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Member Bio

Max Benjamin (Max Sutton-Smolin)

The Wise Mind Institute  Postdoctoral Fellow
El Cerrito, CA

Contact Information

El Cerrito, CA
The Wise Mind Institute
Postdoctoral Fellow
1827 Arlington Blvd
El Cerrito, CA 94530

Personal Information

Additional Information

Postdoctoral Fellow/Resident
September 2020 - present (Current position): Postdoctoral Fellow at THE WISE MIND INSTITUTE in Berkeley, CA.

8/2019-8/2020: Predoctoral Internship - health psychology training program integrated into primary and specialty care at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and other health centers throughout the county
Location Martinez, California
Title: Psychology Doctoral Intern

8/2018-6/201: Peer Supervisor/Intake Consultant at The Berkeley Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Clinic
Location Berkeley, CA
• Provided peer supervision to first, second and third year practicum students, meeting individually to support their clinical and assessment skills development
• Conducted integrated assessment batteries for intake clients; providing feedback on students’ assessment reports
• Consulted with facilitators of Dialectical Behavioral (DBT), Emotion Efficacy Therapy (EET), and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) groups
• Provided individual therapy services to clients with anxiety, mood, and personality disorders

8/2017 – 8/2018: Psychology Practicum Student at Kaiser Permanente CDRP (KP Oakland's Chemical Dependency Recovery Program)
Location: Oakland, CA
• Provided outpatient and partial hospitalization program treatment in individual and group format to patients diagnosed with substance use disorders
• Treated SUDs and co-occurring depression, generalized and social anxiety, ADHD, trauma, emotion dysregulation, interpersonal problems (e.g., codependent relational patterns), and suicidality
• Collaborated with psychiatrists, medical doctors, medical assistants, and nurses to provide services in an integrated medical care setting
• Facilitated five weekly hours of process and psychoeducation groups
• Co-led a weekly Dual Diagnosis group with CDRP’s psychiatrist
• Participated in Clinical Team meetings to establish team-based treatment plans for complex cases
• Delivered evidence-based treatments, including Gorski relapse prevention, Motivational Interviewing, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), DBT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT), schema therapy (ST), and Time-Limited Dynamic Psychotherapy (TLDP)
• Interventions included but were not limited to: relapse prevention, cue exposure therapy for SUD cravings, mindfulness, behavioral activation, relaxation training, cognitive restructuring, cognitive defusion, emotional exposure, communication and assertiveness training, experiential ST interventions (e.g., empty chair technique and imagery rescripting), role plays, and skill building
• Conducted structured intake interviews, oriented new patients to CDRP, enrolled patients in an appropriate level of treatment, and wrote intake reports
• Administered integrated assessment batteries, wrote reports, and provided feedback to patients and their CDRP individual therapist. Measures included: the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2, the Thematic Apperception Test, the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence-II, the Autism Spectrum Quotient, the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-5

8/2016-8/2017: Psychological Trainee/Student Clinician at The Berkeley Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Clinic
Location Berkeley, CA
• Provided weekly individual, couple, and conjoint family therapy services to general mental health population
• Co-facilitated year-long DBT skills group
• Delivered evidence-based treatments, including CBT, DBT, ACT, CFT, and ST.
• Attended weekly year-long didactic taught by Dr. Matthew McKay, covering the full umbrella of evidence-based and cognitive-behavioral treatments
• Attended ACT BootCamp, a four-day intensive experiential ACT training mostly led by Dr. Steven C. Hayes. Topics included: behaviorism and behavior analysis, functional-contextualism, the foundations and six core processes of ACT, and experiential role plays to cement learning of ACT intervention skills
I work with adults across the lifespan, specializing in men’s issues. I am trained in short- and long-term CBT, DBT, ACT, and several depth-oriented therapies. I integrate. In my health psychology training I learned how to work effectively with psychiatrists and PCPs, as well as how to deliver behavioral medicine treatments like CBTi (CBT for insomnia). I am also trained to write letters of support for transgender/gender-queer/gender non-binary people seeking to access gender-affirming surgeries.

Some of my additional clinical specialties include problems related to anger and anger management; narcissism and loneliness/isolation; substance misuse, addiction, and codependence; couples therapy; social justice therapies; white identity development.

My therapy approach is integrative and individualized. With all my clients, I recognize the importance of addressing both the depth psychological factors that maintain problematic patterns, and the nuts-and-bolts skills, tools, strategies, and grit required to change behaviors. My style is flexible, warm, down-to-earth, collaborative, and transparent. I believe therapy is not “one-size-fits-all” and that clients deserve to know what size they are trying on. I practice Schema Therapy, ACT, DBT, relational psychodynamic therapy, and evidence-based treatments for trauma.
The Wright Institute
Doctor of Psychology


Alameda County Psychological Association
4200 Park Blvd., #200
Oakland, CA 94602
(510) 433-9580