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Finding Affordable Therapy
Therapy on a budget in the east bay area
I've recently gone through some very traumatic events (in law has cancer, other
in law 51/50'd, best friend tried to commit suicide). I'm feeling overwhelmed and
sad. I feel like I really need to talk to a therapist. Any good recommendations
out there? I live in Concord and on a budget...
If you think you might be depressed, there are two types of cognitive behavioral
therapy for depression at CAL enrolling right now. If you call 510-643-3797 they
can do a phone screen with you to see if you will be a good fit. Golden Bear Sleep
Contra Costa County has low-fee mental health services:
http://www.cocopsych.org/resources.php, as does John F. Kennedy's Community
Counseling Center (in either Concord or Pleasant Hill):
http://www.jfku.edu/Locations/Community-Counseling-Centers/Community-Center-Concord.html. Thank you for asking for the help you deserve.
Any recommendations for a therapist who accepts Medicare and can work with
people who have anxiety and have a history of trauma.
Dr. Simone Taylor on Telegraph in Oakland
Works on both adult and child trauma, family dynamics. Takes Medicare.
As a professional in the field, I would recommend Paul Minsky, PhD. His
number is 510 524-0700. I believe he takes Medicare.
Sliding scale psychoanalysis
Can anyone recommend a psychoanalyst in Oakland/Berkeley who might be
amenable to a sliding fee scale? I'm interested in a more intensive
therapy but my husband just lost his job. Thanks.
You can call Jeanne Harasemovitch: 527-9106 she is in charge of
the psychoanalytic low-fee clinic in the East Bay. She will talk
to you and match you up with someone who works on a sliding scale.
You may already know this but a good place to seek referrals for
lower cost analysis and psychanalytic therapy are the local
psychoanalytic institutes, such as PINC (http://pincsf.org), SFCP
(www.sf-cp.org) and the Jung Institute of San Francisco
Contact the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis
Low Fee Clinic. This is currently run by Linda Bartlett PhD: (415)
I am looking for a therapist in the Berkeley area who has a sliding
scale. I have been in therapy at different times in my life and consider
myself to be quite ''aware'' and would like to work on some life issues
(i am in my mid-thirties) - relationship, parenting, etc. on a deep
level. I am looking for someone who is talented and skilled and
experienced. I can afford $65/session ($50 would be great). I would
prefer to not see an intern but might consider it if it feels like a good
Try Berkeley Therapy Institute on MLK in Berkeley. They train interns and
post doctoral candidates and have a sliding scale. Even their staff
therapists have a sliding scale. The interns and post docs are
well-supervised and the staff is excellent. Many interns stay there for
two years and go on to have private practices, if you want someone for the
Hi I am looking for weekly counseling or support groups to deal
with general personal issues and stress. I cannot afford $100
or more a month that even the lowest sliding scales that I've
found are. Any suggestions?
Sad and broke
Try the Women's Therapy Center in El Cerrito or The Psychotherapy
Center in Berkeley. Both are staffed by trainees who are
supervised by wonderful, experienced therapists.
First Presbyterian Church, Berkeley has a counseling service that
allows you to pay what you can afford. It does NOT push religion.
Check it out at http://www.fpcberkeley.org/
Been there, done it - several times
a fellow traveler
You should try the Center for Holisitc Counseling. Their sliding
scale starts at $10 and up. The office is located on Harrison near
Grand/Lake Merrit. Good luck.
a former CHC client
For low fee counseling try Jewish Family and Children's Services
of the East Bay. They have an office in Berkeley and one in
Walnut Creek and offer a sliding scale. You can reach them at
510.704-7475. You don't have to be Jewish to access their
services. You can also try the new ''211'' number. Use it like
the ''411'' or ''911,'' and I believe they offer referrals for
counseling along w/ many other social services. Good luck-
if all the great orgs. with sliding scales as previously recommended are
truly still not affordable, then you can probably qualify for Medi-Cal
and there are MFTs who accept and can work with Medi-Cal.
