Michelle Toshima
Michelle T. Toshima, PhD

Michelle T. Toshima, PhD

Michelle T. Toshima, PhD

Multiple Sclerosis, Pain Management, Psychology

Clinical Interests / Special Procedures Performed

Anxiety, Behavioral Medicine, Chronic Pain, Counseling - Illness/Disability, Depression, Grief, Group Therapy, Health Maintenance, Health Promotion, Loss/Bereavement, Major Disabilities Rehab., Mental Health, Mood Disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, Psychotherapy, Stress and Anxiety, Stress Management

  • Accepting Children: No
  • Accepting New Patients: Yes
  • Accepting Medicare: Yes
  • Accepting Medicaid/DSHS: No
Payment Methods Accepted:

Medicare, Bill Insurance, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover Card, Cash, Check, Payment Plan, Sliding Fee Scale

Insurance Accepted:

Contact this office for accepted insurance plans.

Philosophy of Care

Diversity is what makes our society unique. In my work with patients, I help patients recognize and celebrate their unique strengths and abilities, often in the face of enormous physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges. My work with patients and families is collaborative in nature, working as a team to address short and long term goals. The ultimate goal of my work with patients is to assist them in achieving their most optimal functioning which then leads to a happier, healthier, and more productive life.

Personal Interests

I enjoy spending quality time with my husband and two children. We have had many memorable, not always "Kodak-like" moments, on our many outdoor adventures (sailing, hiking, biking, skiing) as well as urban escapades (movies, bowling, sporting events, roller blading to 70's-80's tunes with disco ball aglow). For my own peace of mind and balance, I indulge in reading, jogging, cooking, listening to music, and consuming chocolate.

Medical School

University of California, San Diego/San Diego State University


University of Washington Medical Center


University of Washington Medical Center



Professional Associations:

American Psychological Association

Social interaction has positive benefits to health and well-being in MS

“Make new friends, but keep the old, One is silver and the other is gold.”

As a young child, I can remember singing this tune while jumping rope or skipping around the playground.  At that time I didn’t fully grasp the significance of what I was singing, but now I have come to appreciate and understand that social connection and a sense of belonging is important, not only for emotional and mental health but for physical health as well. 

Numerous studies over the past several decades have consistently shown that social interaction has positive benefits to our health and well-being.  The potential benefits cited in many of these studies include reduced ...

What the Americans with Disabilities Act says about service animals

What does a dog, cat, horse, bird and fish have in common?

These animals and many others share the ability to provide assistance, support, comfort and companionship to humans.  Dogs are the most commonly used animal for therapeutic purposes; however, cats, horses, birds and even fish have been used in this capacity.  There are many benefits to pet ownership that have been well documented including the health benefits of reduced stress, reduced blood pressure, improved physical fitness, improved emotional well-being to name a few.  Many individuals with disabilities have also experienced the benefits of having an animal to assist with specific tasks and/or to provide companionship and support.

The ABLE Act (Achieving A Better Life Experience Act) Approved by Congress: A Step in the Right Direction for Individuals with Disability

The ABLE Act, also known as The Achieving A Better Life Experience Act, was finally approved by Congress on a 76-16 vote and was signed into law by President Obama in December 2014.  Although the ABLE Act does not directly benefit individuals with disabilities acquired later in life, it is a bold first step in recognizing the financial needs of individuals with disabilities and not penalizing these individuals from receiving public benefits.

What is the ABLE Act?

The ABLE Act allows people with disabilities and their families to set up a special savings account for disability related expenses.  Earnings on an ABLE account would not be taxed.  Disability related expenses is broad in definition and includes: medical and dental care, education, community based support, personal support services, employment training, assistive technology, housing, and transportation. 

How is the ABLE Act different from existing law?

Current law makes savings for disability related expenses difficult.  Individuals  ...

A blood test to diagnose depression

Currently the standard protocol for diagnosing depression involves asking a patient a series of questions or administering a self-report questionnaire about a patient’s mood, energy level, interest and engagement in activities, appetite, sleep, and so on.  A patient’s responses as well as observations of mood and behavior would then be used as an indicator for depression.  Depression is often difficult to diagnose because diagnosis is dependent on patients being truthful in reporting symptoms and being clear in their description of symptoms. 
Researchers at Northwestern University (Redei et al., 2014) have developed a blood test that ...

Multiple Sclerosis and the Winter Blues

Many people with Multiple Sclerosis look forward to the cooler temperatures and reduced humidity that comes with fall and winter. Symptoms can be worse in the warm summer months so relief comes to many with the lower temperatures. With fall and winter right around the corner, it’s important to be aware of and prepare for the Winter Blues. 
The Winter Blues is fairly common in northern latitudes where the days become shorter and there is reduced sunlight.  The Winter Blues is often characterized by feeling irritable or gloomy, having less energy, sleeping more but not feeling more rested, and eating more, often with cravings for carbohydrates.  So what can one do to prevent the Winter Blues?

National Stress Awareness Month-Managing stress with multiple sclerosis

April is National Stress Awareness Month so it seems appropriate to look at the impact of stress on people living with MS and to become more aware of what one can do to better manage one’s reaction to the inevitable stressors in life.
There is a growing body of research that suggests there is an association between stress and an increased risk of MS exacerbations and the development of new lesions in patients with MS.  A group of Dutch researchers followed 73 patients with RRMS and found that those patients who reported a major stressful event were 2.2 times more likely to have an MS exacerbation in the following four weeks.  In 2006, a group of U.S. researchers followed 36 people with MS and found that after experiencing a major life stress, those MS patients were 1.6 times more likely to develop a new lesion in the next eight weeks.2  The same group of researchers reported that the MS patients with good coping strategies could reduce this risk.
The exact mechanism by which stress increases the risk of MS exacerbations and the development of new brain lesions is not entirely clear, but what is known is that stress affects the body’s ability to regulate the inflammatory response, and in patients with MS and other autoimmune disorders, inflammation occurs when  ...

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Multiple Sclerosis Center
1600 East Jefferson
A Level
Seattle, WA 98122
Phone: 206-320-2200
Fax: 206-320-2560
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