Therapists for Children
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Therapists for Children
Where can kid learn internal/emotional regulation?
My daughter, who has been diagnosed with ADHD, has struggled
for years to manage the very big feelings that she
experiences more intensely than most. Now she's 8 and wants
to behave in ways that are more socially acceptable and
attentive to the impact on others, but has a very hard time
regulating her irritability and anger -- that is, it just
bursts out of her in the form of excessive rudeness toward
others (which we do discipline but it continues). At other
times she can express that she actually wishes she could not
act that way. She's been in play therapy, but I think she
would benefit from some sort of CLASS OR THERAPY that would
actually teach her self-regulation. Yoga and meditation
have helped me with this as an adult, but I want something
really targeted for her. She quit karate after a couple
lessons, so I don't think martial arts of that type will
work. We'd love to hear other ideas for specific classes or
I highly recommend Communication Works. From their website at
''The Center at Communication Works (CW) provides a variety of
comprehensive services including evaluations; consultation; and
intervention for speech, language, occupational, self-regulation, and
sensory processing challenges for people of all ages.''
I have a daughter with ADHD who has trouble with social integrations,
self regulation, social anxieties, some sensory issues. She is highly
sensitive and, as a consequence, is overly reactive. She is in a small
group therapy with 2 other same age girls. She likes going there as the
teaching approach is playful, and the group is very well mixed.
They pay a lot of attention to the combination of the groups, and the
therapists are very in tune with the kids and the parents. We receive a
wrap up after each session, and home work. It is not a quick fix, but it
is a great resource for us. It is located in Oakland, 3 min. off 580 exit
Keller Ave. Well worth my weekly drive from North Berkeley.
Hope you will find the right help for your child.
You are looking for Mar Rem Remington. She is a therapist who specializes
in kids who she calls ''wired differently''. She was also a special ed
teacher for many years before this. Our daughter has grown and changed a
lot in the last year of working with Mar Rem. She not only works with your
child, but she will work with you, too, since parenting kids with these
challenges requires some different strategies. She also does school
observations and consultations. We worked with 2 other therapists before
this, but Mar Rem really knows how to help kids like this.
Her office is in Berkeley. 510-835-4357.
My daughter has benefitted greatly from being in Devin Berry's mindfulness
and meditation group for 5-7 year-
olds. I'm not sure if he does one for older kids or whether private
lessons would be an option. As a clinical psychologist who thinks about
emotion regulation issues I would say that, from what you describe, some
one-on-one sessions would be really beneficial.
You can read more about him here:
He's just a very nice guy, warm, calm but energetic, knowledgeable and
seems really interested in making it fun and engaging for kids. We're big
His phone number is 510-501-0201 and his email address is
Communication Works in Oakland offers emotional regulation
therapy and groups. http://www.cwtherapy.com/index.html
Child therapist for aftermath of brain tumor
My 8 year old son had a non-malignant but very consequential brain tumor
removed a few months ago. He is still recovering and doing ok medically
but is faced with many losses of his former life and former good health.
Does anyone have a recommendation for an experienced child therapist who
could help him grieve his losses and cope with the continued challenges of
his new life? Someone in the Berkeley area would be most convenient.
I highly recommend Dr. Lester Isenstadt for your child with
the aftermath of a brain tumor. Dr. Isenstadt is a
Psychiatrist with 30+ years experience and interest in brain
chemistry, AND he does his own therapy directly with his
patients. His bredth of knowledge about brain function and
development was very helpful for our daughter, and we still
consult with Dr. Isenstadt whenever we see other
professionals (ex: Kaiser) to get a trusted 2nd opinion. We
first discovered him because we saw a child start to thrive
who had been highly depressed and anxious and asked the
parents what was helping their child. We have found Dr.
Isenstadt's insight, vision, compassion, and effective
treatment over a 5 year period to be invaluable. Further, he
always found gracious ways to move us forward on decisions
affecting our child even though my husband and I often
disagreed about things like need for medication.
Wishing you all the best
Therapist for 9yo girl w/newish phobias, anxiety
Our nine year old is struggling w/a few phobias, social anxiety and
hates being touched or too close to people outside of the immediate
Any recommendations would be appreciated. We're in Berkeley.
There is a program that is highly regarded that has a children's version.
Lots of local hospitals hold the course but they also have home
workbooks/cds for those who can't attend the course on site.
Kaiser holds the courses, I think in Vallejo and you don't need to be a
member to sign up.
Here is the link and there is a number at the bottom of the page that may
know the local classes for kids. Where and when they are.
My recommendation for a sensitive, intuitive therapist is Christine
Bartlett, PT, CHT, whose specialty is helping people with phobias through
hypnotherapy and other modalities. She can be reached at 510-418-1940;
her e-mail is ChristineBartlettLight@gmail.com. Best of luck!
