Meet the best therapists* in Santa Monica.

image of santa monica pier; best therapists in santa monica

4 stars or higher online

Peer reviewed

Screened for burnout

Trauma-informed

We'll be vetting therapists in Santa Monica soon!

Updated on Jan 30, 2024

Meet some of the top rated therapists in Santa Monica, California.

Fact checked

All updates to our vetting process and content are clinically reviewed by licensed psychotherapists.

We only reference peer-reviewed psychological and medical journals, trusted media outlets, esteemed mental health experts, or reputable mental health organizations.

Why trust Best Therapists?

We developed a vetting process specific to therapists that checks for the things we wish we knew about a therapist before starting treatment.

We're therapy seekers ourselves, and our team is comprised of mental health experts, writers, and licensed therapists who fact check everything we create and develop.

Meet our team of expert contributors or learn more about why you should choose Best Therapists when seeking a therapist.

Michelle King Rayfield, LMFT

California, LMFT #122618

Seeing clients since 2016
About Michelle King | She/her

Michelle specializes in trauma/PTSD, anxiety, life transitions, addiction, relationships, and couples counseling. As a Certified EMDR Therapist, Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, IFS Institute Trained Therapist, and expert in the field of addiction, she has worked as an Individual and Group Therapist as well as Clinical Director in numerous treatment centers across Southern California. She has experience in hospital, residential, and outpatient settings and has researched psychological trauma and neuroscience with teams at Cedars-Sinai. Michelle approaches therapy through a somatic, cognitive, and emotional healing lens. She believes in holistic treatment and integrates a variety of approaches as appropriate for each individual, including CBT, DBT, EMDR, attachment-based interventions, IFS, and more. Prior to becoming a therapist, Michelle was a Nonprofit Director, Educator for the Deaf, and Private Educational Specialist. She holds a Masters in Education from USC and consistently pursues new learning opportunities. With a passion for dance and music, she was a dance teacher for many years and still loves going to concerts around Los Angeles.

Message to clients

Are you looking for help to deal with trauma, anxiety, addiction, or a life transition? Having a hard time in relationships or wanting to strengthen your relationship with your partner? I have years of experience helping people overcome these kinds of struggles in order to find a sense of peace and fulfillment. People who know me best would say I'm smart, down-to-earth, easy to talk to, and a kind-hearted soul. I love getting to know people, listening to their stories, providing support, and utilizing my professional knowledge to help people find change. I know it can be hard to find a therapist, and I believe connection and trust are the most important things to look for in a therapeutic relationship. I encourage you to reach out for a free consultation. I'd be happy to answer any questions or discuss how I can help.

Education

Masters in Clinical Psychology | Pepperdine University, 2017

Race and ethnicity

White, Pacific Islander

Cultural and experiential knowledge

White culture

Languages spoken

English

Spiritual knowledge

Spiritism, Non-religious (Agnosticism, Atheism, Secular)

None listed

Virtual or in person

Virtual and In Person

Specialties

Trauma, Couples counseling, Anxiety

Additional areas of focus

Addiction, Bipolar disorder, Life transitions, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Premarital counseling, Self esteem/self worth, Social anxiety, Stress, Substance misuse/dependency

Therapeutic style

Affirming, Calming, Empowering, Inquisitive, Conversational

Modalities

Attachment based, Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), EMDR, Internal family systems (IFS), Trauma-focused, Psychodynamic

Cost

$250

/

Individual Session

$300

/

Couples Session

/

Family Session

Sliding scale

Does not offer sliding scale spots

Insurance accepted
Does not work directly with insurance companies
Works with your out of network benefits to get you reimbursed for therapy
Click here to check your out of network benefits for free
Peer review

I have had the privilege of working closely with Michelle, and I can confidently attest to her exceptional skills and strong dedication as a psychotherapist. Michelle's professionalism, combined with her exceptional talent and genuine concern for the welfare of her clients, make her a truly outstanding psychotherapist. It is an honor to recommend Michelle, and I have no doubt that she will continue to positively impact the lives of many individuals through her remarkable work.

—Amanda Ferrara, LMFT
Peer review

Michelle consistently goes above and beyond to ensure that each client receives personalized, holistic care tailored to their unique needs. I can confidently recommend Michelle King without reservation and believe she is an pioneer in the field of mental health.

—Jane Alt, LMFT
Peer review

Michelle is a lovely, empathetic, caring therapist who really takes the time to attune to her clients. She meets her clients where they are at and works collaboratively with each individual to craft a healing treatment plan. Michelle is an authentic and skillful professional that clients would be proud to call their therapist.

