Mental Health Providers

Alexandra Thurston, PsyD

UC Berkeley, Postdoctoral Fellowship in Psychology
California State University, Long Beach, Pre-doctoral Internship in Psychology

PGSP-Stanford PsyD Consortium, Clinical Psychology, PsyD
Scripps College, Psychology, BA

Professional Experience
Dr. Thurston has trained in a variety of settings, including community mental health centers, outpatient psychiatry clinics, and various university counseling centers. She approaches counseling from a relational perspective, and integrates principles of cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and mindfulness and self-compassion depending on each client’s needs. Dr. Thurston works collaboratively with students to address personal and professional goals, find deeper connection and fulfilment, and enhance well-being.

Special Area of Focus
Multiculturally sensitive therapy, mindfulness, anxiety and stress management, identity development, adjustment, family of origin issues, working with biracial/multiracial students, Asian American mental health, relationships, women’s issues, and group therapy.

Anja Bircher, PsyD

SF VA Healthcare System, Postdoctoral Fellowship in Interprofessional LGBT Healthcare Psychology
Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial VA Hospital, Predoctoral Internship in Primary Care Behavioral Health

AIU California School of Profession Psychology SF, Clinical Psychology, PsyD
California State University Long Beach, Film and Video Production, BA

Professional Experience
Dr. Bircher has worked in hospital, community primary care, and outpatient mental health settings, including SF VA, Lyon-Martin Health Services, and SF Stress and Anxiety Center. They use an integrative approach in order to best meet the needs of the individuals they work with and their specific concerns. They draw primarily from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, as well as mindfulness, Dialectal Behavior Therapy and Motivational Interviewing. Their practice is attuned to aspects of identity, guided by each individual's values, informed by social justice within a strength-based and collaborative approach. They are passionate about supporting people in coping, adapting, and engaging with changes in life.

Special Area of Focus
Life transitions, trauma, transgender identities, sexual identities, sexual concerns (including and affirming of consensual kink), relationships (including polyamory, nonmonogamy, and monogamy), addressing internalized oppression (racism, ableism, etc.), and chronic illness/pain.

Jeanne Stanford, PhD

Executive Director, Student Health and Counseling Services
California School of Professional Psychology LA, PhD
Bard College, BA, Psychology

Professional Experience
Dr. Stanford brings a wealth of experience to UCSF, after serving the campus communities at UCLA and UCSB, including 12 years as director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at UCSB. Her work includes participation in initiatives across the UC system to understand the mental health needs of campus learners, promoting progressive and responsive services at our campus counseling centers with the goal of making our counseling centers a source of health and academic support where all, not only are welcome, but feel welcome. Her work includes initiatives to identify and eliminate barriers which inhibit help-seeking behavior of underrepresented groups from utilizing counseling services. She is an advocate for cultural competency, inclusion and social justice in academia as well as in mental health and wellbeing.

Special Areas of Focus
Dr. Stanford has special expertise working with students of color, first generation students, LGBTI students and students who have experienced trauma and interpersonal violence in its many forms. Dr. Stanford strives to provide emotional support as well as psychological growth for her clients. She has a personal and direct approach and works from a strength based perspective.

Justin T. Gibson, PhD

Director, Mental Health Services and Psychologist
UC Berkeley, Predoctoral Internship and Postdoctoral Fellowship in Psychology
University at Albany, NY, Counseling Psychology, PhD
University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), Social and Behavioral Sciences, BS

Professional Experience
Dr. Gibson joined UCSF Student Health and Counseling Services in 2017 after working for more than 12 years in student counseling, community mental health, behavioral health and neuropsychological rehabilitation settings.

Dr. Gibson engages in an integrative counseling approach tailoring his style to the unique and specific needs of the individual, commonly incorporating humanistic, cognitive behavioral, interpersonal neurobiology and multicultural perspectives. He is particularly interested in minority mental health emphasizing the​ reduction of stigma and barriers to help-seeking.

Dr. Gibson has also run a number of skills and therapy groups including Healthy Relationships, Stress Management, Health & Wellness, Life Skills, Interpersonal Process, LGBTQ support groups, Gay Men of Color Groups, and various other Men's Groups throughout his career.

Aparna Atluru, MD, MBA

Stanford Hospital & Clinics, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship
The University of Texas Southwestern, Adult Psychiatry Residency
Harvard Business School, MBA
Texas Tech Foster School of Medicine, MD
The University of Texas at Austin, Bachelor’s degrees

Professional Experience
Dr. Atluru has trained and worked in a variety of settings, including inpatient and outpatient settings, school mental health centers, the VA, and the psychiatric ER. She approaches psychiatry from a holistic perspective and believes there are numerous elements that go into one’s wellbeing.

Special Areas of Interest
Dr. Atluru’s areas of special interest are medical education, psychodynamic and interpersonal psychotherapy, Asian American mental health, and existential depression & anxiety in high performing individuals.