Grief & Loss: Support Groups & Therapists
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Grief & Loss: Support Groups & Therapists
Death or Illness of a Child
Good friends of mine lost their toddler suddenly last year and,
understandably, they are still having a very difficult time coping with
their daily lives. I think they are covered with therapy in general,
but I don't think they have found a support group for people who have
been through something similar. Could anyone recommend a support group
or resource in SF or East Bay for parents who lost a young child.
Thank you. Concerned Friend
The organization ''Compassionate Friends'' offers support
groups for parents whose child has died. I hope this is of
help to your friends.
My 27 year old daughter passed away suddenly in March 2003. I was absolutely
devastated but found the Compassionate Friends Organization to be very
helpful. They are a non-profit, self-
help support organization for families who are grieving the death of a child,
of any age, from any cause.
There are no dues or fees and all bereaved family members are welcome. There
are chapters in Oakland, Walnut Creek, San Leandro, San Francisco, etc. As
these families have gone through a similar experience they understand your
pain. I cannot recommend them highly enough. B.
There are many resources from the organization HAND (Help After
Neonatal Death). See their website
I am so sorry to hear about your friends' loss of a child. Circle of
Care, a program of the East Bay Agency for Children, in Oakland,
provides ongoing grief support groups for parents/families who have lost
a spouse or a child. Groups meet twice monthly on a Wednesday or
Thursday night, depending on the openings. There are groups for kids,
aged 3-17, and groups for adults that all meet simultaneously, so
everyone in a family can receive support from their peers. I coordinate
this program and would be happy to talk to you and/or your friends about
the program. 510-531-7551
My husband blames me for
him feeling so depressed and then blames me for not wanting to
be more intimate or affectionate after he has totally isolated
me. We have recently suffered a horrific loss in our family
(one our children) and since that loss I have done nothing but
try to comfort him and myself. With that kind grief I
understand wanting to blame everyone, but when it starts to be
feel really abusive and mean spirited and directive, i think it
has gone too far. I don't want to be treated like this on top
of all that we have been through there must be better ways to
cope. He is now turning to meds and alcohol as a source of
comfort and like many people said going into kind of a ''man
cave'' where we spend little time together and never asks me how
i am doing or noticing when I am having a really hard time. It
is like what i am going through is not happening. I feel so
lonely and isolated that I am deciding weather spending time
out of our home (separation) would be best thing for my own
First I want to send my condolences on the death of your child. I
have experience that might be helpful to you, but don't feel
comfortable broadcasting it on such a wide audience. Please feel
free to contact me directly.
Compassionate friends, which is a support group for bereaved
parents, has a chapter in Oakland.
Chapter Name: TCF of Alameda County
Chapter Number: 2110
Meeting Info: 2nd Tuesday of the month 7:00-9:00pm Park Blvd
Presbyterian Church - 4101 Park Blvd
remember: you may feel alone, but many people have walked this
shadowy road and found healing. There is help for your and your
Please contact me if you would like to discuss it further.
My husband and I went through something like this and we were very happy with the
help that we got from Marilyn Steele 510-540-0777.
My thoughts are with you.
My relative lost her son, a Marine, in Iraq. This was two years ago.
Recently, she asked me if I knew of some places or persons she could
go to who would help her to work with her overwhelming grief. She
lives back East but does come to the Bay Area on visits. Any
suggestions that I could forward to her would be appreciated.
I am so sorry to hear of your relative's loss. She must be
heart-broken. Dealing with the death of a child is the most painful
of losses. Hospices often have bereavement departments, and she
could check with a local hospice to find out what they offer.
Compassionate Friends is an organization that helps parents whose
child has died, she could check online to see whether there are
groups near her. Does the VA offer any bereavement counseling? Most
grief work takes time so I think she might be better off finding
support near her. Looking for a therapist who specializes in
bereavement counseling would also be a good idea. I hope this is
Yvonne Mansell, MFT
Have her contact her local chapter of the American Gold Star Mothers.
This is an organization comprised of mothers who have lost a son or
daughter in war: See:
The organization was formed after World War I to offer to support for
other grieving mothers and has continued to this day and our current
When I worked at Kaiser in San Rafael, we sometimes referred patients
to Hospice of Marin for grief counseling groups, and received
excellent feedback. So perhaps your local hospice (or hers would be a
good place to start.
There is also a new website called findgrouptherapy.com which so far
has info for Northern California.
On the peninsula, I can recommend Dr. Siew Kuek, Psy.D. Very wise and
compassionate, and has done a lot of work around bereavement issues.
I believe she is in San Mateo.
Ilene Diamond, JD, PsyD
Dear BPN members,
I am a pediatrician and am writing to see if anyone knows of any support groups or therapists
for parents who have lost a child.
Unfortunately, I only know of some in Oakland or Berkeley, but the family lives in Tracy, but
would travel to Pleasanton or Castro Valley easily.
Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you, Laura
Hi -- I would start with
(www.compassionatefriends.org) - they
are a national organization with many local chapters. Most local chapters have a weekly
support group and they can also help connect to other resources.
Please check out Circle of Care
(http://www.ebac.org/programs/circle/groups.asp) - this is an organization specializing in grief, loss and
trauma. They have groups appropriate for living with loss and living with illness for all age groups and
they offer these services for free.