My husband and I separated almost a year ago, and I am ready to
admit I need some outside help to navigate through the many
challenges I am currently facing. Does anyone know of
single-parent support groups in the Berkeley area, or other ways
to connect with single moms? I know I'd also benefit
from therapy, but money is extremely tight until I can figure out
how to find childcare and a new job and earn enough money to
make ends meet and still (hopefully) have plenty of time with my
child. Are there support services out there for women on very
tight budgets? Thank you.
Dear Single Mom needing support,
I am not sure how low your budget is for therapy, but I highly recommend The Psychotherapy
Institute in Berkeley. Their advanced training program offers therapy on a sliding scale, and
unlike other clinics many patients are able to continue working with their therapist after
the clinician completes the program. The number is 510-548-2250.
Additionally, sometimes therapists are willing or able to reduce their fees somewhat to
enable people to receive treatment that might not otherwise be able to afford it.
The Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church in Lafayette near the
reservoir has a great single parents group run by 2 therapists. I
met a lot of single-parent friends there for support and
activities. The group is eductaional and focuses on parenting
techniques and the problems of the single parent - not a
cry-on-your-shoulder kind of group. It's free and meets once a
week. I don't have the phone number any more, but I'm sure you
can call the church or look on google.
I'm interested in finding a good therapist to help me deal with
issues of new motherhood. Nothing too specific, just feeling
exhausted and confused about how to balance motherhood, work,
and the rest of my life. There are a few recommendations on
the website, but they are 6-7 years old. Anyone have a
recommendation that is more recent? I need to find someone who
takes Medi-Cal or has a sliding scale. Thanks.
I know that New Parent Support in Alameda has low-cost (sliding
scale and Medi-Cal, I think) therapy.
They're also going to be running a four-week evening workshop in
June to help couples deal with becoming new parents. I'm
co-facilitating the group and, from your description, it sounds
like the workshop could be very helpful. It's going to be free.
If you want more information, their website is www.smarthealthybabies.org
Hope this helps
Try calling the Women's Therapy Center. They charge on a sliding scale and are located
in El Cerrito near the El Cerrito Plaza BART station.
wondering if anyone has had success in finding low cost mental
health services for spanish speaking families. would love to
hear any ideas. thanks for your help.
friend of the family
I can recommend a group called Mujeres Unidas y Activas women
in Oakland and SF who offer peer support counseling (in
Spanish) for women; if more is need they can make referrals to
professional counselors. (510) 261-3398 or (415) 621-8140. Margi
Berkeley Mental Health, Family, Youth & Children Clinic offers
low-cost therapy to families, focusing on the child(ren) - there
are Spanish speaking clinicians. However you must me a Berkeley
resident or have children in Berkeley schools. Good luck!
Contact La Clinica de La Raza at 510-535-4000. They provide
mental health services to people with no health insurance or on
Medi-Cal, and they may refer you to other available services.
BAY Area CHILDREN FIRST has spanish-speaking therapists and does
a lot of work with low-income families
call them at
Try calling the Clinica de La Raza in Oakland. It's on
Fruitvale. I don't know if they have therapy services, but they
should be able to give you suggestions.
Hi everyone: I'm posting here because I've seen so many kind
and helpful responses - and I'm at a loss about where to turn
right now. I've been experiencing increased anxiety recently --
well, over the fast few years, I guess. But it feels like it's
gotten really bad lately - and I think I've managed to alienate
some people I care very much about. I worry a lot about ...
everything. I'm always overthinking situations - and wondering --
what if... to the point where I have a really hard time
relaxing and having fun. It's also affected my decision-making
skills, because ...well, what if I make the wrong choice? I
don't feel like I've always been this way, so I'm a bit
perplexed about where these feelings are coming from and how to
deal with them. I have had a lot of change and uncertainty in my
life during this time...divorce, marriage, moving across
country, changing careers, financial instability, trying to have
a baby, etc... And I'm sure these issues have something to do
with it. But I want to feel like myself again - before I forget
who that is...or was. My financial situation prevents me from
seeking therapy, so I'm hoping that someone out there might have
some helpful advice about alternative methods. Has anyone had
success with Sam-e or any other over the counter natural meds?
