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Elizabeth Cortez, PhD


2000          Private Practice Austin, TX

1997 PHD University of California, Santa Barbara

1994 MA   University of California, Santa Barbara

1989 BA    University of Texas at Austin

I am a Texas licensed Clinical Psychologist with 20 years experience working in the field of Mental Health.  Since starting my private practice in 2000, I have worked solely in the downtown district.  I have enjoyed the energy and vibrancy of working with those persons who choose to live and/or work in the heart of the city.





My approach:


I view psychotherapy as a collaborative effort between myself and my client.  You are your own expert and thus can identify how you "typically" respond to situations and/or relationships.  Your self-knowledge coupled with my expertise in human behavior can help you to develop insight and to correct irrational ways of thinking, thereby leading to improvements in self-esteem, confidence, communication with others and overall effectiveness in your life.


On the continuum of presenting concerns for which people utilize psychotherapy, this can range from transitional adjustments in their lives, i.e. starting a new job, entering a romantic relationship, having a baby, breakup of a relationship, career changes, etc., to more longstanding issues of anxiety and depression. While I often attempt to adjust my style of therapy to what I think is needed to address the problem area, I almost inevitably begin with a cognitive-behavioral approach helping people develop insight into their core belief system so that they can learn how these beliefs impact their area(s) of concern.  Once my clients have developed the cognitive tools to better cope with their immediate problems, we might then delve into deeper longstanding issues if it seems appropriate.  It is my belief that if a client is led too quickly into painful issues of the past without first being given a toolbox of strategies to cope with their immediate problems of today, then he/she can become quickly overwhelmed with feelings of helplessness without having experienced any relief from the initial presenting concern.  Thus, I carefully listen to what my clients present as their biggest concern at the onset of therapy and then guide them to a workable resolution of that problem area first before any deeper work is done.


While I may utilize Cognitive-Behavioral techiques to help alleviate acute distress, my therapeutic approach is grounded in the theory of Attachment. This theory posits that early parent-child relationships have a profound impact on the development of our self-image and feelings of connectedness to others, even into adulthood. As human beings we have a primal need for attachment with others as a basis for security and a foundation from which to explore our world.  When we feel intimately connected and trusting of another, we are able to to use that relationship as a secure base from which to seek new experiences, take risks and challenge ourselves.  However, if we lack such trusting relationships with important others, i.e. parents, friends, or a significant other, then our ability to live vibrantly is stunted by fear, self-doubt and insecurity. Unfortunately, for those who come from dysfunctional family histories, abuse, or neglect, the path to the development of a healthy self-image is often thrown off course in those early developmental years, thereby resulting in a pattern of failed relationships, feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and depression. Nonetheless, even for those individuals without traumatic experiences, early family histories form the template for what indviduals come to expect from relationships later in life. Thus, it is useful to explore and understand that relationship history. These early life experiences are best understood with the guidance of a psychotherapist such as myself who has a keen awareness and intuitive understanding of the inner working of the human mind. 


In summary, I came into this field because I had a calling to help others learn to live to their potential.  I enjoy my work and value the collaborative relationships that I develop with my clients. Everyday brings a new story and a quest for understanding.  My profession is intellectually challenging and emotionally rewarding.  People often ask me how I could possibly have spent the last 20 years listening to people's problems without getting depressed myself, and my answer is as follows: everyday, at least once a day, I get to see how a client has developed an insight that can help change his/her life for the better.  There is an intrinsic reward to my work in witnessing an individual move from a place of anxiety and self-doubt, to one of confidence where dreams can be realized!


So, as a former client once said, "Doc, let the healing begin...."  


Please contact me to schedule a free phone consultation to determine if we would be a good fit to work together towards finding solutions to your concerns. 



Areas of Expertise :

  • generalized anxiety

  • panic disorder

  • social anxiety

  • performance anxiety

  • depression

  • bipolar

  • grief and loss

  • trauma recovery

  • mild addictions

  • LBGTQ Concerns

  • stress management & relaxation

  • adjustment to college

  • workplace problems & conflict resolution

  • dating & romantic relationships

  • communication problems & relationship difficulties

  • intimacy issues

  • breakup & divorce

  • career, family, life transitions

  • personal growth & goal setting

  • self-awareness, personal empowerment, assertiveness

  • developing a healthy habits & happy lifestyle

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