Craig Toonder: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist MFC#42605

Couples Therapy

Through a variety of psychotherapeutic modalities, I help couples recognize how they get stuck in ineffective communication patterns that perpetuate negative interactions and prevent them from resolving their differences. Once couples gain this understanding of why their communication fails, I help them gain the awareness and skills to de-escalate these patterns and learn to communicate with greater empathy and understanding.  This includes developing a greater understanding for one’s partner, as well as, a deeper understanding of one’s self.

Additionally, research has shown that successful couples do not fight less than stressed couples. Qualities such as friendship, fondness, admiration, dependability, accessibility, shared vision, and trust lie at the heart of every successful relationship. The more a couple cultivates these qualities, the better they become and weathering the storms in life and in their relationship. I help couples recognize what their strengths in their relationship and what area they need improvement in.

Individual Therapy

I have studied a variety of individual therapies so that I can cater interventions to the needs of the client. The most unique aspect of my individual work is my somatic (or mind-body) and experiential approach to psychotherapy. While talking about one’s struggles to an empathetic listener has its merit, true change requires more than just retelling stories. For the wounds that we carry in life may manifest themselves in the way we think, but where they are stored is in our Implicit Memory system.

Explicit memory is autobiographical. It consists of facts, times, and interpretive identities. When I was six, I got my first bike. It was red. Implicit memory is procedural, experiential, and consists of how things felt. When I ride a bike, my body remembers “riding”. While wounding (usually) has factual memory, the pain of the wounding is stored in the mind as a felt sense memory. The most extreme versions of this are flashbacks. The most common is project.  Being that these memories are stored as body experiences, the most effective way to work with them is through the body.

Trauma Therapy

Additionally, I trained in working with both the psychological and physiological affects of trauma. Similar to how wounding lives in the implicit memory system, trauma is stored in a persons autonomic nervous system. This is why symptoms can manifest not only psychologically but also physically as issues with the heart and lungs, digestive issues, sleep issues, rashes, physical irritation or numbness, concentration issues, etc.

I offer a unique style of psychotherapy that focuses on teaching clients how to “recalibrating” their nervous system , removing the effects of the trauma.  My trainings are based mainly in Somatic Experiencing, Brainspotting, and Regulation for Early Developmental Trauma.

I have also trained in working with motor vehicle accidents. For more information on accident trauma, please visit my Accident Trauma page.


I graduated from John F. Kennedy University with a master’s degree in clinical psychology. At John F. Kennedy, I specialized in somatic (mind-body) psychology. I have since trained and assisted in several post-graduate programs in somatic psychotherapy.

For your convenience, you may download several of my office forms from the Getting Started page of this website. I have also provided maps, directions, parking advise, and photographs of my office on my Location page.

If you have any questions about my approach, or how I work, please feel free to contact me by phone at 510 499-7137 or e-mail at ctoondermft [at]

Thank you,
Craig Toonder, MFT