Patricia Van Horn
{ "" }
Share Patricia's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
Patricia Van Horn,

Dr. Patricia Jean Van Horn of Palo Alto, California, passed away peacefully on January 31, 2014 following a stroke she suffered earlier in the month while teaching in Tel Aviv, Israel. She was predeceased by Verlene Joyce Perry, her beloved partner of 35 years. They were married in 2008 in Palo Alto, California. Patricia was born in Savannah, Georgia in 1945. She graduated from Littleton High School, Littleton, Colorado in 1963, and earned her BA (1967) and JD (1970) degrees at the University of Colorado and was the first woman to be awarded a full tuition scholarship to the University of Colorado School of Law. During her successful career as an attorney culminating in a partnership at Crist, Crist, Griffiths, Bryant, Schulz & Biorn, she specialized in civil and appellate law and argued before the California Supreme Court multiple times. Patricia returned to graduate study and earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology (1996). 

Patricia was a professor of clinical psychology at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry. She was also director of the San Francisco General Hospital Division of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry since 2010, and associate director of the Child Trauma Research Program at the medical school since its inception in 1996.  At the national level, she was associate director of the Early Trauma Treatment Network, a center of the federally funded National Child Traumatic Stress Network. She was an internationally renowned expert in the assessment and treatment of traumatic stress in infancy and early childhood. She was the co-developer of child-parent psychotherapy, an extensively used evidence-based treatment for traumatized young children. She created and conducted long-distance training and dissemination models for clinicians nationally and abroad.  She authored several books, dozens of articles and chapters, and created training manuals and models of system collaboration linking mental health, pediatrics, domestic violence advocacy, and the child welfare system. She collaborated with the Presiding Judge of the San Francisco Superior Court in establishing the Zero to Three Court Team and other innovative judicial initiatives, provided training to judges and attorneys in family court and dependency court, and was a much-sought consultant and speaker on the needs of children in the child welfare system. She was passionately devoted to promoting the advancement of women and ethnic minorities in academia. She received the 2009 Champion for Children Award of the San Francisco Bar Association in recognition of her tireless public service on behalf of underserved children and their families. 

Patricia was a faithful member of Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, California, and especially appreciated the experience of singing in the High Holy Days choir last year.  She is survived by her beloved son, Alexander Gebala (wife, Nicole Petro); her sisters, Barbara Van Horn (husband, Bob Hutcheson) and Linda Apperson; her brother, Larry Van Horn, and nieces Carrie Straub, Jessica Apperson, Bridgett Van Horn, and Monica Van Horn.  She was an inspiring and much-loved mother, sister, aunt, friend, teacher, and colleague and will be profoundly missed.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made to The Child Trauma Center to further Patricia's work.   Checks should be sent to

UCSF Foundation

c/o Amanto Marcotulli

220 Montgomery St., 5th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94104

with Child Trauma Center in the memo line. 


There will be a memorial for Patricia at UCSF on Friday, May 30.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Feb. 18 to Feb. 23, 2014.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
12 entries
March 5, 2014
Patricia's amazing work lives in our state each and every day as we work tirelessly to bring CPP to our most vulnerable children and families. Her legacy inspires us and guides us.
Dr. Kimberly Mann
March 2, 2014
Patricia Van Horn will live on in her words, her work and the children and families whose lives have been affected. Having had the honor of experiencing her training, we are truly thankful.
Para Los Ninos
Gina Papa
February 28, 2014
I feel so fortunate to have known and to have been trained in CPP by Dr. Van Horn. She was always kind and caring and very approachable. May she rest in eternal peace.
Jermaine Francis
February 27, 2014
A true inspiration and healer. Thank you Patricia for changing my practice forever. You are an angel to us all.
Guadalupe Navarro
February 26, 2014
I have been inspired by Patricia's immense experience, wisdom, and talent AND the way she was ALWAYS so present, patient, and generous with those whom she trained and mentored!
Traci Levi
February 26, 2014
The California Behavioral Health Clinic in Los Angeles has had many of our clinicians trained by Patricia. I was fortunate to be one of them. We hope that we can take her wisdom and her guidance as our inspiration in the continuation of our work with young children. We consider ourselves truly blessed to have known, as well as to have been taught by her!
Dr. Maria Avila
February 25, 2014
The I AM ABLE Center for Family Development staff are remembering this great gift from God and praying for her family as we join them in celebrating her life and carrying on her legacy. We were blessed to be a part of the 2nd Cohort in the Chicagoland Area to become certified in CPP through Erikson Institute. She can rest in peace knowing that parents, their children and communities who have an opportunity to be a part of this learning community will be so much healthier. Her work and love for Family wellness will live on. Love, I AM ABLE, Dr. Carolyn L. Vessel, CEO/President.
February 23, 2014
Patricia brought so much joy, love and understanding into my life. She will be remembered well and missed forever.
Jeanne Ketchum
February 22, 2014
So sad. A brilliant woman and lovely colleague.
Jennifer Curley
February 21, 2014
The world is a better place because of Pat's incredible heart and spirit.
Gabrielle Gosselin
February 20, 2014
Your wisdom and incredibly generous spirit will continue to touch those that have learned from you in person or through your books. And to the countless families and children that have healed from your contributions to the field.
Jimi Gilroy
February 19, 2014
Children everywhere have lost a hero and great advocate.
Karen Froming
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences