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Jonathan Sarlin, LMFT

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist LMFT53795

Jonathan Sarlin, LMFT

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist LMFT53795

Jon Sarlin, LMFT

Jonathan Sarlin, LMFT specializes in working with:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Trauma
  • Work-life balance in Silicon Valley
  • Communication and intimacy with couples, including dealing with affairs
  • Kids and teens
  • Families
  • Divorce: pre, current and post
  • Dating and single life challenges

People usually call Jonathan Sarlin when they:

  • Feel stuck in negative behavior, beliefs and thought patterns
  • Experience elevated levels of anxiety, including panic attacks
  • Want help with contemplating or dealing with the reality of divorce and separatiWant to address traumatic experiences and memories
  • Are ready to build a toolkit for work life balance, self-care, boundary setting, and communication
  • Experience professional break-ups or relational challenges at work or with career change
  • Need to vent parenting and work-life balance stress

Jon is a strong advocate for his clients moving toward their goals.  When appropriate, he gives his clients tools they can use right now to start feeling better as soon as possible.  Working with him, you can expect a blend of concrete tools and the psychodynamic sensibilities of an experienced therapist, informed by Positive Psychology.  Jon takes seriously the job of helping people feel better as fast as they can. He is the kind of therapist who gives homework related to reaching your goals.

Jon has over 10 years experience working in private practice and trauma clinics with a wide range of concerns including depression and anxiety, self-esteem challenges, work-life balance, PTSD and trauma. He has consulted with children and their parents, teens, athletes, actors, chefs, corporate leaders, first responders and political prisoners from different cultures. He has experience working with children and parents coping with trauma after accidents, falls, injuries, and medical procedures. His holistic and relational approach focuses on experiential mindful awareness and offers active sessions with resources for greater responsiveness, coping and resiliency, decreased depression and stress reduction.

Jon has an active, warm style as a therapist that mirrors his authenticity as a human being.   Jon often works with people who want to improve their EQ (emotional intelligence) because they have a goal of enhancing their relationships with other people or themselves.  This kind of work often involves elements that people who have relied on their cognitive intelligence and hard-working goal orientation alone often don’t know how to access.  This therapy requires knowing how to create and experiment with new strategies and working together on “vulnerability skills.”  Jon enjoys being an emotional guide for his clients to help them get to the next level of EQ.

Relationships, Divorce and Affairs

As a person who has gone through the ups and downs of marriage, divorce, parenthood and dating as a single father, he brings a practical level of personal experience that his clients find refreshing and helpful.  He is passionate about helping couples and families evolve their relationships as they go through up and down periods.

Jon helps couples and families going through challenging times.  These groups want to learn to better share their appreciation and excitements, worries and concerns, complaints and solutions, hopes and wishes with each other.  Jon knows how to create and reinforce connection in real time to create new solutions and build real, lasting relationships at home and at work.

Jon often works with couples and individuals who have been affected by an affair.  This is a topic that requires an understanding of many of life’s grey areas like working with independence vs. aloneness, secrets, living through betrayal, and the pain of what feels like impossible choices.  Deeply influenced by the work of Esther Perel, Jon helps couples and individuals work toward an understanding of what happened and to a place of healing and healthy emotional containment.

Jon believes the pain of divorce does not have to last forever for everyone involved.  In the long run, it can help parents better relate to their children. Rather than a stain or source of chronic grief in a child’s life, divorce can be an opportunity for stronger connection between a child with each parent.  Jon provides his clients with age appropriate dialogs or scripts as needed.  He believes his clients shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel when a professional has those scripts to prevent emotional chaos and damage.  Painful and difficult questions arise with break ups and divorce. 

He often works with questions like:

  • When should my child see a therapist?
  • What do I do when my child’s other parent moves away?
  • What can I do to help my child through separation and divorce?

And at work or with partnerships that seem to be failing:

  • What do I do when I can’t seem to delegate?
  • What can I do to recover trust with a boss or co-worker
  • Why do the narratives about what I can expect from my family seem to determine my relationships at work. What are some of the scripts or stories I grew up believing about myself and others?
  • Do I have problems asking for help?


When a child is going through a challenging moment in life, help from a professional who has their best interest at heart and the knowledge to provide the right guidance can be the difference between years of suffering and a satisfying sense of self mastery.  Jon has a gift for connecting with and helping children feel better and grow from challenging developmental and situational transitions.

Jon offers a combination of play therapy, art therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and solution-focused therapy that provides his young clients with both room for skill building and a path to emotional growth and mastery.  He works with a variety of issues including: self-esteem and confidence, friendship challenges and social skill building, bullying and cyber bullying, peer pressure, risky behaviors, adjustment difficulties (divorce, recent move, new school, death of pet, relative or friend), anger, depression and anxiety.

Goals of Jon’s young clients and their parents often include:

  • an observable change in behavior/demeanor (as observed by teachers, parents, and Jon)
  • a better understanding of why they do certain things (like why they repeated maladaptive patterns despite “knowing better”)
  • self-reported “feeling better”
  • restoration of flexible creative play with parents, friends or siblings
  • increase in quality and number of positive friendships
  • gained confidence to make changes
  • coping with parent separation, divorce, or big moves with age appropriate “scripts”
  • recovering from traumatic injury, accident, medical procedure or other “shocking” event

When everyone in a family is on the same page, children tend to do better more quickly.  A very important part of Jon’s work with his young clients involves working with their parents to help ensure optimal results.  First, Jon usually meets with the whole family before meeting with children individually. After meeting with the family, he works with a 3:1 model: three meetings with his young clients combined with one parent meeting to keep parents informed of the ongoing treatment plan and progress.  In cases of recent trauma or accidents, Jon will usually meet with at least one caregiver with his child client as a unit. When deemed helpful and appropriate, Jon consults with teachers and other relevant school personnel, physicians and after-school or day care staff.


Adults who work with Jon are often at a crossroads: they have struggled with anxiety and stress, depression, confusion, anger or have a lack of confidence, and they know their life can be a lot better.  They are open to change but don’t know how to approach that optimally or often not at all.
Jon provides the knowledge and perspective to help those at a life juncture learn new skills, develop new patterns, and have a different experience of themselves allowing them to grow into the people they want to be.

For some clients, the experience of working with Jon can include an opening up of parts of themselves that were previously hidden, dismissed, unknown or rejected.  When this happens, the door is open for movement towards self-acceptance.  With self-acceptance comes more authenticity.  With more authenticity comes the experience of feeling more alive.


Jon’s work is directly informed by Positive Psychology, Somatic Experiencing, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) methodologies. He integrates his background in both feminist and Lacan’s psychoanalytic theories with body-centered approaches of modern psychotherapists and experts in the field of couples and families.

Years ago, Jon worked as a journalist focused on film criticism and mass psychology.  He explored the possibility of an academic career in Germany.

Jon lived in NYC, Europe, and Japan before settling in the Bay Area. Jon loves to learn languages. He is fluent in German and conversational in French.  He has studied psychoanalytic theory and philosophy since completing his undergraduate degree at Columbia University and came to California for graduate school at John F. Kennedy University. He is father to a child in elementary school who shares his love of piano, guitar, cooking, tennis, skiing and yoga.

In his spare time, Jon enjoys complex psychoanalytic theory and is influenced by the writing of Slavoj Zizek, Stuart Sovatsky, Esther Perel, Rob Fisher, Sue Johnson (EFT), Stan Tatkin, John Gottman, Ron Kurtz’ Hakomi and the trauma research of Drs. Peter Levine, Pat Ogden, Francine Shapiro, and Bessel Van der Kolk MD among others. Looking for other specialities?