Any cheap or free therapy - either traditional or non-
traditional (acupuncture, hypnosis, etc...)? Has anyone
experienced this and worked through it on your own by
incorporating calming influences such as meditation or yoga? Any
advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Hoping to feel happy again soon
Low-cost therapy recommended:
Ann Martin Children's Center
Berkeley Therapy Institute
California Pacific Medical Center SF
JFK Center for Holistic Counseling
Langley Porter Institute at UCSF Affective Disorders Clinic
Psychology Clinic at UC Berkeley
West Coast Childrens Center
Wright Institute Clinic
I know you will get a lot of responses for this, and I hope my
contribution will help a little. First of all, I could have
written that post. It sounds like me all over, at least it
sounds like me at times. Here are things that have helped me:
Cognitive Therapy: I know you can't pay for therapy right
now, but maybe this book will help -- Mind over Mood by
Greenberger and Padesky. Also, depending on which insurance you
have, you can get counseling at greatly reduced rates.
Sometimes all it takes for you to get back on track is 2 or 3
months of weekly sessions. A friend used to tell me that we
spend so much money on our physical health and alomst nothing
to maintain our mental health. Maybe it's worth the investment.
Just knowing that you are not going crazy helps a lot
sometimes. I think the things you have been through are
definitely anxiety-producing! I find it totally normal that you
would react with anxious feelings. Perhaps someone will post
some kind of facilitated support group. You need to know that
your reaction is normal and you just need to get a handle on
these feelings that seem to snowball.
I think you will get lots of good advice here, and I wish you
the best of luck. If you want to email me, feel free:
It sounds as if you have gone through an amazing amount of
change, and it doesn't surprise me at all that you would feel
anxious. You mentioned Yoga and I just wanted to endorse your
intuition. I have been practicing for about a year and have
found it restorative and of huge benefit-- on almost every
level. I began for a number of reasons-- including some
emotional issues. I have also had the opportunity to do some
traditional therapy-- and think that's great too if at some
point that becomes available. I can definitely say that I
accomplished more in my therapy sessions because I had gained so
much clarity and understanding in my yoga practice. Best of luck
I was there a few years ago, right after I got married. I was
generally anxious about everything, and had developed (out of
nowhere!) a paralyzing fear of driving over bridges and getting
on airplanes. I saw a cognitive behavior therapist for a few
months and learned that the problem was that I was letting
irrational statements repeat themselves over and over in my
mind until I physically panicked. In addition to the therapy,
which you mention you can't afford, I also came to like the
books of Albert Ellis: ''A Guide to Rational Living'' and ''How to
Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything,
Yes, Anything''. In my case a lot of research about bridges and
airplanes also helped combat the irrational fears. Yoga helped
too, but I think I needed to understand how to stop generating
negative, obsessive thoughts before yoga could have worked on
its own. If any of this seems familiar, maybe these books will
help you too. Good luck!
I could have written your posting! I have had trouble with
anxiety for years and it does the same thing to me; I have
trouble having fun and not overthinking everything. I am always
worrying about what 'comes next' and can't just sit down and
relax. It drives my husband crazy b/c he has the opposite
problem, he's too relaxed. It's really hard to enjoy anything and
just let go. It's also exhausting worrying all the time about
nothing. I'm sorry, but I don't have any advice for you, only
empathy. I thought you might like to know that you are not alone
in this struggle! I was on Paxil for about a year and it helped
at the time, but the other things it did to me were definitely
not worth it. I wish you the best and look forward to any
solutions other menbers may provide.
I would suggest you to visit your family physician to discuss
your anxiety. They might have some recommendations. Before the
visit make some notes on when the anxiety started, what's
bothering you most, how it manifests itself,and if there are any
triggers. It might help you to see it all in black and white too.
I do little bullet points when I go to the doctor so I can scan
my list quickly as we talk.
Are you eating and sleeping ok? From what I understand, anxiety
can be a byproduct of depression. Do you think you might be
Your dr. may be able to make a referral or may offer you an
anti-anxiety medication that is covered by your health care plan.
I'd rather have you see a mental health professional for an
assessment but I don't think it is a bad idea to start with a
physical from your doctor.
Don't rule out therapy due to cost. Most health care plans these
days will cover at least some therapy visits (usually 8)
especially if your dr. makes the referral. Call your health care
plan and ask what their coverage is.
