PACT Psychology - VA Palo Alto Health Care System
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VA Palo Alto Health Care System


PACT Psychology

Doctor talking to patientResearch shows that reducing stress, making positive lifestyle changes and learning behavioral skills can strengthen the immune system, promote better management of chronic conditions and prevent new illness or worsening of current conditions. It is normal to feel concerned, worried or down when faced with stressors such as changes to your physical health and lifestyle. Did you know that these same emotions can also further impact your physical health and well-being? In some cases, learning behavioral strategies to manage chronic condition stress can be easy to learn and use with the help of a PACT psychologist.

Anyone can benefit from PACT psychology services if he/she is having a difficult time managing a chronic condition in the past, feeling more stressed than he/she would like, having concerns about life changes caused by a condition, or is interested in ways to lead a healthier life.

VA Primary Care clinics use Patient Aligned Care Teams (PACTs) to provide the Veteran’s healthcare. PACT psychologists are part of your PACT and provide evaluation and treatment of your behavioral needs.

Our mission: We provide access to Veterans who have both physical and emotional health conditions that are impacting their lives. PACT psychologists address stress that may develop due to a physical condition or a physical conditional that is being negatively impacted by stress. The PACT psychology program also focuses on the promotion and maintenance of health, prevention, and rehabilitation of illness and disability through behavioral evaluation and evidence-based treatments.

What can PACT Psychology do for you?

  • Explain behavioral evaluation.
  • Help you understand mind body connections.
  • Help you understand your behavioral symptoms and conditions.
  • Keep you focused on staying healthy.
  • Assist with rehabilitation of illness and disability.
  • Help you identify your options that are tailored to your needs.
  • Provide behavioral treatments backed by science.
  • Help you identify things you can do to improve your situation.
  • Work with various members of your healthcare team.
  • Help you follow through with medical recommendations.
  • Help manage loss.
  • Promote post-deployment health.

PACT psychologists are often involved in the treatment of the following conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Chronic pain
  • Obesity
  • Nicotine dependence
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Tinnitus
  • Adjustment to illness such as cancer, Hepatitis, Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis
  • Adjustment to aging

Evidence-based treatments and interventions supported by research: Evidence-based treatments are treatments that research has proven are effective for particular problems. PACT psychologists apply scientific knowledge to address relationships among behavioral, emotional, cognitive, cultural, social, and biological components in physical health and disease. All VA Palo Alto PACT psychologists have Doctoral-level training in evidence-based treatments (e.g. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy).

Specific Services

Shared Medical Appointment (SMA): Shared medical appointments are patient group appointments. These appointments are typically focused on chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and chronic pain. The spirit of these appointments is to increase access to education, treatment and providers, provide open dialogue between patients and providers and learn skills to self-manage. The SMA works similar to a same-day visit with a PACT team as long as it is not for a new urgent symptom. If you are unsure if an SMA is right for you, you can contact your PACT psychologist or telephone care. Patients must provide consent to participating in these clinics especially since specified medical information can be disclosed. Patients may opt out of these appointments as they have the option to engage in the traditional individual appointment.

PACT Psychology Treatment Group: This visit is a group visit with a provider and other Veterans. The group size may vary from 6-12 Veterans; you can speak with your PACT psychologist if you have questions about the group size. These groups can be offered for a variety of conditions. They typically follow a structured format for treatment of a particular condition. Some groups utilize specific evidence-based protocols. Groups may vary in whether you can begin at any point of the group (Open group format) or if you will have to wait until the beginning of the next round (Closed group format). All groups offered by PACT psychologists are time-limited, meaning they have a set number of sessions.

PACT Psychology Classes: Classes facilitated by PACT psychologists are typically structured educational offerings. These provide educations about specific conditions and an overview of treatment offerings. Veterans are provided with basic tips, strategies and resources as to how they may be able to manage their condition.

Get Started
On-site services are available at the following locations: Palo Alto, San Jose, Monterey, Livermore, Stockton.

Please talk to your PACT Team at your local VA clinic about whether you might benefit from a referral to PACT Psychology Services.

Visit VA’s Mobile Behavior Design Lab for the most updated information on our mobile apps for behavioral health (e.g., sleep, stress management, TBI).

Contact Info


  • 3801 Miranda Ave
    Palo Alto, CA 94304

Contact Number(s)

  • 650-493-5000 Ext. 73632

Hours of Operation

  • M-F 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.