Psychotherapists for children
Strongly considering bringing in my 7, 5 and 4 y.o kids to
the KP child psych ''intake'' process to get started with a
Have you been through it? Do you recommend it?
What should I look out for?
Did it help?
Thank you, sincerely.
While I'm not familiar with the intake process per se, I can
highly recommend a psychotherapist on staff at Oakland
Kaiser. Mary Haake (sp?) has helped a neighbor's child
Pediatric CBT therapist in Albany w insurance
I have a 12 year old who has always been prone to depression
and anxiety and now with puberty setting in, the
irritability and moodiness is paralyzing to her and our
family. We are all living in fear of her mood and
disapproval, which is crazy! She is already on small amount
of meds but her doctor suggested CBT for her and possibly
later for her and her siblings and/or me together.
Here is the catch - I am a single mom and work full time but
i have a generous PPO. I would like for her to be able to go
by herself once a week after school. So I need a female
therapist in Albany who takes insurance. If you know of such
a therapist, please let me know.
very worried mom
I highly recommend Anne Marshall. She's warm, compassionate,
supportive, funny, and she gives real-world, practical
advice so that you come out of a session with a sense of
what you need to do to tackle your issues. Not a straight-up
CBT approach, as far as I know, but she's very good at
helping her patients take concrete steps in the here and
now. I saw her as an adult, but I think she would be a good
fit for preteens and teens as well. Last I checked, she had
an office in Albany (midway down Solano) and took insurance.
7yo is having serious problems at school
can anyone refer a good child psychologist who deals with kids. My son
who is diagnosed with asd (autism spectrum disorder) is about to be 7
years old. He is having serious problems at school. He is verbal but
acts out with violence at times. The school suggested a psychologist. If
anyone has any references, i would really like some referrals or
suggestions. Thank you.
I highly recommend Alison Ehara-Brown. She is a well known and
respected therapist who uses all the great modalities including sand
tray, etc. Her office is on Solano in Berkeley. She worked with my
daughter as she transitioned into a new school and was suddenly
confronted with ''girl drama''. She is now working with my son who is a
constant target for bullying. She is kind and knowledgeable and my kids
I am looking for a therapist, who is trained in play and/or sand
art therapy for my 5 year old.
It would be very helpful if the therapist was a part of
MHN/HealthNet, but not absolutely necessary.
Thank you in advance.
Try Dr. Philip Gross in Albany or Berkeley (on Marin). My
child similar in age to yours is doing well with him. I don't
know whether he does sand art or not.
Our son is almost 4 years old... extremely busy and bright and
as he gets older, extremely challenging. Lately he's been
having such extremes of behavior and is not responsive to the
usual modification tactics. We have seen the pediatrician and
tried different strategies (positive reinforcement, time out,
etc.) to no avail. We're all out of our mind - knowing that
what we're doing now isn't working. We need help from someone
outside our network. We seek recommendations for MFT, MFCC,
other types of therapists, etc. that can help us develop
short/long term strategies to effectively navigate the
discipline/parenting issues that we expect will continue to
present themselves throughout our son's life living with us.
We are a bi-racial couple living in Oakland Dimond/Fruitvale
area, seeking someone close to home.
I highly recommend Debbie Essex for both individual and family
counseling. I have two very, very bright children who are now in
5th and 7th grades. We have a very strong family unit and there's
no question that each of us is happy overall. But I do believe
that intelligent children present challenges that at times make
you feel like you're at your wits end and at other times make you
worry that you may not be doing the right thing. I had sought
advice from another counselor before seeing Debbie and her
theories of birth canal trauma and her recommendation for whole
family therapy just didn't sit well with us. Debbie Essex is
different. She has a generosity of spirit that works so well for
her chosen profession. She listens intently, and can talk to kids
in a way that they respond to quite naturally. Whenever I have
lingering concerns over parenting issues, Debbie can either put my
mind at ease or identify behavior as cause for concern. I have
even turned to her for personal advice regarding the depression of someone very close to
me, as well as what to do about the physical behavior of a parent
on my son's soccer team. I recommended her to one of my closest
friends at the birth of her baby for her adopted son's sense of
security. I am confident that her experience as a therapist will
not just help you, but that you will feel more secure as a parent
because you see her. Here's her info:
Deborah Essex, MFT
2931 Shattuck Avenue, #101E
Berkeley, CA 94705
Our 9 year old daughter is having trouble managing her emotions,
anger and frustration. We're at a loss as to how to handle the
situation and have decided that we need to seek therapy. Does
anyone have any recommendations?
