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Therapists for Mothers' Issues

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Wonderful Therapist for Mothers Needed

July 2011

Parents: Who have you found who is great with mothers, both helping us with our issues but also with parenting our children, in the Berkeley area? Thanks, Fiona


Yes! Wonderful in mother issues and parenting at all stages, located in Berkeley: Melissa Rapp, MFT: 510-595-4618. Good luck!
I think Diane DuBois, MFT is a really excellent therapist for mothers, as well as couples. She is sensitive, while helping clients come up with practical solutions. She is herself a mother, and can relate to many of the issues we face. Unlike some therapists I've come into contact with, she is interactive and engaging, while being extremely supportive and professional. I highly recommend her. Although she is not in Berkeley, she has an office in Montclair which is just a few minutes away, as well as an office in San Francisco. You can reach her at 510-339-3241. Fellow Mother
There is just such a wonderful therapist for mothers! Her name is Laurette Schiff Gennis, PhD and she has offices in both Rockridge and SF. She has been in clinical practice for about 25 years and trained at Mt Zion and CPMC. The reason I thought of her is that she has run groups for pregnant women and has treated women and new moms in individual therapy for a wide range of issues. Besides all that, she is a warm and thoughtful mother herself! You can reach her at 415-773-8990. Best of luck. A Mom Who Understands
Virginia Vanden Bergh on College Ave in Rockridge is a wonderful therapist. She brings tremendous personal (though very professional) warmth and gentle insights about motherhood, parenting, body issues, and relationships. (510)654-6096 Anon
You are looking for Dr. Laureen Wong, Ph.D.! She is a licensed clinical psychologist with many years experience working with children and families. She specializes in developmental, behavioral and social-emotional issues in young children. She is great at supporting FAMILIES. Look her up at www.networktherapy.com/LaureenWong or call her at 510-289-7331. Glad to recommend a talented and caring therapist
I know of a wonderful mothers' therapist in Berkeley. A kind and gentle heart, bold and confident disposition, supportive and intuitive comments, nurturing suggestions and then leaves you assured you are not alone, feeling good about your role as mother in whatever stage, and a few concrete goals to keep you moving forward. She runs a group called ''Moms Blossoming Salon.'' Lovely lady, you should meet her. She is Rosy Aronson: Rosy@RosyAronson.com Rachel

Female therapist for new mother's issues

June 2006

I'm looking for a therapist, preferably in Berkeley, who can help work through issues related to new motherhood, marriage, and loss of identity. I want a female therapist who works in an analytical, straightforward way without a lot of new age or pseudo-spiritual lingo. Also would like someone who can see me and my husband together if necessary. I've looked through the archives but all the relevant recommendations are at least 6 years old. looking for help


I am seeing Maxine Berzok in Berkeley for similar issues. She is very practical and is good at zeroing in on the heart of the matter. Her office is near whole foods Mom in Oakland
Alisa Genovese, 286-7599, although she's in Kensington. I saw her after my oldest son was born and have been seeing her on and off ever since. She's great; she's nice, straightforward, honest, and she never let me get away with anything! Jill
Here is a female therapist who I've worked with that I'd like to recommend. Her name is Dr. Joanne Chao and her office is located at the Oakland / Berkeley border. She is very straightforward, tells it like it is, but is also compassionate and easy to work with. She does individual work as well as couples therapy. I am a new mother and also had some marriage issues. Dr. Chao has help me greatly through all this. Her # is (510) 594-4003, website: www.drjoannechao.com anon.
March 2000

Can anyone recommend a therapist/psychiatrist for my daughter. We are on HealthNet. My daughter was once diagnosed with a tendency toward depression (in fifth grade) but because the doctor thought we might be dealing with adolescent hormonal things he opted not to treat her. This was a mistake. Many years later after much heartache my daughter got pregnant and her whole disposition changed. She became once again the sunny personality she was as a child. I was very happy and welcoming of this thinking we were finally over that "stage" She's turning 20 in a few days. However now, just a few short weeks after the birth of her child I see the dark sad moods have come upon her again, though she loves her baby dearly and is a good mother. The sunshine is gone again and I need to get her help.


Call Shoshana Bennett, with Postpartum Support for Mothers at 727-4610
Hutcheson-Wilcox Family


Exhausted mother of two young children

Sept 1999

If there are any bulletin subscribers that have seen either Fran Diyan or Esther Brass for psychotherapy, I would welcome any comments. Both names were given to me as referrals for therapy from CARE services. I am dealing with some transitional work issues as well as those around being in my 40's and the married mother of two young children, being frequently exhausted, etc. On the other hand, if anyone out there has seen other therapists (I am with Health Net) that they would recommend for the above issues, I would welcome any and all comments. I live in the Berkeley area, but could travel within 5 miles or so as needed for appointments. Thank you.


I and my daughter worked with Fran about 6 years ago when my husband passed away. I liked her a lot. Nancy

Working Mothers

June 1999 I am looking for recommendations for a therapist that supports and is sensitive to working mothers (ideally, someone with experience with the particular challenges of academia), can help with issues having to do with stress and time management, as well as deeper, emotional issues, and offers a sliding scale. Any suggestions? I would definitely recommend contacting Michael Simon,M.S. in Oakland (Rockridge area). He works on a sliding scale and works a lot with parents, parenting issues (working moms/dads; single parenting; parenting through divorce, etc.) as well as having a background in academia. He's a great therapist in general but has expertise in those areas. His phone is (510) 433-2959. -- Kirsten

New mom with old baggage to sort through

July 1999

I'm a new first-time mom with a 3 month old baby and I'm looking for recommendations for a good therapist in the Berkeley area who can help me sort through all of the baggage of my own childhood/mal-adjusted family so that I can hopefully be a better parent to my child. I'd like it to be somebody who is also experienced with all of the issues of lost identity as well as lost time and "control of my life". Not to mention, the struggles of the new relationship that my husband and I are trying to get a grip on. (i.e., is it "normal" for a husband and wife relationship to go through such a hard adjustment period?????) Any recommendations on therapist and words of encouragement are greatly appreciated! Thanks to you all.


