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Therapists for Adoption Issues

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Questions about Therapists for Adoption Related Pages

2011 - 2013 Reviews


Therapist for adopted daughter coming home from RTC

April 2013

We are looking for a therapist for our daughter who will be returning from 2 years at a Residential Theraputic boarding school. It is imperative that this individual have a specialty in working with adopted youth. Our daughter will be attending college away, so hope to find someone who will consider phone therapy as well. Please respond if you have had personal experience with such a therapist. Would prefer east of the tunnel if possible. Hopeful Mom


You might want to check with Leslie Foge in Lafayette. She specializes in adoption issues and has worked with several kids who have gone to wilderness or residential treatment. Also consider talking to your adoption agency to see if they have a recommendation. anonymous
I am a huge fan of both Laura Soble (http://www.laurasoble.net) and Stacy Ouetten (http://www.attachmentadoption.net/clinicalstaff_stacy.html). They both have extensive experience with adoption issues. They are, however, in Oakland. If that's too far for you, they might be able to refer you to some one good on your side of the hills. I would completely trust their recommendation. Ann
OK, as I did for the depressed/anxious teen above, I'm going to recommend Coyote Coast - they're east of the tunnel, in Orinda. The therapists there specialize in facilitating the transition home from a structured therapeutic environment. And I know they have plenty of experience with adopted youth. As you look for therapists for your daughter, I encourage you to consider doing family therapy as well. Family therapy helped us navigate the difficult transition, and we continue to learn how to accept and support each other and to change relational patterns that no longer serve us. Stay hopeful.... Lorilyn
I have a recommendation for the woman looking for an adoption therapist to help her daughter returning two years in RTC I recommend Leslie Foge MFT. I interview Leslie on my website talkinghearttoheart.org. Cindy
Dear Hopeful Mom, I am a Bay Area psychologist and your post caught my eye. I strongly recommend my colleague Dr. Melissa Holub for your daughter. Although she's not East of the tunnel (her office is in North Oakland/Berkeley) she is a solid clinician--seasoned, smart, and well-respected in the adoption community. I also know her to be flexible in working with distance. She is online at: www.drmelissaholub.com Best, Annie

Troubled 14 year old struggles with adoption loss issues

August 2012

I am looking for a therapist or mentor or other professional who is experienced working with troubled teenage girls like my daughter. My daughter is 14 and just started high school. She is adopted from birth and struggles deeply with the loss associated with her adoption. She is a pathological liar -- all the time, all events -- trivial or important. She is creative and a gifted story teller so people generally believe her lies. She craves drama and wants to pull everyone into her drama. She engages in self destructive behavior. She is and has been close to failing school because she does not do the work but lies about doing it. She has some learning disabilities but won't let anyone help her. She has been in therapy for years. Sometimes helps for awhile but then she tanks again. It is a roller coaster.

That's the challenge. Now for the wonderful part: my daughter is beautiful, kind, loving, smart, funny, and the light of my life. It is so painful to watch her self-sabotage.

Do you know anyone who is experienced in working with teenage girls with this profile and these kind of issues? Someone who has developed a process/plan to address these issues and has experienced some success. Alternative therapy? EMDR? Thanks! Out of Ideas But Hopeful Mom


My daughter joined our family at the age of 7 after spending 18 months in CA foster care. I highly recommend two therapists we have used Virginia Cunningham in San Leandro and Joan Lovett in Berkeley. Gini is a gifted MFT and continues to work wonders with our daughter who is now 13. Gini initially saw our daughter weekly until 2 years ago, now it's twice monthly. While Joan, a superb behavioral therapist, performs her miracles with through EMDR for our daughter's PTSD whom she saw weekly for a year (8-9 y.o.) then monthly, and now as needed. Joan, in fact, has authored a few books about PTSD and adoption and are exellent reading for any parent who adopts a child. As concerned and loving parents, we provide the opportunities and our kids do the necessary work. Good therapy changes the child and his/her family. Good luck! pw
My daughter is also 14 and has some of the same issues. I have spoken to her repeatedly about lying and she is beginning to get the point. Whenever her friends lie to her, I make a point of asking how she feels about that friend and what she would prefer they do. As for school, there is a program in high schools called AVID. It has different names in different schools. But it is aimed at teaching kids to be responsible about their grades, to learn good study skills, and to think positively about oneself and ones potential (i.e college). You and your daughter need to sign papers that commit to the program and its methods. I know that this program is starting to make a big difference in my daughter's life. It's also a relief to me as a single mom. Another Mom of an Adopted 14 year old
I too have an adopted daughter. So many of us have been in your shoes, same issues, the lying, risky behaviors,school issues...