There are times when I think a health food store remedy can be
very helpful for temporary anxiety. I sense from what you say
that this is a fairly serious problem for you that has been going
on for awhile. I'd say it is time to get serious and really
figure out what kind of help you need to get through this bad patch.
You don't have to struggle on with this by yourself. While I am
not on the drug band wagon I have seen that temporary use of
medications can make a huge difference. I've had two good friends
that found temporary use of medications helped calm their anxiety
and get them through a challenging time.
At the very least I would urge you to look into low cost or
sliding scale therapy. You'd be surprised at what is available.
You obviously have been holding it together under very stressful
circumstances. You are so smart to reach out. I think there is
help readily available to you. Don't feel like you have to
tough it out.
Good luck and I wish you all the best
dear non anxiety,
first you have to stop and remember how you were before this
anxiety came into your life. really stop and take the time to
meditate and remember. second, during this period of
rememberance you should also try to remember how you dealt with
things and decisions before this current time and what kinds of
decisions you had to make back then, preferably the biggest
decisions are the easiest to remember.
now ask yourself and be honest, all the things that i have
accompished and have done in my life have i done them alone?
sometimes as humans we tend to take everything on our own backs
without even trying to share the load with someone else.
also ask yourself who can you trust to give you ''sound'', ''wise''
advice? whomever you come up with, was this or these people
there to help you in the past?
religious beliefs were not mentioned in your original email but
another sure way of stamping out anxiety is to establish a
working relationship with god, which means putting your trust in
him and letting him lead and guide you in your decision making
in every area of your life. hear me when i say that anxiety
stays far away from me now since i know that god will direct my
path and i have the evidence of his ability to do so each and
everyday that i walk this path through life. i am a wife,
mother of two between the ages of 7-13 and i am currently
working on my doctorate in psychology and working, not to
exclude in any way that i attend bible study twice a week and
sing in the choir. now you tell me if i don't need devine
if you want more information in regards to this life changing
way of doing things please feel free to contact me. the lord is
forever showing himself to be true in my life everyday
relax, relate & release................
Here's sone great advice from Dr. Joseph Mercola:
Solutions For Anxiety That Might be Killing You - Most people
have experienced the sweaty palms and excited sensation in their
stomachs just before public speaking or taking a test. Find out
what to do if your anxieties are hindering your ability to
function in everyday life and learn some of the natural
techniques you could practice to relieve anxiety symptoms instead
of resorting to medication.
For more info, go to:
About anxiety - I found great relief for anxiety 20 years ago
when I started working with the Community of the Message, based
on the work of South American spiritual leader Silo. My husband
and I still participate - it's free, based on reciprocity, and
focuses on nonviolence and coherent action - basically the
golden rule, treating others the way you'd like to be treated.
Email me if you'd like to know more - warm regards,
There is a low-cost homeopathy clinic in Berkeley once a month where
you can get homeopathic care- a great way to address intense anxiety.
see www.homeopathy-academy.org for details on the clinic.
good luck to you
Therapy is certainly the best way for you to go and you can find cheap
ways to do it: I'm thinking of places where you see interns or trainees
therapists who are not licensed therapists yet (they are therapists in
training either still enrolled in a program or preparing to take their
license exam) but are strictly supervised by experienced therapists.
talking about as cheap as 25$ per session.
I can recommend the Psychotherapy institute ( 548-2250) or Bay Area
Psychotherapy services (649-7551) in Berkeley - I'm not sure if
see trainees or interns there. The JF Kennedy Counselling center in
Pleasanthill forms trainees and the supervision is also very good .
are certainly other places in the East Bay, depending where you live.
Hope that can help.
I really feel for you. That's a horrible place to be in. I haven't
had much experience with treatment for anxiety, but I know
of a wonderful homeopathic doctor who treats all kinds of
illnesses through homeopathy, acupuncture and traditional
chinese medicine: Dr. Sally Savitz, 510-655-9644. She's
located in Oakland and has been in practice for over 10
years. I don't know whether she has a sliding scale for her
fees, but you might want to inquire. Take care.
