My goal is to help people overcome anxiety and worry, relieve mood and thought problems, and ease the stresses of their relationships so they may reconnect with what matters the most and move forward with their lives.

Hi. I’m David Mellinger, MSW, licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist. anxiety and cognitive behavioral therapyMy site will help you decide about psychotherapy with me. Here you will find useful, thought-provoking information about emotions, emotional problems, and cutting-edge techniques for overcoming anxiety and other disorders.

I’ve been in clinical and independent private psychotherapy practice for 45 years. I treat a rich diversity of people who range in age from teens to upper 90s for all kinds of anxiety disorders, OCD, everyday worry, and the tendency to worry oneself sick, as well as problems with relationships, thought disorders, depression, and other mood disorders.

In therapy, I combine cutting-edge CBT- cognitive-behavioral therapy with psychodynamic psychotherapy, emotion-focused therapy, and mindfulness- and acceptance-based strategies to tailor treatment to each person’s needs.

Read These
Popular Articles


CBT – Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy with a Specialty in Anxiety Treatment – Offered by David Mellinger

(Excerpted, with permission, from the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy website.)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the term for a group of psychological treatments based on scientific evidence that have proven effective in treating many psychological disorders, including most anxiety disorders. CBT is vital, strong therapy driven by science and research, shaped by people’s emotional needs and wishes for a life of well-being.

Treatment is goal-oriented and often short-term to resolve present-day problems; through this process, clients can overcome long-standing problems and disorders, as well.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is focused on the ways that a person’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors are all linked, allowing for the therapist to intervene at different points in the cycle of emotional disturbance.  The CBT therapist and the client work together with a mutual understanding that the therapist has theoretical and technical expertise, but the client is the expert on him- or herself.  The therapist seeks to help the client discover that he/she is powerful and capable of choosing positive thoughts and behaviors. Together, they develop goals for therapy, work collaboratively to achieve goals, and track progress throughout the course of treatment.

The Therapies I Utilize

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Mindfulness meditation-based techniques (Psychological Mindfulness)
  • Emotional Awareness-Based CBT
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy
  • Traditional Exposure Therapy (ET) and ET enhanced with Inhibitory Learning Strategies
  • ACT – Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Therapy to Relieve Sticky Thinking and Stop Worrying Yourself Sick – I provide treatment that’s specifically effective for conditions that involve “sticky thinking” (repetitive negative thinking syndrome) – unhealthy worry/Generalized Anxiety Disorder, phobias, depression with brooding rumination, self-blame), and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Anxiety Disorders Treatment – I specialize in the treatment of anxiety disorders. I’ve helped a great many people overcome panic disorder and phobias.

  • With certain clients, I can enhance the effectiveness of exposure therapy for overcoming phobias thru the Inhibitory Learning Approach (Craske, et. al., 2014, 2020), a newer exposure strategy that empowers people to face their fears more actively and directly, resulting in treatment that is often swifter.
  • The anxiety conditions I treat include freeway phobia, agoraphobia, and fear of flying – generalized anxiety, emetophobia (fear of throwing up), social phobia,  anxiety/depression, and OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)

Why Psychotherapy With Me?

Many of us experience our disturbing emotions as pain. Emotional disturbance can be mind-bending and very lonely at times. It can seem to be an evasive, chilling mental wander, an obstacle course to satisfaction, fulfillment, or love that can seem insurmountable.

We can start feeling better once we acknowledge that we’re feeling badly and become willing to be caring with ourselves. That’s when psychotherapy enters the picture: Perhaps we will begin to really grasp what’s going on and start – or jump-start – changing for the better.

Kindness, clarity, and understanding are very important qualities in a therapist, and treatment with a skillful, versatile person can make all the difference. I bring rich experience and exceptionally sophisticated knowledge of the latest psychological science and cognitive neuroscience to the practice of psychotherapy.

Therapy with me is tailored to each person’s needs: I help clients identify the nature of their disturbance or emotional pain, become aware of how their functioning is impaired, and recognize what they care about the most and their strengths. I collaborate actively to help develop and plan the aims and implement the strategies of treatment. I endeavor to work with each of my clients with warmth and empathy.  I get a lot of satisfaction and feel grateful that I can enable people to mobilize their valor and often to overcome great difficulties and move forward in caring for their lives.

Uniquely effective treatment.  Many mental health problems can be treated within a relatively short time by a skilled therapist, while others require more extensive treatment. I can provide shorter- or longer-term treatment. Quite a few clients have sought me out after not getting relief through their work with other therapists. I can often help them overcome anxiety and other emotional problems that other therapists – including even anxiety specialists – cannot.

If you would like to discuss entering therapy with me, call (818) 716-1695 or email


I bring exceptionally extensive, sophisticated knowledge of the latest psychological science to my work. I’ve published nine articles and chapters on anxiety, panic, mindfulness, anger, and depression in scholarly journals; taught anxiety therapy to mental health professionals; and helped develop anxiety treatment programs in two mental health clinics.  I delivered the Master Lecture on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy to the Graduate School of Social Welfare (social work) at UCLA in 2006 and co-authored the critically acclaimed, evidence-based anxiety self-help book, The Monster in the Cave: How to Face Your Fear and Anxiety and Live Your Life (2003, NY: Berkley Books).

From 1985 to 1992, I participated in one of Southern California’s first anxiety disorders treatment programs at a community mental health clinic. Men and women immobilized by phobic fears or overwhelmed by panic were able, for the first time, to drastically relieve their anxiety and panic and revitalize their coping abilities. Between 2010 and 2014, I developed the Intensive Anxiety Workshop at the Kaiser Permanente Sherman Terrace Psychiatry Clinic, in Reseda (L.A.), a program that integrated traditional cognitive-behavioral therapy with mindfulness and acceptance-based techniques. This treatment has helped many people reduce their anxiety, function in more emotionally healthy ways, and engage more fully in what they cared about the most.

In 2015-2016, a colleague and I led the Peaceful Worrier therapeutic workshops for acute and persistent anxiety and excessive worry. The workshops interwove cutting-edge psychological science with real-time mindfulness meditation training.. Participants learned to expand their emotional awareness, exercise their strength and courage, and became able to face important, difficult challenges. I retired from forty years of practice in mental health clinics in June 2017 and have been actively engaging half-time in independent private practice.  Since then, I’ve continued to deepen my understanding of emotional disorders and learn new treatment strategies, including:

The Inhibitory Learning approach to exposure therapy for phobias and OCD (Craske, et. al., 2014, 2020) is a newer exposure strategy that empowers people to face their fears more actively and directly, resulting in treatment is often swifter.

Positive Affect Treatment (PAT) (Craske, et. al., 2022)  – I’ve been introducing PAT into treatment of clients with anxiety or depression complicated by anhedonia – lack of interest and enjoyment in usual activities  – so they can learn to function in ways that increase rewarding, positive experiences, enhance their ability to truly enjoy, and create a stronger capacity to have a growing satisfaction in living.

© 2021 All rights reserved - Custom eCommerce Web Design by: WebX360