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Can anyone recommend a psychiatrist in Berkeley/Albany who also does
therapy, and who is familiar with the interaction between thyroid
disorders and depression? I have Blue Cross HMO, but I'd rather pay out
of pocket for someone great than use someone so-so who takes Blue Cross.
I looked at the recommendations on the BPN website, but couldn't find any
recommendations for psychiatrists who do therapy (I know they exist) and
was overwhelmed by the alphabetical index of therapists.
I gave up on my last psychiatrist because no matter what I told him about
how I was feeling, he said, ''Just keep taking the Wellbutrin and we'll
check in next time,'' and when I asked him whether maybe there was a
medication that would get me closer to happy, he just said I needed
therapy. I'm not at all convinced that I need therapy--I tried two
different therapists for several years to no avail before going to the
psychiatrist. I feel like I have had a pretty good life, and there's
something not quite right in my brain that is preventing me from enjoying
it as much as I should.
Blue in Berkeley
My best recommendation to you is to call the San Francisco Psychoanalytic
Institute Society (415) 563-5815 and ask for referrals to psychiatrists who
are also trained as psychotherapists.
My spouse has seen several psychiatrists some who claimed to do
psychotherapy. Psychiatrists are doctors and are not required by law to
have any psychotherapy training. When she questioned them, they would tell
her flat out that they had no psychotherapy training but because they were
psychiatrists they could do psychotherapy. Only a few psychiatrists were
professional and honest enough to say that if my spouse wanted therapy,
they could recommend a psychotherapist for the therapy component. There are
some psychiatrists who after completing their medical training do go on to
obtain additional training at psychology institutes such as the one I
recommended above. They are still not licensed, however and may not have
received any supervision for the therapy part.
Dr. M. Randall Bloch, in Walnut Creek, is a psychiatrist who specializes in
neuro-pharmacology and came highly recommended by my physician and others.
He is very smart, well-read and thorough. A great bonus -- he corresponds
through e-mail and is very quick to respond to concerns or questions. His
phone number is 925 943-1561.
He isn't cheap, and I don't know if he takes insurance. I didn't explore
that with him.
I have a fistful of different medications and supplements, my medication is
complicated, and he was able to experiment to find what works best. He also
worked with my adolescent son, not easy. You can ask him if he knows about
He is a little farther out of the way, but truthfully, between downtown
Berkeley traffic and going on the freeway, the time difference isn't that
William Prey is an excellent psychiatrist who has offices in Mill Valley
and San Francisco. I don't know how much therapy he does, but I was
referred to him because I had depression related to hypothyroidism and he
has a lot of expertise in this area. I've only seen him for medication
management, but he is very smart and treats patients with a lot of respect.
His number is 415 381-2619. Good luck.
I need a reliable psychiatrist in SF -- preferably in financial district -- who is not
medication-adverse. Your recommendations would be greatly appreciated!
I drive from Berkeley to see Cody Fisher, and he's worth the trip. He's friendly without
being overwhelming, and opinionated without being judgemental. He helped me to find an
antidepressant, and we still meet regularly so he can make sure I'm on the right track
(though he's very good about not wanting to meet so often or for such a long time, which is
nice considering $$$.) He will want you to see someone for talk therapy as well, so if you
are just looking for medication he's not your guy. His office is 2345 California at
Fillmore, phone 673-6310.
Feeling Much Better Now, Thanks For Asking
If anyone has as good therapist in downtown SF, please share.I need to find
someone close to work and have no idea where to start. Thanks.
need some help
If Maureeen Kurpinsky Ph.D. still has an office downtown and has openings in her
schedule I would highly, highly recommend her. Smart, sympathetic and warm. She
takes your suffering seriously.
Good luck in your search - it's overwhelming when you're not sure how to take the
My Husband and I have been going to a great psychologist in San francisco. She is
very warm and kind, very easy to talk to. She is sort of in the downtown area. She
is located on 999 Sutter Street/Hyde. The 2/3 bus runs right infront of her office.
Name is Alice Knutson 415.775.4995
I would recommend Dr. Elizabeth Whelchel, who is in the financial district, on
Montgomery St., and can be reached at 415-362-5950. Dr. Whelchel is very smart,
compassionate and I would recommend her highly.