I can relate, and know how disabling anxiety can be when it is
constant. The list of
changes and stressors that you give are all very significant, and even
just one of
them can throw a person significantly out of balance. Personally, I
would be a total
basket case in your shoes.
You mention expense as an obstacle to seeking therapy, but many of the
possibilities that you mention- over the counter natural supplements
treatments, acupuncture, and hypnosis- are definitely not cheap, so you
to rethink that issue before you start spending your money. Yoga, if
around, is relatively inexpensive and is good for anybody for
relaxation and staying
centered, but may not be enough for you in your present state.
Anxiety can come from many different sources such as unresolved issues
past, current issues, and biochemical imbalances, (often a combination
of all of
these) and only a professional can help you sort through them and steer
the best choice of treatment. It really is too much to try and sort out
all by yourself
and feeling alone with it only makes the anxiety worse. Friends and
family may be
well-intentioned, but they don't have the necessary expertise, and the
relationships are too complicating.
California Pacific Medical Center in SF offers low cost sliding scale
-600-3247), and Langley Porter Institute at UCSF offers sliding scale
their Affective Disorders Clinic (415-476-4000). Don't be afraid to
seek the help of
a doctor if you have health insurance. Medical treatments address the
body on a
biochemical level which is where all this stuff is stored and they are
tested than are treatments using supplements (although vitamins and
promote general health are also especially important in times of
From my own experience, and the experience of friends, I know that
anxiety clouds judgment, and may cause you to grasp at a possible
enough information. It's possible, as I well know, to go through a lot
of money this
way. Please at least meet a few times with a qualified and compatible
or psychiatrist through a low-cost source to help you figure out what's
going on and
what will help you most.
There is nothing more important than your mental health. It is worth
everywhere you possibly can in your life to get the help you need.
I may not have the best solution for you, and lacking health
insurance adds to the stress. Still, I want you to know that it
is very, very important to treat this anxiety, because it
really eats away at the core of your being. I know personally
all too well. I typically avoid ''Western medicine,'' and I tried
acupunture, homeopathy, many herbs, plus meditation, and I
found that I couldn't find my way out of the crisis. In utter
desperation, I did seek a psychiatrist, because I realized that
I might need to explore antidepressants of some kind, and I
wanted a therapist who also had medical knowledge. So.... long
story short, the antidepressants have made an enormous
difference, and so has talk therapy. I never thought I'd be
singing the praises of these drugs, but they really did bring
me back to life again. I hope to work through things and be
able to wean off the drugs, but for now, I am accepting them as
needed medicine. As for lack of insurance, I hope someone out
there can give you concrete advice on getting therapy despite
lack of coverage. That must be available, but I don't have the
answers. Good luck to you. You deserve to feel better!!!
Post-partum anxiety ''survivor''
I do understand your worry. Anxiety and Obsessive thoughts tend
to come together and they are both so unnerving. I have suffered
on and off for years from both and after years of trying
homeopathic remedies, including acupunture, nutrition,
meditation (which I was not able to successfully concentrate on
due to my condition) I decided to seek medical help. I do
believe that insurance companies will cover a visit to a doctor
or psychiatrist when they unfortunately don't cover therapy. If
you have health insurance, I would recommend you seek an
evaluation and see if perhaps there is a bio-chemical imbalance.
It took a few months, but I found the right medication to help
me and I feel like myself again. Fully functioning and calmer. I
also want to recommend that you share your problem with the
friends you feel you may have offended. Rather than thinking you
are just being ''snippy'' with them, they will understand if you
tell them that you are suffering from something that you are not
used to. Good luck to you, there is help out there.
believer in meds
I used to have panic attacks when going through a lot of changes
in my life. I did see a great therapist, Linda Zallen
(Oakland). If you saw her once or twice a month, it would cost
less than some of the alternatives you mention. I did try some
herbs from an acupuncturist, but that was costly. At the health
food stores, you can find Calms Forte, an inexpensive
homeopathic remedy. What helped me most, besides the therapy,
was getting more sleep, eating more calcium foods, and more
exercise, plus a little quiet time to myself, either a bath,
reading a good book, etc. All things that you feel you have no
time for, of course! I was told by a doctor that I would need
medication for the rest of my life, but I didn't get the rx
filled, and it did go away. When I was pregnant, and while
nursing, I felt better and calmer than ever, much to my
surprise. It also helped to decide not to be embarassed and to
tell people. More people have been through this than you
realize. You could probably find a support group online, too. I
also remember an anxiety workbook, probably Amazon has it.