—Casey Strenski, LMFT
Online reviews
Click on the icons below to view Michelle King's online profiles and reviews.
Michelle King doesn't have any online reviews at this time.

5/5

Not available

Not available

Regina Lazarovich, PhD

California, PSY #31508; New York, PSY #020676

Seeing clients since 2008
About Regina | She/her

Dr. Regina Lazarovich, PhD is a Clinical Psychologist providing online therapy across California & New York. Many of her clients come in to address anxiety, uncertainty, low self-esteem, disordered eating and negative body image. Dr. Lazarovich is particularly passionate about serving individuals dealing with panic attacks, agoraphobia, social anxiety, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), binge eating disorder, and body dysmorphic disorder. Dr. Lazarovich has over a decade of experience in evidence-based techniques and tailors her approach to each unique individual client. She draws on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC), and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). She helps her clients change unhelpful patterns of thinking, to identify and honor their authentic values, build emotional resilience, and relate to themselves with more kindness. Dr. Lazarovich has advanced training in exposure and response prevention (ERP), the "gold standard" approach for treating OCD. She approaches those who struggle with disordered eating, binge eating disorder, and body image issues from Health at Every Size (HAES) and Intuitive Eating perspectives. As a HAES-aligned therapist, Dr. Lazarovich supports body diversity, acknowledges structural forces that impinge on the wellbeing of her clients and helps them navigate those systems. Dr. Lazarovich's style is warm, non-judgmental, insightful, and empowering. She begins by discussing each client's struggles, goals, and unique identity and helps them take small steps to make larger changes in their lives. She helps clients pivot from a life that’s ruled by fear, insecurity, and anxiety, to a life attuned with their authentic values, passions, and priorities. Dr. Lazarovich offers therapy via a secure video platform across California & New York which allows clients to fit sessions into a busy schedule, even when they're away from home.

Message to clients

I specialize in working with people who have achieved a lot but struggle to feel good enough. I am uniquely equipped to help with anxiety, panic attacks, agoraphobia, OCD, binge eating & negative body image. I want to help you find peace with yourself and live a more fulfilling life. You don't need to meet full criteria for a mental health disorder in order to benefit from therapy. Furthermore, challenging life transitions can often bring up anxiety and other difficult emotions and therapy can help. If your mental health struggles are negatively impacting your quality of life then you are worthy of support and I would be honored to be your guide towards greater wellbeing. I create safety for you to show up in all of your beautiful realness and messiness. My style is compassionate, active and encouraging. Together, we will understand how fear, uncertainty, doubt, and self-judgment are getting in the way of the life you want. We'll practice skills to help you change unhelpful patterns of thought & behavior and to gain perspective. We will put you in control of your life. As a result of our work together you will feel more present and engaged in what matters most to you. I will guide and support you every step of the way! Because I know how scary and vulnerable it can feel to start working with a new provider, I offer a free 20-minute consultation so we can see if we're a good fit.

Education

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology | Hofstra University, 2012

Race and ethnicity

White, Jewish, European immigrant

Cultural and experiential knowledge

White culture, Jewish culture, European culture

Languages spoken

English

Spiritual knowledge

Buddhism, Judaism, Non-religious (Agnosticism, Atheism, Secular)

None listed

Virtual or in person

Virtual Only

Specialties

Anxiety, Disordered eating, Panic attacks

Additional areas of focus

ADHD, Anxiety, Bicultural experience, Body image, Bullying, Burnout, Caring professionals (doctors, therapists, etc.), Dating, Depression, First generation immigrant experience, Grief and/or loss, Highly sensitive people, Insomnia, Life transitions, Midlife stress, Mindfulness and/or meditation, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Phobias, Second or third generation immigration experience, Self esteem/self worth, Social anxiety, Stress, Trauma

Therapeutic style

Affirming, Calming, Direct, Empowering, Inquisitive

Modalities

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), Mindfulness based, Prolonged exposure therapy, Strength-based therapy

Cost

$355

/

Individual Session

/

Couples Session

/

Family Session

Sliding scale

Offers sliding scale spots

Insurance accepted
Does not work directly with insurance companies
Works with your out of network benefits to get you reimbursed for therapy
Click here to check your out of network benefits for free
Peer review

Dr. Lazarovich is one of the most talented and effective skills-based clinicians I have known. She is able to help focus and build toward real outcomes, especially in how she approaches the therapy process as a collaborative, personalized, and empowering experience.

