Rebecca Petersen, PhD

Rebecca Petersen
Psychologist, PhD

Not accepting new clients (updated March 6, 2017)

It is rare to find a psychologist with such respect for all kinds of people, an ability to quickly establish rapport with both professionals and clients, and a willingness to share knowledge and experience... her skill in determining the precise cognitive, psychological, or emotional processes that were impairing the individual was remarkable. .

- Peggy S Howland, PhD (2016)

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    About Dr. Petersen

  • Expertise in anxiety, depression, grief, life transitions, and stress related to work, school, relationships or health concerns
  • Experience working with adults of all ages
  • Uses multiple treatment orientations such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Existential therapy, Gestalt therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Mindfuless Practices, Psychodynamic Therapy, Client-centered Therapy
  • Member of the group practice, Azimuth Psychological



Dr. Rebecca Petersen has been a clinical psychologist for many years and thinks of each of her client’s concerns as experiences that have not yet found solutions or understanding. She approaches her clinical work as a creative interpersonal problem-solving process in which together, she and her clients can work to better understand the problem, the obstacles, and the solutions.   

Dr. Peterson has worked with adults of all ages, and has particular expertise in the areas of anxiety, depression, grief, life-transitions, and stress related to work, school, relationships or health concerns. She has extensive therapy, assessment, and testing experience with college students, young adults, professionals and academics, artists, and college athletes.

Dr. Petersen's own background has also informed her approach to her work. Her Midwest working class roots taught her to appreciate hard work and education. Dr. Petersen was raised to be practical but her artistic factory-working father sparked her creativity. She developed her sense of humor along the way. Dr. Petersen tries to maintain her own stress management and meditation practices, and enjoys cooking, reading, writing, painting, and crafting. She also tries to find and create opportunities to make a difference on a daily basis, and this is what Dr. Petersen values most about being a psychologist, the endless possibilities to make a difference, whether individually or in communities.  



"I see therapy as a creative, interpersonal problem-solving process. And whether you are hoping to reduce your distress, build some better coping skills, or strengthen your understanding of yourself and others, therapy can be a remarkable and very meaningful experience. 

My personal creed is:  Make the world a better place by finding your strengths and doing good. Remember, “A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”"


Azimuth Psychological, Psychologist, 2014 - present
Clinical Psychologists, Psychologist, 2001 - 2009
Auburn University, Visiting Assistant/Adjunct, 2000 - 2007
Pacific Clinics Network,  Psychologist, 1990 - 1999
Pacific Clinics, Chief Psychologist & Director of Training, 1993 - 1999
Pacific Clinics, Pasadena Adult Outpatient Clinic, Assistant Director, 1988 - 1993
California School of Professional Psychology, Adjunct Associate Professor, 1992 -1995
Anchor Club, Director of Psychosocial Rehabilitation Program, 1984 - 1986
American University, Director of Crisis Intervention Hotline, 1982 - 1983
Stress Management Workshops, 1982-present

The American University, PhD in Clinical Psychology, 1986
Miami University, BA in Psychology, 1974




Anxiety – Generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic attacks, fears, phobias
Stress & Basic Mind-Body Practices – Incorporating basic cognitive and mindfulness strategies to reduce the impact of stress and anxiety; Benson-Henry Relaxation Response; anxiety management training
Life Transitions & Challenges –  Adjusting to college, new relationships, career transitions and direction; mid-life existential, relationship, and career challenges; losing one’s drive or burn out; learning self-care
Depression – Reducing and managing depressive symptoms related to sadness, negative thinking, low energy, social withdrawal, low motivation, inability to enjoy yourself.
Loss and grief – Processing the loss of a loved one, any form of grief; processing the emotional aspects of personal illness or the illness of a loved one
Interpersonal Issues – Improving understanding and communication of interpersonal needs; recognizing personal traits and behaviors that help and hinder interactions and relationships and targeting areas to change or strengthen