They are located in Oakland.
My best friend has a 5 month old baby with fairly severe brain
damage due to blood clots and stroke in utero. How this will
play out in his development is unknown, and she worries about
everything he does that isn't ''normal''. Her grief and anger are
huge. She lives out of state and I've been trying to support
her long-distance. I could use advice on anything that might
help her with her grief about having an unwell child. Or might
help her accept her son and whatever may happen in the future.
If anyone can recommend books/resources/etc., I'd greatly
Family Resource Network
in Oakland 510-547-7322 and
explain your situatiion. For me personally, in the very
beginning, I found the most support from my friends and family
who were simply able to say ''I'm sorry'' (without pity) and just
be present with me in my grief. Then as time goes by, advice and
resource referrals are easier to take in... Best of luck to you
and your friend.
Death of a Spouse
I just lost my husband unexpectedly. I am looking for
recommendation for grief counseling at any of the East Bay
I cannot begin to imagine what you are experiencing;
condolences don't feel adequate. Please know that the
Richmond Kaiser has a drop in grief and bereavement group
on Wednesdays at 3:30 and at 6:00 PM (see below):
Location: Richmond Medical Center
Grief and bereavement support group
The loss of a loved one is one of life's most stressful
events. Led by professionals, this ongoing group is for
anyone suffering a loss. We discuss the grief process,
knowing what to expect, and looking to the future. Drop
in; every Wednesday. For more information, call Roy
Gesley at (510)752-7757 for Wednesday drop-in meetings at
3:30pm or call Dakari at (510)307-1857 for Wednesday drop-
in meetings at 6pm.
This class is open to the general public and there is no fee,
You could also call the Oakland Kaiser psych department
at742-1075 and see what they could offer in terms of
My heart goes out to you.
I am a relatively young (40's) mother of two (5 and 7). I
recently lost my husband. I have been looking for some kind
of support group, but everywhere I go there are just old
people. I would love to find a group that I can relate to.
I live in the Lamorinda area, so something on that side of
the tunnel would be ideal.
I found myself in a similar situation about a year and a half ago,
when my husband suffered severe brain damage. Our children were
then 9 and 6. The East Bay Agency for Children runs a program
called Circle of Care, which runs support groups for families
coping with the loss or serious illness of a family member.
They're not in Lamorinda, but I recommend that you try them
anyway, for yourself and your kids. The adults have separate
groups that run simultaneously with the children's. Their website
is at: http://www.ebac.org/programs/circle/index.asp.
I am so sorry for your loss.
There is a wonderful place called
Circle of Care that provides
grief support groups on Thurday evenings for both surviving spouse
and for the kids. They all meet at the same time, but everyone
has their own age appropriate group. It is in Oakland, but right
off highway 13 and well worth checking out. Find them on the web
at www.ebac.org or call their group coordinator Jess at 531-7551 x
There is also a great web community called ''Young Widows'' you
can check out in the middle of the night....
Good luck to you and your family during this difficult time.
Circle of Care in Oakland (just through the tunnel off of Hwy 13 )
has loss groups for you and your children held at the same time. I
cannot recommend them highly enough for support as well as
information about other resources in the area. The groups may be
taking a summer break right around this time, but there is usually
a summer play day that you might want to attend simply to be
around others dealing with life threatening illness and loss.
Here's the link. http://www.ebac.org/programs/circle/index.asp
We are dealing with a life threatening illness and the prospect of
loss. Being around other families has been such a relief.
Call Circle of Care @ (510) 531-7551 ext.109
First of all, I am so sorry for your loss. While I cannot give you
specific groups to join I would, however, like to offer my
personal experience. I lost my husband in 1993. He died suddenly
of a heart attack and was 43. I was 38. I was left with no life
insurance, a new business, and most important three kids ages 11
mos, 2, and 6. I was able to find a grief support group that met
in Oakland. Fortunately, I was able to share my grief with others
who had lost spouses mostly to cancer at a young age (30's/40's).
You may be able to find groups along these lines that will most
likely have younger people. It really does not matter what the
cause of death or whether one had a long time to prepare or not. I
found that it is extremely debilitating and devastating no matter
the particulars. I am more than willing to talk with you about my
experience. Just to let you know also that the loss never goes
away, but you will learn to live your life with happiness again. I
am remarried now and my kids are doing well.
I am looking for some grief support, in a group setting, for my
mother who recently lost her husband unexpectedly. While she is
a Christian, I think a nonreligious based group would be
better. She lives in the east bay, so somewhere between
Richmond and Oakland would be preferable. Please let me know if
you can suggest a supportive environment of people that are
going through the same heart-ache and loss. Posting or personal
email are fine. Thank you for reading.
I'm so sorry about your loss. Our church, First Presbyterian
Church, Berkeley, has a group. I think it's not overly religious
but it does have some very kind people in it. I hope she'll give
it a try.
Widows/Widowers Support Group
I know this isn't quite what you asked for but since your mom is a Christian, one option is
to call some local churches to see if she could be paired with a Stephen Minister. Stephen
Ministers are lay-persons who are trained to walk with someone in a time of crisis or pain.
They are NOT there to ply a hurting person with platitudes about suffering, but to really
listen to the sadness, anger, guilt, etc., as a person in crisis is experiencing it, giving
them a safe place to grieve. They generally meet once a week for as long as they are needed.
Stephen Ministries spans many denominations. Here are two local churches to
All Souls Episcopal and First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley
My husband recently passed away unexpectedly leaving me and my two young
children. This has been a painful and awkward time. I have started seeing a thrapist
but I think a group may be better for me. Can anyone suggest a bereavement group
that may have others in a similar situation? I would also like to find something for my
children. My oldest daughter has been handling it well but I would still like her to have
Thanks for your help.
I was widowed when i was 38, and about 16 months later moved
out to California. My kids were 3and 6 at the time. Through a
therapist, i found out abouta wonderful organization in
Oakland, now called Circle of Care, that provides bereavement
support for both you and your kids. They can also help you if
you need other resources such as individual counseling. they
are wonderful ppele, i would highly recommend them. See info.
Circle of Care (formerly PediatriCare)
Organization Contact Information Address: 2540 Charleston Street
Oakland, CA 94602
I am very sorry to hear about the death of your husband. I wanted to let
about bereavement groups through the VNA Sutter Hospice in Emeryville.
call the coordinator at (510) 450-8596 to find out whether there are
widows in their partner loss group. You didn't say where you live, so
may be closer to you. I know of a children's and teen group in Dublin,
I am so sorry to hear about your family's loss. My husband
(whose sibling unexpectedly passed away recently) saw Howard
Lunche in Berkeley. In addition to private practice, he leads a
class (I don't think it's a group, per se?). I'm not really sure
of the details but you can contact him (he is listed on BPN web
site). My husband also looked into groups at Hospice of Marin and
Center for Attitudinal Healing. From my family's experience, it
was hard to find resources addressing the sudden loss aspect
(there is more out there for dealing with long-term
illness-related deaths)-that was a little isolating. As we've
learned, there really aren't the right words to say but I wish
your family all the strength in the world.
I am so sorry for your loss. I would like to recommend an
organization called Circle of Care, they are located in Oakland
and offer support groups for families, they meet on Wednesdays
or Thursdays in the evening. Give them a call at (510) 531-
7551, they will do an intake with you and then assign you to the
appropriate group. I volunteered with them in the 'littles'
group (kids age 5 and under), while the kids are in their groups
with trained volunteers the adults have their own support group
with their own facilitator. I have a friend who found a widow's
support group through the VNA (Visiting Nurses Association), but
I'm not sure how to contact them. There is also a website
called widow.net that may be of some help. A book that I used in
my littles group is titled Everett Andersen's Goodbye by Lucille
Clifton and I found it to be a helpful tool in giving the kids
some vocabulary around their loss, it details the stages of
grief in a story about a boy who's daddy has died. Again, let me
offer you my deepest sympathy and encourage you to find a group
that can support you and listen to you during this very
difficult time for you and your children.
with my sympathies
I am so sorry for your loss.
There is an agency in the East Bay called Circle of Care, it is
part of the East Bay Agency for Children. Circle of Care
provides counseling and support groups for children and adults
going through illness or loss in their family. They are located
off of Joaquin Miller Road near the Mormon Temple, the number is
510-531-7551. My son and I go there for support groups, he is 7
years old and he loves being there with the other kids who have
someone close to them who is sick or who has passed away. I
highly recommend it - the people there are very caring.
I'm so sorry about your loss. You didn't say where you live, but most
agencies run supprt groups that are open to all people, whether the loss
or due to prolonges illness. You can call Visiting Nurse and Hopice and
probably know of current groups, including if others are also from sudden
They can also give you info for the children. Your therapist should be
able to help
with referrals as well. If you need more help, please contact me (I'm a
in a trauma unit), and have a list of agencies by county I can mail or
I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my husband unexpectedly
almost three years ago. I was 34 and my daughter was just
two. I went to a partner loss support group run by Sutter
Hospice VNA. You can join a group even if your partner
didn't use hospice. Their number is 450-8724. I loved the
group even though I was the youngest person there by far.
They do have a group that is for ''young'' widows (under 60...I
know) but the timing of the other one worked better for me
and I really benefitted from the amazing facilitator-Mordecai
I also went with my child to Circle of Care. They have
support groups for kids and adults at the same time so you
can all go together.
I also highly recomend Howard Lunche (841-2930) as a
grief councelor and Joan Monheit (845-1557) who runs a
''writing through grief'' therapy group.
I also have lots of book recomendations if you are
Lastly, I want to offer you my support. Talking to other young
widows was so healing for me. I know how hard it is to
reach out. If you want you can have a friend call me with your
number and I will call you.
I'm so sorry this has happened. Its a very difficult journey but
I promise you that it does get easier.
Visiting Nurses and Hospice in Emeryville has a Bereavement
Program with many different groups-I know the coordinator, she
is great. Call 450-8596 or go to
Does anyone know of a loss of spouse support group for parents
of young children? My friend's husband passed away a few months
ago, just before their only child turned one. I would like to
help her find some other parents with similar losses for
support. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We live
in the San Lorenzo area.
