Your healing journey begins when you pick up the phone.

Contact Us Now to Get Started

When you contact us, our founder, Linnea Butler, will call you back as soon as possible. The first call is for you to share your goals in therapy and begin the collaboration that will lead to reaching those goals.

We don’t believe in having a receptionist answer the phones or in making you wait for days for a call back. You’re in pain, and you want help. NOW. It took courage to make the call, and we honor that.

Email, by its nature, is not a secure form of communication. By using this form you are consenting to associated risks. You may wish to save any sensitive personal details for our consultation, which will be confidential.

Therapy is not just happy, fluffy stuff.  

People really do fall apart all the time, and their internal struggles are intense.  

At Bay Area Mental Health, we work with people to solve, actual, real, tangible, and serious problems. Our clients often cannot acknowledge their situation in the outside world; but, collaboratively, we attack the problems aggressively.  

We get things done.

The body is usually healthy, but from time to time we break a bone, or catch the flu, or a cold. The brain is no different. It also becomes temporarily disabled. We don't like to acknowledge this, but it is a fact.  The brain is sometimes ‘under the weather.’ 

We treat people with severe, often hidden problems.  That's who we are, that's what we do, and that's why we are here for you.

We specialize in trauma therapy, PTSD and complex PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Addiction and Substance Abuse, and Domestic Violence and Emotional Abuse. 

We welcome your call.


About Us

 Linnea Butler, Bay Area Mental Health, marriage and family therapist, psychotherapist, MFT, trauma therapy, DBT

Hi, I’m Linnea Butler. I founded Bay Area Mental Health with a vision of bringing together outstanding and passionate therapists to treat serious problems – problems like trauma, PTSD and complex PTSD, mood disorders like depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, and addiction to substances (alcohol, street drugs, prescription drugs) or activities (internet and gaming, shopping, gambling, porn).

We take on tough problems and are dedicated to facilitating change.

Once upon a time I was a genetics researcher working in Big Pharma and later a marketing executive in biotech. I found the research and technology lifestyle unfulfilling, and I felt disconnected from what mattered to me most – people. I wanted to be “in it,” not watching from a research lab or a board room. I am also one of our therapists (LMFT #83313).

Most of us think of mental illness in terms of severe disabilities including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar I disorder, and so many other heartbreaking and disabling disorders. These are very serious conditions, and I have spent years treating them.

I have watched people I love suffer from other mental illnesses – depression, bipolar, anxiety, PTSD, and relationship problems. People with these problems suffer profoundly and in agonizing silence. They don't talk, and no one wants to know.  They try to show a calm surface, but their lives literally and routinely fall apart from these conditions.

We want to know and we can help.


Our Therapists

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Amalia Pappanastos, LMFT (license #102138)

You want someone to understand where you’ve been and what you are feeling, and I can help you discover that. I found my calling to be a therapist as I did my own healing work, so I’ve been there and will walk beside you in your work.

The past informs the present, and I want to know about your past. But, I don’t want to ask you to dwell in it. That will only cause you more pain and will not relieve it. I work in the moment, meaning that we will focus on what is in the room at any time. 

Talk therapy is the foundation of the work, but sometimes words simply aren’t enough. In these times, we may use some non-verbal approaches such as writing, drawing, movement, or sound to access your feelings and experiences. This is called expressive arts therapy. It’s all about the process – how you create and what you experience as you are creating, not so much about what you create.

Emotional health is a combination of the experiences of our mind, body, and spirit. We will work on these three levels together to bring you lasting change.

I love working with all ages of individuals, as well as with couples and families. I specialize in working with trauma, grief and loss, overwhelming emotions that feel out of control, family dynamics, improving communication with couples, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, body image issues, and co-dependency.


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Dr. Jennifer Bruha, Licensed Psychologist (PSY29015)  

I am passionate about recovery – helping you get clean and sober and stay that way, no matter what your substance of choice is: alcohol, prescription drugs, street drugs, Internet, gaming, porn, food, shopping, and so on. Almost anything that can be abused can be considered a “substance.”

Substance abuse doesn’t occur in a vacuum. It’s an attempt to solve the problem of overwhelming and intolerable pain. Treating substance abuse requires treating the underlying problem – the thing that is causing the pain in the first place. I can help you with both. I specialize in substance abuse, trauma, and PTSD. I love working with teens and adults.

