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About Dr. Rina Pesce

I went into psychology because I am gratified by teaching people one-on-one how to create change in their life. When I see a client in treatment, I am essentially trying to teach them how to be their own therapist.

I have been treating people with OCD, OC-spectrum disorders, and anxiety for over 15 years. 

I teach methods, so people have a playbook to eventually deal with their OCD, anxiety, and other life challenges on their own, outside of therapy. It is so rewarding to hear clients say, “____ happened, and I knew you would say _____” – it means that they are getting well-versed in CBT approaches.  When someone can reliably figure out the relevant CBT approach and execute it in the moment, they are in a really good position to create change for themselves.

After majoring in psychology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, I graduated and went on to complete a two-year predoctoral research fellowship on depression at the Clinical Psychobiology Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health. From there I continued my training at the University of South Dakota, where I earned my Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

Going to a treatment-focused graduate program, I was able to develop expertise in providing comprehensive clinical care to people with co-occurring issues, such as anxiety and substance use, OCD and ADHD, or chronic illness and sleep problems. 

On internship in Nebraska, I was able to work with clients at a state psychiatric hospital, a community mental health center, and a residential setting. This was the start of my career working on interdisciplinary treatment teams, and today I continue to coordinate care with clients’ psychiatrists, educators, and other treatment providers.

I joined the research team at the Maryland Center for Anxiety Disorders after internship, working on clinical research and treatment of social anxiety in children, teens, and adults. I was able to treat university students, as well as members of the local community under the direction of Dr. Deborah Beidel. For several years, I worked as the Director of Assessment at the Centers for Behavioral Health, providing consultation and treatment to adults with a range of behavioral problems in both clinical trials, inpatient, and outpatient settings. Most recently, I worked for over a decade at the Behavior Therapy Center of Greater Washington, providing treatment to people with a variety of anxiety disorders and OCD.  I received specialized training in comprehensive behavioral treatment of hair pulling and skin picking behavior in 2013 through the Professional Training Institute of the TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors. Later, I also participated as a clinician in a treatment study of the comprehensive behavioral (ComB) treatment of BFRB’s.  Truly, working with people on all these issues in therapy is my dream job.

I grew up in Montgomery County, Maryland, but immigrated from India as a child.  I live in Montgomery County with my family.  In my spare time, I am slowly learning Spanish, experimenting with food, and writing old-fashioned letters.  I relish reading in all forms!

Are you ready to take the first step?

My Values


Comprehensive care, working with you, your prescribing physicians, educators, and loved ones.


Clear, empathic communication and treatment planning to guide your progress.  


Responsive guidance, expertise, and support to help you create change for yourself in therapy. 


You can be fully yourself here, and I will respect the truth of your experience and who you are.