Professional Services

Treatment Approach

Dr. Cadow has had formal training and professional experience in psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), relaxation therapy, hypnosis, mindfulness, and play therapy models of treatment. She works with children, teens, couples, and families as well as individuals. The type of treatment chosen for each patient is a collaborative decision based on the presenting problem, psychological history, and comfort level. Each person has unique needs and is evaluated and treated accordingly.

Depression & Life Dissatisfaction


Dr. Cadow co-authored a number of research studies (see Vita) on depression at the USC Medical School. Working with over 250 depressed patients over a two year period provided her with an invaluable glimpse into the many faces and symptoms of depression. She has years of teaching and training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), the empirically validated treatment of choice for depression; she currently teaches this method to graduate students in clinical psychology in the Department of Clinical Psychology at USC.

CBT is a useful technique because it helps people identify the often automatic negativity in their thoughts and provides a framework for converting irrational pessimistic thoughts into more reasonable and emotionally neutral thoughts. People have their own way of generating these negative thoughts and often need help recognizing how they have become an integral part of their internalized dialogue, forming an almost seamless feedback loop between triggering emotional stimuli and behavior. Certain negative, depressing thoughts may never completely disappear, but they can be significantly minimized and managed.

Dr. Cadow’s private practice patients quite often present with depressed feeling due to a life event (e.g., divorce, breakup with loved one, school or work problems, relationship or family problems, health issues) and/or have a long history of depression. She works with a number of psychiatrists who can prescribe medication for depression, if needed.

Life Dissatisfaction

Dr. Cadow has worked with many patients who “have everything”, but are not happy. Especially in Los Angeles, often the people who are the envy of the rest of the population can actually be disenchanted with their lives. These individuals may not have symptoms of depression, but they are unhappy about the choices they have made and the general direction of their lives. Dr. Cadow’s book, “Rich and Famous but Not Happy: An Inside Look at Therapy in La La Land,” describes their journeys to happiness and offers useful tools for those of us who are not rich and famous. (See Home page)

It is not always obvious what path will make us happy; in fact, often we are uncertain about what experiences we actually enjoy. Some people have discovered a newfound joy at just eating something they really crave, like a simple pastrami sandwich, instead of the food they thought they “should” eat. The simple pleasures of life may often be missed in the rat race of urban life.

Upon examination in psychotherapy sessions, the source of dissatisfaction may be a job, career, a major relationship, or a lack thereof, or a negative outlook on the world. Determining the cause of dissatisfaction is often a complex process with no easy solution; instead, a number of interacting factors may be involved that need to be sorted out. Within the privacy and safety of the therapy session, alternative options and plans can be explored with minimal risk.

Grief and Loss

How will I live without her/him? How long will I feel like this? Will I ever get over the loss? These are some of the questions often asked after the death of a friend or family member. Dr. Cadow has worked with grieving patients and families for 30 years and has provided expert testimony in legal proceedings involving the loss of a child.


Dr. Cadow has had post-doctoral training in child and adolescent psychology and has worked with teenagers for over 25 years. She was a staff psychologist at the USC Medical School/Los Angeles County Hospital Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and a consultant to two Los Angeles area child guidance centers and a juvenile diversion program for teens with legal problems.

Eating Issues & Body Image

Eating Issues

After working with eating disorders at the USC Medical School, Dr. Cadow brought her expertise to the USC Student Counseling Services, where she served as a consultant on eating disorders to the campus community. She led psychotherapy groups and conducted behavioral treatment with students suffering from anorexia, bulimia, and obesity.

She has conducted lectures on different aspects of eating problems at USC and USC Medical School for many diverse audiences. Dr. Cadow is familiar with the effect that athletic training, social pressure, dieting, peer pressure, sexual abuse, and family environment can have on the eating habits of women and men. She has trained psychology interns and graduate students from different schools and universities in the treatment of these disorders.

In her experience with the treatment of anorexia, bulimia, and obesity, Dr. Cadow is familiar with the various programs and resources in the Los Angeles area for these problems. Her approach is integrative, combining cognitive behavioral methods, mindfulness techniques, and psychodynamic methods of treatment.

Body Image Issues

Poor body image is a constant source of stress for women and often leads to extreme dieting and other eating disorders. A condition known as “body dysmorphic disorder”, in which an individual has a distorted view of her actual appearance, has become more prevalent. When we feel bad, we focus more on our body limits, and vice versa. Dr. Cadow uses a number of resources to help women find a “good enough” body for themselves. Discussing pictures the patient brings to the session with her, acknowledging the accepted use of airbrushing pictures in print magazines, discovering irrational and/or obsessive ideas about appearance and more “objective” opinions about our bodies from those around us, using personal examples from the media debunking the “perfect body” myth (thank you Cindy Crawford, Oprah, Tyra Banks and Jamie Lee Curtis!), figuring out how to make the best of the bodies with which we are born, and emphasizing how our bodies feel instead of how they look, can be valuable and effective. As corny as it sounds, feeling good on the inside makes us feel good on outside.