I have a PhD and two master’s degrees in psychology and a certificate in chemical dependency.  I ran a program for substance abuse for 15 years, and I even wrote an award-winning book on relapse prevention. I have specialized training in treating substance abuse and sexual trauma. And, I also have published award-winning research on the effects of mindfulness in treating eating disorders.

I use my personal experiences along with my training to help you achieve lasting change. In addition to seeing teens and adults individually, I also oversee our Compassionate Recovery and Relapse Prevention Program.


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Stacey Alvarez, LMFT (license #101176)  

I believe that every person has a right to live a vibrant, empowered existence, and that staying connected to your values can strengthen you at the core and build vitality. You are vibrant, vital, and unbroken. Even if you don’t see it now, I can.

Everything you do and have done makes sense when viewed through the window of your experiences. I can teach you to accept that and move on toward wholeness and away from suffering and stuck-ness.

I am your ally, a collaborator in building your happiness, no matter what stage of the journey you are on. I will join you in creativity and compassion and help you find the voice you may not know that you have.

My specialties are treating trauma and PTSD, domestic violence and emotional abuse, rape, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicidality, and relationship difficulties. I love working with teens, adults, and couples.

My main approach to therapy is a mindfulness-based approach called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT. I also am one of the co-facilitators of our DBT program, which is another mindfulness-based approach which works well with ACT.

I have a masters degree in clinical counseling and psychology, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology and religious studies.


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Dr. Natasha Kruger, Licensed Psychologist (PSY29756)

I believe that all people have access to a deep source of wisdom and aliveness that can be tapped into even when it’s been buried for a long time due to trauma, addiction, or other difficult experiences. My passion as a therapist is to assist you in finding that source and recovering your inherent power and vitality.

In therapy we will work together collaboratively to help you discover the voice of your inner knowing and to loosen the knots of the old constricting beliefs and patterns that have kept you stuck. Although talking together will form the core of our sessions, we will also explore using body sensations, meditations, visualizations, and movement, in order to get beneath words and into the body where the root of the problem often lies.

I bring a broad array of experience to my work, including training in somatic psychology, spirituality, meditation, expressive arts, and nature connection, as well as many years providing therapy in intensive outpatient and other settings. I enjoy working with individuals who feel stuck due to unresolved trauma, addiction, intense emotions, anxiety, and relationship difficulties. I also co-lead DBT groups.


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Dr. Sarah Hill, Psychological Assistant (supervised by Dr. Jennifer Bruha, PSY29015)

The things you do make so much more sense when you think about the things you’ve been through.  For many, trauma has not been a single event but rather a constant reality.  

Trauma can disrupt one’s life in a way that makes you question who you are, who you can trust, and how you can live in a world that has proven itself unsafe.  As a therapist, I walk alongside you in your journey through recovery: providing space to grieve in your own way, an opportunity to sort through the complexity of your thoughts and emotions in an effort to make meaning, and tools to cope.

I graduated with my doctorate in clinical psychology (PsyD) and also obtained specialized theological training that helps me to address spiritual issues if you desire.  I approach therapy from a non-judgmental place of compassion and partnership.  I am interested in helping you to effectively engage in safe, healthy relationships.  Social support is a buffer against traumatic stress and an indicator of resilience, so I take relationships very seriously.  Therefore, I work with my clients to develop and strengthen connections to themselves, to healthy family and friends, and also to their communities. 

I work with children, adults, and families around a variety of issues including: trauma, complex trauma, depression, anxiety, spiritual and religious concerns, change of life issues, maternal mental health concerns (infertility, loss, transitions), addiction, and dysfunctional patterns in relationships.

I look forward to the opportunity to hear and hold your stories as we walk together towards your goals for health and wholeness.


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Ann Hawkins, LMFT (license #77747) 

DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) changed my life, and I witness it change others’ lives each day. I co-facilitate some of the DBT groups at Bay Area Mental Health as well as work as a clinical supervisor at a local agency.

I am very collaborative, and I honor the experience of each person. I facilitate lasting change through deep listening, reflection of your experiences, exploration of themes, and sometimes challenging you to make different choices. I aim to draw out your own healing wisdom and self-awareness.

I specialize in DBT, treating depression and anxiety, stage of life issues and interpersonal challenges. I have a masters degree in counseling psychology and love working with adults and couples.