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Whitney Ence


Early intervention advocate, nature and high altitude seeker

Whitney Ence is a psychologist and behavior analyst. She directs patient services at the UCSF STAR (Service, Training, Advocacy and Research) Center for Autism Spectrum Disorder and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. She specializes in assessing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other neurodevelopmental disorders, and in providing behavioral treatments shown to be effective, with her services including individual, group and family therapy. She conducts diagnostic evaluations, school consultations and parent management training (helping guardians develop skills to better cope with challenging behaviors).

In addition, Ence has advanced training in applied behavior analysis (learning-based techniques that nurture desirable behaviors and decrease harmful ones), pivotal response training (a behavioral therapy for autism that works on general areas of development to induce social and other types of improvement), structured teaching (an approach of minimizing stimulation to promote learning) and cognitive behavioral therapy. She is also certified in PEERS (Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills), an evidence-based group treatment focused on social skills for adolescents and young adults with ASD. Her research interests include investigating comprehensive behavioral interventions for ASD and evaluating best practices in parent training.

Ence earned her doctorate in counseling, clinical psychology and school psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She completed a fellowship in autism at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, where she was selected as the autism fellow for the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disorders (LEND) Program.

  • Education

    UC Santa Barbara, PhD, Psychology, 2012

  • Fellowships

    Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Autism, 2014

  • Academic Title

    Associate Professor

I believe all families need a place to be heard. My recommendations consider each family's culture and ideally can be embedded into daily life.

Where I see patients (2)

    Feeling at home

    From bedside bingo to therapy dogs, we're here to help kids smile and feel more like themselves.

    Visit Child Life services
    Please check with your health insurance plan regarding coverage for this type of care. Not all providers at UCSF are covered by every insurance plan.
    This provider is employed by a medical group affiliated with UCSF.