I'm so sorry for your friend's loss. My husband died
suddenly last year when my daughter was 2 years old. I
found that Circle of Care (510-531-7551) was a very
supportive program. They offer both group and individual
counseling. The groups don't run in the summer but you or
your friend can start the intake process now.
I would also suggest calling the closest
Hospice VNA to
you. I'm in a partner loss group through them that has
helped me tremendously even though I'm by far the
youngest person in the group. They do have a younger
group but it meets at night and its easier for me to find
childcare during the day. I go to the group in Oakland in
Rockridge. I don't know if there are groups in San Lorenzo.
I would also suggest getting a good grief counselor. I used
Howard Lunche (510-841-2930) and I recommend him
I hope all of this information at once isn't too overwhelming.
Thank you so much for helping your friend in this way. She's
going to need a lot of support.
Please give her my email address. Talking with other young
widows has been very nourishing for me. If she wants, give
me her number when she's ready and I'll call her. I know
making the call myself was sometimes just too much.
Take care and know that its a long and difficult journey but it
does change- it won't always be this hard.
I'm writing on behalf of my next door neighbor with a two year
old daughter whose husband was recently killed riding his
bicycle to work. She is very interested in talking with other
parents who have lost partners while their children were young.
Does anyone know of a grief support group and/or individuals who
have been through this experience who she can talk with,
commiserate with, get some perspective. Any ideas or referrals
Thanks in advance - Julie
Ann Martin Children's Center
has a bereavement program that helps
families cope with the loss of a parent --call 655-7880 and ask
for Linda Cozzerelli, LCSW
The best option for grief support groups in our community is
Circle of Care,
formerly know as PediatriCare. They provide
services to children starting with toddlers on throught
teenagers. Groups focus on illness of a parent or death of a
parent. Groups are held concurrently so parents meet in their
group and at the same time kids meet in theirs. They are
located in Oakland. Their number is 510-531-7551.
I am so sorry to hear about your neighbor's tragic loss. That
is truly awful and how kind of you to find support for her.
VNA Hospice has a wonderful bereavement support program. Their
phone number for the east bay program is (510) 450-8596. Their
website is http://vnahnc.org/support/.
Hope this is helpful.
CorStone (formerly the Center for
Attitudinal Healing) is based in Marin but I believe has various
groups around the Bay Area. They provide bereavement support.
Their website is
Hope this is helpful.
There is a great group called Namaste which provides free grief
counseling. I worked with them about 10 years ago. They may not
be active any more--if they are you should be able to find them in
the Berkeley Phone book under the name ''namaste''.
Children Coping with Loss
In an unexpected and sudden way, my husband died overnight.
As much of a nightmare as this has been for me, I am mostly
concerned for my 4 year old daughter who was ''daddy's little
girl'' and spent allot of quality time with him, especially
after the arrival of her baby brother (now 6 months old). Last night
she was playing a new game, ''trapping'' her voice
in playdo containers and closing the lid. Listening to what
she was putting in there, one container held the following:
''Daddy died. Mommy's heart has my love. Daddy died because
of me.'' Close lid. Of course, I immediately followed with
saying that it wasn't her fault at all, that it was an
accident, etc. But I am worried for her.
Looking for warm and loving therapists who would be able to
assist. Play based preferred. Any advice is also welcome. Broken &
My heart goes out to you! Linda Cozzarelli LCSW specializes in grief
issues. She helped me figure out how to help myself and my grieving
four year old daughter when my father died quite suddenly and
unexpectedly a few years ago. While she worked with me and not my
daughter directly, I know that she has tons of experience with
children (and a cozy office full of toys and games). She is in
Rockridge at 510-428-9050.
I am so sorry for your loss.
Call Dr. Simone Taylor at 415-496-6417. She has an S.F.
area code for her phone service, but her office is on
Telegraph in Oakland near Alcatraz, close to the
Your daughter's grief may be on top of a reaction to the new
addition to the family as well - Dr. Taylor can unravel it
all. She uses play therapy too.
First, My heart goes out to you and your little girl. Have you called
West Coast Childrens Center. It used to be in El Cerrito near EC High
School. We went there as a family and for my son in individual
sessions. We saw Dr Joan Lovett for quite awhile. I am not sure if
she is still working with the center but I found everyone there
helpful and caring.
I was 4 when my mother passed away. I can tell you that you never get
over such a loss. And that your grieving often doesn't really occur
until years, many years later. It is normal for children to
personalize the experience. Thinking... if they really loved me, they
would have stayed. Not completely understanding the concept that
death was not their choosing. This can bring up unconscious feelings
of not being lovable. Even though everything about that is untrue. I
can't recommend who to see, but I can say kudos to you for getting her
support and giving her an opportunity to explore her emotions. I
didn't have that access. The other thing I can add is the importance
of letting her know constantly of how much her father loved her.
She'll want and need proof as time passes. Create a book of memories
of this. Whether it be pictures of them hugging or kissing or stories
about time they spent together. Let love be his legacy.
Wishing you strength and hoping both you and your daughter find
support and the right help.
My heart goes out to you and your children. My own husband died
unexpectedly a few months ago, and although I don't know of a grief
specialist for young children, I found a great source of support for
myself and my teenaged children in our therapy sessions with Howard
Lunche. Howard specializes in grief therapy and has worked in this
field for many years; I expect he would be able to recommend someone
for your daughter.
