NOTICE: Sessions are offered in person (observing public health guidelines), or over secure video calls.
NSAC San Diego, also known as The Cognitive Therapy Institute, APC (CTI), has been a leading center offering evidence-based CBT treatment for anxiety disorders and depression since 1991. Located in the northern section of San Diego, near La Jolla and UCSD, NSAC San Diego offers individual therapy for clients of all ages, as well as short-term group therapies and therapy for couples and families.
We have been providing group and individual therapy for Social Anxiety for over 18 years, and we offer individual and 12- week therapy groups also for Panic and Agoraphobia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Depression, and OCD. Two members of our team also specialize in treatment of children and adolescents and offer expertise in social skills training and other treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorder. We seek to support and guide each client to learn and practice effective CBT strategies, often integrated with mindfulness and other treatment approaches tailored to each individual client.
Contact National Social Anxiety Center
The Cognitive Therapy Institute, APC
3262 Holiday Court, Suite 220
La Jolla, CA 92120
Staff at the National Social Anxiety Center
CLINIC REPRESENTATIVE TO NSAC:
James L. Shenk, PhD: Dr. Shenk is the Director of the Cognitive Therapy Institute, APC in San Diego. He offers expertise in the empirically-based treatment of social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, OCD, depression, and relationship problems. He completed a PhD in clinical psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1988 and pursued postdoctoral training in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for 3 years under the mentorship of Christine Padesky, PhD at the Center for Cognitive Therapy, Newport Beach. In 1991, Dr. Shenk began directing the Partial Hospitalization Program for Depression at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital while assuming leadership for an affiliation of licensed clinicians at the Cognitive Therapy Institute (CTI) in San Diego. In addition to a full-time psychotherapy practice, he taught CBT and supervised doctoral students at the California School of Professional Psychology from 1992-2012. Dr. Shenk has led many CBT workshops for mental health practitioners and has given presentations at state, national, and international conventions.
Dr. Shenk is one of the Founding Fellows, and continues as a Certified Diplomate and Trainer, for the Academy of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies (A-CBT). He has provided training and supervision in CBT to mental health professionals in his office or online for over 20 years. He currently oversees clinical services and consults with all therapists at the Cognitive Therapy Institute, and he leads a monthly workshop in CBT for licensed therapists in and beyond San Diego. He provides both individual and group treatment for social anxiety, panic and agoraphobia, OCD, generalized anxiety disorder, and depression. He blends CBT with mindfulness-based interventions and other empirically supported approaches while seeking to conceptualize and craft therapy to each client's unique needs. His CBT approach is active and experiential in session, to ensure preparation for dealing effectively with daily life challenges and success in reaching social and other goals.
Lesley Dorfman, PhD: Dr. Dorfman received her MA in Marriage and Family Therapy and continued on to complete a PhD in Clinical Psychology at United States International University in 1993 (now Alliant International University). She received extensive training and diverse experience working with adolescents and adults in various clinical settings, including completion of a comprehensive, APA accredited, full time internship at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital providing therapy to adults, adolescents and children. Dr. Dorfman’s range of experiences led to a solid base of knowledge and confidence in working with mild, moderate, and severe psychological problems with all ages. She has furthered her expertise in CBT during the past 4 years as a therapist at CTI.
Dr. Dorfman utilizes her extensive clinical skills and CBT expertise to treat a wide range of clients and clinical conditions at CTI, including anxiety disorders such as social anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, and PTSD, as well as depression, OCD and BDD, and autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Dorfman uses collaborative, creative, empirically based CBT techniques with her clients both in the office and outside the office when relevant to help them overcome phobias and gain confidence in achieving their goals. She draws from her years of both professional and personal life experience to also offer wise guidance in addressing life transitions, grief and loss, and parenting difficulties. She has particular expertise in parenting children with developmental difficulties or other unique challenges. Dr. Dorfman approaches each client with a base of respect and compassion, offering CBT for individual adults and adolescents, as well as for families and couples.
Zev A. Kluner, PsyD, received his doctorate in clinical psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology, San Diego (Alliant) in 2017. Dr. Kluner has a wide range of clinical experience with children and adolescents diagnosed with depression, anxiety disorders, OCD, ODD, ADHD, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. He interned at Harmonium (a non-profit outpatient program), San Diego Center for Children (level-14 residential group home) and The Winston School, Del Mar (non-public school, NPS). Additionally, he completed a two year accredited pre-doctoral internship within the juvenile system for the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency. His post-doctoral training was at The Winston School, Del Mar, CA.
In addition to offering a strong base in CBT skills, Dr. Kluner believes that the interpersonal relationship between the therapist and client is one of the most significant factors of success in treatment. He seeks to facilitate transformation and growth in his young clients through a personalized approach of infusing creativity, compassion, theoretical training, and evidenced-based interventions.
Nick Boyd, LPCC, NCC: Mr. Boyd received his MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of San Diego in 2014 and is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) in California as well as a Nationally Certified Counselor(credentialed by the National Board of Certified Counselors). Mr. Boyd has completed advanced training in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD) and has achieved Network Provider status in Cognitive Processing Therapy(CPT) and Prolonged Exposure through the STRONG STAR Training Initiative). Mr.Boyd is also currently pursuing his doctorate at the University of Cumberland.
In addition to his part-time position at the Cognitive Therapy Institute, Mr. Boyd works as a Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor with the VA San Diego
Healthcare System and is a part-time faculty at the University of San Diego, teaching courses such as diagnosis and evidence-based counseling. He is the co-
founder of e3 Civic High’s School-Based Mental Health Counseling program located in the new downtown San Diego Library. Moreover, Mr. Boyd is an Army veteran and currently serves in the California State Guard as a Behavioral Health Officer.
Mr. Boyd has experience providing individual and group therapy for a variety of conditions, including hoarding, anxiety, and depression with a particular interest in working with PTSD.
Operating from a place of compassion, Mr. Boyd strives to facilitate a warm and supportive environment for every person. Utilizing a CBT-based approach, Mr.Boyd tailors therapy to your individual needs while emphasizing the therapist-client relationship throughout the process.
Chad Vacco, SPCC, NCC: Mr. Vacco received his MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of San Diego in 2022 and is a registered Associate Professional Clinical Counselor (APCC) in California as well as a Nationally Certified Counselor (credentialed by the National Board of Certified Counselors).
Mr. Vacco completed a comprehensive internship in San Diego with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at the ASPIRE Center, a residential outpatient clinic for combat veterans, and Rio WAVE Clinic, a vocational rehabilitation center where he provided individual and group evidence-based therapies treating various conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety-related conditions, and addiction.
In addition to his part-time position at the Cognitive Therapy Institute, Mr. Vacco works as a therapist within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System continuing to help veterans find holistic healing and improve their quality of life. He also currently serves as an Emergency Response Supervisor and ASIST suicide prevention counselor for the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves in the greater San Diego area.
As a military veteran, Mr. Vacco draws on his professional and life experience to help individuals navigate life stressors and find adaptive ways to improve their lives. He has experience in providing both individual and group therapy working with a variety of circumstances, including trauma, hoarding, anxiety, depression, and addiction with a particular interest in working with PTSD and OCD. Operating from a place of empathy, strength, and collaboration, Mr. Vacco brings a holistic CBT-based approach to assist his clients in achieving their goals and improving their overall quality of life Cumberland.
The National Social Anxiety Center (NSAC) exists solely to promote
evidence-based treatment for social anxiety, and education about social anxiety.
NSAC is not a group psychotherapy practice, and does not provide any psychotherapy services.
NSAC assumes no liability for it’s regional clinics’ work or practices.