Troy DuFrene
Troy DuFrene

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(510) 592-8776

Troy DuFrene, MA, BCBA, LBA is a licensed behavior analyst (OR, ABA-B-10220567), Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (#1-22-57946), and registered psychological associate (CA, #94025675, supervisor: Chia-Ying Chou, PSY30161). He offers individual, couple, and family psychotherapy and clinical assessment through the San Francisco Center for Compassion-Focused Therapies.

Note: Until August 2023, Troy will be in working out of the San Francisco Bay area. He will have very limited availability to new patients during this time, and his services will be offered by telemedicine only. Contact directly for more information.


Troy studied philosophy at Reed College, in Portland, OR, and, later, linguistics and English literature at San Francisco State University. He holds a graduate certificate in applied behavior analysis from California State University, San Marcos, and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology, San Francisco Bay, where he is currently a PhD candidate in clinical psychology. He has completed Gottman Level 3 training through the Gottman Institute and pre-certification classes in sex therapy through the Buehler Institute.


Since 2008, Troy has been a member of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science. He is coauthor of nine books based on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), included Mindfulness for Two, The Wisdom to Know the Difference, and Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong with Kelly Wilson and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Eating Disorders, The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Bulimia, and Living with Your Body and Other Things You Hate with Emily Sandoz.

Services & Specialties

Colleagues and clients have described Troy’s style as warm and supportive while also direct, funny, and results-oriented. His work draws heavily on clinical behavior analysis principles, in particular on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). He also incorporates elements of compassion-focused therapy (CFT) into many treatment plans.

A long-time Soto Zen Buddhist practitioner, Troy received the Buddhist precepts from Sojun Mel Weitsman at the Berkeley Zen Center. He is a certified Starting Strength power-lifting coach and head coach of Alameda Barbell. He plays the Great Highland Bagpipes and is chief Financial Office and Treasurer of the Macintosh Pipe Band, based in Larkspur, CA.

Troy provides:

  • Individual therapy for adults, older adults, and older adolescents (14+)
  • Couples therapy (trained to Gottman Level 3; using Gottman Method and Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy)

His areas of focus are:

  • Anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, hoarding disorder, depression, grief,
  • Relationship issues, sex therapy (GSM, non-monogamous and polyamorous, kink-positive)
  • Substance use issues (single and dual-diagnosis)
  • Autism-spectrum disorder (older adolescents and adults)
  • Occupational and academic performance issues
  • Philosophical and existential problems

Professional organizations

  • Association for Contextual Behavioral Science
  • Association for Behavior Analysis International
  • American Psychological Association
  • American Association Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists
  • San Francisco Psychological Association

Some thoughts about Troy’s approach:

What do you want to accomplish in therapy? A lot of people want to have less of something: anxiety, depression, anger, relationship conflict, and so forth. This is understandable. When things hurt us and get in our way, even if those things come from inside us, it’s very reasonable to want them to go away. But what if making thing go away has been the problem all along?

Can you remember a time in your life when you felt strong, resilient, and resourceful? During this time, was your life free from problems? I’m guessing not. Rain falls on everyone from time to time. The difference then was that you were moving your feet in the direction of things that mattered to you at that time. Of course you made mistakes and had setbacks. That’s life. But your life was expanding during that time, and that energy and growth can make all the difference.

My work is grounded in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), which is a kind of psychotherapy that makes this kind of work a focus. Compassion is another focus of my work, although there are different understandings of compassion. The one I favor draws heavily on courage, openness, and a willingness to bear witness to suffering, both yours and that of others. A good friend of mine and this practice, Dennis Tirch, calls this “fierce compassion.” I like this, and I think it describes how I feel about compassion very well.

My wish for all my clients is that they start living richer, more meaningful lives from the very first session. This can involve hard work. The most satisfying part of my work is getting the privilege of walking with people while they face these challenges. If you’re ready to start changing your life today, I will look forward to sitting with you.