ADD / ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) – Managing ADHD and its effects on decision making, studies, relationships, and work; helping with organizational challenges
Cultural adjustment – Culturally-sensitive therapy; dealing with concerns related to feeling out of sync in your cultural surroundings; managing the stress and adjustment challenges of being in a new city, state, country
Existential challenges / crises – Questioning purpose, spirituality, existence; finding one’s path and voice, especially when it differs from society's expectations
Relationships –  Feeling unsatisfied in your partnership; communication challenges; addressing issues of power and voice; contemplation of separation; questioning one’s place in the relationship; breakups, friendships, dating



Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)In cognitive behavioral therapy, you work with a therapist in a structured way, attending a limited number of sessions. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking, so you can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way. (learn more)
Existential Therapy Existential therapy is a therapy approach that both embraces human potential and recognizes human limitation. The breadth of existential theory falls into four major themes, which it sees as the root of most psychological problems: 1) Death, 2) Freedom (& Responsibility), 3) Isolation, and 4) Meaninglessness. (learn more)
Gestalt TherapyIn gestalt therapy, self-awareness is key to personal growth and developing full potential. The approach recognizes that sometimes this self-awareness can become blocked by negative thought patterns and behavior that can leave people feeling dissatisfied and unhappy. (learn more)
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) is a time-limited psychotherapy that focuses on interpersonal issues, which are understood to be a factor in the genesis and maintenance of psychological distress. The targets of IPT are symptom resolution, improved interpersonal functioning, and increased social support. (learn more)
Mindfulness PracticesMindfulness practices include but are not limited to developing awareness, attention, and remembering. In mindfulness-informed therapy, clients develop tools to become aware of what is occurring within and around them, so they can begin to untangle from mental preoccupations and difficult emotions. Self-acceptance and compassion are also core elements of mindfulness-informed therapy. (learn more)
Psychodynamic TherapyThe aim of psychodynamic therapy is to bring the unconscious mind into consciousness - helping individuals unravel, experience and understand their true, deep-rooted feelings in order to resolve them. It takes the view that our unconscious holds onto painful feelings and memories, and that the defenses we develop to ensure these difficult memories do not surface from our unconscious often do more harm than good. (learn more)
Client-centeredClient-centered therapy operates on three principles: the therapist and the client are equal partners; the therapist provides the client unconditional positive support; the therapist practices empathetic understanding to the client. This approach gives the client more control over the course of treatment and emphasizes the philosophy that humans are essentially good. (learn more)



Young adults / college students (18 - 24)




How do you know this therapist? I worked with Dr. Petersen from 2001 - 2009 at Clinical Psychologists, PC, a group private practice of 10 psychologists in Auburn, AL. I was fortunate to have Dr. Petersen as a professional colleague for almost nine years. I continue to miss her quick intellect, her persistence in determining precise diagnosis in complicated cases, her tireless work ethic, as well as her warmth, professionalism, and sense of humor.

Why would you recommend this therapist? I highly recommend Dr. Petersen. Her professional demeanor is solid and her clinical skills are excellent. It is rare to find a psychologist with such respect for all kinds of people, an ability to quickly establish rapport with both professionals and clients, and a willingness to share knowledge and experience. In addition, her skill in determining the precise cognitive, psychological, or emotional processes that were impairing the individual was remarkable. She is an excellent psychologist, and was well-loved by her clients and our staff of psychologists. She was highly resourceful, dependable, and quick to discover ways to intervene in difficult and complex situations.

What topic(s) would you refer clients to this therapist for? Psychological testing, psychotherapy, ADHD, anxiety, depression, trauma, relationship issues.
— Peggy S Howland, PhD, psychologist, private practice (2016)
Why would you recommend this therapist? Her breadth of knowledge and experience in both assessment and treatment is impressive. Her compassion and insight in therapy are excellent. Her ethics and integrity are outstanding.

What topic(s) would you refer clients to this therapist for? Psychological assessment, individual and couples therapy.
— Tom Lawry, PhD licensed clinical psychologist (2016)