more comprehensive assessment of the presenting issues.


For children and adolescents, It can often be challenging to accurately assess the specific challenges a child or teen is struggling with. Often there may be an interaction between psychological, social, cognitive, or learning issues. Mark can conduct comprehensive psycho-educational evaluations in order to accurately diagnose psychological and learning issues. He will then make recommendations for effective treatment and educational interventions


Mark C. Purcell, PsyD


Ph 650.421.6518

San Carlos Office

1139 San Carlos Avenue, Suite 303

San Carlos, CA 94070

Pleasanton Office

1811 Santa Rita Road, Suite 216

Pleasanton, CA 94566