Our daughter is now 17. She is currently in a therapeutic residential placement after 12 weeks in a wilderness program. We have all learned a lot along this journey. Her therapist is preparing her to start EMDR which we have heard great things about. She also is at a school that uses equine therapy.

I am more than happy to share what we have found helpful. I do have the names of 2 wonderful therapists that specialize in adoption. Also, the support group Willows in the Wind (advertised in BPN) is a great resource. Depending on private or County adoption, you may have funding available to you.

A note about school issues that we have learned...these children are terrified about being told they are not good enough (because that would validate what they feel about themselves), so by not doing the work they are in control of their own failure and no one can say their work (they) are not good enough. I think this is so interesting and has been acknowledged by our daughter as true.

If I can help you or others reading this, please contact me. Karen


Hi - Your daughter sounds a lot like my son. He is being seen at Coyote Coast in Lafayette, a youth counseling program. They have therapists and mentors who specialize in ''troubled teens.'' Adoption issues are not their focus, but at least some of the counselors have worked with adopted kids. Our kids do have a lot of grief/loss/shame/identity issues that surface during the teen years.

I would also very highly recommend Leslie Foge in Lafayette. She specializes in working with adopted kids, especially teens and is extremely knowledgeable about adoption issues and is a very kind and skilled therapist. My son has not worked directly with her, but we have seen her for parent consultations because of her special expertise in adoption. She seems to see mostly female adopted teens. We found Leslie by asking our adoption agency for advice. Your agency may be able to give you additional resources as well. Best of luck, Adoptive mom


Here are a few therapy resources to check out. Virginia and Stacy are about to start (on Sept 5) a support/therapy group for adoptive teens (girls).

Virginia Keeler-Wolf, MA, MFT 510-339-9363 Virginia@attachmentadoption.net 510-594-4311.

Stacy L Outten. 510-594-4311 Stacy@attachmentadoption.net

Sandy also offers therapy services for adoptive teens. Sandy McQuillan, 510-230-7119

Adoptive Teen Support Group: Please spread the word to adoptive teens and their families about this wonderful support group for adoptive teenagers! Are you a teen who has wondered: * Why am I terrified of rejection even though I have such loving parents? * Why do I think so much about my birthmother when my parents have provided such a wonderful home? Maybe you have been secretly wishing for a place to talk freely with other adoptees about all these adoption experiences. A place where you will find compassion and understanding. Tuesdays, 4-5:30pm Berkeley My name is Sandy McQuillan, licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. I have been leading psychotherapy groups for over twenty-seven years. In addition, I have been in a successful open adoption for the last 25 years. My group will be perfect for adoptee teens who are between 13 to 16 years old and may be wondering and questioning their identity. Call: Sandy McQuillan, MFT 510-230-7119 for an appointment and to register 2718 Telegraph Avenue, Suite 210, Berkeley, CA 94705 Maybe you have been secretly wishing for a place to talk freely with other adoptees about all these adoption experiences. A place where you will find compassion and understanding.Adoptive Teen Support GroupTuesdays, 4-5:30pmBerkeleyMy name is Sandy McQuillan, licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. I have been leading psychotherapy groups for over twenty-seven years. In addition, I have been in a successful open adoption for the last 25 years. My group will be perfect for adoptee teens who are between 13 to 16 years old and may be wondering and questioning their identity.Call: Sandy McQuillan, MFT510-230-7119for an appointment and to register2718 Telegraph Avenue, Suite 210, Berkeley, CA 94705 linda


Therapist for 14 year old adopted daughter

Oct 2011

Can anyone recommend a good therapist for a 14 year old girl who is having anxiety and anger issues? She is highly intelligent and functions well at school, but is still falling apart sometimes at night and completely loses control.She was in group therapy for two 8-month sessions for adopted girls with Virginia Keeler-Wolf in Oakland, but doesn't want to try that again. (In fact, she says she doesn't want any kind of therapy at all, but admits to feeling helpless and defeated by her emotions.) Even if she won't talk to a therapist, I'd love a professional who could talk to me and coach me how to help my wonderful daughter through this pain. Someone in the Berkeley/ Oakland area would be best. Thanks, Overwhelmed single mom


I don't have a name for you but just some support. My daughter also did the Virginia keeled wolf support group and hated it. (I have nothing but good to say about Virginia, I loved her. My daughter just isn't a support group type kid.).

