About Dr. Nancy Lin

Who am I?

I am a licensed clinical psychologist (Clinical Psychologist, CA PSY 23741) and owner of Go to Sleep San Diego, a private practice providing therapy for people suffering from insomnia, trauma, depression and related problems. I am a member of the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine (SBSM).

Positions Held in the Past

  • Research Psychologist at Veterans Medical Research Foundation
  • Lecturer at San Diego State University Counseling and Educational Psychology Department’s Community-based Block (CBB) Masters Program
  • Member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM)
  • Staff Psychologist at Overcoming Adversity and Stress Injury Support (OASIS) Program
  • Associate Master Clinician at Naval Medical Center San Diego
  • Lecturer at University of Southern California Social Work Masters Program
  • Clinical Director of OEF-OIF PTSD Clinic at VA San Diego Healthcare System
  • Staff Psychologist at PTSD Clinical Team at VA San Diego Healthcare System

Educational Background

I received my doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston and wrote my doctoral dissertation and Masters thesis on the effects of war trauma and migration on refugee families in the United States. I completed an APA-accredited internship and postdoctoral training at the VA San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS). I have training in issues related to cultural diversity in mental health and additionally have a Masters degree in medical anthropology from the University of London, SOAS.

Theoretical Orientation

  • Humanistic - My earliest clinical influences were from mentors who emphasized the Rogerian principle of carefully listening to the client and learning what they seek and supporting them to do reach their goals in ways that remain faithful to their core values. With my roots in humanistic and interpersonal therapy, the therapeutic relationship is of utmost importance to me.
  • Cognitive Behavioral - My later clinical influences were from mentors who emphasized the science of psychotherapy and strived to develop ways to help people most effectively and efficiently. As a result, I am well-versed in cognitive behavioral therapies and evidence-based therapy of specific disorders such as for insomnia, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.
  • Cultural - As a cultural psychologist, I view my learning process as ongoing and am committed to pursuing experiences that help me better understand my client’s worldview. In therapy, I prioritize my client’s identity and ways of supporting them to live fully and express themselves in the face of conflict and injustice.
  • Trauma-focused - As a trauma therapist, I strive to create a safe place to examine the demons in my client’s past to help them process emotions they have tried to bury. I teach them the necessary skills and help develop confidence to move out of the past and into the present.

Philosophy of Care
Therapy = Respect, Understanding, & Empowerment

I am passionate about helping people to find their way again when there has been a disruption in their lives. When you come to me for help, my first task is to understand the struggle as you see it and then together figure out what you want to do about it. I can offer scientifically-based strategies for treating your problem and work with you on a design that matches your goals, personality and current situation. Once we chart a course, I expect both of us to go all in. 

I believe that the value of struggle and vulnerability depend mostly on the sufferer’s long-term plan: Do you get up or stay down? Reach out or turn inwards? Ask the hard questions or live according to assumptions? The worst thing a therapist could do is to coddle a person looking to be stronger and more successful again. I count on you to be as open and honest as possible and promise to work hard for you and treat you with compassion.

Here's a Testimonial from a Former Client:

Dear Dr. Lin,

A little over a year ago I started CBTI with you for my persistent sleep maintenance insomnia and poor sleep quality. We finished up in early December of 2015 and I thought you might be gratified to hear of my sleep progress since then…

I am extremely happy to say that since completing my therapy, my sleep quality and quantity has continued to improve. The biggest improvement has been in the satisfying depth of my sleep. I no longer toss and turn all night “trying” to sleep, just skimming the surface of slumber like a stone being skipped across water. I don’t go through my days with rubberbands of exhaustion stretched and twanging inside my skull. Most nights I sleep with that boneless melted feeling I had as a kid. I never thought that would be possible again. I can even (gasp!) take a nap, or vary my bedtime without killing my night’s sleep.

I feel like your empathetic therapy was a key to making me aware of the underlying habits I had developed, both physical and mental that were interfering with my sleep. When I do have a rough night (and there are still the rare few), I get up knowing I can have a great day by choosing my attitude and that I will sleep especially well the next evening. I am much more aware of my level of physical tension and what helps me relax now as well. I’m an empowered sleeper now instead of a victim of my life circumstances and my own biology.

I hope you are well and your practice is thriving.


G.V., November 2016

*This testimonial is provided with client's permission.