I would also suggest that you might find it helpful to see him
yourself. I found it to be a key part of getting through these past
months. His number is 510-841-2930; his office is in central Berkeley.
Feel free to contact me through the moderator if you would like to
I highly recommend Circle of Care:
''East Bay Agency for Children offers one of the nation's few
programs providing counseling and support services to
children and their families where a parent, caregiver or
family member has died or is living with a life threatening
They are an amazing organization doing great, specialized
All the best to you and your daughter during this very
difficult time. Heather
I highly recommend Circle of Care's grief counseling program. I am
in the individual therapy department, but I do work for the agency
which provides grief support for 3yrs old and up. Their web site is
I can recommend Circle of Care at East Bay Agency for Children from
personal experience. They have grief groups for children and adults.
For counseling I can also recommend therapist Laura Soble in Oakland.
So very sorry for your terrible loss.
I'm so sorry for your family's loss. Its so brutal trying to
manage your own grief and that of your child as well
My husband died suddenly when my daughter was 2. We went
together to Circle of Care which has simultaneous groups for
kids and their surviving parents.
When my daughter was 4 I started taking her to see therapist
Sara Brose, PHd. She is play-based and wonderful. I met with
her as well and she helped me understand how to support my
daughter and talk to her about her loss.
I also strongly suggest that you get support yourself. You
know the old ''put the oxygen mask on yourself before
assisting your child'' advise is valid. Howard Lunche, a
grief counselor, was very helpful putting my grief process
into perspective. His number is 510-841-2930. I also did a
wonderful ''writing through grief'' workshop with Joan
Monheit. Her number is (510) 845-1557. She also sees
individual clients. Take good care.
oh, wow. i'm so sorry for your loss.
try phyllis rothblatt 510-325-3077. if she is unable to take
you, i'm sure she can recommend someone great.
I highly recommend the Ann Martin Center in Oakland. They
emphasize grief work with children. http://www.annmartin.org.
You are facing tough times. I wish you good luck, nance
My husband unexpectedly died recently, I also have a 4 yo and baby.
I've found some resources but have yet to find a psychotherapist for
us- if up for it, I'd like to connect to share resources, support,
etc. .... Lost in grief O.
I'm sorry about your loss. I jumped to reply to your post in the
previous message without mentioning your tremendous agony and had to
write back and apogize for being insensitive. I've been looking for a
support group and possibly other young widows and have just begun to
walk on this new path that I didn't choose, nor want and do not like,
and I'm so sorry that we share the outlines of perhaps a similar
story. My young family is also in tremendous pain- Perhaps if our
kids know other children and us moms know other moms, going through
loss we can benefit in some way? Share notes on resources? Have an ear
that really gets it? I have a feeling that my 4yo would be interested
in the idea one day (when the time is right) that he's not the only
one (unfortunately). My baby will go through it on a different
timeline but it'll be there nonetheless in the future. Hope we can
exchange messages and talk. Lost in grief O.
I am so sorry for your loss. I think that the Circle of Care
program http://www.ebac.org/programs/circle/ would be a wonderful
resource. They provide play based support groups for young
children together with parents, parent support, and individual
therapy as needed. The program is for families dealing with
serious illness and bereavement.
Circle of care in Oakland has groups for children and parents
after the death of a parent - groups are at the same time and
divided by age - so, the teens are together and the school age
kids are together and preschoolers are together - while the
parents get to meet with other parents and a facilitator.
Low/sliding scale for fees. If your child attends once, I can
almost guarantee they will want to go back, and look forward to
attending. They are in Oakland, near the Mormon temple. I cannot
emphasize enough what a difference it makes for kids of all ages
to meet others who have experienced the death of a parent. If
you google Circle of Care they should come up.
a friend of mine lost her 17 yo on in a freak accident last month. She
is seeking support for her remaining son who is 11. Does anyone know of
a gifted counselor or group in San Francisco that could help this family
deal with their loss? She is having difficulty finding someone.
Pass along the contact info for Circle of Care in Oakland. 510-531-7551
We are a community based grief and loss support program for children and
families. We offer evening support groups for children and caregivers as
well as individual and family counseling. Our mission is to support
grieving children and we have been doing so for almost 30 years.
A newer program in the City you might also pass on the info for is
I don't know specifically what programs they have up and runing but they
are also a grief support provider for kids.
Grief and Loss provider
I am looking for a grief support group in or near Berkeley. My
daughters father committed suicide two weeks ago. We have been
seperated for five years but were on good terms. My daughter is
10. I called suicide prevention but they don't deal with grief. I
have called many numbers and a: got no return call (800)260-0094
b: number out of service c: told suicide is too specific. We
are having a hard time due to the violence of his death. I am
waiting for my daughters school to refer a psychologist but am
interested in a group of others who have this unfortunate
experience. Alta Bates refered Pathways but haven't been able to
get through yet. I keep calling numbers that are refered and then
they refer and on only to be told finally that they don't deal
with suicide or better yet they do but in Los Angeles. Does
anyone have RECENT experience and phone numbers?
Having a hard time
Sutter VNA & Hospice in Emeryville has a number of bereavement support
groups. I looked on their website, but didn't see any groups for children.