I just wanted to say that it took some time, but my daughter now loves therapy. Once I stopped trying to talk her into it, she began to see the benefit. She decided that she needed to be more open to new situations and decided to talk to a therapist. She sees Ellin Sadur, but she is in San Ramon. She has been a great mediator for us and has really helped me to modify my behavior to make things easier for both of us. (Ellin does also have a walnut creek office.)

So, don't give up on therapy but wait for her to see the benefit. I garauntee that you will start to miss the days you didn't have to pay for it! (Ellin does take Anthem Blue Cross but you have to file it yourself.) Been There


Seeking Teen Therapist for 13yo Adopted Daughter

April 2011

My daughter is now 13 and was adopted at 16 months. She is very bright but has issues with lying. She has ADD and like many ADD kids, is very poorly organized. Her lies are causing me to distrust her and is interfering with her school work. I have been out of work for awhile and do not have health insurance, so I'm looking for someone who works on a sliding scale. Any suggestions would be much appreciated since I am extraordinarily frustrated.


I highly recommend Shira Gallagher, LCSW. 510-594-4008. She has a great deal of experience working with adopted and foster teenagers as well as parents of adopted youth and adopted adults. She is a also just a simply wonderful therapist. She is very bright, compassionate, experienced and does very well with teens. anon
Our adopted daughter, who we adopted at birth, just turned 15. She has learning differences and, it turns out based on a neuro-psych test, ADD as well. I imagine you are having some of the same issues that we have had since the age of 13 with our daughter. I saw that you had a response from someone familiar with adoption issues, and I would definitely recommend that you see if you can find someone who knows those issues if you can. I just started reading the book "Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew," and it really seems right on, although there is a lot of discussion about the effect of closed adoptions which is not our situation. I just wish I had read this book long ago. There is also a newer book by the same author, but I have yet to get it.

I did want to recommend a therapist that my daughter saw, although I'm not sure how specifically familiar with adoption issues she is. We found her after another therapist and a psychiatrist weren't helping the way we really needed. Her name is Georgia Maslowski (510-420-8838). She does use a sliding scale. She was able to quickly gain my daughter's trust, and started to really sort out the truth of what was going on in my daughter's life, and where she was emotionally. She was able to bring my side in without alienating my daughter when I had a different account of events. I think it would have been successful, since she also recommended someone for family counseling, but unfortunately my daughter had become very depressed and started to do pretty scary things. When she started to get more in touch with her feelings, and have some hope for relieving her depression, she became so angry she needed to go away for a while to get more therapy than once weekly. I hope that is not your future, but now that we know about this, we have discovered that therapeutic facilities away from home have many adopted kids attending. I've sent a recommendation to be put below in the announcements section for an educational consultant who helped us find a great place for a reasonable price. S


Therapist for 7th grader's identity issues

April 2011

We are looking to see if anyone has any experience with any of the following therapists who specialize in adoption/adolescence in our area. Unfortunately the person recommended to us, Leslie Foge, is not covered by our insurance. The following people are covered by our insurance: Ilene Nemetz, Walnut Creek Candace Hendra, Walnut Creek Beverly Scott, Concord Janet Long, Walnut Creek Rhiannon Shires, Walnut Creek

Our 7th grade daughter is having identity issues related to being adopted (we adopted her when she was 2 days old) and we are seeking a female therapist who specializes in this type of issue. Thanks.


Therapist for adopted child. I cannot recommend maria viella highly enough. she works at west coast children's clinic but is also in private practice in piedmont Maria has a teenager who is adopted and she herself is also adopted. She does family therapy but from my perspective many of these difficulties for the child who is adopted become family issues.

Maria is wonderful with teenagers... she really enjoys them and gets them and her clinical experience is impressive. most important to us she really helped create an environment where we could work on the issues in a safe respectful way... this is really hard stuff for kids and we all meet work on it and support them. She gets that. most important to my daughter who 17 she is willing to occasionally meet her for lunch... buy my kid thai food and she's your friend for life!


