Michael Guy Thompson
Zencare Vetted

Michael Guy Thompson


Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, LMFT Licensed Psychoanalyst, LP Psychologist, PhD Specialties Insurance & Fees Locations
California Accepting Online
Cow Hollow Accepting In-person
Updated November 17, 2023

Specialties & Expertise

  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Relationship issues
  • Trauma
  • Existential crisis & challenges

Professional statement

Michael Guy Thompson, Ph.D. received his psychoanalytic training from R. D. Laing and associates at the Philadelphia Association in London and his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the Wright Institute in Berkeley. In 1988 he founded Free Association, Inc., a not-for-profit psychoanalytic salon and training program devoted to integrating existentialism and psychoanalysis, in San Francisco.

He subsequently joined the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California in San Francisco where he is currently a Personal and Supervising Analyst and Faculty member, and is a past President of the International Federation for Psychoanalytic Education (IFPE), and the Northern California Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology (NCSPP).

Dr. Thompson is the author of more than 100 journal articles, book chapters, and book reviews on existentialism, psychoanalysis and psychosis, as well as six books: THE DEATH OF DESIRE (1985), THE TRUTH ABOUT FREUD’S TECHNIQUE (1994), THE ETHIC OF HONESTY (2004), THE LEGACY OF R.D. LAING (2015), a revised and expanded edition of THE DEATH OF DESIRE: AN EXISTENTIAL STUDY IN SANITY AND MADNESS (2017, 2nd ed.), and most recently, ESSAYS IN EXISTENTIAL PSYCHOANALYSIS: ON THE PRIMACY OF AUTHENTICITY (2023). He is has lectured extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, Spain, and Australia over the past thirty years. Dr. Thompson is a member of varied psychoanalytic organizations, including the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA), the College of Psychoanalysts (UK), the Philadelphia Association, London, and the Confederation of Independent Psychoanalytic Societies.

Dr. Thompson has been training psychoanalysts for more than forty years and in 2022 founded the NEW SCHOOL FOR EXISTENTIAL PSYCHOANALYSIS, a two-year virtual training program that trains candidates worldwide, culminating in a Certificate in Existential Psychoanalysis. He practices existential psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in San Francisco and lives in Berkeley, California.

Message to clients

One of the things that haunts me about our all too human condition is how much pain we have to suffer in the ordinary conduct of our lives. Who do we turn to when we are in such despair that we don’t know where to turn? I believe all of us suffer from occasional feelings of fear, alienation, depression, confusion. Some suffer from these symptoms more than others, but we are all otherwise more or less the same in how vulnerable we can be. I try to connect with your deepest existential issues and help you get to know yourself intimately, in order to bring the passion and happiness than has been missing back into your life… or perhaps, for the first time?

For more than forty years I have worked with the full spectrum of distress and consternation that inspires many of us to seek psychotherapy. My approach is existential, which is a penetrating yet personal approach to therapy. I also work with borderline and psychotic symptoms, getting to the bottom of why a happy life of love and wonder is so elusive.

I am among the few psychoanalysts who integrate their work with the existential perspective, rooted in my training with R. D. Laing. I have published several books and numerous articles about my work over the past thirty years. You can access these publications as well as unpublished lectures under the PUBLICATIONS menu on my website.


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

Bipolar disorder - Developing coping and preventive strategies to stabilize extreme mood swings, including manic and depressive episodes; increasing effective strategies to regulate emotions and maintain a healthy daily routine

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

Relationship issues - Understanding one’s wants and needs in relationships; exploring patterns of interaction, addressing concerns, and strengthening satisfaction in relationships and dating

Trauma - Coping and healing after threatening or scary events, such as witnessing accidents or experiencing sexual, verbal, emotional, or physical abuse

Existential crisis & challenges - Supportive exploration of meaning and purpose in one’s life; finding one’s path in the face of existential anxiety, dread, and feelings of meaninglessness


  • Adults (24+)
  • Couples
  • Families
  • Parents
  • Seniors (65+)


  • MHN/Health Net
  • Stanford University Student Health Insurance (MHN)

Out-of-pocket fees

  • Individual sessions: $250 (50min)
  • Initial session: $250 (50min)
  • Family sessions: $450 (90min)

Additional session information

Therapist's note

While I am not on insurance panels, I am happy to help you submit out-of-network superbills to your insurance company wherein you will likely be compensated a percentage of my fee, anywhere from 50 to 80 percent in most cases, depending on how your insurance policy is written. If you do not know what you insurance policy is for out-of-network compensation reach out to your insurance company and ask.


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 1:00pm - 7:00pm
  • Tue 1:00pm - 7:00pm
  • Wed 1:00pm - 7:00pm
  • Thu 1:00pm - 7:00pm
  • Fri 1:00pm - 5:00pm
  • Sat Closed
  • Sun Closed

Cow Hollow practice
2196 Union Street, San Francisco, California 94123
Accepting new clients in-person
Currently Available Times
  • Morning (Before 10am)
  • Daytime (10am - 1pm)
  • Afternoon (1pm - 5pm)
  • Evening (After 5pm)
  • Weekends
Regular Hours
  • Mon 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm
  • Tue 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm
  • Wed 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm
  • Thu 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm
  • Fri Please inquire about hours
  • Sat none
  • Sun none

Work and Education

Years of Experience: 37 years

self, private practice, 1986 - Present

The Wright Institute, PhD Clinical Psychology, 1985
Philadelphia Association, Ltd., London, UK, Certificate in Existential Psychoanalysis, 1980


California: 21927