Perhaps they would have a referral for you. Also, Jewish Family & Children's
Services in Berkeley may have a good referral. Have you considered family or
child counseling in the interim until you find a support group for your
Wishing you healing.
I'm so sorry for your family's loss. Try contacting the Bereavement
Counselor at Zen Hospice Project. I'm sure she'll be about to refer you to a
kid's group. When I volunteered there we had a kid's group meet in the guest
house, but I don't think they still run that program.
I am so sorry to hear about your and your daughter's loss. My husband died
about a year ago, and I wondered how to help my two kids (then 7 and 4) deal
with their grief and loss. I found a counselor who was experienced in grief
counseling for children, and got the kids and I enrolled in a support group.
I strongly recommend doing both individual and group.
I felt very fortunate to find the East Bay Agency for Children's Circle of
Care program. They conduct free biweekly support groups for families who
have experienced a loss. It was good for my kids to be exposed to others who
had also been through a loss. A 10-year-old would have been right within the
ages covered. They had kids from around 4 through 11 or 12 as I recall. I,
too, found it really helpful to talk to other parents about the experience
of grieving with kids. They meet in the evenings and serve pizza, and do ask
for contributions to defray the food cost. They conducted the children's and
parents' sessions concurrently. They are located in Oakland, and many
Berkeley families participate. Here is a link:
My other thought is to contact hospices in the Berkeley area. They also
often provide family grief support groups (there is one in Dublin that I am
aware of (Hope Hospice).
I don't know if you have a counselor for your daughter, but I also highly
recommend Jan Dombrower, but she is in Hayward (510) 537-8630) and that
might be a bit far for you. Grief counseling for children is one of her
specialties, and she was very helpful to me and my children after their
loss. A couple nice things she did for them: worked with them to create
''memory'' boxes where they could store small items that remind them of
their dad. And one day they decorated helium balloons for their dad and then
released them into the sky.
Again, my deepest sympathies.
Call Circle of Care
, 510-531-7551 in Oakland. They have really wonderful
support groups for familes who have experienced the death of a parent. There
are usually other kids in the groups who have had a parent die of suicide -
which helps tremendously. You'll have to do a brief phone interview, and
then meet with a counselor. Groups are on weeknight evenings, in Oakland
near the Mormon temple. Can't reccomend Circle of Care highly enough.
My 9 year old son needs a therapist for anxiety/grief. I would
like to find someone in the Albany, Berkeley or El Cerrito
area. I have been given the following names by our insurance.
Please let me know your experiences with these people and if you
have others to recommend. Leni Siegel, Robeta Stern, Roberta
Schear, Richard Bloom, Meshulam Plaves. OK to email privately.
is one of the very few programs of its kind in the
country devoted exclusively to the needs of children and their
families who face loss, illness, and trauma. Services include
support groups, home-based services, outpatient counseling and
Of special note is therapist, Emily Weaver. She's great!
Editor Note: Emily Weaver is now in private practice.
I want to correct a recent posting recommending psychotherapist Emily
Weaver. She is an excellent clincian specializing in chronic illness and grief however, she can no longer be reached through the organization
Pediatricare. Her psychotherapy office is now located on Hopkins St. in
Berkeley. Emily can be reached at (510) 869-4170.
My 17-year-old stepdaughter lost her mother to cancer two years ago, and
while she is a strong and courageous young woman who is healing well, she
might benefit from some peer support. Does anyone know of a support group
for teens who have lost parents?
There are some previous recommendations about this:
"Circle of Care, formerly know as PediatriCare,
a program of East Bay Agency for Children, offers
support groups and home based counseling services for families coping
with illness, bereavement or loss...."
Circle of Care
The Women's Cancer Resource Center
in Berkeley has a support group for teens
who have a parent with cancer. They may be a good resource for a grief
support group as well.
Their phone number is: (510) 548-9272.
Alta Bates Comprehensive Cancer Center would also be a good resource: they
offer a variety of support groups. Phone: (510) 204-1591.
My husband recently passed away. Does anyone have any recommendations
for a therapist/counselor who could advise me on how to deal with my
children and their questions and grief? While they have seen
therapists, the verbalized issues about their father seem to arise
only when they are with me. Thanks.
A good resource is the Alameda Co. Crisis Counselling Center. They
offer grief therapy groups for adults at $10/session, and may be able
to advise you on getting help with your children. I attended a group
for survivors of suicide after my sister committed suicide two years
ago. It was excellent therapy, and I found that group therapy was
much more effective than indivudual therapy. I don't have their phone
number, but the Suicide Prevention Hotline will give it to you and
they're in the white pages.