Hi, I am sure you will get lots of postings, but here are my
two cents. You are clearly experiencing increased anxiety
because of increased external pressure in your life. As my
psychiatrist says, you're normal: anyone in your shoes would be
anxious! That said, I know how you feel. I inherited a
tendency toward disbling anxiety and have battled it off and
on, during stressful and even relatively calm periods of my
life. Generally, it's vitally important to stay healthy and
nurture yourself. While it's useful to get therapy to
understand the cause and get an effective coping strategy, it
ultimately wasn't the cure for me, although group therapy at
Kaiser for people with anxiety really helped my dad. What has
worked for me is excercise, both calming/meditative and cardio,
like brisk walking, a near-vegetarian diet (the currently
popular low or no carb diets that allow alot of egg and meat
protein stimulate the adrenals and hence adrenaline production)
and Ativan (lorazepam is the generic) for times when I can't
think or deep-breathe my way out of an anxiety attack. You can
get an anti-anxiety prescritpion from your family doctor or
gynecologist. For me, it's reassuring just to know I have it
in case I need it, so I'm less prone to attacks, and it really
works to relieve the harsh symtoms when they do spike. My life
is still hectic and stressful but I do feel I have the anxiety
in hand. Don't despair - in my experience at least, anxiety is
really quite manageable. Good luck.
I would recommend starting Bach Flower Remedies (flower
essences). They are pretty affordable compared to therapy, etc
(about $20/month total, maybe even less). They are available at
Whole Foods, Elephant Pharmacy, etc. The store should have a
book you can consult in order to decide what composition is best
for you. Once you familiarize yourself with how it works, it is
not hard to keep up. Just off the top of my head, I remember
that either white chestnut or red chestnut (I don't remember
which one) is great for some of what you describe, and there is
another essence specifically for people who have trouble making
a decision. There are 38 Bach flower essences, and it is
recommended that you not use more than 4-5 at a time. They can
be diluted in water.
Acupuncture is also great for anxiety. There is a school of
acupuncture that provides acupuncture at a very affordable
price, but I don't remember if they operate year-round. Call
around, though, because some acupuncturists have a sliding fee
Hi, I can relate to your situation. I attend a couple of 12 step
programs that offer support and direction when there seems
to ''apparently'' be none. Having a higher power in my life and
knowing that I am his/her beloved child is ''empowering'' and
comforting. Knowing that I don't have to worry about and control
all around me is a huge relief. My suggestion is find some
Alanon meetings, attend a couple, and see how you feel. (
http://www.al-anon.org ,There's no charge.) Follow their
suggestions. Let your higher power run your life. I choose to
call mine God. It works.
If you have health insurance, I recommend you consult with a
medical health professional about your anxiety. There are some
easily diagnosed and treated medical causes (thyroid for one).
And if those are ruled out, most primary care physicians can
recommend effective treatment for anxiety.
I'm sorry that you have been having problems with anxiety. I
have suffered for years, and my anxiety levels ebb and flow.
Since you don't have much money, I want to recommend two great
books by Edmund J. Bourne: ''The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook:
Third Edition'' and ''Beyond Anxiety and Phobia''. I used those
books in conjunction with therapy and they really helped a lot.
My favorite thing about the books is that the author gives tons
of practical advice for changing your mindset and lessening
anxiety. There are many things you can try in your day-to-day
life that will help. So, you can get started in decreasing
your anxiety right away. While therapy is also great, that
takes a little longer to get started. Another good book
is ''Worry: Hope and help for a common condition'' by Edward
Hallowell. If you can only get one book, I suggest you get the
anxiety and phobia workbook. Good luck!