The nonprofit agency I work for, JFCS/East Bay, has an amazing team of therapists
with particular expertise in early childhood and grade school-aged kids. I highly
recommend them and definitely think that your daughter would be well-served. I know
it sounds biased, but they really are wonderful--so much so that when we had a
crisis at my son's preschool, I asked one of my co-workers to come in and give a
presentation for parents and teachers about the specific issues we were dealing
with. The main office is conveniently located in downtown Berkeley. If you're
interested, please call (510) 704-7475, ext. 700, which is the intake extension.
All the best,
I am looking for an experienced child therapist for my 4 year old child that
would help him to control agressive behaivors and anxiety. We have Alameda
Aliance for Health (medi-cal)
My five year old and I LOVE Dr. Joan Lovett. She is a developmental pediatrician with
lots of experience working with kids who have agression and anxiety issues. She is
wonderful with my daughter, and she was very accurate with her diagnosis and parenting
techniques. I don't know what types of insurance she accepts, but she's definitely
worth the money! She's located near Solano Ave in Berkeley. Her number is 510-524-0488
On the Way to Happy Parenthood
My nine-year-old son has a lot of anxiety and insecurity and
we're looking for a therapist who could help. Does anyone have
a recent referral? Either a man or a woman therapist
would be fine. We're eager to help our son. Thank you.
My son went to Sara Grunstein for awhile for anxieties and she is great. Very
experienced with children and their development, very loving and relaxed. Also
very good at helping parents to understand the different phases of development and
how to help your child through it.
She's located by Andronicos on Telegraph.
I highly recommend Jason Brand, a therapist who has an office near 4th street in
Berkeley (and I think he also has an office in SF). Jason worked with our 10 year
old son. He's on the younger side, so he connects well with kids. Our son was
anxious about ''seeing someone'' but Jason put him at ease right away. He
specializes in technology-related issues with families (families with issues about
video games, cell phone, or internet ) but we went to get help about our son's
social anxiety issues. His approach was very helpful to my son and also for us as
parents. I highly recommend him for family therapy and for child therapy. His
number is (510) 488-3093. Good luck!
Can anyone recommend a therapist (psychlogist? family therapist?
psychiatrist? not even sure what kind....) for a 9 year old who
seems to be chronically depressed (unhappy, angry, self-hating,
explosive all the time)? We are Kaiser members, so would be
interested in recommendations there, but are not averse to going
the private route for the right person.
My 7 years old have been going to DR. Martinez in Berkeley. She does
cognitive therapy. My son is doing much better after just 6 sections
although his problem was anxiety and panic attacks. Her phone number is
(510)652-4455 x14. She is in Oakland on College Av. She does not accept
insurance or it is ship, but work.
I have a 9-year old step-daughter who lives with my husband and me 50%
of the time. My husband and I have been together since my
step-daughter was 5 and ever since then (and before I was ever in the
picture - hence the separation) her mother's irrational and
manipulative behavior has become more and more extreme. My
step-daughter's mother and my husband were never married and together
until she was 1.
My step-daughter is (understandably) very loyal to her mother even
though she is beginning to verbally question her mother's behavior (to
me, not to her mother or father). I am concerned. She is learning
from her mother that it is okay to get what you want through anger,
yelling, manipulative and controlling behavior. She does not 'test'
her mother because she is afraid of her mother's reaction and of
''making her mad'' (her father and I have made a CPS report in the
past). When she is with us she is testing testing 1,2,3,4. As of late
the lying has reached new proportions and has, to the mother in me,
become more frustrating and upsetting. However, the therapist in me
can chalk some (certainly not all) of it up to the fact that she is
testing us because she trusts us.
I think that it would be in her best interest to have someone to talk
to separate from and in addition to my husband and me. I am a
therapist (but am not very familiar with others in this area). I see a
lot of Borderline features in her mother and am seeing more and more
troubling patterns of behavior in my step-daughter (lying,
manipulating, playing the victim) that are beyond what I would consider
'normal' for her age group. As she has gotten older, I have become
more concerned. We would like to work with someone who is familiar and
comfortable with these issues (separation of parents, Borderline
personality disorder, 'blended' families). We are in the Berkeley
Thanks so much!
Bobbie Schear, 655-7240, is a very insightful therapist who understands
plenty about kids, and she's very compassionate and passionate about
kids. She uses sandtray therapy (all kinds of sand, all kinds of objects
to deal with). She also works with kids who are have a difficult time
communicating, and she often will cook with them. (The child usually
decides what they will cook together, and she'll talk with them through
the safety of cooking a recipe.) she's also very smart, and I believe she
has a PhD, so she's familiar w/ standard diagnoses, and I know she's
dealt w/ a wide variety of problems with kids (and adults as well). I
don't know for sure what networks she's on, but I know she was on MHN, so
may be available through others as well.
My step-son had great success with Dr. Lisa Lancaster (in Berkeley
510-841-2525). We were dealing with what sounds like some similar issues
with him and his mother. Dr. Lancaster was excellent and I would
recommend her without reservation.