[Editor] as of March 2004:
Crisis Support Services of Alameda County
(800) 309-2131 24-hour crisis line
Crisis Support Services of Alameda County
(800) 309-2131 24-hour crisis line
To the woman whose husband recently passed away and who wanted referrals
to professional support around your family's grief, I offer an LCSW
(Licensed Clinical Social Worker) on Piedmont Ave. in Oakland named
Thana Christian. Although I have seen her alone, I know she has a lot of
experience with family dynamics and pediatrics and is the most caring
person I've ever met. I can't imagine a counselor/therapist who could be
of greater assistance to you at such a sad time. I would be happy to
give a more in-depth referral if you e-mail me, or just call Thana
directly at (510)547-1779. I am very sorry to hear of your loss. Whether
you work with Thana or not, I wish you the best and congratulate you on
reaching out to find help for you and your kids. Michael
Rachel Clark is an excellent grief counselor and counsels with families and
kids. She is in Berkeley -- her phone number is 524-2918. Cam
There is a great group called Circle of Care,
208-3535, that helps families
cope with death and terminal illness. They're based in Oakland and have
many ongoing support groups as well as counseling.
I would like to pass along to the parent who lost her husband that I
received good information and referral from CARE Services staff Anna
Denoon and also that CARE staff person Laurie Yamamoto is facilitating
two grief and loss workshops on November 6&13 from 4-6. I am seeing
Susan Bresee, an LCSW with the Redwood Center that is on Dwight Way
near campus. I am also participating in a bereavement group
facilitated by a counselor from Pathways Hospice in Oakland, which
provides individual, family and group counseling. Because it's open
enrollment she may want to review health plan coverages for their
mental health coverages. I switched to UC Care last year because I
thought it had the most extensive mental health coverage/provider
options and that has been a real help...my best wishes to this parent.
Death of a Parent or Family Member
I am a 22 year old woman whose father passed away several
years ago. I am looking for recommendations for a grief
counseling/support group for young adults, especially for
those who have lost parents. I know that one-on-one
counseling would be helpful, but I don't have the means for
that right now, and I know that many support groups are low
cost or free. Any suggestions?
Looking for understanding
I would suggest that you call some local Hospice organizations for
some leads on groups. Try Hospice By the Bay, Sutter VNA, Pathways.
I am confident that someone in the bereavement dept will be able to
give some good direction. Good Luck.
Both of my children were helped tremendously after the death of their
father by the support group at Circle of Care in Oakland. They cover
all ages, I would highly recommend.
I would like to find a female therapist with the United Behavior
Network insurance who can help me deal with my grief at having lost
three close family members in a year and a half, all of whom lived
about three hours away. I am now linked, against my will, to an
addict brother who has gotten a nasty attorney and is handling the
probate as administrator. I would prefer someone close to the south
side of campus so I can walk to appointments. I prefer someone who
is insightful and no-nonsense. No new age-y stuff for me.
The one therapist that was recommended to me is not taking new
I know you are looking for a female therapist, but if you are
open to a male, Dan Quinn as an exceptional therapist who I
cannot recommend highly enough for working with grief issues.
Dan is tremendously supportive and compassionate, while also
bringing his deep intelligence and wisdom to the table in his
work with individuals, couples, families and groups. You can
find out more about Dan, and get in contact with him through his
website: Www.DanQuinn.Info. Best of luck to you in this
At the age of 54, my mother is unfortunately weeks to days
away from death. I always imagined that all of our family
**issues** would spontaneously evaporate if someone died.
Unfortunately, the family dysfunction has increased
manifold. I am not sure which is greater: my grief for my
mother's impending death, my disappointment and horror at
the behavior at a couple of my siblings who live with her
and do little to nothing to help her, the realization that
my parents really actually dislike each other and death is
not going to change that, or the fact that my father's
only method of dealing with emotion is to become
explosively angry. In any case, I need to talk to someone
SOON....Am looking for a good therapist to help me cope.
If they take Blue Shield insurance, that's even better.
Death doesn't change things...
I highly recommend Knute Anderson, PsyD
Clinical Psychologist (925) 234-6676
She is terrific, kind and intelligent. Her office is in Orinda.
My partner (female 56) lost her mother late last year and is
really struggeling with the constant pain of that loss. She
would like to find a greif group that is facilatated by a
therapist. Or, she would like to hear from others who have
struggled with the loss of their mother and how to begin to
move past it.
My mom died 10 years ago now. I was 29, she was 54. It took
more time than I ever would have imagined to get through the
bulk of the grief. For me, the second year was harder than the
first in some ways. I found that a support group for women
that had lost their moms was very helpful. I think they still
do these groups through VNA Hospice. They used to be in
Emeryville-maybe still are. It does get better with time.
Although I really miss my mom still at times, I have learned a
lot through this experience. I feel that I am a more
compassionate person now. I also feel that I appreciate being
in the moment more than I could before and appreciate the
people in my life so much, knowing how precious the time that
we have is. Although it may not seem like it now, grief is a
transient thing. The lessons and love that you have been given
by your mom will always stay with you--and you can pass them
Just a belated word that it's okay and expected to mourn and miss
It's been 15 years since my mother passed away at age 50. Every
Mothers Day, her birthday, the anniversary of her death, every
time I wish my kids could have known their grandma, every time my
sisters and I need more advice, understanding and comfort than
our dad can provide... yep, lots of tears.
BUT, my therapist advised that I get a journal just for
''conversations'' with her. It does help.
I wish you healthy healing and the ability to laugh and smile at
the good memories as well as have good old cry occasionally.
My mother recently passed away. Can anyone recommend a grief
counselor in the East Bay? I would be interested in seeing
someone who is also great with working with family dynamics.
