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Well Acquainted - kj Cottrell, MD

Welcome to Well Acquainted … a weekly series dedicated to the amazing clinicians at Well Clinic

This week, we’re featuring a Q&A session with kj Cottrell, MD — a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist specializing in talk therapy and medication management.


Where did you grow up?

Bay Area native, born and raised!


What are your favorite quotes?

Many of my favorites are from Will Rogers, a mixed race Native American & European actor/ performer/ columnist/ humorist/ social commentator/ cowboy and adventurer from the turn of the last century.

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
“You’ve got to go out on a limb sometimes because that’s where the fruit is.”
“A fool and his money are soon elected.”


What is your favorite part about your work?

I love people and their stories.  It’s a great great privilege to work with clients so closely, help them discover their path and explore who they are.

My goal is to build a relationship with my clients where they are able to be open and honest in new ways, with me, and more so, with themselves.  Therapy should feel safe, but not necessarily always comfortable.

I am especially interested in  clients seeking change — it is a joy to help folks consider what change they are ready for, then support them to make it happen.


What is your favorite thing about San Francisco?

Everything, from weather to people to food, from architecture to history to culture.  We are a city of dreamers, of individuals, of misfits and makers and doers.

This city was built by folks who left somewhere they didn’t fit, in search of something more, a place to be themselves, to make a living, to change the world.  Despite the many recent changes, I believe SF remains unique in the world.


Name 5 things on your bucket list.

  1. Visit (and dive) the Galapagos Islands
  2. Dive Raja Ampat (Indonesia)
  3. Write & publish a novel, screenplay, or memoir
  4. Visit Africa
  5. Learn to sing


What were you in your former career?

Florist, barista/food server, web designer.

I suspect being food server primed my interest in mental health. All three felt like careers at the time, until they didn’t. Until I was ready to make a change.


What is your favorite sports team?

Gotham Girls, Roller Derby … followed closely by the Golden State Warriors.


What was your favorite toy as a child?

‘Chicken Hungry.’ It was my — I kid you not — chicken leg stuffie … a mascot for the now defunct ‘Red Barn’ fast food chain. I am also told ‘french fries’ were among my first words.


Learn more about kj’s professional background as a Psychiatrist at Well Clinic.



  • I absolutely love Well Clinic! From the beginning, my husband and I felt like we were in a comfortable and safe space.

    Our couple’s therapy bridged gaps in our relationship and helped us understand each other that much more.

    Ivette B

  • Well Clinic is an oasis, especially for busy professionals like me.

    It’s a relaxing and safe space, nothing like the stuffy or drab offices you’d expect when going to a therapist.

    Brianna S

  • Well Clinic’s inviting and professional design makes me feel comfortable and at ease, which probably benefits the work I am doing.

    In fact, it doesn’t really feel like a therapy clinic at all, which I find awesome.

    Jim M


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