Frances Counseling

Frances Counseling



about Frances

Frances graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary with an MA in Counseling. She served at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City as a Director of Fellowship Groups, and at City Church San Francisco as Pastor of Congregational Care. Prior to working as a Church Lady, Frances had a corporate career in Marketing and Communications in New York City - most of it as a single woman.

She is an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors.

Frances does private practice counseling, meeting clients in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.

She has been married to Douglas Nelson since 1997; they share their life on the coast south of San Francisco with Bernie the yellow lab, Lennie and Sophie the cats, several decorative chickens, and many friends.


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How I Work


I recognize that God desires spiritual and emotional health and restoration of relationships and promises to use his people to accomplish that. I work with the physical self and the emotional self as a complete whole. 

Through our conversations we experience the power of God to change the heart and to heal, even though the circumstances outside of our control may not change.

Where possible and appropriate I work with my client's local church to develop a whole community, realizing that one one-to-one conversation cannot encompass all of what a person needs to see themselves with hope.

Effective counseling addresses the feelings of hopelessness and the pain of broken relationships, crumbling identity, anxiety, loneliness, and fear.

I counsel individuals, couples, and families on various issues. In both marriage preparation and marital counseling I find using the Prepare/Enrich material valuable.

Each of us is made in God’s image. We have been wronged by others and we wrong others in our personal relationships and vocational settings.


Some Common Concerns

  • I’ve made a huge mistake and it’s ruined my life! I can’t ask for forgiveness; I can’t forgive myself. How can I go on?  
  • I feel out of control and can’t stop hurting myself and others. I don’t think I can change.  
  • We've experienced devastating betrayal (infidelity) and don't know if there's a future for us together.
  • The circumstances of my life are unbearable and I’m beginning to question whether God is good.
  • This is not where I expected to be in my mid thirties (or mid forties). What did I do wrong? Where am I going?  
  • Marriage is a huge step. Can you help us think it through as well as possible before the wedding day?
  • We’ve given up trying to get along; we tried everything we know. This situation is hopeless.
  • I was abused as a child and carry it with me every day. I want this pain to stop. Will you help me?



People who struggle with depression often feel down for extended periods. They lose interest in activities that they once found pleasurable. Depression negatively affects millions of Americans each year. Some try medication and don't find relief or want to deal with life's challenges 

Anxiety and Stress

Stress and anxiety are related, but often confused. Stress is tension associated with specific event(s) (e.g. a test or a job), while anxiety is non-specific worry about the future. To find relief, people with anxiety may turn to repetitive routines, preoccupations, or addictions.


Experiences that overwhelm or scare us can leave a lasting impression. The symptoms can leave us stressed, depressed, and have negative consequences for our work and home life.





Feeling understood and understanding one’s partner is what allows couples to deeply share one another’s lives. Often, couples struggle with communication issues, which actually mask deeper relationship issues.


Trust plays a vital role in sustaining a relationship. People trust differently: for some, trust is established quickly, while others are slow to grant trust. Similarly, some are able to forgive quickly, while others find it hard.

Frances walked with me through the darkest time of my adult life - through divorce, depression and doubts as to my very purpose of being. With compassion born of personal experience and a deep knowledge of the state of the human mind and soul, she led me on a path of profound renewal based in an active belief that God can - and does - heal the brokenness of the world. I will forever count her as a valued friend and mentor.
— Andrea, Brooklyn, NY
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How I can Help

I counsel both individuals and couples.




Individual counseling provides an opportunity for you to openly talk about your thoughts and feelings in a safe environment. Together, we can discuss concerns with:

  • Dealing with abuse
  • Forgiveness
  • Body image issues
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Stress management
  • Sexual orientation
  • Sexual compulsions
  • Cyber addictions
  • Substance abuse and dependence
  • Loss and grief


Couples counseling can be beneficial to those interested in improving and deepening their relationship. Some common areas of discussion and work center on:

  • Communication

  • Finances

  • Infidelity

  • Trust

  • Preparation for marriage

  • Marriage counseling

  • Pornography and substance abuse






Here is what some people have written about their counseling experience.


As committed Christians involved in ministry my wife and I married believing our faith would provide a common sense of joy and purpose, rather than feel like two freight trains colliding at full speed “ over and over again and again. Finding ourselves stuck in a destructive cycle we could not break on our own, we approached Frances for help. Frances took the time to hear our hurts and understand us and our marriage, leaving us feeling safe, heard and known. Rather than prescriptive, simplistic behavioral change, Frances uncovered and revealed to us the underlying dysfunction that was at the root of our behaviors and how it was connected to distorted views of God and his expectations. God used Frances’ wonderfully present, no-nonsense approach to put our marriage back on the rails - and going in the same direction!
As a Pastor it is hard to find good counselors who have the gifting and the maturity to know when to listen, the insight and sensitivity to discern what the real issues are and the gracious courage to speak to them in ways that nurture and heal rather than rewound. My wife and I know from first hand experience that Frances is a gentle yet firm surgeon of the heart.
— Rev. David Cook, Pastor North Point Evangelical Presbyterian Church, North Shore, Boston, MA
I started seeing Frances when I was going through a lot of changes in life. I needed to deal with my personal life’s issues/sin which I had left on the back burner for far too long. Unfortunately, I was without the tools or even know how to begin other than seek counsel. Frances provided tools to help me face the sin that was still a part of my life and also helped open my eyes to what life can be like while no longer having the chains of sin keep me from growing. She has helped me see how far I’ve come since my first meeting with her. I’m thankful for Frances’ counsel, her encouragement, and her prayer over me. I recommend Frances to anyone who needs Christian counsel.
— Professional woman in Health Care, SF
Frances walked with me through the darkest time of my adult life - through divorce, depression and doubts as to my very purpose of being. With compassion born of personal experience and a deep knowledge of the state of the human mind and soul, she led me on a path of profound renewal based in an active belief that God can - and does - heal the brokenness of the world. I will forever count her as a valued friend and mentor.
— Andrea, Brooklyn, NY
Working with Frances changed my life. By gaining new perspective, and processing my past in a completely new way, I was able to redefine my relationships and my life. I feel empowered, I feel changed and I feel very blessed to know Frances.
— T, Professional, Wife, and Mother in Marin
God used Frances to help me better understand my childhood and how experiences from my childhood were continuing to impact my adult life. She was the perfect blend of genuinely caring about my hurtful experiences and legitimizing feelings I had been taught were illegitimate, while at the same time pushing me toward seeing my experiences and myself in view of God. She provided me with tools to experience more emotionally healthy relationships that I will continue to use for the rest of my life. I am a changed person because of what God used Frances to do in my life, and am honored and blessed by my relationship with her.
— G., Marin County




Contact me to see if together we can address the issues that you are encountering in your life.

Please specify if you wish to meet in San Francisco or in Palo Alto, or Online.