Doctor Jess


My Story

As a New Yorker educated in Colorado and California, I approach challenges with a laid-back style and razor-sharp rigor.

I have more than four decades of clinical experience. For the last last twenty years, I’ve been laser focused on non-verbal learning disabilities (NVLD) – soon-to-be called Developmental Visual Spatial Disorder (DVSD). It’s been the honor of my lifetime to help families not simply cope but thrive.

My love affair with psychoanalytic work began in the fresh air of Colorado where I led the Boulder Mental Health Center’s Gordon Beyer project, one of the country’s first residential treatment programs for chronic schizophrenic and bi-polar young adults.

Since then, I’ve headed several seminal organizations, including: Oakland’s Creative Living Center, a day treatment program for adults coping with mental illness; the San Francisco Psychotherapy Research Group (SFPRG), San Francisco’s Psychotherapy Training Center & Clinic, and most recently, the International Control Mastery Therapy Center (CMT).

Treating patients in therapy and psychoanalysis has been the core of my professional life. In 2000, I galvanized a team of global experts to help understand NVLD and we were able to establish it as a discrete disorder. Moreover, we determined NVLD affects 3-4% of North America: ~2.9M children.

Together, our team has developed cutting-edge neurological assessment and treatment protocols. Currently, we are working with a worldwide consortium of experts, Columbia University, and the NVLD Project to include the disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) under a new, more accurate name, Developmental Visual Spatial Disorder (DVSD). I’m thrilled to have shared our findings through the many books and articles I’ve co-authored.

My philanthropic endeavors center on learning disabilities, mental health advocacy, education, equity and inclusion, voting rights, and myriad progressive causes. Key initiatives include Oakland’s I Have a Dream, SFPRG’s low fee clinic, the Mentor Project, Focus 2020, and Vote Tree.

When not engaged in professional pursuits, you can find me painting, walking the beach with Luna, or hanging-out with my partner-in-crime, astrophysicist Gibor Basri. We are happiest on the days we get to spend with our beloved son, Jacob.

Click here for curriculum vitae.