Hope she can help you too.
Our 5yr old is a loving empathetic child. However, he will fly into a rage
occasionally...not a ''i'm angry leave me alone'' fit, but a real rage. These fits
have been happening more and more in the last 3-months. They seem connected somehow
to our business travel...one of us is always with them, but when the other gets
In these moments, which can be triggered by something as petty as asking him to get
dressed, or pouring too much in milk in his cereal, there is no talking, consoling or
anything that seems to help until his rage subsides. He remembers exactly what he did
and said during these moments, is remorseful, but apparently cannot keep himself from
falling into this fit.
Other pieces of that we're not sure fit into any answer to our son's issue is that he
is always misplacing things, toys, etc..., he's clumsy...running into people and
things. I'd like to say he doesn't listen ... that he's distracted, but it really
seems like he just chooses to ignore.
I absolutely recommend that you contact the agency I work for,
JFCS/East Bay in Berkeley. We have an amazing team of early childhood
experts who will help you understand and sort through the developmental
issues your son is dealing with right now. In addition to parent-child
therapy, they also offer individual play therapy for kids, which could
help your son directly deal with some of his behaviors. The therapists
are all loving, empathetic, and extremely dedicated to helping young
kids. While the agency is inspired by Jewish values, the services are
open to people of all backgrounds and ethnicities. Call (510) 704-7475
x299 for Valerie Rosenfield, who does the initial intake. Find out more
at www.jfcs-eastbay.org. All the best,
I'm adopting my six-year-old great niece who, along with her three younger
siblings, was removed from her parents in Washington by CPS a year ago.
Her parents are drug addicts with little hope of recovery, and she hasn't
seen either parent for over a year. She's adjusted extremely well to
living with me, my husband, and 12 year old son , but grieves deeply for
her ''mommy'' and her siblings. She has a lot to work through and is
angry and sad. Her kindergarten teacher (and I agree) that she would
benefit greatly from working with a specialist in play therapy. She's
back to wetting herself at school and regularly sobs to her teacher about
missing her family. Can anyone kindly recommend an effective therapist
for a six year old? The therapist must be a woman because she has some
issues with males that we don't yet understand. I would be very grateful
to receive recommendations for therapist in the East Bay, along with an
explanation of why you find this person effective. Thank you.
We had terrific results with a play therapist about 6 years ago.
She worked with my then-4 year old who was tantruming frequently
(and had lots of other things going on, which we also started to
We saw her in Berkeley, but she also had an office in SF.
Jane Rubin, PhD
2434 Milvia Street Berkeley, CA 94704-1918
- Happy play therapist client
I recommend Sara Brose. My daughter has been seeing her for over a year now and
loves ''sara days''. She has a great office with a doll house, sand tray and a lot
I think she actually specializes in working with children that have experienced
loss. (My daughter's father died suddenly when she was two. She is 6 now)
I also find it helpful for me because Sara makes sure to keep me abreast of whats
happening in their sessions and helps me understand how to be a better parent for
Her office is on Howe street in Oakland right down the street from Kaiser Oakland.
You can reach her at 985.2909
I have a very ''spirited'' 4 3/4 year old boy and am looking for
a therapist who can help us determine what's going on with him;
whether its just behavioral/developmental or something else. He
is a very bright, loving, dynamic, cool kid but he has problems
with aggression, anger, short attention span and high level of
frustration, very intense and volatile emotions, difficulty with
transitions, energy level and mood swings etc etc. His issues
are overwhelming us right now and my husband and I are getting
really stressed out and probably making things worse at this
point. Nothing we do seems to help. We are walking on eggshells,
never know when a huge explosive tantrum will hit. We have had a
very hard time finding anyone who will even return our phone
calls, let alone knowing where to start and what kind of
therapist to go to. We would like to find someone who can do
some sort of assessment of him and guide us in finding ways to
help him interact more smoothly in the world. Can anyone
recommend an occupational therapist or someone who specializes
in young children (our insurance is Pacificare...)???? Are there
any support groups out there?
Our experience with Susan Campordonico, OT, at Alta Bates/Herrick
Campus (on Dwight Way in Berkeley) has been positive and helpful
for our now 6 yr. old, (510) 204-4599. Also Dr. Brad Berman, our
developmental pediatrician in Walnut Creek (925) 279-3480. It
takes a very long time to get in to see him, so you might ask
your pediatrician to refer you. Don't know about your specific
insurance. Good luck.
Please contact Dr. Denkla in Maryland, head of Pediatric
Behavioralist program for John Hopkins University hospital. I
have been to her lectures, and she is the top on her field.
Please look for her in the internet, contact her and ask for a
recommendation from her office here in California. She is your
best bet to solve your issues.