Need therapist who knows adoption issues

Feb 2011

Hi. I am looking for a therapist in the bay area who specializes in adopted children and the issues they may have. My daughter has frequent rages and tantrums among other problems. Thanks for any help.


I'd recommend Heather Genschmer, LCSW-she spent many years specifically working with adoptive families with children with special needs at an agency and now works ou of her own office on College Ave in Rockridge. http://heathergenschmer.vpweb.com/ (510) 529-5864 MFT in the community
Virginia Keeler-Wolf in Oakland specializes in adoption. Here is her website: http://www.attachmentadoption.net/clinicalstaff_virginia.html Of all the people with whom we conferred, she offered the most coherent diagnosis and targeted support. The primary focus is to address what is now called Reactive Attachment Disorder. Her skills and knowledge are deep and wide. I only wish we had located her sooner since late diagnosis of this fairly common problem with adopted children hampers the best outcome. adoptive mom
I recommend Nancy Verrier, MFT, who practices in Lafayette. She has written several books on adoption and speaks on adoption internationally. She has worked for decades with adopted kids and adoptive parents, and is an adoptive parent herself. I know her as a colleague - we went to graduate school together and I've followed her work for many years. Her office is at 925-284-5813. Pat

2009 - 2010 Reviews


Therapist for older adopted teen

Aug 2010

I'm looking for recommendations for a therapist for my almost 19-year-old adopted daughter. She has some adoption issues--the intellectual understanding of why her birth mother could not care for her but the emotional distress of feeling rejected--and she suffers from low self esteem. Thanks. supportive mom


Dear Supportive Mom looking for therapist for 19 y/o daughter, my husband and I highly recommend Dr. Thomas Cohen on Piedmont Ave. 510-653-0110. He treated our son from age 16 to 18 and was amazing. In the course of our son's therapy, Dr. Cohen also saw our teenage daughter periodically. She is two years younger than her brother. Dr. Cohen was well prepared to talk with teens who really didn't want his help and didn't want to face their issues (by the way, they were dealing with feelings of rejection, abandonment, and low self esteem). Call him and see what you think. He saved our kids and the sanity of our family. Good luck!
I know a psychologist who specializes in adoption who would be a great person for your daughter. Her name is Melissa Holub, and she's in Berkeley on Shattuck near Ashby. Her number is: 510-658-7119. She's smart, warm and very experienced. good luck!
An excellent psychologist who could help your daughter work through her adoption feelings is Susanne Stolcke. Ms. Stolcke specializes in young adults and has a great deal of experience with young adults. Her number is 510-375- 4575. She's located at 2006 Dwight Way, Berkeley. She has a website: www.poweroftherapy.com Good Luck. Anon
Ashley Henderson is a very talented and empathic therapist. She has extensive experience with teens/young adults and the adoption experience. 510-435- 0007. Laura
We built our family through adoption and have benefitted greatly from the guidance of Leslie Foge. www.lesliefoge.com She's in Lafayette. You should also check out PACER's web site for a listing of adoption literate therapists, as well as local support group meetings: http://www.pacer-adoption.org/therapists.htm Good luck! fellow adoptive mom

Therapist for 12-year-old adopted daughter

August 2010

Our daughter is having some issues that we (my husband and I) and our couples' counselor feel would be helped by having her go to therapy. Our daughter is not interested in therapy (she feels it means there is something wrong with you, in spite of our trying to disabuse her of that notion). In any case, one of her comments recently made me think that she would benefit from a therapist who specializes in working with adopted kids. (Our daughter said that she feels that she hasn't ''bonded'' with me and she doesn't know if she even wants to. We have no idea where she even came upon the word, frankly.) Generally speaking, our daughter gets along fantastically with my husband, and poorly with me. Our daughter was adopted at birth, just as an fyi, and it was a domestic adoption. Any recommendations in the Walnut Creek/Lamorinda area? I have checked the website and the latest recommendations seem to be 2 years old. Thanks in advance. want to help our daughter


Please consider Virginia Keeler-Wolf at Family Attachment and Adoption Center (FAACE). I have students who work with Virginia and they (and parents) are very happy with her. Virginia is excellent! FAACES website is http://www.attachmentadoption.net/index.html I wish your daughter the best. Nancy
I highly recommend Cindy Hill-Ford, MFT. She is located in Lafayette and specializes in adoption issues. She is very skilled with adolescents and would probably be a good match for your daughter. She is warm and compassionate as well as very knowledgable about these kinds of issues. Her # is 925.210.9964. You can email her at hillford@sbcglobal.net anonymous

