Stephen Bacon, Ph.D.

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Sean O'Connor, M.A.

Psychological Assistant # PSB94024835


Overview and Credentials

Our society emphasizes productivity and prestige so much so that it’s easy to forget what really sustains us in life—whether it’s nature, music, art, tinkering, adventure, friendship… The list goes on and on. What do you really love in life? What were those moments in childhood when you felt naturally happy, even if your overall childhood wasn’t so good? Those are the sparks of life within us that sometimes get covered-up by worry, anxiety or depression about everything that doesn’t seem to feed our souls. But those sparks never leave us. Given attention, they can be fanned into a steady flame that helps to melt our frozen psychological patterns and sustain us through the challenges of life.

In this way, symptoms like anxiety and depression can be thought of as alarm bells warning us that attention must be paid. Attending to these kinds of issues, of course, is what we do in psychotherapy. I earned my masters in psychology and counseling from Goddard College in Vermont, and have completed all but my dissertation toward a doctorate in clinical psychology from Meridian University in Petaluma, California. I completed my pre-doctoral internship at Santa Barbara City College’s Personal Counseling center and my masters internship at a family therapy agency near Baltimore. Currently, I am a registered psychological assistant accruing the required hours toward licensure in California. Overall, my training and experience, and personal disposition, has led me to believe in the restorative and transformative power of supportive relationships, self-understanding and the imagination.

Personal Story

Psychology is my second career. In my first career, I worked as an actor, playwright and acting teacher for many years, primarily in New York City, where I flipped back and forth between loving my work and feeling overwhelmed with anxiety, worrying about future success or failure. I sought help from both spiritual and psychological sources, and was, for some reason, especially surprised to discover how well psychotherapy works. Though my father and stepmother were both psychotherapists and had familiarized me with the craft since I was a child, I had to find out for myself what it could do for me. Experiencing the transformative power of psychotherapy eventually led me to my second career, just as experiencing the transformative spirit of becoming different characters had led me to my first career. As a therapist, I draw on the transformative capacities of both disciplines.

I am also an involved father of two children. While I studied for my masters degree, I stayed at home for two years to take care of my, at the time, infant daughter and young son, as my wife worked to support our family. So I understand the joys and challenges of raising a family in ways that might feel unconventional.

Therapeutic Approach

My approach to therapy generally integrates humanistic-existential, psychodynamic and imaginal orientations. In other words, I first of all try to be my authentic self within the appropriate bounds of a therapeutic relationship as part of fostering a trusting, nonjudgmental connection with clients. Also, clients and I may explore how their current psychological patterns relate to their earlier life experiences, while we may also, to paraphrase Thomas Moore in Care of the Soul, think of these experiences in terms of the raw materials from which clients can make a life. In addition, I take into account how larger social, cultural and environmental forces impact the lives of my clients and aim to nurture the capacity of clients to effectively engage with the world while being true to themselves. Most of all, I have learned from experience the importance of developing a personalized approach to meet the unique needs of each individual client.


People frequently seek therapy with me to resolve issues of anxiety, depression, or feelings of low self-worth. More specifically, these often interrelated issues can also correlate with issues like perfectionism, addiction, suicidal ideation, childhood abuse and neglect, grief, trauma, family and relationship issues, and life transitions. I specialize in the issue of self-worth, and am writing my dissertation on that topic. One way that I work with clients on self-worth is to identify and reeducate the protective parts of the self that may resist self-acceptance, self-compassion, or self-appreciation. Another way includes encouraging clients to reorient away from the compulsive need to prove their worth to others, toward the intention to presently embody their future potential and/or their deep, original sense of what makes life worth living.

I have also developed an archetypal approach to help clients to effectively care for, or parent, themselves. This approach, which involves developing an inner mother and inner father to care for one’s inner child, has helped many people to mitigate several of the abovementioned issues. It can be especially beneficial for emerging adults in the process of becoming more independent from their actual parents, as well as for parents of children of all ages; the more parents feel taken care of by their inner parents, the easier it becomes for them to effectively parent their own children.

Client Information for Sean O'Connor, M.A.


I charge $150/hour for individual therapy, and I reserve a portion of my practice for reduced-fee clients. 


Because I am a psychological assistant, it is unlikely that insurance companies will reimburse for services. If you would like to attempt reimbursement through your plan, I will provide monthly statements.


If you complete the office paperwork before your first session, it will be more convenient and save time.  Clicking on the following links will provide you with forms that can be printed, filled out at home, and brought to your initial session.

The most important form is the Informed Consent Form, which describes how my practice functions. Next I will need the Client Database Form which records demographic information and some brief historical material.  Finally, I am required by law to provide you with a copy of the HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices; please sign a brief Acknowledgment Form stating that you have read the HIPAA form.  Those clients wishing me to discuss their treatment with other doctors or significant others will also have to fill out the Client Release Form.


351 S. Hitchcock Way B-110, Santa Barbara, CA 93105  •   (805) 563-2820   • 
Clinical Psychologist License Number PSY11968   ©2018 Stephen Bacon, Ph.D.  All rights reserved