—Sharon Asher, PsyD
Peer review

Dr. Lazarovich has excellent therapeutic skills rooted in evidence-based techniques and a tremendous capacity for empathy and compassion. Her strong commitment to continuing education allows her to keep up-to-date in modern advances. Her areas of expertise include anxiety disorders, OCD, disordered eating, and body image concerns. She pairs CBT and exposure therapy with other techniques such as mindful self-compassion, DBT, HAES, and ACT to tailor treatment to a client's individual needs.

—Victoria Frisse, Ph.D.
Peer review

Regina is extremely warm, empathetic, and insightful when it comes to helping her clients. She resources her clients with practical tools they are able to use outside sessions. She is able to provide her clients with both a space for processing and guidance to overcome anxiety in day-to-day life.

—Dr. Marina Voron, LMFT
Online reviews
Click on the icons below to view Regina's online profiles and reviews.
Regina doesn't have any online reviews at this time.

No reviews

Not available

Not available

Arielle Pinkston, LMFT

California, LMFT #107356

Seeing clients since 2014
About Arielle | She/her

Arielle earned her BA in Psychology from Sonoma State University and her MA in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University. As a holistic therapist for almost a decade, she has worked with so many women who have struggled with anxiety and depression. She specializes in working with millennials, college age and graduate students who are struggling with perfectionism, codependency, relationship issues, self-esteem and major life transitions. Arielle believes in a holistic approach to wellness and works one on one with her clients to set goals and create the changes they have been wanting. She has completed extra trainings in mindfulness based stress reduction, acceptance commitment therapy and nutritional therapy. She is also a certified yoga instructor and teaches yoga in her spare time.

Message to clients

Navigating the modern world can feel overwhelming at times. Now, more than ever we are inundated with constant demands on our time, exposure to social media, internal and external pressure to do and be more. If you’re here, it’s likely you have come to a point where you are frustrated and desperate for change. Your mental health has started to interfere with school or work and your ability to show up for yourself and others. As a means for survival you have developed negative ways of coping that are making things feel worse. You want to stop struggling and resisting the things you know will help and want someone to help guide you back to taking care of yourself. You are ready to make a change, but don't know how or where to start. That’s where I come in. We’ll work together to help you gain more awareness around your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. You will learn new strategies for accepting all of your feelings, even if you don’t really like them, and feel empowered in a way you haven’t before. My goal as your therapist is to hold space for you to explore uncomfortable emotions and help empower you to create the changes you have so desperately been wanting. I aim to be a warm, empathetic listener while also calling you out on your stuff when you are caught up in unhelpful patterns, thoughts or beliefs. If this resonates, send me an e-mail today, I am here to help.

Education

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist | Pepperdine University 2014

Race and ethnicity

White

Cultural and experiential knowledge

White culture

Languages spoken

English

Spiritual knowledge

Buddhism, Non-religious (Agnosticism, Atheism, Secular), Mormonism, Christianity

None listed

Virtual or in person

Virtual Only

Specialties

Anxiety, Mindfulness and/or meditation, Self esteem/self worth, Nutrition

Additional areas of focus

Anxiety, Body image, Burnout, Codependency, Dating, Life transitions

Therapeutic style

Challenging, Empowering, Holistic, Laid back, Humorous

Modalities

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Attachment based, Mindfulness based, Psychoanalytic, Psychodynamic, Strength-based therapy

Cost

$200

/

Individual Session

/

Couples Session

/

Family Session

Sliding scale

Does not offer sliding scale spots

Insurance accepted
Does not work directly with insurance companies
Works with your out of network benefits to get you reimbursed for therapy
Click here to check your out of network benefits for free
Peer review

Arielle is warm, empathetic and genuinely wants the best for her clients. She has dedicated her career to working with anxious women. If you are looking for someone with a ton of knowledge and experience who will collaborate with you, I can't recommend her enough.

—Karen Sarafian
Peer review

With Arielle clients will feel truly seen. She is able to provide clients with great empathy all while challenging them to take steps towards their personal growth.

—Elizabeth Martin, LMFT
Peer review

Arielle is passionate about her work and her clients. She provides evidence based therapies and has worked in a variety of therapy settings. Her therapeutic style is warm, compassionate, and goal- oriented. She focuses on the whole person (the mind, heart, and body connection).

—Stacey Lee
Online reviews
Click on the icons below to view Arielle's online profiles and reviews.
Arielle doesn't have any online reviews at this time.