I have certainly been there! Ours was with our daughter though. You need to pick up the book ''The Bipolor Child'' by Paolos & Paolos. Just to see if some of the symtoms fit, and possible suggestions to at least help you deal with the flare ups/ explosions before you finish losing your mind! We went to Dr. Alderman at Richmond Kaiser - he is absolutely awesome! He was never quick to diagnose, but also gave us tools neccessary to help us deal with difficult explosions that would come out of nowhere. I totally understand the whole ''walking on eggshells'' household. It is very scary when you realize how much control all the sudden your 4-5 yr old child has over the entire household. Since seeing Dr. Alderman, and reading the book, it has helped Tremendously! Our daughter is now the loving child we always knew she had inside her. Even though we still experience a flare up now and then, we now know how to handle it better and our house is so much more peaceful and loving. And th!
e stress has cut down unbelievable
We too had the experience of not even getting callbacks when
looking for a therapist for our son. We eventually did get one
call back and when we starting seeing him, we asked him what
prompted hin to call when he was obviously quite busy? He told
us that it was because we mentioned our pediatrician's name. So
if you have not already done so, ask your pediatrician who they
know that are pychiatrists or psychologists. You also mentioned
O.T. That is a very good avenue to pursue, which I have only
recently leaned about. It may be easier to get insurance
coverage at this point, particularly if you can identify any kind
of motor challenges your son has - does he excel at Legoes or
avoid them. If he avoids them or some other activity that
children his age generally are drawn towards, such as coloring,
or puzzles, then that is a red flag. Lastly talk to your School
District. I was astounded to learn recently that school
districts are providing services to children as young as 3. I
wish you well.
I'm looking for a child psychiatrist in the East Bay
(preferably Berkeley/Oakland) who also does therapy with young
children. My 5-yo son has explosive behavior (meltdowns,
aggression, screaming, general defiance) and a genetic
propensity for bipolar disorder. We are specifically not
looking for a psychologist or other non-medical therapist, but
for an M.D. who can also prescribe medication.
I've gotten recommendations for Lester Isenstadt, Paul Abrinko
and Madeline Lansky, but didn't see anything about them in the
archives. Our preference is to avoid medication if possible,
and to approach treatment mainly through therapy.
Thanks in advance for any feedback on these M.D.s or any other
Need to find help
Dr. Paul Abrinko is wonderful. Worth the time and money.
If you are looking to avoid medication, then your best bet is
to find a good cognitive behavioral psychologist. Psychiatrists
are not typically trained to do behavior therapy. Contact the
San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy. There is
an excellent psychologist there who works specifically with
I am looking for a developmental psychologist/pediatrician or
therapist to evaluate and treat my son, who is showing signs of
OCD and other anxiety problems, as well as angry outbursts when
he doesn't get his way. He is taking Ritalin for ADD (attention-
type) and sees Dr. Landman in Orinda. While I think the Ritalin
is helping him with the attention problem, his anxiety is
creating almost daily problems now, and Dr. Landman always seems
rushed and unsympathetic to anything more than a cursory
discussion of his problems when he sees him. We would
especially like names of therapists in the East Bay.
I've heard excellent things about Michael Tompkins in Rockridge
652 4455...and have personally used another doc in that
practice, years ago, she's no longer there, but the practice, in
general iis excellent. My friend's son was treated for OCD with
Dr. Stephen Walrod
is an excellent, supportive and insightful
therapist who is helping my 7-year old son with anxiety and
anger issues. Across from Lake Merritt on Grand Ave. 444-4068.
Good Luck. Also try reading ''Transforming the Difficult Child''
My wonderful seven year old son is extremely emotional, extremely
sensitive, and for unknown reasons has been having a tough time
this year. Acting out, breaking rules, upset a lot. Over the
last several months he began regressing, having potty accidents,
breaking things, etc. We tried one therapist but she was in El
Cerrito and we live in Oakland so with her limited appointments
it was very difficult to make the schedules work. I read all the
posting but havent found a match. Any suggestions for
Oakland/Berkeley child therapist with experience in these areas?
I have tried everything and am running out of ideas on how to
My wife and i would recommend
Ann Martin Center in
Oakland/Piedmont border area (1250 Grand Avenue). They do
excellent individual and group child centered therapy. My son
went there and we were very pleased with the work that they did.
Help for 3.5 year old's social issues
We are looking for a child psychologist or other professional to
help our 3.5-year old with some social issues. Ideally the
Dr./LCSW would observe our son at school and then have some
sessions. Our son is having difficulty making friends, and
understanding how to approach individual kids and groups of
kids-and does so inappropriately - growling, screaming, etc. We
are not interested in a psychiatrist (or medication) as a
solution, but a psychologist/professional that treats and (maybe
specializes in kids)this young. Thanks so much for any referrals
that can be provided.
ry Jill Shugart, 510-528-0309, offices in N. Berkeley and
Walnut Creek. She's a therapist that specializes with children.