Statistics on how we feel about our bodies is disheartening. In a report published by the nonprofit women’s organization, YWCA (, women’s opinions about their bodies are more negative than ever. 80% of women say that they are unhappy with their appearance. A USA Today article noted that because models and some actresses are so thin, anorexics think that they are normal (USA 9/25/06). Psychology Today has conducted three national surveys of body image (1972, 1985, 1997). Although the public continues to gain weight, body preferences are getting thinner and thinness is equated to happiness. In fact, 15% of women and 11% of men surveyed said that they would trade more than 5 years of their lives in order to achieve their desired weight.

Dr. Cadow has observed that not even the “ideal” models or actresses she has treated are satisfied with their bodies. In one of her eating disorder groups, the members could not decide if the actress on the cover of the latest People magazine was thin enough and disagreed about the woman’s attractiveness. When magazines show pictures of very thin celebrities and label them “normal” while labeling normal-sized persons “fat”, who knows what is thin, fat, or normal today? The fact is that the runway models have unusual, rare bodies compared to the general population, with very long legs, thin frames smaller than a size 2 or 4, high cheekbones, and widely spaced eyes.

Often, obsessing about our appearance can make us feel crazy. Staring at one part of our body that we dislike for too long makes us think we are horribly ugly. Pressure from friends, family, coaches, or the media does not help our obsession. Negative sexual experiences and teasing often compound the problem and make us hate our bodies. If possible, it is better to avoid the mirror and the scale and focus instead on our health, how our clothes fit, and surround ourselves with people who accept and love us as we are.

Stress Management

For over four years on the USC main campus and medical school, Dr. Cadow provided workshops on stress management to students and staff. She developed programs specifically for students in the School of Business as well as students in the School of Law.


Anxiety is a psychological and physiological state which produces feelings of uneasiness, fear, or worry. Anxiety may not have any identifiable cause or trigger, distinguishing it from fear, which occurs in the presence of an actual external threat.

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. Small amounts of anxiety may help a person deal with a difficult situation at work or at school, by increasing focus on the problem. When anxiety becomes excessive, it can interfere with life tasks and may fall under the classification of an anxiety disorder. Some commonly reported symptoms of anxiety include worry, restlessness or a feeling of being "keyed up", fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and difficulty sleeping.

Anxiety can be accompanied by physical effects as the body prepares to deal with a perceived threat. Blood pressure, heart rate, sweating, and blood flow to the major muscle groups are increased, and immune and digestive system functions are inhibited (the fight or flight response). Accordingly, some people report chest pain, shortness of breath, stomach aches, trembling, twitching, headaches, sweating or chills, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath and diarrhea when they get anxious.

Some examples of anxiety disorders are generalized anxiety disorder, test or performance anxiety, panic attacks, specific phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

As its name suggests, PTSD is the psychological fallout from experiencing a life-threatening event such as violence, war, an accident, or emotional and physical abuse. Individuals with PTSD are likely to react to any experience that reminds them of the trauma (e.g., firecrackers sounding like gunshots). They are likely to suffer from nightmares about the trauma, feel at times like they are reliving the traumatic events all over again, and stay away from places or events that are reminiscent of the trauma (e.g., not driving a car after an accident); they may also be unable to remember details of the event.


Our temperaments are formed in utero. It is estimated that about 20% of the population is highly sensitive (see Aron, Elaine, The Highly Sensitive Person, 1996: New York, Broadway Books). Sensitive types often wear their socks inside out because the socks feel itchy, notice slight changes in temperature or hunger, can be devastated by teasing or name-calling, and can “feel the pain” of another human being acutely. The sensitive type was memorialized in the fairy tale about the princess who could feel a single pea under 20 mattresses and 20 beds.

Fertility Counseling

Dr. Cadow has counseled many women, men, and couples on issues of infertility, egg donation, surrogacy, and adoption over the last 10 years. She has worked with a number of fertility specialists in Los Angeles. The anxiety that can accompany this process is treated with relaxation techniques for infertility medical procedures and/or concomitant medical issues that can complicate the process. Cognitive behavioral therapy as well as psychodynamic therapy is often used to treat the depression that may be associated with infertility and/or medication. In addition, Dr Cadow assists infertile couples in a number of decision-making processes, including choosing donor eggs. She can be an integral part of the support system necessary to navigate the possible uncertainty, fear, and disappointment in fertility treatment.

Psychological Assessment

Dr. Cadow trained at the graduate and post-graduate school level in psychological testing and assessment. Some of her research, including her doctoral dissertation, examined the MMPI, the most widely used and accepted psychological test of personality. Her clinical assessment experiences with the MMPI, as well as other instruments, include testing the following populations: children of all ages, applicants for asylum, couples seeking fertility treatment, bariatric surgery candidates, inpatient psychiatric patients, prison inmates, transgendered individuals, sexual addicts, post-traumatic stress and sexual harassment victims, and veterans of war. Her evaluations have been used in order to measure intelligence and academic potential in school and non-school settings, determine the presence of attention deficit disorders in children and adults, and provide evidence for personal injury claims. She also uses measures to evaluate the stress levels, depression, and trauma of her psychotherapy patients.

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