I've been experiencing increased anxiety since my second
child was born 15 months ago. I think it's partly due to my
trying to do ''everything.'' And that this is a time of many
changes and adjustments in my life. It's also a time when
I'm not in control as I used to be. You have been through
enormous changes. Stop and remind yourself of this. If I
were in your shoes, I might start with trying to assess how
much anxiety you are actually experiencing and then to think
about what steps you do or do not need to take. (i.e. Have a
consultation, find a book on the subject, check the web, talk
to a friend.) I would also try not to see the anxiety as all bad,
but as your body trying to tell you something. Good luck.
Well, the first thing that caught my eye in your posting was
just how many stress factors there are in your life right now!
They are all tremendously significant issues and will most
likely require more than just a yoga class or meditation to
manage. Your situation, in my opinion, needs further assessment
as you've listed so many issues. I would not recommend taking
any ''supplements'' (such as Sam-e)as they are not fully
researched nor will they prevent the issues in your life from
occurring. Do you have health insurance of any kind? If so, I do
strongly recommend seeking a referral to a professional
therapist. Many private therapists use sliding scales and you
can find many listed in local newspapers. If you're truly not
able to find a low-cost therapist then you need to start by
managing and prioritizing the many changes and challenges in
your life. Starting a class or learning about meditation may
only add to your sense of responsibility and feeling of being
overwhelmed. Now is not the time to add to your list of changes.
There are also many support groups out there which address many
of the issues you've listed such as divorce, career change and
having a baby. My sense though is that you'll need to tackle one
problem at a time, and some of the changes you've listed (such
as trying to have baby) may need to wait. You've brought up so
many things, which create many different emotions and
challenges; including anxiety and depression. It's quite
difficult to give a single-remedy solution to everything you
brought up. My advice to you is to try and find a low-cost
therapist (often just calling a couple you see listed will help
you find someone who fits your need and financial situation,
through further referrals.) I wish I could give you more
concrete advice, but as a therapist myself I really feel
strongly that you need to meet with someone. Best of luck.
Signed: Local LCSW
It sounds like a good time to try anti-depressant medication. I
(and many (!) others I know), as good Berkeley folk, resisted
medication for years, only to discover that the new SSRI anti-
depressants (Lexapro, Zoloft, Celexa...) can work wonders with
anxiety as well as depression. In fact, many docs think that
these SSRIs work primarily by decreasing anxiety. The main down-
side is decreased sexual interest in most people who take these
medications. There are other classes of meds that can be work
without decreased libido, but I personally did not find them as
effective. I would recommend Dr. Richard Levine, a Berkeley
paychiatrist who is very down-to-earth and symptom oriented, and
will do his best to help you be your best self.
- a much happier camper
As I approached my mid40's, my anxiety began to greatly increase, I
don't know if it was from hormonal changes. I began to take ativan,
under a psychiatrist's guidance. I take a small dose in situations
where I begin to feel overwhelmed. I am so thankful for having this
medicine as an option. It definitely feels like my anxiety had a
definite biochemical effect. I use the medicine very cautiously, and
do not seem to be getting addicted to it.
Hi, I'm sorry anxiety seems to be taking over your life. It's
great that you are ready to make some changes. As a therapist
who works with lots of people with symptoms of anxiety, I've
come to see that different things work for different people.
First of all, do you have health insurance? Do you have a
primary care doc, or OB? You might want to start there. There
are medications that are safe and often life-changing for
people who are suffering with anxiety. Second, there are low-
fee therapy clinics that offer services to low-income people.
Some that come to mind are the Ann Martin clinic in Oakland,
Berkeley Therapy Institute, and the Wright Institute Clinic. I
would be careful of trying something like SAM-E on your own.
I've never seen it be terribly helpful, and it can be dangerous
to take a medication without being under someone's supervision.
Things like exercise, yoga, and medication can certainly help,
but if you have a full-blown anxiety disorder, they may not be
enough by themselves. Please, for your own sake and for those
you love, take this seriously and get some medical and/or
psychological help. It is out there.
Please do not substitute over-the-counter meds, natural or not,
for simple one-on-one counseling because you need to start
there. It seems that your thoughts and feelings are very
scattered and you need to bring them all to a place where you
can learn to sort them out with a reliable and trusting person.