She also has been a preschool director for years. It's hard to
find somebody who knows little ones.
We went to a woman when we were having problems with our son
hitting. She is not a psychologist (as far as I know). But,
she is an expert on (as the person who recommended her put
it) ''normal kids with behavorial issues.'' We found her very
helpful. Her name is Meg Zweibeck and she's in Oakland. Her e-
mail is email@example.com
Best of luck to you!
I'm responding to the two recent posts seeking
therapy/counseling for children (I think the requests were from
parents of a 4 year old and an 8 year old). I know of a great
therapist in Albany who works with kids and families, and who
has specialized in working with younger children (preschool and
elementary grades) and with adolescent girls.
Monica Frame, LCSW (510-504-8168) works with the family and with
the school (if appropriate), and I think that parents feel
respected and included in the process. Her advice to parents is
very practical and she is really patient/kind with kids.
I would like to recommend Monica Frame, Licensed Clinical Social
Worker to anyone who needs an expert in psychotherapy for
children, adults and families. She is available for school
consultations. Her manner is professional and warm and her
advice is excellent and always very helpful. She can be reached
A preschool program director
Frustrated, discouraged and scared from trying--without much
progress--to work out behavior issues with one of my children, I
need professional help. We have mental health coverage through
our insurance, Pacificare. I've reviewed the archives and have
found that none of the recommended therapists are listed with
Pacificare. Am I delusional to think that I can find a ''good''
therapist who will accept my insurance? Can anyone make a
recommendation for such a therapist or help me navigate this
unfamiliar road? Many thanks, in advance, for any advice you
I don't have the same health insurance you have so I do not know
if they are part of your plan, but I have been taking my child
to see Dr. Philip Gross. My son loves him and looks forward to
our visits. While my son is seeing him, my husband and I meet
with his wife, Miriam, a licensed clinical social worker. Their
team work is very good and we feel we are making progress in
dealing with our son's behavior, which had making us crazy.
been there, tried this.
Preschooler who may have Oppositional Defiant Disorder
Can anyone recommend a child psychologist who works with
preschool age children? My son may have Oppositional Defiant
Disorder, so we are trying to find someone who can work with us
to confirm diagnosis and plan treatment. We have called a
number of folks in the area already, but they no longer take
preschool-age children (VERY frustrating!) Any information
would be extremely helpful.
I recommend Dr. Elea Bernou. She does very thorough child
assessments, including neuropsych, cognitive, learning, and
psychological issues. She is also great with kids and thoughtful
in her recommendations and feedback. If money is an issue she
supervises some interns who do assessments at a lower fee. phone
Diane Ehrensaft (near Childrens Fairyland in Oakland) is
excellent with young boys. We were reluctant to take our son to
therapy when he was 7 years old. But he was miserable, angry,
and a roller coaster of emotions with no apparent source.
School and knowledgeable parents all separately recommended
Diane. She was and is wonderful. Diane was not quick to
diagnose, did not assume it was environmental (it was not), and
was not quick to recommend medication. She has been invaluable
in the parent conferences and with our son's school. She also
is practical and a straight shooter, and genuinely cares about
our son. He still sees her at age 10,and we feel extremely
lucky to have her in his life.
Diane is usually booked up, but if you're flexible you could get
lucky. Her number is 547-4147.
If you need a psychologist (vs. a child therapist) I know of two places
which do psychological assessments and treatment
West Coast Children's Center in El Cerrito (510) 527-7249,
Ann Martin Children's Center (510) 655-7880 in Oakland.
As they work specifically with children, I am assuming they will
assess and treat preschool aged children.
If, after the assessment, you are in need of an experienced
play therapist who enjoys working with
preschoolers, I'd be happy to talk with you.
I wish you much luck in finding help for your child and family.
If you're suspecting Oppositional Defiant Disorder in a
preschool age son, then you must be experiencing some
very troubling behavior -- I'm sorry. I assume his behavior
is pretty unusual, and I think you're right to be careful about
confirming the diagnosis and planning interventions.
It's hard for me to be specific without knowing more, but in
general I have to say that I can't think of a child psychologist
to recommend. We've had experiences with several
psychologists, because we have two children who needed
diagnosis and treatment as preschoolers. Networking with
other parents of high-needs kids, I've also heard of other
therapists. The psychologists we went to looked at the
problems psychologically and tried to find explanations in
the child's past experiences, family dynamics, etc. The
solutions they proposed were a kind of good, conventional
wisdom -- which is fine if you have a conventional child. In
our case(s), there were biological factors that the
psychologists were not prepared to diagnose accurately,
and the conventional wisdom failed because the children's
neurological makeup did not allow them to respond
conventionally. In fact, the conventional wisdom was
counter-productive and the failure to diagnose correctly
meant that we did not get effective help for the children in the
early years when interventions are most effective.
