Meet Your Clinician
Dr. Jessica Watrous
I am passionate about the importance of psychological wellness for all people. To me psychological health (or mental health) encompasses our emotional wellness (how we’re feeling) and our behavioral health (how we’re acting) and has a profound impact on our social (how we’re functioning as a partner, parent, worker, etc.) and physical health. I could talk all day about the variety of ways in which our psychological health can positively and negatively impact our lives and I’ve dedicated my career to researching these issues and putting that research into action in therapy with my clients. Although I love the research aspect of my career, few things have been as rewarding for me as doing therapy and watching my clients move toward living the lives they want to live.
I was trained as a scientist-practitioner, meaning that I was trained to be a researcher and a therapist and that my therapy is grounded in science. Unfortunately, when it comes to health (psychological and physical health) there’s a lot of pseudoscience and things that don’t work so basing my therapy on scientific findings gives me a guide for knowing what works. Offering people, like you, effective therapies that help is a professional mission and one way that I know I can help the world be a little bit better.
So why health psychology? Because I don’t think that psychological and physical health are separate from each other. Being a human is complicated and our emotional and physical experiences are all jumbled together, so when we try to separate out our mind from our body, we’re going to miss things. Understanding your experiences as the totality of all of the factors impacting you is complicated but it’s real.
Finally, although I’m an expert in psychology, you’re an expert in you and your life. Working collaboratively with you is not only more enjoyable for both of us, it’s also more likely to get you to your goals. This collaborative mindset also underscores how important it is for me to have an inclusive therapy practice.
I’m a licensed psychologist (PSY26756) in California and the owner of Intention Health Psychology. I received my PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Memphis with a specialization in Health Psychology. I completed my APA-accredited internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the VA San Diego Healthcare System/University of California, San Diego. Since 2006, I have been working with clients dealing with issues like substance use problems, PTSD, sleep problems, anxiety, stress, and life transitions.
I’ve also worked in health promotion and behavioral health integration roles since then, meaning I’ve helped clients change health behaviors like reduce their drinking, increase their physical activity, or cope with physical health issues like acute or chronic illnesses, injuries, or pain. I’ve worked in a variety of settings including hospitals, outpatient medical practices, psychology clinics, and private practices. I’ve received extensive training in all of the evidence-based practices used at Intention Health Psychology. Since I’m also a researcher, I’ve published numerous scientific papers, a book chapter, and spoken nationally and internationally about my work.
I also want to include a note about the personal relevance of my work with veteran and active duty clients. Although I never served, several very important people in my life did and that is part of what has motivated me to dedicate much of my career to military health. Active duty and veteran military personnel have their own culture, and since 2008 I have been striving to learn about that culture and help address the issues commonly faced like transitioning to civilian life, dealing with transition, and managing mental health concerns while balancing a military career.