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Grief & Loss: Support Groups & Therapists

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Therapists, Counseling , & Support Groups > Grief & Loss: Support Groups & Therapists


Death or Illness of a Child Death of a Spouse Children Coping with Loss Death of a Parent or Family Member More Questions Resources Recommended by Parents Related Pages

Death or Illness of a Child


Support Group for Grieving Parents

Nov 2011

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. Yvonne
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 www.HANDsupport.org
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 Shoshana

Loss of child, blame, and depression

May 2009

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 health... Anon Mom


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
(510) 835-3579
Deanna
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 husband.

Please contact me if you would like to discuss it further. Best wishes


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. anon

Overwhelming grief over son's death in Iraq

Feb 2009

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. Thank you.


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 helpful. 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: http://www.goldstarmoms.com/ 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 wars. Jane
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

Support Group for parents who have lost a child

Feb 2007

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 Compassionate Friends (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. eva
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. Buddy

My friend's baby has severe brain damage

May 2003

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 appreciate it. Jennifer


Call the 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. Anon

Death of a Spouse


Grief Counseling at Kaiser for loss of husband

April 2010

I just lost my husband unexpectedly. I am looking for recommendation for grief counseling at any of the East Bay Kaiser's? p.


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, (510)752-6390

You could also call the Oakland Kaiser psych department at742-1075 and see what they could offer in terms of individual counseling.

My heart goes out to you. Linda


Support group for young widow

May 2008

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. Alone


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. Ann
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 195.

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. Stephanie


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


Dear Alone, 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.

Therapy or Support for Loss of Spouse

Feb 2007

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. K


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
s.
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 start: All Souls Episcopal and First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley Erin

Bereavement groups for 35 yr old widow

March 2006

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 an outlet. Thanks for your help. Grieving Family


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. below. 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 you know about bereavement groups through the VNA Sutter Hospice in Emeryville. You could call the coordinator at (510) 450-8596 to find out whether there are other young widows in their partner loss group. You didn't say where you live, so other hospices may be closer to you. I know of a children's and teen group in Dublin, at Hope Hospice.
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. anon
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. anon
I'm so sorry about your loss. You didn't say where you live, but most hopice agencies run supprt groups that are open to all people, whether the loss is sudden or due to prolonges illness. You can call Visiting Nurse and Hopice and they will probably know of current groups, including if others are also from sudden loss.

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 social worker in a trauma unit), and have a list of agencies by county I can mail or fax you. Stephanie


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 Mitnick. 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 interested.

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. Take Care Stacia


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 http://www.suttervna.org/support/support_EastBay.html

Support for young mother who lost her husband

July 2004

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. Rachel


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 highly.

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.


Grief support for young mother

June 2003

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 welcome. 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. Good luck.
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. Hannah
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 http://www.corstone.org/html/ Hope this is helpful. Hannah
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


Grief Specialist for 4 year old who lost her dad

Feb 2012

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 & Concerned


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. another mom
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 Oakland/Berkeley border. 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. http://www.apsychologistintheeastbay.com/ Parent
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. B.
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. anon
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 talk more. Newly widowed


I highly recommend Circle of Care: http://www.ebac.org/programs/circle/index.asp

''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 illness.''

They are an amazing organization doing great, specialized work. 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 not 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 www.ebac.org/programs/circle. Shoshana
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. http://www.ebac.org/programs/circle/ http://www.laurasoble.net/ 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. http://www.ebac.org/programs/circle/

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. stacia


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. anon
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. Meg
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. Take care

Bereavement help for 11 year old

Nov 2010

Hello, 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. Thanks.


Pass along the contact info for Circle of Care in Oakland. 510-531-7551 http://www.ebac.org/programs/circle/index.asp

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 Josie's Place. I don't know specifically what programs they have up and runing but they are also a grief support provider for kids. 415-513-6343 Grief and Loss provider


Grief support for 10-year-old - father's suicide

October 2007

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 daughter? 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. www.zenhospice.org Jennifer
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:

http://www.ebac.org/programs/circle/index.asp

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. Ellen


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. good luck

Therapist for 9-year-old's anxiety/grief

Jan 2004

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. Sue


PediatriCare 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 crisis intervention. Of special note is therapist, Emily Weaver. She's great! Wanda

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. Susan S

Support Group for teens who have lost a parent

July 2002

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? Thanks! Amy


Editor note: 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.


Therapist for grieving children

Nov 2001

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 http://www.crisissupport.org/


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


Bereavement Group for Young Adults?

June 2011

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? Thanks! 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. Shoshana
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. S

Need a Therapist Near UC Berkeley for Grief Issues

April 2011

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 Berkeley patients. Thank you!


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 difficult time. H.T.

Therapist for grief and family dysfunction

March 2010

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. Thank you. 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. Anon

Struggling with loss of mother

May 2008

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 on.
Just a belated word that it's okay and expected to mourn and miss years afterwards. 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. Ellen

Grief Counseling for loss of my Mother

April 2007

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. Thank you anon


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. Anon
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.

More Questions


Support for parent dealing with grief

Jan 2010

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! Anonymous


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. http://www.ebac.org/programs/circle/services.asp 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 website, http://www.suttervnaandhospice.org/support/support_EastBay.html 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. Warmly, Deb Lyman, LCSW
I'd recommend www.findgrouptherapy.com for locating group therapy/grief therapy resources in the area. Good luck- Caroline McDowell, MFT

Grief counselor needed for recent traumas

November 2001

I need to find a grief counselor for some recent traumas, The following names were recommended to me. Does anybody know anything about the following counselors?


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. Kristine
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 Howard 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. Leah
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. Susan
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