The great news continues for all of us here at San Diego Kids First as we’ve added yet another fantastic team member, Cassidy O’Brien!

I am so excited to have Cassidy join us as she contributes an important speciality that furthers our area of expertise!

Cassidy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who comes to us from many years as a Staff Therapist in multiple departments at Rady’s Children’s Hospital. Her varied professional experience includes helping children cope with anxiety, depression, trauma, and difficult life transitions. She also specializes in teaching self-regulation and social skills, enhancing cognitive and behavioral flexibility and working with parents on behavioral management strategies.

Cassidy O’Brien sees children and adults of all ages, however specializes in:

  • Working with “littles” (ages 0-5), with extensive training in early childhood mental health.
  • ADHD
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
  • Teaching self-regulation and social skills.
  • Enhancing cognitive and behavioral flexibility and working with parents on behavioral management strategies.
  • Trauma
  • Anxiety/ Depression

Cassidy’s therapeutic approaches include:

  • The AIM-HI program, a package of evidence-based intervention strategies designed to reduce challenging behaviors in children with ASD.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF CBT)
  • Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP)
  • Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)
  • Mindfulness-based Interventions.

Cassidy earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Ohio University and her Master’s in Social Work Degree from the University of Southern California! She approaches her work with children by viewing them in the context of the whole family, using a family-systems lens to cater to the unique relationships and dynamics within the family and to support the strengthening of those relationships.

Cassidy’s counseling style is accepting, sincere and validating. She makes it a priority to create a safe, inclusive environment, and she believes in the innate capacity of individuals and families to heal and thrive when given the right compassion, tools, and support.

I am so proud of the work the clinicians at San Diego Kids First provide to our families. I am also so pleased that we are such a cohesive and collaborative group. I personally am consulting with all of my staff clinicians here on a regular basis to ensure we continue to provide only the highest quality of care to each and every family.

To learn more about Cassidy, head to our About page! She is available for Telehealth or in-person appointments! To make an appointment with Cassidy please call 858-692-4187 or email!


Deb Pontillo, Ph.D.
Director, San Diego Kids First