Allison Gilbert, LMFT - Marriage & Family Therapist


About Allison Gilbert

About Allison Gilbert, LMFT

Education Background

Allison Gilbert, LMFT, is a counselor in Santa Cruz with offices in both Santa Cruz and Soquel.  She has always been interested in spirituality and studying religion.  When she went to UCSC, she wanted to major in Religious Studies but the board closed just before she declared her major.  So she graduated from UCSC in 1981 with a Bachelors degree in Psychology - which was her next favorite subject. 

After getting her Bachelors, Allison spent a summer in Israel and then a year in Rabbinic School at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles.  Then she moved back up to the Bay Area where she spent a year with Daniel Matt, studying Zohar while also attending John F. Kennedy University, receiving her Masters degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology, which brings together spirituality and psychology.  She wrote her Masters Thesis on using Tarot as a Self-Help Tool, studying with Angeles Arrien. 

Allison has been licensed in Marriage and Family Therapy since 1985 and started her private practice teaching Tarot workshops called, "Tarot: The Looking Glass Teacher" in Santa Cruz and Hermosa Beach.  She worked at the time under her maiden name: Allison Pokras.  She also worked for a psychiatrist in Long Beach, CA., leading therapy groups for the Eating Disorders unit at Los Altos Hospital.  In addition, she gave workshops for eating and food compulsions/addictions, called, "Feeding Your Heart's Content" at her private practice in Hermosa Beach, CA.  These workshops were based on the work by Geneen Roth.  (See or )  

Time Off & Training

In 1994, Allison had her first child and took 10 years off from her counseling practice, doing volunteer work in her kids' schools, including PTA president for Westlake.  She also volunteered at Chabad by the Sea where she studied Jewish Mysticism & Kabbalah based on Chabad Hasidus.  When she was ready to start working again, she took many classes and trainings in different treatment methods.  She studied Psych-K, Hypnotherapy, Enneagram, Eye Movement Therapy and EFT .

Helping Moms

In 2004, she started practicing again, under her married name, Allison Gilbert.  She created a website for mothers called Mothers Have Needs Too and started teaching a class for moms called, "Motherhood:  Nurturing the Work of Heart".  She also volunteered, assisting Maggie Muir in the Postpartum Wellness Support Group at Sutter Hospital and shares an office with her in Soquel.  Allison's heart is with mothers and so she wrote many articles that are on, geared to helping moms feel good about themselves.  She has two kids, a boy who's 22 and a girl who's 18.  They went to Natural Bridges, Westlake, Mission Hill, PCS, Santa Cruz High, UCSB and Shoreline Esthetics School. 

Breast Cancer

After being back to her practice for four years, Allison was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.  See her blog here.  It was a devastating diagnosis and treatment but the one thing that kept her going besides friends and family was her work.  She says she couldn't have made it through without knowing she had something more to give to this world.  She has come out of the fire a stronger person, more self-accepting and better able to make the best of whatever life throws at you.  She is also more aware of the value of being alive and how precious life is.  Relationships & self-improvement have taken on a higher priority in her life.  She's also come to realize how important her spiritual life is.  Allison brings much of what she's learned from her battle with cancer into her work as a therapist.  She believes that sometimes hitting bottom and facing death can be the most healing of all experiences.

Jewish Mysticism, Chabad & Authentic Hasidic Kabbalah

Allison is Jewish and has been a student of Jewish Mysticism and spirituality all of her life.  In 1981, she attended the University of Judaism in Los Angeles and completed one year of their rabbinic program.  There she learned Talmud, Jewish Philosophy and Jewish Law.  Then in 1982, when she started at John F. Kennedy Univ., she spent a year with Daniel Matt at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, learning the Zohar.  Being that Allison did the equivalent of a Religious Studies minor at UCSC and got her masters in Transpersonal Counseling psychology, she has learned a lot about many different religions.  She works with people of all religions and sees value in them all.  Today she finds her own home in Hasidic philosophy and Kabbalah, studying with Rabbi Yochanon Friedman of Chabad by the Sea and online with the many rabbis and teachers associated with Chabad.  Links for more about Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism:

Why I Am A Jew   lots of free audio downloads


Allison's favorite walk is in the redwoods.  Another hobby is Isreali folk dancing.  She enjoys the computer and can spend hours at a time searching or writing.  Allison's got a passion for writing.  She also loves reading novels, watching TV and listening to classes on IFS and Kabbalah.  Her favorite pastime is laughing with her children.