Welcome FAQs Testimonials

feedback form & email


I'm here to help you make concrete progress on your goals.

At the beginning of each coaching session, we'll go over what you're working on-- what you've noticed yourself not doing that you want to do, what indecision you're facing in your career or relationships, or what you're stuck on.

We'll spend the rest of the hour exploring the various tradeoffs of your options, and investigating the implicit and explicit knowledge contained in your emotions.

Then we'll create a set of concrete action steps that you feel happy about completing!

If this sounds good, then I'm excited to start working with you. My first 30-minute session is free, after which I charge $60 / one hour session, or $200 for four sessions.


My approach

I belong to the Rationalist and Effective Altruist communities, where I've been debugging with people on their careers and day-to-day progress for a long time. Like some other coaches in this sphere (check them out!) I've mentored at CFAR events, led debugging events at Berkeley REACH, and am generally well-embedded in this community's debugging zeitgeist.

If you've never heard of these communities, not to worry. I'm a life coach who's focused on helping you achieve your goals. I use a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, internal family systems, and other techniques. I completed a year of a clinical respecialization program at UC Berkeley, though I'm in academia in a different, also fascinating field (computational cognitive science).

How does payment work?

Venmo @Vael-Gates or Paypal ( $60 / one hour session, or $200 / four sessions. I'm aware that this is much less than market rate ($100-$180 / hour seems pretty standard), but since this isn't my primary job I can afford to charge less.

The first 30-minute session is always free. I encourage people to attend the first one and then not return— I like seeing new faces.

Do you do accountability checkins?

I do: I charge $15 per check-in, so just email me if you'd like to set something regular up.


"I found my time with Vael to be focused and effective in a way that I haven't been able to produce when I'm just introspecting by myself. Super glad I booked with Vael :)" - Kathryn Schmiedicke

"As a usually quite guarded person, I felt quite safe speaking candidly and openly with Vael about my weird psychological hang-ups!" - Elliott Jin

"Vael has coined a few really handy concepts for me: "social-tiredness", "project your worst self". More generally Vael's a pretty epic external system for reflecting/working through some of your stuck-ness." - Nik B.

"Vael is great. Vael's a great listener, great at understanding and getting to the heart of an issue, supportive, kind and helpful." - Liav K.

"Vael is really easy to talk to, and has a great encouraging, nonjudgemental and positive disposition and way of listening, which I think is one of the most important things in a mentor/coach. I felt like Vael 'got it' in a very short space of time. Vael was good at listening and gave me the chance to explain my situation and thoughts, but also then got straight to the point by asking the right questions, and I came away with a new perspective and thinking more about possibility and dealing with barriers or challenges along the way towards a goal/idea rather than being put off too easily by fear or uncertainty etc. Really felt more optimistic after speaking with Vael." - Alice

"I’ve come away with the idea that I have fewer problems than I thought I had, and that they’re less interconnected than I thought.” - Carla

"Vael's warm soul made it easy to talk openly about what I was dealing with both personally and professionally. I came for the debugging and stayed for the fun." - Benjamin Pense

"Vael is very open and attentive, and has quite a talent to ask the right questions at the right time. And while the session did indeed leave me with more questions that answers, it certainly brought me one or two steps closer to my goals." - Markus

Ready to schedule a free 30-minute session?