My recommendation is to seek a neuropsychological
assessment. A neuropsychologist will take a thorough look
at psychological and biological factors. Often behavior
issues are rooted in or complicated by biologically-based
conditions, as with our child's aggression and
oppositionality. A good place to start is the department of
Neuropsychology Assessment at Children's Hospital
Oakland. There are other recommendations on the
website. How has your pediatrician responded? I had to
reveal a lot of embarrassing detail to get our pediatrician's
attention, but once I did she saw the seriousness of the
issue and was very helpful with referrals and explaining the
process. A neuropsych assessment is more expensive
than a few visits to a psychologist, but our insurance
covered most of it with the doctor's referral. Most important,
an assessment is cheaper than years of unhelpful
psychotherapy and can lead to great progress.
A sympathetic mom
I am interested in finding help for my 4-year-old son. He is a
bright, happy child when he is in familiar and comfortable
situations. He plays well with other children one-on-one, but
when faced with new situations, especially those involving groups
of kids, he is unable to handle it. Typically, he withdraws and
eventually has a meltdown involving screaming and crying - this
occurs even if he is left alone to merely observe activities.
I've tried gradual preparation for these situations, but that has
had little effect in helping with his reaction to the situation.
As a new school year approaches, I am becoming increasingly
concerned about introducing him into a new preschool environment,
even though the class has only 12 children and a calm, low-key
environment. I am uncertain what kind of therapist could work
with us to help him with this.
Any recommendations would be helpful.
I would highly recommend Dr Philip Gross and his wife, Miriam
Gross, who is a LCSW. They work together - your son would meet
with Dr. Gross and during their session you would meet with
Miriam. Miriam works with the parents on ways to handle
different situations, and is most helpful. They are really
wonderful and have been very helpful to us -- our son has a
similar situation as you describe. Dr. Gross is in Albany, on
One suggestion would be to try taking a workshop at
Place on Preparing for Preschool. The class meets for two
evenings in July, led by Susan Byrd (a licensed clinical social
worker at Parents Place in Marin). The workshop will cover
preparing yourself and your child for the social experience of
preschool and you can get the advice and support of a therapist
for only $15 a session. If you need more help or a one to one
consultation, you could follow up with her or one of the other
clinicians/therapists at Parents Place but this is a relatively
inexpensive way to see whether or not a therapist is the
answer. Please feel free to call me if you have any questions
at 510 433-2959...I'm the Parent Education Coordinator for
Parents Place in Marin. You can also see the workshops/classes
online at ParentsPlaceOnline.org or call them at 415 491-7959.
Michael Y. Simon, MFT
Can anyone recommend a child therapist to help us foster
emotional/social growth in a preschooler with a 'communication
handicap'? Barbara Kalmanson is not accepting new patients.
Has anyone worked with Peter August or Rebecca Schwartz? We're
thinking a 'floortime approach' would be most appropriate but
are open to other alternatives.
We know of an excellent ''floortime specialist'' who trained with
Stanley Greenspan. She can work with your child in your home
and also train family members to foster communication through a
relational approach. Please call me for details about Ilene
My therapist, Dr. Margaret Dodson, on Solano Ave., often sees
children. I haven't taken my child to her, but she has such a
kind, gentle manner and a great sense of humor, that it seems
like it would be worth checking her out. Her number is 510/526-0474.
I'm looking for someone who can work with an almost-5-year-old
with issues of self-control, focus, tantrums, alone and/or
with me, especially to build social skills for attendance
at public kindergarten next fall. She is a high-energy and
not super verbal child, so a play/art/physically oriented
approach would probably work best. Or, if you know of
someone not on the above list, please let me know; I'd
be willing to spend my own $$ to work with someone really
great. Thanks in advance.
Two child therapists that I would highly recommend are:
Hope Dean, LCSW on Carelton St. in Berkeley at 510-649-1144
Linda Cozzarelli, LCSW on College in Oakland at 510-428-9050
They are both seasoned therapists who specialize in working with children
and (it's almost a given!) do play therapy. Good luck!
Our 7-year-old daughter is prone to severe tantrums and shows signs of
obssessive-compulsive disorder. So far, we have met with a therapist
at Ann Martin Children's Center in Oakland and have not been impressed
- we can't get answers to questions like, "Have you dealt with a child
like this before? What kinds of therapies and theories do you believe
in?" It seems as if the Ann Martin Children's Center is more for
troubled, abused children or children with learning disabilities. My
daughter is more "explosive" (many thanks to those of you who
recommended Ross Greene's wonderful "The Explosive Child" - describes
her exactly!) and seems completely out of control during a
tantrum. Does anyone have (1) experiences to share - good or bad -
about using the Ann Martin Children's Center for counseling;(2)
recommendations for a good therapist to deal with such problems? Many,
I highly recommend child psychologist Hilde Clarke, 420-1866, who
works with children of all ages and their parents. She is very
compassionate and bright, and really works with families to find
creative solutions to the challenges they are facing. If she doesn't
feel she can help she would probably have a good referral for you. She
is located on Howe Street in Oakland.