Sheryl Sheets on College Ave near Ashby is great for grief counseling for
loss of a mother. She has an MFT. I worked with her during my mother's
terminal illness and after my mother's death. She was at (510) 549-9297.
I have been working through the loss of my father and also
my my feelings regarding my aging mother with Yvonne Mansell who
specializes in death and dying, mindful parenting, and menopause.
I have found the work manageable due to her ablilty to bring
compassion, honesty, and at times, humor into most difficult moments. She
offers individual and group sessions. Her office is in Albany and you can
visit her website at www.yvonnemansell.com
Best of luck to you.
Howard Lunche is an incredible grief counselor. He reallly helped me
understand and manage my immense grief after my husband died. He also
wrote a book about grief that I gave to the people around me so they could
understand what was happening with me. I very highly reccomend him as a
caring and compassionate therapist. his number is 841-2930 and his office
is in berkeley.
Does anyone have advice about how to get support as a parent dealing with
grief (I am irritable, sad, distracted)? I'm particularly interested in how to meet
up with others going through this, and finding out what's available right now in
the East Bay. Thanks!
If you have a child (I think you ID yourself as a parent)
and you are grieving and your child is grieving and affected
by a loss, definitely go to
Circle of Care in Oakland. They
have grief groups for adults and kids with other kids their
age and they also have individual and family counseling. It
immensely helped a friend of mine when her husband died.
Hope for healing
I'm sorry for your loss, and glad you are looking for
support. You may want to try Sutter VNA & Hospice>. There
lists all their grief support groups. Also, if there is a
child in the family that experienced the loss, you could
call Shoshanna Phoenixx-Dawn at
Circle of Care in Oakland.
Her number is 531-7551 X 195. They run Living with Loss
groups for families.
Deb Lyman, LCSW
I'd recommend www.findgrouptherapy.com for locating group
therapy/grief therapy resources in the area.
Caroline McDowell, MFT
I need to find a grief counselor for some recent traumas, The following
names were recommended to me. Does anybody know anything about the
I don't have information about any of the names you posted, but I thought
I'd recommend another therapist in case you're interested, because I found
him so extremely helpful. I saw Howard Lunche (LCSW) for bereavement
counseling after my brother died, and I can't say enough good things about
him. He balanced his listening and talking very well, he remembered every
single detail I ever told him about my brother, and he seemed to have
perfect insight into how I was feeling and the development of my grief
process. One last thing (and take it for what it's worth--I don't know if
this describes your situation)... I noticed that all the people you listed
were women... when I was looking for a grief counselor, I thought I would
prefer a woman, but I decided I'd interview all 3 of the people I'd been
referred to (including Howard). But even in that initial phone call, Howard was head and shoulders above the others. He's in the phone book... give him a call.
For the person requesting recommendations for grief counselors, although
not on your list, I would like to recommend a therapist who helped me
work through some extremely difficult issues around my father's death.
His name is Howard Lunche, and he is an MSW in private practice
specializing in grief. Howard worked with Hospice for many years, and
he was recommended to me through my family doctor, who suggested that I
take his Grief Education class. This class is held the third Saturday
of each month at Alta Bates Herrick campus from 10 AM till 12 noon.
If you are interested in attending, you just need to call him to let
him know you would like to come. He only charges $10 for this class.
He provides valuable information about what grief is all about (and it
is different for everyone). He also gives out a wonderful no-nonsense
booklet that he authored on the subject. To sign up for the class,
call Howard at 841-2930.
I think grief is a very, very specific issue, and to be honest, I don't
know how many therapists are really qualified to deal with it. My
father's death and dying affected every facet of my life. My husband
attended the class, and it gave him a better understanding of why I was
feeling and behaving the way I was. I am forever indebted to
and I cannot say enough good things about him.
By the way, I was seeing another therapist while my father was dying
as well as for awhile after he died. I wish I had met Howard sooner,
as I am convinced it would have helped me to have a more meaningful
experience. The other therapist was not equipped to help me, but what
was unfortunate, is that she did not have the humanity nor the
professionalism to admit this to me. I wasted precious time with my
father that I can never retrieve.
I would also recommend Howard Lunche in Berkeley. He is gentle,
compassionate, concerned, and really sees who you are.
I was part of a grief group for, as I remember, 6 or 8 weeks, put
together by the Visiting Nurses Association
hospice center. The VNA has
these groups going on continuously. It doesn't matter what caused the
person's death. The group was very very helpful to me - both the
facilitators and the participants are right there with you when you talk
about the experience, and one of the things we each did was have a time
to tell about the person we had lost, and show pictures, etc. After
each "presentation" there was a time for other people in the group to
ask questions or talk about what they had heard or seen about the person
and your relationship with them. It was incredibly supportive, if
scary. It really does seem to allow you to say what you need to say,
and what you can't necessarily say to the rest of your family or
friends. I was in a group that started about 6 months after my mom's
death. I wanted to get into one three months earlier, but didn't
understand that you have to go to their Emeryville office and be
interviewed to join a group - that just calling to be added to a list is
not enough. There were a couple of people who found it too soon to be
able to be part of the group, and were not able to continue coming.
Anyway, I highly recommend it whether or not you find a good counselor.
this page was last updated: Nov 13, 2012
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