Our Team

Alex Dimitriu, MD

Alex was the product of an engineer and a pianist, and that balance of art and science has shaped his career as a psychiatrist. A deep respect for math, and science, along with a deep curiosity to understand and use knowledge to help people, have helped build a successful practice in the heart of Silicon Valley. Professionally, Alex has dual board certification in psychiatry and sleep medicine. He has previously worked as a consultation psychiatrist specializing in the complex interplay between the mind and body.

Additional training in sleep medicine has allowed him to further develop this relationship, and through the optimization of wake and sleep he has brought truly amazing outcomes to some of the most challenging cases.

He applies a thorough knowledge of neuroscience and pharmacology to attain the most minimal, efficient and holistic solutions possible. Beyond repair, he strives for enhancement, optimization and longevity. Solid science, is combined with the art of working with people, to enhance neuroplasticity, cognitive performance, and emotional resilience in his clients.

Away from work, Alex lives to be in the ocean; sailing, kite-boarding, body surfing, and spending time with his two children. More recently, he has taken up meditation, spirituality, and mindfulness and brings this into his clinical work.

Lauren Varma, NP

Lauren specializes in treating a wide-range of complex psychiatric conditions, using both therapy and medications. She was born and raised in Maine and received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Colgate University, majoring in psychology and political science. She completed her nursing education at Yale University, where she graduated as the valedictorian of her class, with a Master of Science degree in Family Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. She is board certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

After graduating from nursing school, Lauren moved to the Bay Area, and currently lives on the Peninsula with her husband and two sons. Prior to joining the practice, she worked as psychiatric nurse practitioner for San Joaquin County, where she was responsible for assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning, and medication management for patients with complex and treatment resistant conditions.

Lauren strongly believes in a holistic approach to health care. She enjoys practicing yoga and advocates relaxation training, nutrition, and exercise as part of her treatment approach. She is also skilled in providing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for insomnia. Lauren believes in working with clients to provide a custom approach to treatment that is in line with each individual’s unique goals.

Susan Smith, MD

Susan is a board certified psychiatrist who works collaboratively to create a plan to promote optimal functioning. She has collaborated with Dr Alex since 2010, and shares our mutual vision of treating the whole person with an emphasis on conservative and effective medication strategies, as well as being supportive of other therapeutic interventions.

Born in Minnesota and raised there and North Dakota, Dr. Smith has completed undergraduate study in medical technology, graduate study in social work, and holds an MD degree. She has worked at Kaiser, San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services and Community Psychiatry.

With over 20 years of clinical experience, Susan has a proven track record and thorough knowledge base in treating a variety of conditions, ranging from depression and anxiety to more complex and medically involved cases.

Away from the office, she enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, swimming and cross country skiing.

Palak Kothari, PhD

Palak is a licensed clinical psychologist and specializes in treating a wide-range of complex psychological and psychiatric conditions using the approach of psychotherapy. She specializes in treating sleep issues, anxiety, depression, PTSD and trauma related disorders, gastrointestinal distress, memory training, yoga, and problem solving strategies. She was born and raised in San Diego, CA and received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Loma Linda University School of Behavioral Health.

Palak focused her education on cultivating a holistic approach to mental health by integrating mind-body practices into the broader practice of clinical psychology. She is licensed as a clinical psychologist by the Board of Psychology in California.

After completing her fellowship, Palak moved up to the Bay Area and currently lives in the Peninsula. Prior to joining the practice she worked for a university hospital setting and for the Veteran’s Affairs Healthcare system where she was responsible for assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning, and providing a range of psychotherapy services.

Palak is committed to providing services that include a whole person care approach with the goal of making psychotherapy services more useful and available. Palak practices using evidenced based treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, mindfulness based therapies, and psychodynamic and attachment focused integration into her practice. Palak believes in working with clients to provide an individualized approach to treatment that aligns with each clients goals for for well-being.

Janice Cheng, PhD

Janice is a licensed clinical psychologist who customizes her approach to the unique needs, goals and aspirations of each client. She draws on diverse therapy orientations such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Humanistic Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and Buddhist Psychology.  A holistic approach underscores her client care, tending to mind, body, feelings and behaviors.

Janice has worked with a wide range of client issues, such as depression, sadness, anger, anxiety, panic attacks, social anxiety, sleep problems, intrusive thoughts, stress, relationship problems, low self-esteem, cross-generational and cross-cultural problems, trauma and PTSD.
She brings  a strong belief in interpersonal neurobiology and neuroplasticity, whereby we have the power to change the wiring in our brains for the better to have lasting, positive change.  So Janice is eager to support her clients in becoming their best selves by modifying old patterns and  developing new ones.

Larissa Dimitriu

Larissa is a life coach and healer who works wonders without medication. She specializes in non-traditional approaches towards performance and life coaching to bring about lasting change. Her work, centered around the mind, body and spirit have lead to truly outstanding outcomes; she does for the soul, what our doctors do for the body. She works with individuals and couples for personal and professional growth.