I’I am not saying that it is easy to live anywhere else. In San Francisco, however, the competition professionAll cultures put a unique type of stress on the clientele of Shrein Bahrami, MFT, a therapist practicing in the Marina / Cow Hollow neighborhood of San Francisco – with a 2015 average household income one of the city’s richest neighborhoods of $ 147,573 (over $ 50) Percent higher than the overall average income for SF). Shrein specializes in eating disorders and mostly sees working women in their 20s and 30s. We talked to her a little bit about what it is like to be a therapist in San Francisco in particular and what pressures she puts on her clients the most.
The richer parts of SF are breeding grounds for a distorted body image. “It’s only on the street my office is on, Union Street, that there are so many juice places and ‘clean eateries’. There is definitely an interesting culture around dieting.”
After growing up and going to school in the Midwest, Shrein came to California for an internship at UCSF and received her masters degree from the University of San Francisco. “[School] brought me here, “she said. “But my love for the city made me stay.” Aside from her passion for the region, she described the city as extremely therapeutic-friendly and people as more open to the idea of therapy than what you find in other cities. “It felt kind of … natural,” added Shrein.
I was curious to see if Shrein felt that their specialty, disordered food, was unique to San Francisco. “Yes and no,” she replied. While eating disorders are prevalent everywhere, the richer parts of SF are breeding grounds for distorted body image. “It’s only on the street my office is on, Union Street, that there are so many juice places and ‘clean eateries’. There is definitely an interesting culture around dieting.” Shrein described the particularly smart, hardworking, and fearful people who are drawn to San Francisco. To cope with the extreme pressures of city life, many people neglect their mental and physical health, resulting in a lack of self-sufficiency and an inability to maintain relationships outside of work.
In a way, our technology culture provokes this never-ending cycle: burdening people so much that they need a therapist, and then giving them the resources to find that therapist.
“I think gender dynamics is an issue in the tech world, too,” Shrein continued – a telling statement given the ongoing gender news from the tech industry. And while working in one of the wealthiest areas in town, Shrein doesn’t often comfort clients facing an eviction, but she definitely sees those who are struggling financially. The fear of sharing small rooms with dubious roommates (classic San Francisco) or comparing yourself to a colleague or friend who, for example, “goes to Tahoe every weekend” can both be a first-world problem, but it can be a problem for those affected cause serious emotional trauma.
With San Francisco’s techie culture in the city, it is very easy for Shrein to connect with future and existing customers online and on social media. Rather than relying on word of mouth or insurance references, Shrein said she could create and post Facebook groups, reach customers online, and network across different platforms that may not be as widely used in other cities. In a way, our technology culture provokes this never-ending cycle: burdening people so much that they need a therapist, and then giving them the resources to find that therapist.
What is the takeaway? The San Francisco lifestyle has its positive characteristics. However, in SF’s professional culture, people often compete against one another in a subtle but very present way, which can lead to anxiety, eating disorders and, in general, malnourished self-sufficiency.