Existential Angst in Youth

with Dr. Erin Hoolihan and Dr. Tracy Cavaligos

Existential Angst in Youth

Episode 12, Season 4 | February 5, 2024

Show Notes

Adolescence is an important time of self-discovery during which teens often grapple with questions about identity and purpose. They want to understand who they are and their place in the world and this can bring about profound existential reflection. In today’s world, our youth can feel like the future is uncertain as they experience rapid societal changes, some economic instability and global challenges like climate change. In addition, they feel the pressure to make life-defining choices such as what they will do beyond high school and planning for a career. Listen to today’s episode as we talk with CHC psychologists, Dr. Erin Hoolihan and Dr. Tracy Cavaligos. We’ll talk about how adolescents may find it challenging to navigate a world filled with unknowns, which can lead to heightened anxiety. You’ll learn how you can develop a greater understanding of how this impacts youth and how you can effectively support them in this developmental period.

Guest Info
Headshot of Erin Hoolihan

Dr. Erin Concepcion Hoolihan (she/her/hers) is a licensed clinical psychologist with experience providing comprehensive psychological assessment and psychotherapy to youth and families. Dr. Hoolihan graduated with honors from Santa Clara University with a BS in psychology and went on to complete her MA and PsyD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Indianapolis, with an emphasis in Child and Adolescent psychology. At the University of Indianapolis, Dr. Hoolihan conducted research that focused on perceptions of justice, social capital, diversity and inequity. Dr. Hoolihan has worked with youth and families presenting with a range of clinical concerns, including depression, anxiety, trauma, anger, self-harm/suicidality, inattention and hyperactivity and adjustment to new life circumstances. Dr. Hoolihan completed her APA accredited predoctoral internship for the county of San Bernardino in Southern California, and her APA accredited postdoctoral residency on the Child and Adolescent team for Kaiser Permanente in Daly City.


Dr. Hoolihan believes that therapy is most effective when it is a collaborative partnership, and clients are able to address their difficulties within the context of a safe therapeutic relationship. Dr. Hoolihan is most passionate about working with youth from diverse backgrounds better understand themselves and their experiences within the context of, sometimes, challenging environments. She recognizes that challenges with mental health can be difficult, and sometimes scary, for youth and families to navigate, and believes that offering support at this important developmental point is critical for helping individuals better face future challenges.


Dr. Hoolihan is also passionate about offering support to families in the form of psychological assessment. Assessment is a wonderful tool that helps families and clinicians better understand and support youth, and offers concrete suggestions to help youth be most successful.


Outside of work, Dr. Hoolihan enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling and enjoying the wonderful food the Bay Area has to offer.

Tracy Cavaligos headshot

Dr. Tracy Cavaligos (she/her/hers) has dedicated her career to working holistically with children, adolescents, young adults and their families to support their mental health. She strives to provide compassionate and collaborative therapeutic care to youth and their families in managing anxiety, mood concerns, ADHD, relational difficulties, adjusting to life transitions including chronic medical diagnoses and adherence, gender and sexuality support and identity development. Tracy has continually sought specialized training in order to provide developmentally appropriate, affirmative and supportive mental health care to youth with chronic illnesses (such as GI disorders, cancer, and diabetes) and gender diverse youth. She also provides comprehensive psychological assessments for youth with attention and learning concerns.


She completed her undergraduate training at the University of San Francisco majoring in Psychology and Child and Youth Studies. Following her work in residential mental health centers in the Bay Area she continued her education at Pacific University’s School of Graduate Psychology in Oregon, where she earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology with specialization in Child and Adolescent Care. She completed her internship at Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center with focused training on outpatient therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, care of gender diverse youth, psychological assessment, and Teen Parenting Program in multidisciplinary health clinics. Following internship Tracy completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Children’s Hospital of Orange County providing specialized outpatient therapy, psychological assessments and Oncological Consultation Liaison services.


In her time outside of the office Tracy enjoys baking, reading fantasy novels, trying to keep her plants alive, practicing yoga and taking way too many pictures of her puppy.