5/5

Not available

5/5

Not available

Gabe Kenney, AMFT

California, AMFT #116027

Seeing clients since 2018
About Gabe | He/him

Gabe Kenney is an Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, where he was born & raised. He had been surrounded by fields involving narrative from an early age, so it's perhaps natural that he found himself drawn to Narrative-based therapy, and the importance of an individual having the power to tell their own story on their own terms. After finishing his graduate program, he worked with his first clients in the intensive field of Grief & Loss. He worked for a year in both individual & group-leading sessions supporting that population, building professional and client-based relationships (some of which he maintains to this day, 5 years later). Following that, Gabe opened a private practice he still maintains today. After working with a wide range of individuals on everything from further Loss work, to Family therapy, to Agency & Identity building, he was approached by a couple individuals starting their career in law to support them around test anxiety. This was the beginning of what would become a specialty, supporting individuals (sometimes on second or third careers) entering their respective workforces or graduate programs to begin their fields of study, and working with them on the stress, anxiety, and imposter syndrome that sometimes accompanies it. His primary focus is, and always has been, making sure his clients can feel supported by others, and respected by themselves.

Message to clients

Being able to hear yourself isn't easy these days - the world's gotten louder over the last few years. New jobs, a fast-paced work environment, unexpected illness, and a million different ways to communicate. I'm here to do the best I can to cut out the noise, and make sure that you can let in others' input without letting them override *you.* I'll work with you so you can feel seen, heard, and protected. I'll work with you so you can build up your sense of agency, and make sure you have the tools to know that you deserve an advocate - both from without and within. I'll work with you to make sure that you can spend just as much time having your priorities taken care of as *you* spend making others are. And I'll ask questions along the way to make sure you feel you're driving the direction of where you want to go next. This work isn't easy - that's why I appreciate everyone who works with me within it. Whether we're here to forge a personal sense of identity, to move forward through a loss, to carve out a second (or third) career, or to make sure you can stay present in a relationship while still making time for your own peace, I'm here, and happy to help.

Education

Associate Marriage & Family Therapist | University of San Francisco, 2019

Race and ethnicity

White

Cultural and experiential knowledge

White culture

Languages spoken

English

Spiritual knowledge

Judaism, Christianity, Mormonism, Non-religious (Agnosticism, Atheism, Secular)

None listed

Virtual or in person

Virtual Only

Specialties

Grief and/or loss, Sports performance, Performance anxiety

Additional areas of focus

ADHD, Adolescents/teens, Anger management, Anxiety, Bullying, Burnout, Career counseling/coaching, Caring professionals (doctors, therapists, etc.), Children, Chronic illness or pain, Codependency, Dating, Existential questioning, Family counseling, First responders, Gaming and/or social media dependence, Highly sensitive people, LGBTQ+ sexuality, Life transitions, Midlife stress, Military families, Mindfulness and/or meditation, Neurodivergence, Phobias, Polyamory/non-monogamy/open relationships, Premarital counseling, Schizophrenia spectrum, Self esteem/self worth, Social anxiety, Socioeconomic issues, Spirituality, Stalking, Stress, Veterans/military services, Bipolar disorder, Abuse, Autism spectrum, Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic attacks, Psychedelic assisted therapy

Therapeutic style

Humorous, Inquisitive, Affirming, Direct, Empowering

Modalities

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Mindfulness based, Narrative, Play therapy, Strength-based therapy, Trauma-focused

Cost

$225

/

Individual Session

/

Couples Session

$300

/

Family Session

Sliding scale

Offers sliding scale spots

Insurance accepted
Does not work directly with insurance companies
Works with your out of network benefits to get you reimbursed for therapy
Click here to check your out of network benefits for free
Peer review

Gabe is a caring and thoughtful therapist, a good listener, and a kind, smart, funny presence.

—Dave Rutschman, LPCC
Peer review

I have known Gabe since the beginning of his journey as a therapist and as his clinical supervisor I have seen the quality of his work with clients up close. It’s a given that therapists be caring but Gabe goes above and beyond in this thoughtfulness and commitment to his clients and their goals. As a test prep anxiety therapist, he has an incredible record of success helping clients manage their anxiety, increase test scores, and receiving testing accommodations when warranted. Gabe has also helped a great number of people with grief and loss through a gentle approach.

—Felicia Keller Boyle, LMFT
Peer review

Gabe is a thoughtful clinician who has a broad range of skills and experience. He has a knack for putting people at ease and developing rapport quickly. His attention to clinical detail allows him to develop a nuanced clinical profile quickly.

—Jessica Winterrowd, LMFT
Online reviews
Click on the icons below to view Gabe's online profiles and reviews.
Gabe doesn't have any online reviews at this time.