A fellow psychologist
I'm looking for a female psychiatrist, ideally who has
experience in addictio, OCD, manic depression, etc... I believe
medication may be necessary so please dont email names of
psychotherapists. Ideally it would be nice if she is in the East
Bay but if not, thats ok. It seems really difficult to find a
woman in private practice.
Although she is not in your ideal area, you may want to contact Rebecca Watters, MD
in San Francisco. She specializes in OCD and Women's issues, does both
psychotherapy and medication, and I believe she might be currently available to
take new patients. You can find out more about her at www.drrebeccawatters.com.
If she doesn't seem like the right match, she can also provide other suggestions
I highly recommend Heather Clague MD (her number is 510-869-4999), a psychiatrist with a
private practice in Berkeley. She has a lot of experience treating pregnant women and is
very thoughtful about the risks and benefits of medications in pregancy and breastfeeding.
Heather Clague works with men and women who are seeking an assessment and/or, in particular
with individuals who are seeking to see one practioner to cover both medication and
psychotherapy - a great combination for those who need it: she's a wonderful therapist -
wise, warm and practical, compassionate and easy to talk to. Her professional treatment is,
most importantly, - stablizing, accurate, and very helpful.
Dr. Joseph Hartog
Does anyone on this list have any experience, positive or
otherwise, with Dr. Joseph Hartog, a psychiatrist who practices
in Berkeley? Thanks!
I see Dr. Hartog for medication monitoring and I love him! He
is an older gent, is kind, friendly, knowledgeable, funny, and
is good about reviewing his notes and getting to the point and
following up on things talked about in prior sessions. He is
also easy to talk to, and has worked along side me to find the
right medications that work for me. Hope you have as good an
experience with him as I have.
Can anyone recommend a psychiatrist (not a therapist)who is
knowledgable about the various drugs for anxiety/panic
disorders/possibly bipolar disorder and also provides some
therapy and comfort for someone dealing with the extreme stress
and inability to function that comes with these issues?
Ideally this person would be in the Berkeley area (not through
Shane McKay in Berkeley 1748 MLK Jr. Way at Delaware, 540-1746 is
excellent for medication prescription and management. This is
from a professional point of view (I used to work in psychiatric
nursing) and as a consumer/patient of psychiatric services. He
doesn't take insurance, so you have to pay up front, and collect
what you can from your insurance company, which would be zero if
you have an HMO. But he is SO worth it, if you can get in to see
him. Once you are his patient, he is very reachable -- he
returns voice mail messages promptly, and leaves his pager number
on his outgoing message, so if you need to speak to him urgently,
you can page him and he calls back quickly. He is the most
knowledgeable about psych meds and you don't feel pathologized
when you talk with him. He's got a sense of humor and a very
positive attitude -- he'll keep trying until he gets the med
regime you need, and really wants to hear back how you are doing.
He gives his patients lots of control over dose adjustment,
prints out instructions from his computer so you always have it
in writing, and legible. I've referred several friends to him
and they have had great experience with him.
satisfied bipolar mom
I work at Alta Bates (Herrick) in inpatient psychiatry & work w/
many of the psychiatrists in the area (that do both inpatient &
private practice). I would highly recommend the following:
Lawerence Cohen, Hal Goldberg, Christopher Michel & Steven
Sturges. All four are highly skilled w/ diagnosis and
medications as well as building very good therapeutic
relationships w/ their clients.
Berkeley Therapist & Mom
I recently had the same problem finding someone who would accept
new patients. One of the doctors that my therapist recommended,
who wasn't accepting patients, suggested I call Donald Stanford.
His office is on Carleton near Shattuck. My therapist thought I
should look into medication for depression but Dr Stanford
diagnosed mild bipolar disorder and prescribed medication that
has done wonders in just two weeks. I'm not seeing him for talk
therapy, but I think he would be good for what you're describing
based on my few visits.
Dr David Rovno MD in Montclair is excellent in dealing with
anxiety and is the most judicious and measured psychiatrist I
have ever seen (I'm bipolar with acute anxiety issues). He may be
reached at 510-531-7523.
