Howard K. Gershenfeld
Zencare Vetted

Howard K. Gershenfeld

Adult Psychiatrist, MD PhD
California Accepting Online

Due to COVID-19 risks, ALL visits are online via video meetings = tele-psychiatry.

Updated January 27, 2023

Specialties & Expertise

  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Phobias & fears
  • Social anxiety
  • Panic attacks / panic disorder
  • Depression

Professional statement

Howard Gershenfeld is a Board-Certified Adult Psychiatrist with 25+ years of experience. He enjoys working with clients motivated to improving the quality of their lives. Many clients come in when they feel anxiety, depressive, or problems in living issues that are holding them back, feeling disappointed or frustrated. Therapy clients are usually committed to ~ 15 min./day between sessions to try out new skills & ways of being.

Howard is a Stanford trained (MD, PhD, & residency), pragmatic, caring clinician-scientist, who uses an evidence-based, whatever works framework. Often, this approach is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as well as measurement-based care to monitor progress. In general, measurement-based care provides better outcomes & ensures getting completely well, not just better. In sessions, Howard focuses on what’s troubling you most now, adaptive coping, reframing, questions to challenge unhelpful or unrealistic thoughts, improved self-talk, and active tasks between session. Most clients receive time-limited therapy of 8-20 sessions, depending upon severity. This individually tailored approach empowers clients to become their own therapists, flourish, and "try on" new skills, behaviors, and mindsets, learning to adapt and overcome.

Howard’s style is active, engaged, curious, kind, & down-to-earth. An initial comprehensive evaluation visit (2 x 50 min.) consists of telling your story, sharing your current issues, concerns, & desired imagined future. Also, current stressors, past experiences, prior treatments, developmental backgrounds, values, strengths, weaknesses, interpersonal world, hobbies, etc. are gleaned. Usually, a diagnosis & problem list emerges from these visits plus your preferences for the “job to be done”. Then, psychoeducation with alternative treatment options are explored, Then, shared decision making on the priorities and next steps is formulated. Howard is dedicated to providing a collaborative relationship that is empathic, non-judgmental, and helpful. In his free time, Howard enjoys hiking, exercise, reading, and sports hassling.

Message to clients

Don't let anxiety, depression, perfectionism or limiting beliefs hold you back. Are you feeling overwhelmed, tense, or struggling with anxiety or depressive issues? IIf these issues are interferring with your social, family, or work life, then consider investing in yourself, getting help. Indeed, a personalized, tailored treatment may be your best choice. While we don't offer warranties, if treatment works for you, it will be one of the best investments you ever make. And yet, too many people unnecessarily suffer with lingering issues due to wishful thinking, delays, avoidance, minimization, or partial improvements (getting better, though not completely well).

Although I specialize in anxiety disorders, I bring two decades of brief psychotherapy experience working in various settings. For 10+ yrs, I worked overseas as a Regional Psychiatrist in the US Dept. of State, posted x 2-3 yrs. in Ghana, India, Greece, and Austria, covering a surrounding region of countries, too. As a result, I've treated a full spectrum of issues, dealing variously with disasters / emergencies ( terrorist incidents, civil wars, frozen conflicts, epidemics, financial crises, coups, earthquakes, violent protests, etc.), sudden unexpected deaths, workplace morale issues, transition stress, interpersonal conflicts, anger issues, marital frayings, insomnia, demoralizations, parenting issues, student anxiety, anxiety disorders, depression, vocational choices, leadership / management concerns (Executive Coaching), PTSD, and substance misuse. For further info about me, my treatment philosophy & how I work that differs from other providers, please see my website: howardgershenfeldmd(dot)com


Anxiety - Coping with excessive worry, nervousness, or stress; intense discomfort in social settings (social anxiety); sudden and intense feelings of panic (panic disorder)

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) - Reducing unwanted intrusive thoughts and rituals by gradually building comfort and confidence facing difficult fears, thoughts, and emotions

Phobias & fears - Providing techniques and support to overcome intense fear, anxiety, and panic related to specific triggers, such as heights or crowded spaces

Social anxiety - Helping clients increase confidence and ability to interact with others amidst fear of being judged, worry about embarrassment, or concern about offending others

Panic attacks / panic disorder - Brief, intense periods of overwhelming fear or anxiety

Depression - Providing support and promoting healing of hopelessness, low motivation and energy, sadness, irritability, sleep disturbance, and loss of interest and pleasure in life


  • Adults (24+)
  • Young adults (18-24)


Howard Gershenfeld is not in-network with any insurances.

Read about the benefits of seeing an out-of-network provider here.

Out-of-pocket fees

  • Individual sessions: $200 (50min)
  • Medication management and therapy sessions: $200 (50min)
  • Medication management sessions: $170 (30min)
  • Initial Sessions (2 x 50 min.): $400 (50min)
  • Second Opinions / Consults (2 x 50 min.): $400 (50min)

Additional session information

Out-of-network billing options

This provider can support you in getting reimbursement from your insurance company if you are seeking out-of-network reimbursement. Here are the out-of-network billing options they provide:

  • Super billing
Payment options
  • Credit Card
  • Debit Card
  • Zelle
Session frequency

Frequency of sessions this provider offers to see clients once you are an established client.

  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Every other week
  • Every other month
  • As needed
Therapist's note

NOTE: All initial visits are considered consultation visits, typically ~ 2 x 50 min. sessions, allowing a more comprehensive assessment of your issues. These visits usually require clients complete a few online questionnaires prior to the visit and collect their prior records (if possible), optimizing our time together. Administrative review of documents and all forms are billed at $300/hr.


Online Sessions (California)
Accepting new clients online
Currently Available Times
  • Morning (Before 10am)
  • Daytime (10am - 1pm)
  • Afternoon (1pm - 5pm)
  • Evening (After 5pm)
  • Weekends
Regular Hours
  • Mon Closed
  • Tue 9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Wed Closed
  • Thu 9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Fri Closed
  • Sat Please inquire about OTHER OPTIONS if the above doesn't work for you
  • Sun Please inquire about hours

Work and Education

Years of Experience: 36 years

Private Practice - California Tele-Psychiatry, Psychiatrist - Consultant, 2021 - Present
PESI, Inc. - Continuing Medical Education Programs, Program Reviewer; Subject Matter Expert), 2021 - Present
Acacia Counseling & Wellness - Goleta, CA , Staff Psychiatrist, 2020 - 2020
U.S. Department of State – Posted in: Ghana, India, Greece, Austria, covering a region, Regional Medical Officer in Psychiatry, 2009 - 2019
University Texas Southwestern Medical Center – Dallas, TX , Clinician -Scientist (Assoc. Prof.), 1995 - 2008
Contra Costa County Mental Health Services – Pittsburg, CA , Staff Psychiatrist, 2008 - 2008

NIH / National Institute of Mental Health, Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Neuroscience Branch, 1995
Stanford Univ. School Of Medicine, Psychiatry Residency, 1991
Stanford Univ. School Of Medicine, MD / Ph.D., 1987
University of Chicago, B.A. - Biology with Honors, 1976


California: G65229