2007 - 2008 Reviews


Adopted daughter's grief about her original family

Oct 2008

My daughter is adopted from China and is now 8 years old. Though we have tried so many approaches and numerous processes and tons of love, she seems to have a constant ache and rage in her heart around having been deserted by her original family. I have concluded that she needs grief/mourning help since, in reality, she feels a constant sense of loss without resolution (ie no information available to Chinese adoptees on who their parents are). This pain confuses and upsets her and our whole family has now developed many patterns around it. I want to desperately find help for her and ultimately for our whole family around her mourning.

Looking for a practitioner who know and understand the unique deep and ongoing mourning of children whose parents don't ''exist'' for them to interact with, yet who are not actually ''deceased''. It's a terrible vague sadness and rage in her daily life. We have already read a lot of books, now are open to any processes that have been materially shown to help with this issue. Could be therapy, could be art, could be...? Thank you! We live in San Leandro, but will take referrals to anyone in the Bay Area.


Please give Casi Kushel (Walnut Creek, 925-683-7111) a call and see if she can help. She has done special work with children of immigrant families and has been involved with orphans in Afghanistan, helping them to heal from the loss and traumas they've faced. Christina
Leslie, I HIGHLY recommend Virginia Keeler-Wolf, MA, MFT and Laura Soble, MA, MFT, REAT of the Bay Area Attachment Center, 510-339-9363. Both are excellent and specialize in adoption issues. Please see their website http://www.attachmentadoption.net/index.html I wish you, your daughter, and family the best. Nancy
I know of a wonderful group in Oakland that deals with adoption issues; their website is http://www.attachmentadoption.net/index.html. My kids see Laura Soble and Stacy Ouetten, who are both terrific (fyi, my kids are not adopted, but many kids in their practice are). Ann
Dear Leslie, I'm sorry to hear about your daughter's grief. I imagine it's very disconcerting and frustrating to feel you are never getting anywhere. I'm a psychologist in private practice on the border of Berkeley & Oakland. I've worked with many foster families and adoptive families and their kids, including children adopted from China. I understand the sadness and abandonment these children feel as they transition to a new family. They will often dump their grief on the adoptive family for lack of an appropriate container. The right kind of therapy can provide this container for your daughter. I hope you find ease and resolution soon.
My heart goes out to your daughter and your family. I'm also the mother of a daughter adopted from China. Although she is younger then your daughter, we've also dealt with issues of grief and loss. I highly reommend a child therapist named Anne Brodzinsky (510-985-1773). She's based in Oakland and has years of experience with adoptive families (and is an adoptive mom herself). Her husband, David Brodzinsky is also supposed to be wonderful, but we have not seen him. Good luck and take care! another adoptive mom
Hi, I had recently read this article and wanted to share it with you: http://www.heartsent.org/page17.html - I believe the writer runs Heartsent Adoptions in Orinda (http://www.heartsent.org/Adoption,%20Heartsent%20domestic%20adoption.html) and maybe she could help you. I don't know if it's pertinent to your situation, but apparently Reactive Attachment Disorder is not uncommon in children with early trauma. hope this helps.

Therapist for parents' post adoption depression

Feb 2008

Hi, I am wondering if anyone has worked with a therapist dealing with possible post adoption depression? My husband and I brought our son home a few months ago and I am feeling very down and overwhelmed. It has gotten to the point where I would like to talk with a therpist to figure out what is really going on (ie new mama stuff or more serious depression). I would love to use a therapist who is familiar with adoption issues but I didn't see any previous recs for this type of therapist. Thanks for any help! New Mama in Oakland