Not available

Not available

Quick compare therapists

name
Fee
Year Started practice
Specialties
Michelle King Rayfield

$250

2016

Trauma, Couples counseling, Anxiety

Send a message
Schedule a consultation
Regina Lazarovich

$355

2008

Anxiety, Disordered eating, Panic attacks

Send a message
Schedule a consultation
Arielle Pinkston

$200

2014

Anxiety, Mindfulness and/or meditation, Self esteem/self worth, Nutrition

Send a message
Schedule a consultation
Gabe Kenney

$225

2018

Grief and/or loss, Sports performance, Performance anxiety

Send a message
Schedule a consultation

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FAQs

Frequently asked questions about therapy

What's the difference between in-person and virtual therapy?

Although there is no research that suggests in-person or virtual therapy is more effective, you may prefer one over the other. Some people prefer the intimacy of being in the same physical space as their therapist, while others prefer receiving treatment in the comfort of their own home. If you have a tight schedule, virtual therapy is a great option since you won’t commute to your therapist’s office. Virtual therapy also allows you to see any therapist throughout your state, which means one less barrier to finding your soulmate therapist!

When should someone start therapy?

Deciding when to start therapy is a very personal decision, but we recommend starting sooner rather than later. Along with running the risk of your mental health declining, you also miss out on time spent working on yourself, repairing your relationships, and so much more. Life is short, so why not make it the best possible as soon as possible?

What type of therapy is right for me?

Your therapist will carefully customize your treatment plan, and they will likely rely on a variety of therapeutic methods. There are some treatment methods that are better for specific disorders (like exposure therapy for OCD or phobias), but a combination of several will likely be the best option for you.

Is going to therapy worth it?

We’re huge advocates for therapy at Best Therapists, but we know that not everyone has a good experience in therapy. Working with a high quality therapist (with whom you have a great relationship) can be life changing. You can change harmful behaviors or thought patterns, shed or improve hurtful relationships, increase your resilience and coping methods for dealing with mental illness, and much more. We think that that’s pretty frigging worth it, but finding the right therapist for YOU is crucial to this equation.

What's the difference between a psychotherapist and a psychologist?

The main difference between psychotherapists and psychologists is their education. Psychologists receive more education, and in some cases, psychologists focus more on research than clinical work. But both therapists and psychologists go through thousands of hours of clinical training. When choosing a therapist, the skill of the therapist and your relationship with them matters way more than which degree your therapist has.

Do therapists offer free consultations?

Yes, most therapists offer free consultations. This not only benefits you, but the therapist too! Therapists want to see if you are a good fit before doing an official therapy session with you to save you (and them) time and energy. Although your relationship has barely begun, you both will feel out your chemistry. You won’t be BFFs by the end of the consultation, but should get a sense of whether or not you’ll work well together.

About Us

Hi, we’re Best Therapists.

We vet therapists, so you can focus on fit—not quality.

Through peer reviews, license verification, online reviews, and requiring acknowledgement of trauma-informed care, we do our best to make sure that your best therapist provides high quality care (and that's regardless of your race, sexual orientation, or background).

But your friend’s best therapist might not be your best therapist. That's why personality fit between you and your therapist is crucial. It’s not something that we can verify for you, so we encourage you to schedule free consultations with multiple therapists to get a sense of your chemistry together.

Why choose Best Therapists

There are plenty of therapist directories to choose from.

But other therapist directories like Psychology Today, Good Therapy, Choosing Therapy, and more have hundreds (if not thousands) of results for therapists in your city alone. The search for your best therapist becomes instantly overwhelming, which stops some therapy-seekers in their tracks. Our involved vetting process goes way beyond a basic license check (unlike the other guys), which simplifies YOUR search.

Finding the best therapist for you is hard enough, so we curate lists like these so you can get quality care as quickly and seamlessly impossible. And no need to check a therapist's availability or add your name to their waitlist—all Best Therapists are currently accepting new clients.

Not feeling any of the therapists on our list? No worries. Keep scrolling to find other vetted therapists in cities near you.

When to not choose Best Therapists

In some situations, we may not be the best therapist directory for you. For example...

  1. If you are looking for free therapy or want therapy that's supplemented by another organization, Best Therapists isn't the best therapist directory for you.
  2. If you're only open to seeing a therapist that's in-network with your insurance provider, Best Therapists might not be a good fit. Many of our therapists don't work directly with insurance companies, so we encourage you to check your out-of-network mental health benefits (use our free benefits checker). Don't let your insurance company prevent you from working with your soulmate therapist!
  3. Finally, this site is not intended for medical emergencies. If you are in an immediate mental health crisis, please call the national suicide hotline at 988.

Want to learn more about starting therapy? Read our guide on how to start therapy.