It seems most psychiatrists these days just prescribe
medication and provide the 15 minutes ''med check''. Are there
any psychiatrists left that do talk therapy in addition to
My friend suffers from OCD and agrophobia and has been seeing a
psychologist for almost 10 years with no improvement. I really
think she needs to see a psychiatrist. Any recommendations,
Dr. Foot in SF is an excellent psychiatrist - really perceptive
and able to get to core issues through talking and works with
meds as well
I highly recommend the San Francisco Bay Area Center for
Cognitive Therapy. The archives have two other recommendations
for the Center for treatment of phobias and OCD (they file it
under ''Center for Bay Area Cognitive Therapy,'' for some reason).
I myself just recommended it for the treatment of my anxiety
disorder, but it hasn't been archived yet.
My anxiety also had phobic and obsessive-compulsive components,
and the talk therapy I got dealt with it all effectively,
quickly, and without medication. If your friend has been in
treatment for ten years without results, it's time to try
something else! I was out of therapy in a matter of months.
These are all relatively ''easy'' problems to solve with talk
therapy, especially of the cognitive-behavioral style. In fact,
I highly recommend cognitive-behavioral therapy in general for
these kinds of problems.
I worked with both Mark Balabanis (for anxiety) and Michael
Tompkins (for problems making a big decision). Both were
excellent, although Mark is less experienced.
San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy
Talking Really Works
Psychiatrists who do Psychotherapy
I am hoping that it is possible to see a psychiatrist for
psychotherapy. Although medication may be in the picture, I only
would want the meds as a tool in the interim, and want to do the
psychotherapy with the same person who would be administering
any medication. I was told today by a psychiatrist that they
don't really do psychotherapy anymore, but he was happy to have
me leave with a supply of antidepressants for which he could
monitor me intermittently. I left feeling like I just spoke with
a drug dealer and not someone trained in psychotherapy. I know
that their training is medical, but doesn't someone out there
bridge modalities? Particularly looking for someone who works
with new moms in the Oakland/ Berkeley area. Insomnia is a major
issue with me.
While some psychiatrists do psychotherapy, in general I wouldn't
recommend that solution. As you mention, given their training,
the odds of finding a good psychiatrist who is also a good
psychotherapist (who is a good match for you) is pretty low. On
the other hand, some psychotherapists can be quite anti-med. I
think it's best to find a good therapy match for you who
understands the value of medication. As for the psychiatrists,
I don't feel that it matters what their take on therapy is as
long as they are good listeners and good prescribers. I'd
recommend Richard Levine, M.D. for the meds part at (510)540-
I may be wrong, but I'm thinking that the best way to do both
psychotherapy and antidepressants is to go to a therapy center (e.g.
Berkeley Therapy Institute) which has both psychologists and
psychiatrists on staff, who work closely together. You talk about the
issues with the psychologist, who helps you decide if you need the
medication, and helps you monitor it if you take it. It is prescribed by the
psychiatrist, who has consulted with the psychologist about your
particular needs and problems. At any rate, this combo seems to work
I went to an MD/psychiatrist three years ago, and he insisted on
medication immediately, which only made me ill from the
side-effects, and more depressed. I wanted talk therapy and made
that clear. It was not even close to psychotherapy but it was
ok. I had to stop because I couldn't afford the $150 per session
and there was no insurance coverage. As a result of being
medicated for two months, I was denied private health insurance
and it took me two years to qualify; showing that it was a
short-term condition rather than a long-term one. I would like
to go back but guess that my insurance would refuse coverage.
Either way, coverage is usually very limited. Most ''therapists''
are oriented towards the 6 visit maximum and are cheerleaders and
problem solvers, and life coaches, and lack the time and the
skill to make the connection between past events and present
mental state. It now seems like a luxury to be able to do so.
The MD I used was on my PacificCare list of providers, and he was
a reasonable person, but the system is now geared towards a quick
fix and thus meds are almost always recommended. Beware of
whether you will ever be in a situation where you may have to
Having a father in law who is a psychiatrist and a mother who
is a psychologist, I know that is is very unusual to find what
you are looking for. You would have the most luck looking for
older psychiatrists because they used to be better trained in
the counseling aspect of their job. Most nowadays are much
more medically trained. My personal recommendation for you is
to find a therapist who specializes in psychotherapy (make sure
that they have the training you are looking for and are not
just behaviorally trained) and then have them work in
conjunction with a doc to prescribe your meds and oversee that
part. Many therapists like my mom are used to working with
doctors who prescribe meds which they cannot but they are
better trained generally to help you with the real underlying
Hope this helps.
