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2010 - 2013 Recommendations


Looking for a psychiatrist for women's health

Feb 2013

Hi - I'm a woman with a history of depression, postpartum depression, and anxiety, definitely hormonally related. I'm looking for a psychiatrist who is knowledgeable about women's health issues to manage my psychotropic medication. I have CIGNA health insurance. Thanks!


UCSF LPPI has a women's mood and hormone clinic. Might be a place to get an east bay referral if UCSF is too far. Rita
I have every problem you describe in your post. My psychiatrist literally saved my life. His name is James Gracer. He is in Orinda, a short drive from my Oakland home. He takes Cigna. He is one of the most compassionate people I have ever met. His number is 925-253-0567. Best of luck to you.

Psychiatrist who has been around the block

Jan 2013

I am looking for someone who is knowledgeable about different medications, their side effects, their prolonged use, as well as adept at non- medicated approaches to psychiatric intervention. I have a significant history of depression and possibly a Bipolar 2 diagnosis, so I would love to find someone who knows their stuff but is not just about writing a prescription script. Are there kind, compassionate, thoughtful psychiatrists out there who can speak honestly with patients about the different medications and their impact on human health and the aging body? Thanks so much for any leads! anon


Dr. Stuart Gold in Berkeley was absolutely essential in helping me find the perfect balance of meds for my depression/bipolar type II. He even saw me through two pregnancies where I stopped taking my meds for up to a year at a time. I never felt like he rushed me through any appointments but he also didn't waste our time when things were fine. He had me chart my meds and moods, sleep and alcohol use, which really helped me see the patterns in my life and is a habit I continue to this day. Can't recommend him highly enough. stable and happy
I'm happy to be able to recommend Jeanne Leventhal-Alexander to you- I think she's just what you're looking for. I found her off this list when she was still at Kaiser and she was able to pull me out of a huge depressive hole I'd fallen into. I, too, am BP II. Jeanne is exceptional- she is extremely smart and perceptive, very skilled and experienced, and highly compassionate. She was very generous with her time with me when I was in need of frequent monitoring and support. I found her style to be refreshing in a psychiatrist- she is friendly and she is frank, and I felt I could talk about anything with her. I always felt that she was there for me and that she was on my side. Jeanne is now in private practice, her info is: 2920 Domingo Ave, 204D, Berkeley, CA 94705 (510) 845-9005 Best of luck to you, Smiling Again
A totally different option than a ''psychiatrist who has been around the block'' is to go to UCSF's Langley Porter Institute (http://psych.ucsf.edu/lpphc.aspx). You'd be seen by a training psychiatrist rather than an established one, but they are at the forefront of psychiatric medicine, tend to put in a lot more time (they want to ''do it right'') to figuring out what medications will work out for you, and will work with your home GP to prescribe medications. You wouldn't be getting the ''talk therapy'' part of what you hope for, but finding the right medical cocktail for you might be a really important first step before you can do much else, and you've got a better shot with them than most. Visits cost about $300 each, but you can sometimes get discounts depending on your financial situation. Anonymous

Experienced psychiatrist near Albany

Jan 2013

I reviewed the archives and didn't see any recent psychiatry recommendations, so I thought I would ask. I'm looking for a good psychiatrist to prescribe medications for an adult with depression and anxiety. Preferred locations (in order of preference): Albany, El Cerrito, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, Berkeley. Whether they take insurance doesn't matter. I'd love to find someone who is experienced (at least 10 yrs out of residency), smart, wise, curious, a good listener, a good thinker, a good communicator, and who takes boundaries and patient confidentiality seriously. Reliably quick response to voicemail or e-mail is also important to me. It would also be good if they are supportive of combining meds and psychotherapy to treat depression and anxiety. --anonymous


I had great experience with Donald Stanford in Berkeley. Look up his contact info on Yelp or online. He fulfills everything you asked for in your post except: Reliably quick response to voicemail or e-mail is also important to me. Frankly, I have not had a reliably quick response from any doctor I've consulted - seems to be endemic.. Once I became a patient though, his office staff does their best to call back in a timely way. Dr. Stanford was far more effective for me tha many other psychiatrists. Good luck! Anonymous
Try Anna Budayr at market hall in rockridge. 878-4521. She is very smart, compassionate, and a psychiatrist who does both medication prescription and psychotherapy. good luck
Dr. Bradley Engwall fits your description exactly. He is on Solano avenue and does not take insurance but people can bill their own insurance and get reimbursed. 510-559-1819. anon
Hal Bornstein is an excellent psychiatrist with many years of experience who I would recommend highly for psychiatric medication management. His office is in Oakland. 510 658-1877 Kate

2007 - 2009 Recommendations


Psychiatrist who also does therapy?

Feb 2008

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. Anon


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 thyroid medication.

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 great. anon


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. Kate

Psychiatrist in SF who is not medication-averse

June 2007

I need a reliable psychiatrist in SF -- preferably in financial district -- who is not medication-adverse. Your recommendations would be greatly appreciated! Needs Help


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

Psychiatrist/Psychologist downtown SF

May 2007

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 first step. Anon
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 Good Luck! Alexandra
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

2004 - 2006 Recommendations


Seeking female psychiatrist for addiction issues

Oct 2006

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. Thanks! lr


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 for psychiatrists. Good luck Donna
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. Sheryl

Dr. Joseph Hartog

May 2005

Does anyone on this list have any experience, positive or otherwise, with Dr. Joseph Hartog, a psychiatrist who practices in Berkeley? Thanks! anon


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. anon

Psychiatrist for husband with anxiety

Feb 2005

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 the tunnel) Thanks! Anon


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. anon
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. anon

Talking Psychiatrist

June 2004

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 providing medications? 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, please? Sarah


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 mcm
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 www.sfbacct.com 510-652-4455

Signed, Talking Really Works


2003 & Earlier


Psychiatrists who do Psychotherapy

July 2003

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. Thanks.


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- 1746. - Anon
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 for me. anonymous
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 anon
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 issues. Hope this helps. Anon
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. eve

Psychiatrist Shane MacKay

Oct 2003

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. anon.


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 fantastic. anonymous
I highly recommend Shane MacKay. His evaluations are very thorough, and he is very responsive and respectful. Carol-Ann
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. Emily
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 medical recommendations.

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 have. anonymous


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. Rebecca

Queer-friendly psychiatrist

Feb 2002

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. Massberi
 From Whitepages.com

Brower Timothy MD
39013 Sundale
Fremont, CA  94538
510-608-5803

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