Monterey County Chapter
Catherine McGovern is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in downtown Pacific Grove. Before relocating to the peninsula 3-1/2 years ago, Catherine practiced at Highland Hospital in Oakland. There she supervised pre- and postdoctoral psychology trainees in the outpatient clinics located in the urban trauma center.
Catherine’s clinical work is depth oriented. She earned a Master’s in Holistic Psychology with a Specialization in Buddhist Psychology from JFKU in Cambbell, and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from CIIS (California Institute of Integral Studies) in San Francisco. Catherine also completed a yearlong weekly course of study at the SF Jung Institute focused on Deepening the Work.
Before training to be a clinical psychologist, Catherine spent 20 years as an RN in a busy NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) in Berkeley, CA. This work, and her own path to motherhood, have informed Catherine’s work as a perinatal psychologist – caring for parents at every phase of their birth journey – contemplating conception, infertility, challenging pregnancies, pregnancy or neonatal loss, premature or traumatic delivery, postpartum mood and anxiety concerns.
It is her work with parents who have received a poor prenatal diagnosis that Catherine finds most fulfilling. “In this age, when most parents have early information about the health of their unborn child, it is likely that they will know of a poor or fatal diagnosis before the child’s birth. Whether or not the parents choose to continue the pregnancy to term, this early knowledge gives them an opportunity to consciously parent their child in a way that is most meaningful for them, for whatever time they have to do so. To be a witness to this experience – to help a family prepare for the birth and death of their child - is a great honor.”
Catherine is a member of PSI (Postpartum Support International) and APPPAH (The Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health). At the 2019 yearly conference of PSI, Catherine presented a poster on her study of young adults who were born prematurely, and their ways of making existential meaning of that experience.
Catherine is active in MBPA (Monterey Bay Psychological Association) as chair of the Ethics Committee, and as president-elect (2021). When moving to this area, Catherine felt a lack of community among the area psychologists. To remedy this situation, she has made it her mission to create a bigger presence of MBPA on the peninsula. To that end, Catherine has facilitated two CE workshops in Carmel for mental health clinicians, and is currently working to create a monthly consultation group focused on the ethical concerns of mental health clinicians in the area.
Catherine also volunteers for Hospice of the Central Coast as a grief counselor for adults, and as a Griefbuster. In the latter, Catherine works with children and adolescents who have or who are anticipating the loss of a loved one. “What I especially like about being a Griefbuster is helping a young person normalize their feelings, and then facilitating a conversation between them and the adults in their life. When adults can understand that a child’s grief may not present as an adult’s, but the depth of their loss is just as great, the loving and respectful healing can begin. Children can then begin to feel safe to express their sadness when they are included in the whole family’s experience of the loss.”
Catherine is a native and 2nd generation Californian. She has lived in the North Bay (Sonoma County), SF Bay Area and Oakland, and now on the Monterey Peninsula. She and her husband have 5 children and 1 grandchild between them, and share their home with a large dog and small bossy cat. Besides spending time with family, they enjoy traveling, Sunday drives, a variety of artistic and musical activities, and nesting.