I also have an explosive (I prefer to refer to it as "falling apart" since explosive sounds violent to
me which is misleading) 7 year old who suffers from Tourette Syndrome as well as milder forms
of OCD and Hyperactive Disorder. After flailing around with various doctors (we also called but
decided aginst trying Ann Martin as we also felt they didn't understand these syndromes very
well) we finally feel we are making progress with
Dr. Thomas Lowe
in San Francisco. We weren't
crazy about going into the city, but he is so knowledgable in this area that for us it has been well
worth it. His specialty is Tourette, but since this syndrome is so often linked with OCD, he also is
well-informed in this area also. My daughter likes him. He's very compassionate about what
both parents and child have to endure with these disorders. And his treatment approach is
practical. He runs the Tourette's and Tic Disorders Clinic at UCSF Medical Center. The bad
news is there is a long waiting list (we waited 7 months to start seeing him). But my first call
(you leave a message) resulted in a personal lengthy call from him one evening in which he
really took the time to understand our situation. So it may be worth a call, if just to talk with
him and get some advice or perhaps a more local referral. His number is (415) 476-7213. Please
feel free to e-mail or call me if you want to talk further about just living with this situation. I
know how stressful it can be. Good luck. Cathy
Have you received a complete psycho-educational assessment of your daughter? I can't recommend
this strongly enough, as it would help target appropriate interventions given her particular cognitive
makeup (strengths and weaknesses). Going directly into individual therapy without some sound
data on your hands (esp. for someone so young) and a framework for building an appropriate
educational and emotional support network for your daughter can be a rather ambiguous venture.
Can anybody recommend a therapist/child psychologist who works with
preschoolers (my son is just turning 5)? He has tantrums, has trouble with
transitions and controlling his temper and it's causing some problems at
school that we'd like to nip in the bud.
I love doctor Judith Isackson. She is on Solano Ave. I am not sure if she
is on the Albany or Berkeley side. She has seen many of the kids I work
with (I am a pre-school teacher) and she has been wonderful to work with.
I highly recommend Dr. Fortunee Kayra-Stuart located both in Berkeley on
9th Street (near the West Side Cafe) and in Walnut Creek. My child has been
seeing Dr. Stuart for the last 4 months for similar issues that you
mentioned and we
have found her help to be incredible. We have Health Net so we had to go
the magic UC Mangaged Care phone number, but it's worth the $20 co-pay. Dr
Stuart's # is 510-549-0181.
Re: Therapist for a child
We have been very happy with Jennifer Freeman. Her office is at 5th Street
and Cedar, and her phone number is 526-2336.
Two excellent child therapists are:
Hope Dean (510) 649-1144
Peter August (510) 273-9568
Both are professional, experienced, knowledgeable and reassuring. They
can help you understand and deal with children's upsetting feelings and
Re: therapist for a child
For almost a year our 9-year-old has been attending a weekly four-child
play group run by Toby Hendon (in Albany, 869-4534). It's been very good
for his social skills, communication skills, and emotional stability.
Toby's perceptive, gentle, intelligent, and effective; I'd recommend her
for just about any child. John
Re: therapist for a child
I am familiar with a very fine MFCC (marriage, family, child counselor)
therapist who practices in Oakland. He has specialized in working with
young children for many years. His approach is holistic and includes both
play therapy and use of a sand tray.
His name is Skip Roache and he can be reached at (510) 845-4441. If you
leave a message for him be sure to leave a phone number and let him know the
best times to call you back.
Whether you contact Skip or not, I think it would be a good idea to have
your child assessed.
For the person seeking a child psychologist: I recently consulted with
Dr. Seligman, a child psych with a heavy psychoanalytic background.
He was terrific in helping me learn about separation issues for my
infant daughter. Very practical, down to earth. I recommend him
highly. His number is 415 567 6369.
Re: Adolescent counseling
You might try the Ann Martin Children's Center,
Oakland in Piedmont.
They are located at 1250 Grand Ave. 655-7880.
Berkeley Youth Alternatives.
Re: Therapist for adolescent
I would reccommend Michael Simon, a therapist in the Rockridge area of
Oakland. He is an Marriage Family and Child Intern (so he's less expensive
than a licensed therapist who doesn't work with a supervisor) and does a lot
of good work with children and parents. He's given workshops and lectures
at family service agencies in the area, too, on working with kids and
parents. You can reach him 510 433-2959. Myriam
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