Any one of the clinicians at the Family Attachment & Adoption Center of the East Bay (FAACE) would be qualified to work with you. You can obtain more specific information and contact details at www.attachmentadoption.net Offices are located off Park Blvd. in Oakland. Laura
Hello, I am a therapist who specializes in adoption as well as special needs. Post adoption depression is a common, usually temporary, issue that affects many new adoptive parents. The guilt and the incorrect assumption of not being entitled to having these feelings can exaserbate the condition. Sometimes it just takes time for a new adoptive parent to become comfortable in his/her new role as a parent. Rest assured that you are not alone. Barbara
I highly recommend a most compassionate and experienced therapist with offices in Albany and S.F. She is often a guest speaker on the topic of adoption. I know her as a friend but I do not hesitate to recommend her as a therapist. Lynn Watkins: (415) 648-8065 m
I too had post-adoption depression and I didn't know that it was possible to have that so you are a step ahead. I recommend Melissa Holub as an adoption aware psychologist. Her number is 658-7119. anon
I know that Laine Demetria is familiar with the world of adoption. It might be worth giving her a call. Here's her website: http://lainedemetria.com/ Good luck to you and good for you for seeking help. anon
I understand the following therapist works with families who have adopted kids: Keeler-Wolf, Virginia, MFT 1425 Leimert Blvd Ste 302 Oakland, CA 94602 (510) 339-9363 Good luck! Anonymous

Adoption literate therapist in Sonoma

Feb 2008

I'm looking for an adoption literate therapist in Sonoma County, preferable Santa Rosa. Any recommendations? Jen


Leslie Hansen MFCC did my homestudy when I adopted my daughter 5 years ago. She also has a private therapy practice and is very adoption-literate. She's based in Petaluma/Santa Rosa. You can reach her at 707-776-4810. adoptive mom
Lizbeth Hamlin-Haims 707-575-8189 Santa Rosa Very experienced therapist; Jungian-oriented, yet practical; Adoption-literate lisa k
Jonathan Pannor might be a great fit for you. He practices through Kaiser in San Rafael - a bit south of you, but if you can't travel there he might know of someone closer to you. Here are a couple of links to learn more about him. (He's a friend of mine. I have not been in counseling with him.) http://www.kaiserdavis.org/homepage/kaiser/doctor/jpannor/ http://www.post-adoption.org/index.htm Good luck! Lisa
Try these folks Rich Addison 707 576 9813 Works with adults and kids John Alolovitch 707 537 6832 Works with kids Both are in Santa Rosa and have adopted kids. Good luck Mark

ADD, oppositional defiance, and adoption issues

Jan 2008

Cathy Valdez has been recommended to me as a therapist for my teenage daughter to work on ADD issues, oppositional defiance issues, and adoption issues. Does anyone have any experience in dealing with Cathy Valdez as a therapist? Any info would be appreciated. Anon


I highly recommend Kirsten Beuthin to see your teenager alone or with you in family therapy. She appears to be young (though I'm not sure about her age), but is quite wise and seems to really get teens. Mine felt very comfortable with her, and therefore able to work through some very tough times and get back on track. Kirsten's number is 510-652-0990. anon

Family Therapist w/ some experience w/ adoption issues

Feb 2007

Can anyone recommend a good family therapist, perferably in Oakland, who can help with parenting issues. Some experience with adoption preferred. Thank you in advance!! stressed out mom


Virginia Keeler-Wolf, MFT directs the Family Adoption and Attachment Center of the East Bay (FAACE), located in the Glenview area of Oakland, is a family therapist specializing in adoption and attachment issues. Her number is 510-339-9363. anonymous
I'm another adoptive parent of a newly teenage girl, doing the search for an appropriate therapist and other resources. I can give a couple of reccomendations. For racially mixed families, try PACT, An Adption Alliance. 4179 Piedmont Avenue, Suite 330 Oakland, CA 94611

(510) 243-9460 (voice) www.pactadopt.org (website) info@pactadopt.org (email)

There are two therapists who have been mentioned before on this website -- Virginia Keeler-Wolf -- 339-9363 -- and Susan Love -- 287-8981. They're in Oakland near Park Ave. Both excellent, specialists. I believe both were themselves adopted.

