“A joyful life is an individual creation that cannot be copied from a recipe.”
  —Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

about me

My name is Graham Best.  I am highly devoted to living a satisfying life, and helping others live one too, on their terms, which naturally evolve over time.  My work as a therapist is definitely my calling.  It first appeared in my life as a gripping question about how people express their deepest values.  I studied this subject as my thesis in Philosophy at Princeton.  Since then it has come with me everywhere: the San Francisco Zen Center, university teaching positions, the world of professional technology, deeply revealing international creativity workshops.  That one question motivated two masters degrees in my life and eventually became my career.

I am a member of CAMFT, the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. I got my Counseling Masters in San Francisco at the California Institute of Integral Studies, drawn to its core values of inclusiveness and multiple ways of being and knowing.  Since then, I worked at the Church Street Integral Counseling Center in Noe Valley and Greenlight Clinic in the Presidio as a therapist for individuals, couples, and families.  I supported families and children at the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center; served as a counselor and substance abuse adviser for the San Francisco homeless community at Baker Places Homeless Shelters; and performed restorative justice mediation for aggrieved local citizens as a certified mediator through RJMP, the Restorative Justice Mediation Program.

My private practice for therapy is especially rewarding to me, because that setting offers something supremely useful for personal growth and discovery.  Over time the steady combination of a devoted location and a regular rhythm of visits transforms the basic action of exploring one’s life into a favorable ritual.  The nature and purpose of ritual is to make apparent within daily life that which revitalizes and affirms it.  Through ritual we encounter the pulses and patterns that give our lives shape and meaning and we increase our say in them through ongoing and consistent care for our experience.  Private practice provides and enhances that function like few places in modern life, better even than art studio time, which I love.

Yes, in addition to therapy, I also make paintings and books, some for children, some for adults, some about therapy and meditation, some about unexpected and often humorous outcomes to surprising situations.  Or sometimes I just visit with a happy purple dinosaur (Barney?) as it goes around grazing on tree branches, because that scene emerged spontaneously when I followed the paintbrush.   I value creativity because it amplifies openness and self-expression, inviting higher satisfaction in life and greater contentment in general.  We all have the need and the right to express what is real for us and what we are feeling, not only as artwork, but to someone who listens well, and genuinely wants to know us.  I listen in that manner and hope to for you.  Meanwhile, if you want to know more about my formal creativity offerings, enjoy the book links below.