Healing Is Not Just Removal of Symptoms, But Restoration of Personal Development

Dr. Steiner is a specialist in child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry. He is board certified (California License #A32963) and has over 40 years of experience practicing psychiatry. His services include diagnosis, testing, and integrated treatment, as well as consultation and second opinions across the patient's life span.

His areas of expertise are eating disorders, psychosomatic disorders, disturbances of attention and impulsivity, and trauma-related psychopathology.

He has been selected by his peers as an outstanding practitioner for many years and has gained professional recognition from Good Housekeeping, Castle & Conolly’s Top Doctors, Best Doctors Inc., and Who's Who in America.

Dr. Steiner’s approach to psychiatric treatment is based on developmental principles, i.e. diagnoses and treatment must be tailored to the needs of the individual patient, taking into account their age, psychology, biology and social context.

Developmental psychiatric treatment works in phases:

Phase 1: Diagnosis – what seems to be wrong?

We identify symptoms, suffering and difficulties in functioning. We establish a diagnosis. We conclude with a discussion of what the problem is and suggest ways to fix it. All treatment options are discussed, as well as alternatives and implications for outcome. Then we strongly encourage patients and their families to discuss our suggestions in private and get back to us with a decision on how they would like to proceed.

Phase 2: Treatment – lets work together to fix what is wrong

Now we agree on a treatment contract and establish the frequency and type of interventions. We commit to re-evaluating progress on a regular basis, usually every 3-6 months. Our goal is to eliminate symptoms and to re-establish normal functioning and continued development. We will employ psychological, biological and social methods of intervention, carefully integrated and coordinated. If at the end of treatment symptoms are no longer troublesome, if there is no further suffering or problems in functioning, and if normal developmental progress resumes, treatment can be stopped. Periodic follow up may be necessary to make sure that all is on track.

Phase 3: Developmental Exploration – reflecting on the story of your life, what it tells us about you and how we might rewrite it to let you lead a more satisfying life

Some patients would like this extra step in their treatment. Symptoms may be gone or not very troublesome, but development is stalled.  Life feels not very meaningful and satisfying. Interventions in this phase are usually based on the principles of depth psychology and existential therapy. Once we have jointly identified existing obstacles, we then switch to a future-oriented, problem-oriented stance, where we use tools to deal most effectively with problems. Not all patients need or want this extra step, nor are all suited to proceed. This part is more open ended and very much determined by the patient. The psychiatrist is more of a consultant, less directive, and aims at showing patients options to answer the big questions in life: what are my goals, my identity, my purpose? Who is most important to me? How will I handle adversity which without fail visits all of us? This form of treatment is not always necessary, but can lead to powerful changes in patients’ life trajectories.  

For scientific/academic sources about integrated treatment, please see the Handbooks edited by Dr. Steiner in the book tab.

Click here to listen to an interview with Dr. Steiner about his view on medication use in psychiatry.


Expert in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Recent broad based and convincing evidence has shown that this form of psychotherapy is the most potent of all psychiatric interventions, having triple the efficacy of medication treatment and double the efficacy of behavioral treatment. (Jonathan Shedler, American Psychologist, 2010) Most encouragingly, the effects of this treatment do not seem to become weaker after treatment has stopped as happens with behavioral treatment.


Performance Optimization

Dr. Steiner is also a specialist in working with elite performers and athletes of all ages on mental toughness, focus and performance optimization. He works with Stanford athletes, actors and musicians to help them achieve their goals.





Appointments can be made by contacting Dr. Steiner via email (no phone calls) at: steiner@stanford.edu or drhanssteiner@gmail.com.

Abbey Neuropsychology Clinic; 366 S. California Ave Suite 14, Palo Alto, California 94306


Please contact Dr. Steiner for fees. Dr. Steiner does not accept insurance in his private practice.