Finally, you might want to speak with Beth Miller, a social worker who specializes in adoption. I found her to be extremely helpful in pointing me in an appropriate direction for my daughter and our family, she's a lovely person, very ethical, knowledgeable and experienced, and her office is on Santa Clara Ave. near Ladyfingers Bakery. (510) 654-4445

Adoption issues can be very complex. I'd encourage you to take the time to find someone experienced and capable. Another Adoptive Mom


My family can recommend Virginia Keeler-Wolf. We've gotten very constructive feedback and strategies for our children who were adopted. Her contact info: 1425 Leimert Blvd. Suite #302, Oakland, 510-339-9363. Not all therapists are able or qualified to handle adoption related issues so I'll be checking the other responses with interest. Taxed to the max Mom
I'd like to recommend Lynn Watkins, MFT. She's in Albany, not Oakland, but well worth the trip. She's well versed in adoption issues and an excellent, very experienced therapist. Lynn often works with clients in reference to parenting issues, and has provided therapy to people in all the areas of the adoption triad. She works with Resolve, and has spoken at conferences on the topics of adoption and infertility. She's a warm and lovely person, too! Lynn's voice mail number is 415- 648-8065. Kathy
Someone asked for a recommendation for a therapist with experience with adoption issues. I just found out that my therapist is expanding her practice and will have some openings for new clients. I wholeheartedly recommend her: Laine Demetria, MS MFT (licensed). She has offices in Albany and also in San Francisco (at Church and Market). She would be an ideal therapist for adoption issues. Give her a call. 415-705-0776. anon

2005 - 2006 Reviews


17-year-old with relationship/adoption issues

Oct 2006

My 17 year old daughter needs a therapist in Berkeley area to help her with believing she is interesting enough, attractive enough etc. that any desirable boy she is involved with will not instantly leave her at the first opportunity. This is probably partially an adoption (abandonment) issue, probably other things too. She just broke up (again) with a very sweet young man because she didn't ''trust'' that he wouldn't leave her for someone else, just as they were getting into a pattern of going places, having fun, spending time with each others' family occasions, etc. She insists he did absolutely nothing to make her suspicious--just can't stop thinking that ''if someone else wants him, they'll just get him, she doesn't stand a chance.'' She acknowledges this is her problem and she needs help. She has a history of problems with self- confidence--probably mostly because of learning disability and body image issues, as well as the adoption component. Most recommendations on the website are years old or for other types of problems, so I'd appreciate your recommendations. Anonymous


I highly recommend Patricia Contaxis for your 17 yr old daughter. she works primarily with adolescents and can really relate to them. my daughter has been seeing her for over a year and has been very beneficial for her. Great with self confidence issues. She's on Solano. her # is 510-524-5028. Good luck B.'s mom
I would recommend that you seek a therapist with experience in adoption issues as this often affects self-esteem (confidence and trust in relationships with others). I would highly recommend Kirsten Beuthin who specializes in teens and their families as well as adoption issues. She is in Oakland and SF. 510-652-0990 or 415-401-7180 anonymous

Young teen girl with anxiety, adoption, loss issues

May 2006

Looking for a therapist experienced in anxiety, adoption, loss issues for a young teen girl. An Asian woman would be ideal. Mom C


Lili Suzuki, MFT might be a good fit for your daughter. She specializes in work with adoption issues. She is also trained as an art therapist. 510-233-7555, ext. 18 Laura Soble, MFT, REAT, Oakland
I highly recommend Alexandra Howells. She specializes in working with Teens and she is a very compassionate and warm person who is very skilled and has a great connection with young people. Her number is 510-869-4394. Her email is alex[at]howells.com Priscilla

2004 & Earlier


Therapist for Child with Reactive Attachment Disorder

Related page: Attachment Disorder
Feb. 2003

Can anyone recommend a good therapist who works with children/adoptees who have mild RAD (reactive attachment disorder)?


I have a daughter with RAD and we both have been seeing Debra Bartenstein (633-1563) who has been very helpful. I can recommend her highly.

Additionally, I found the ''only'' two therapists in the Bay Area who are truly specialized in RAD. I would recommend calling them too. They are Virginia Keeler Wolf at 510-339-9363 and Susan Love who's number I cannot find but she should be in the phone book and Virginia Keeler-Wolf has her number too.

Just another note: I found RAD workshops extremely helpful. Unfortunately very little is offered in the Bay Area, but CATTE in the Sacramento Area puts on workshops regularly and they are excellent (and affordable). Also, PACT is putting on a workshop on attachment soon so you might want to give them a call. If you'd like to talk some more or maybe even have playdates with a comfortable RAD mom, call me. Best wishes.
Martina,a few weeks away from finalization.


I suggest you check out Virginia Keeler-Wolf in Berkeley. Although we have just begun working with her, she was highly recommended. She says her practice is about 75% adoption-related, and she is active in PACER, and is presenting at an upcoming PACT workshop.
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this page was last updated: Nov 11, 2013


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