Abandonment, Abuse / Survivors of Abuse, Adoption, Anxiety Issues, Attachment Issues, Bipolar Disorder, Couples/Marital Issues, Depression, Eating Disorders, Grief, Loss, & Bereavement, Identity Issues, Personality Disorders, Phobias/OCD, Post Traumatic Stress / Trauma, Postpartum Depression, Relationships, Self-Esteem, Sex Addiction, Social Anxiety, Trust Issues


PhD, PsyD

Additional Expertise

Counselor/Therapist, Psychotherapist, Speaker/Presenter

About Sandra E. Cohen, PhD

I am a psychoanalyst with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and a certification in psychoanalysis. I am currently a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of California (PCC) where I was Dean and Chair of the Education Committee at PCC from 2008 – 2011. My main focus is my private practice in Beverly Hills where I work with adults, teenagers, and couples who come to me with a variety of presenting problems. My specializations include eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and restriction); early trauma (including sexual abuse); self-injury (cutting); bipolar disorder; OCD; major depression; panic disorder; varying types of anxiety, and relationship problems.

What is most important to me in my work is developing, with each patient, a very personal language, one that reflects and speaks to the symptoms, struggles, sorrows, and collection of emotional experiences only that person has. I keep in mind his or her history and fantasies; the feelings present in the moment; creating a poetry of convergences, theirs and mine, out of which a deep understanding emerges - making possible the uniquely individual growing that psychoanalytic therapy is all about.

Language is my interest not only in my clinical work, but in the ways I have and continue to write. I have always written; prose poetry, short personal essays; and in my later years, about psychoanalytic ideas. I served as an associate member of the North American Editorial Board of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis (IJPA) from 1999-2000 and published a film essay on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in the IJPA in 2010. I am currently completing a chapter on the film, Broken Embraces, for a book entitled: Pedro Almodovar: A Cinema of Passion and Desire, co-edited by Arlene Kramer Richards and Lucille Spira to be published by IP Books in 2019. I also have an accepted paper to be published in The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child in 2019 or 2020 on emerging into adulthood out of the shadows of my two great-aunts who trained in Vienna with Anna Freud and were instrumental in bringing child analysis to the U.S.

I also write weekly pieces on my blog, Characters on the Couch (www.charactersonthecouch.com), where I use my clinical experience to analyze the fictional characters in film, television and books. I link these characters in film to the real human experiences I see and know both in my consulting room and outside of it. I started my blog to speak to people who need to be reached. People who need to know that someone is listening; that their experiences are shared. All of us need to know we are not alone.

The language of therapy is the language of change. One of the greatest benefits of psychoanalysis is being understood in the deepest way. It is the only therapeutic method I’ve ever found that truly supports and brings change. Change is possible at any age; but it can be scary and hard and sometimes not possible to do alone. What change takes is, as Erica Jong says, “going ahead despite a pounding heart that says turn back” – but it also requires the company of someone who knows the way. Providing my understanding and almost 40 years of experience lets me gently guide those who come see me through the sometimes-dark pathways to the other side.

Sandra E. Cohen, PhD Articles