Julia Brechbiel, PhD

Julia Brechbiel, PhD

Julia Brechbiel, PhD

  • Clinical Psychologist, Fred Hutch
  • Acting Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine


“Treatment is difficult, and patients deserve support while fighting for their lives. It's a privilege to walk along with people, hear their story and help them navigate everything that comes up.”

— Dr. Brechbiel

What is your role and how do you work with oncology patients?

Cancer has an unfortunate way of impacting more than just physical health but also mental health, sense of self, and relationships. I care about my relationships with patients, their relationships with others and how to support them in living a better quality of life. I currently work with patients with any type of cancer and support them through the cancer treatment process. My passion and background are working with individuals with serious medical conditions, primarily cancer but also other chronic health conditions. I split my clinical time between Fred Hutch and UW Diabetes Institute. I am also passionate about conducting research about existential distress and post-traumatic growth in oncology. 

What do you hope it's like for a patient to work with you?

I practice an interpersonal approach to psychotherapy, rather than a solely structured one. I enjoy building a collaborative relationship with my patients to identify goals to work on in therapy. I really want our time together to be worthwhile. There’s only so much time and energy someone with a major illness has. I am a big fan of the spoon theory and don’t want to be wasting their spoons. I love to use humor, metaphor and stories. I also find it important to provide space and opportunities to discuss heavier topics related to prognosis, morality, grief and legacy. I enjoy supporting patients with meaning making and trying to answer difficult questions such as “what’s the meaning of all this? How can we help patients live well with what life is remaining?”

Provider Background

Specialty: Psychology

Area of clinical practice


I am a clinical psychologist who sees patients at the South Lake Union Clinic.

I see patients who are in active treatment or who recently finished treatment and have asked for more support.

I have a small, supportive family with my partner and our dog. Growing up, I was close with my grandparents. My grandfather who lived with Parkinson’s disease for most of my life. Parkinson’s has a lot of physical symptoms, but also mood symptoms. Additionally, he also lived with chronic melanoma and prostate cancer. His health had a large impact on his life, our family, and how I now view quality of life during treatment and at end of life. He always faced challenges and changes in his functioning with humor and creative to continue to engage in active he enjoyed like travel, golf and a fancy meal. Around the time I started graduate school for psychology, he passed away. His legacy influenced me work with people who were living with serious medical conditions or acquired new disability. I want to help patients live with it instead of against it. 

Diseases Treated



Education, Experience and Certifications

Undergraduate Degree

The College of William and Mary


Virginia Commonwealth University, Counseling Psychology

Clinical Trials

We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by Fred Hutch doctors. Many of these trials at Fred Hutch have led to FDA-approved treatments and have improved standards of care globally. Together, you and your doctor can decide if a study is right for you.

Your Care Team

At Fred Hutch, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes doctors, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like nutritionists, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.


Fred Hutch accepts most national private health insurance plans as well as Medicare. We also accept Medicaid for people from Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. We are working to ensure that everyone, no matter what their financial situation, has access to the care they need.