I have a tendency to over-worry as well and for pretty good
reasons like yourself. I started therapy at the JFK Center for
Holistic Counseling in Oakland a couple of months ago and am
slowly but surely starting to organize my life and take care of
myself. The one thing about going there is for that whole week
after each session I make tiny actions and changes to make my
life better than it was before. It's not always roses mind you
but you can bring it to a place for one hour and then for the
following week try to make positive changes or just be and let
your thoughts/emotions work itself out. Also CHC has a great
sliding scale of $10-$40. I know it's easier said than done but
take life one day at a time and give yourself more credit than
you are. Good luck.
Taking things slower.
My mother has Medi-Cal and Medicare and suffers from severe
depression. I am desperately looking for a
therapist/counselor/psychiatrist who can help her, but have
difficulty finding anyone who accepts Medi-Cal and/or Medicare.
She has limited income, so we need someone who is at least
partially covered by her insurance, or has a sliding fee scale.
I wish I could afford to send her to the best specialists, but
I'm afraid I cannot. I would greatly appreciate any
recommendations or advice! Thanks!
Christopher Cunningham, MS is an excellent counselor in SF. He
has an office downtown near Montgomery BART and another in West
Portal. I know he uses a sliding pay scale, but I am not sure
whether or not he accepts Medicare/Medi-Cal. He can be reached
Try the Berkeley Therapy Institute, 510-841-8484. I believe the
accept MediCal and MediCare. They also offer a sliding scale for
those without insurance, starting at $35. Their staff includes
psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and interns. I have
been seeing an intern there for therapy and have been delighted
at the quality of care at such a reasonable fee.
I recommend LifeLong Medical Care, which provides both primary
care and mental health services from a number of sites in
Oakland and Berkeley. As a community health center they accept
Medi/Medi, and they have excellent expertise with geriatric
care. At the least they can provide recommendations.
(my employer)is a community health clinic which has a
clinic in Oakland and one in Berkeley which specialize in
geriatrics. We take Medicare & Medi-Cal. Although I am not
familiar with the schedules, I believe that both sites have
psychiatrists (at least part-time) and other folks who can offer
treatment for mental health issues for seniors.
Call 510-704-6010 and ask them for the phone numbers for either
the Over 60 Clinic (on Sacramento) or the Foothill site in
We have a wonderful, dedicated staff who take excellent care of
The very best to you & your mother. Depression is tough on
everyone, not least of all the family members.
Recently moved to the Bay Area, three small children, one
newborn and a husband who travels extensively. I am
overwhelmed and living on a very tight budget. Can anyone
recommend a low cost psychotherapist in Berkeley or Oakland.
Links to some of the recommendations below:
Psychology Clinic at UC Berkeley Berkeley
Women's Therapy Center El Cerrito
I am a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (and a parent) with
an office in North Berkeley. I do offer affordable
psychotherapy. However, there are a few other possibilities
that I would like to share. There are a few Counseling Centers
that offer therapy on a sliding scale. The Women's Therapy
Center in El Cerritto and JFK Counseling Center in Orinda offer
these services. JFK also has groups which can bring down the
cost. If you are interested in going on line to view local
therapists in private practice, you can visit
www.eastbaytherapist.org It has a therapist finder database
which will match your needs to a local therapist. If I may be
of further assistance, please e-mail me at
hillford AT sbcglobal.net or call my office at 301-6166. Good Luck.
Cindy Hill-Ford, MFT
You might try the Women's Therapy Center in El Cerrito - the
number is 510-524-8288
If you can wait until September, try the psychology clinic at UC
Berkeley. Graduate psychology interns work in this low fee
clinic. The interns are being supervised by some of the best
senior therapists in the bay area. Phone number is 642-2055. You
might wamt to try other training clinics for low fee treatment
such as the Wright Institute, California School of Professional
Psychology, or the Women Health Center (I think that is the
name, but I am not sure).
There are low cost psychotherapists available at the Berkeley
Therapy Institute at 510.841.8484 located on MLK, at the Wright
Institute clinic in Berkeley at 510.548.9716,at the Ann Martin
Center in Oakland at 510.655.7880, and at the Women's Therapy
Center in El Cerrito at 510.524.8288.
this page was last updated: Nov 13, 2013
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