I have recently started with a new psychiatrist, thru Blue Shield.
I have seen him only twice, but he stated that he does not like to
prescribe medicine for clients, unless he is providing the
therapy; as opposed to co-managing with someone else doing the
therapy. He has a diploma prominently posted that states he has
received training in psychoanalysis. For the 2 times I have seen
him so far, he seems perfectly competent. His name is Sheldon
Wolfe, MD 510/524-3194. He has offices in Berkeley and S.F.
Psychiatrist Shane MacKay
Does anybody have any experience, either favorable or not, with
psychiatrist Shane MacKay, or others in the same office?
Specifically, for depresson. There is nothing in the archives.
I have had a wonderful experience with Shane MacKay for the past
6 months, but whether I recommend him would depend on what
someone was looking for in a psychiatrist. He is spectacular at
medical management of disorders such as depression and works
closely with patients to find the exact drug(s) and dosage(s)
that best fits them specifically. He really knows and can
explain the chemistry involved in various diagnosis and
treatments and where he thinks you as a client might be based on
an in-depth initial consultation. He is cheerful, direct, easy
to talk to, professional, and personable. He is also supportive
and available, returning calls promptly. I spent many years in
insight-based talk therapy and shunned drugs as some sort of cop
out, but after my symptoms became worse, I went to Dr. MacKay.
Working with him on trying the right meds has alleviated my
symptoms and given me back a good life. If you are looking for
medical management of mental health problems, Dr. MacKay is
I highly recommend Shane MacKay. His evaluations are very thorough, and he is very responsive and respectful.
I have personal experience with Shane MacKay and I also know
someone else who has had personal experience with him. You did
not mention whether you are looking for him to work with an
adult or child, but I found him to be excellent working with
adults. I do not have any experience with him with children.
He has been very kind and caring and makes himself available to
other professionals working with the same individual.
I can recommend Shane MacKay. I saw him for depression 3 1/2
years ago, and, since my depression is under control, I just
check in with him now about once a year. I am on Effexor and Dr.
MacKay is my prescribing physician.
Dr. MacKay is compassionate, yet all business. I got his name
from a friend who has depression, as well as some more
complicated issues, both emotionally and physiologically, and he
has done good work with her too. She is a nurse, and I trust her
I had a recurring problem with depression, and had been on many
medications, and combinations of medications. (I say now that I
will never go off my medication again. I really ran into trouble
when, after a period of feeling okay, I'd stop taking
medication. Eventually, something, or a combination of
somethings, would trigger a descent into depression. This
happened a few times.)
Dr. MacKay does not accept health insurance, as far as I know,
and he is expensive. For that reason, I appreciate that I can
see him only when I need to.
I can also recommend a Dr. Brent Cox, based in Petaluma, but he
also sees patients in Mill Valley. He is covered under some
plans. He is also excellent. I saw him a couple years prior to
Dr. MacKay, and made the switch for a number of small reasons
that had nothing to do with his expertise or manner. (I actually
had more experience with Dr. Cox.)
So sorry that you or a loved one has this problem. *Keep trying*
I can say that I thought I'd never rise out of depression but I
I have been a practicing psychologist for 22 years in Berkeley.
I have referred many psychotherapy patients to Dr. Shane MacKay
for medication consultations. He is a superb
psychopharmacologist. He is an excellent diagnostician and is
very thorough, responsive and clear thinking. Additionally, he
is a warm and sensitive man. I have never had any negative
feedback about his work.It often takes a month or so to get an
appointment but he is worth waiting to see when possible. If
requested his office staff will contact you if an earlier
appointment opens up through a cancellation.
I am looking for a progressive, compassionate, queer-
friendly psychiatrist who has experience with mood
disorders and hormonal issues. Thank you.
I know of a great queer-friendly psychiatrist named Tim Brower who works in
the East Bay. I don't have his number but he's listed I'll bet. Very
knowledgeable and kind. Good luck.
Brower Timothy MD
Fremont, CA 94538
this page was last updated: Oct 21, 2012
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