Welcome to “On the Couch” … a series of Q&A sessions dedicated to getting to know the amazing staff at Well Clinic
This week, we’re sitting down with Maria Sobol, Ph.D., a Licensed Clinical Psychologist at Well Clinic in San Francisco.
What is your favorite part about your work?
I enjoy working collaboratively with people to help them find the best way to make the changes they want in their lives. I feel privileged to be able to hear people’s stories and enjoy the personal connections that can be made in a therapeutic relationship.
What is your favorite thing about San Francisco?
I am grateful to be able to be outside pretty much every single day of the year. I love being near the water as well as having easy access to hiking trails.
What is your favorite place you’ve ever been?
It feels impossible to pick one…but the first place that popped into my mind is the NaPali coast on the island of Kauai.
Name five things that are on your bucket list (things to do before you die).
- Travel to Greece
- Learn to really dance well (salsa, swing, hip-hop)
- Meet the Dalai Lama
- Do an Ironman
- Learn to play “Bridge Over Troubled Water” on the piano
What is your favorite memory ever?
There are many special memories and it’s hard to choose a favorite…but I’d have to say that the births of my children are pretty much at the top of the list.
Where did you grow up?
What is your favorite quote?
I have a few:
“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see”
“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.”
“If we read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”
–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“You don’t stop running because you get old, you get old because you stop running.”
–Jack Kirk “The Dipsea Demon”
In your free time, what are you most likely doing?
Reading, exercising (hiking, running, yoga), and spending time with friends
What are five albums you’d want with you if you were stuck on a deserted island?
- “Murmur” by REM
- Anything by the Beatles
- “Closing Time” by Tom Waits
- “Spirit Bird” by Xavier Rudd
- “John Denver’s Greatest Hits” by John Denver
Where was your last vacation?
A few recent trips:
- Ashland, Oregon
- Tulum, Mexico
- Southern France
What cause(s) are you most passionate about?
- Saving our planet from the climate crisis
- Promoting healthy, plant-based eating
- Providing affordable, accessible, and quality education, housing, and health care for everyone
- Reducing/eliminating child abuse
- Promoting kindness and connection among all beings
What was your career before becoming a mental health practitioner?
I have always been in this field and never really considered any other career.
Do you have any talents that few people know about? If so, what are they?
I play piano (though my skills are pretty rusty right now). I’m also pretty good at making my own Kombucha!
What is your favorite sports team?
What is your favorite food?
Beans and Rice
What is your favorite book?
“The Catcher In the Rye”
What is your favorite movie?
I have two: “The Graduate” and “Gone With The Wind”
What was your favorite toy as a child?
My stuffed animals, especially my Curious George
Do you have any pets? Please introduce them to us.
One Dog (“Zoe”) and two cats (“Jack” and “Simon”)
When are you at your most creative?
In the mornings after my workout and coffee
What motivates you?
I feel motivated when I feel rested, healthy, organized, and strong. I feel energized when I can really be engaged and connected with other people. Being in nature also motivates and energizes me.
Tell us about someone who inspires you … past or present.
I am inspired by so many of my clients who have faced tremendous adversity and are continuing to work on healing themselves and making positive changes in their lives.
I am also inspired by the many teachers of mindfulness and meditation, including Jack Kornfield, Ph.D., Tara Brach, Ph.D., Sharon Salzburg, and Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. who are advocates and promoters of awareness, presence, kindness, and connection.
Name one guilty pleasure, past or present.
Going to the movies and eating popcorn.
Describe one of your first few jobs.
I did lots of babysitting as a teenager and I also worked in a Popeye’s Chicken fast food restaurant.
What’s one fun thing you wish you could do more of?
Travel and see more live music.
What made you want to become a mental health practitioner?
I really enjoy connecting with people and learning about the stories of their lives. I am interested in how people’s past experiences inform their current lives.
What makes Well Clinic different?
It can be a time-consuming and cumbersome job to find a therapist who is a good fit. Such a process deters many people from following through on the process of starting therapy. The Well Clinic works hard to learn about clients’ needs and preferences as well as the therapists’ areas of expertise in order to find the best match.
What makes you smile?
Running with my dog on the beach and watching how free and happy she is.
Name one thing that most people would never know about you?
I once did hand-to-hand combat with a raccoon and won–saved my dog’s life!
Learn More + Book an Appointment With Maria