Joan Bonnar, Ph.D., is a fabulous therapist. I have seen her alone and with my husband for the very issues you describe. She is warm, intuitive but also intellectual. She has a great analysis of how hard it is to be a woman in our culture but rather than spend time raging against the machine she focusses on how to handle it in a healthy fashion. When she does couples counselling she is scrupulously fair to both partners, even though she has a long-term relationship with me. Not too mushy, so my husband is comfortable with her.
Shoshanna Bennett in Castro Valley is a very good therapist who specializes in pregnancy and postpartum issues. I saw her during my pregnancy privately and also went to a post-partum depression group - while I was pregnant. Both were very helpful. I'm sorry I don't have the number but I'm sure she is listed.
I can't recommend a Berkeley therapist, but I would like to comment on the rest of your message. I also grew up in a dysfunctional family and wanted to learn to interact in a more healthy way with my , by that time, pre-teen daughter. Things were getting more difficult between us and I felt I didn't know the "right " ways to nurture a teen who, of course, pushed the limits often. I felt I was a loving mother, but that I had raised her using some of the methods my parents used, which were much too critical and judgmental. I feel this affected her self-confidence. I was able, through Alameda Family Services, a wonderful nonprofit organization in Alameda to arrange for family counseling for my daughter and myself. They work with a sliding scale pay system and have wonderful interns and accredited therapists. Their phone # is (510) 522-8363. I can personally recommend Dr. Debra Capwell. My daughter got on well with the therapist and so she started seeing her alone after about 6 weeks. I then began therapy ,with a different therapist, to work on my parenting issues. I also worked on my self-image/self-worth issues (which were not nurtured as a child) and (major) problems I was having in my romantic relationship. I went to therapy for about two years, and it all boiled down to one main issue!! When I started looking at my personal and work relationships, both past and present, it became obvious that my self-worth /self-image/insecurities were the root cause. If you don't feel good about yourself, you don't believe anyone else does either. You distrust people and their motives. You, perhaps are very defensive and confrontational. You feel that you have to be in control of every situation, and don't know when, or how to back down, etc. My boyfriend and I had a few sessions together, also. I can safely say that I feel much better about myself now and my relationships show that. I can now deal with my daughter in a relatively calm manner (usually). My boyfriend and I have been together for four years now, and this last year has been much quieter! We argued and fought alot the first two years especially. My regret in all this, is that I desperately wish I had gotten therapy MUCH earlier in my adult life!!! Things in general would have been much easier for me (and others in my life), I'm absolutely sure!!!

I strongly urge you to go to therapy, both as a couple and separately. Be sure not to use the same therapist for couples and personal therapy. That happened to us at first, and it didn't work out well!! If your husband won't go, go by yourself!!! This is especially important, because many of the issues revolve around you feeling better about yourself, and that is something only YOU and your therapist can resolve. Sorry this is so long (and personal), but my heart went out to you when I read your message! I felt it was essential to answer in this way!! I wish you the best of luck!!


I realize that you are perhaps looking for a one-on-one situation, but thought I'd also recommend that you find a local "Mother's Group" mediated by a therapist. The groups are usually arranged by the birthday of the babies.

I attended one in Albany run by Sherry Reinhardt 524-0821. It was great
because:
1.  It was a huge relief to hear that other first time moms were
experiencing the same struggles that I was... and that our babies (and
husbands) had similar habits.
2.  Sherry has a very encouraging, relaxing aura.
3.  Five years later, I'm still very close to several of the moms I met
from the group and my child has been friends with the other kids since
he was a newborn.
So, try Neighborhood Moms or Bananas for a recommendation near your home.
I really liked my therapist of four years, Nancy Rothschild. She worked with me successfully on many of the issues you want to address. Her number is 655-6903 and she's located at 6239 College Ave. -Kim
I highly recommend Dr. Dee Tivenan in Orinda. She was very helpful in resolving some rather serious problems we had regarding becoming parents. She asks difficult questions in a sympathetic, nonjudgmental, but incisive manner. Her number is (925) 631-7975.
Re: New mom with old baggage to sort through (July 1999)
To the person looking for a good child psychologist to help with "new baby" feelings: Try Cherry Wise PhD 848-9713 She is very good.
This is for the woman who was seeking recommendations for a woman therapists to help her address adjustment issues around the birth of her child and more longstanding family of origin issues.

I highly recommend Women's Therapy Center in El Cerrito. It is staffed by MFCC's and Ph.D.'s, both licensed therapists and interns. The basic orientation is long-term psychodynamic with feminist and socio-cultural sensitivity.

The intake is by telephone and then you are matched with a therapist who fits your needs. Also, very fair sliding scales; private insurance may work too.

I also recommend Russell House in Berkeley. This too is staffed by licensed therapists and interns (MFCC and Ph.D.'s) and specializes in women's issues.

For both, the intake is by telephone and then you are matched with a therapist who fits your needs. Also, very fair sliding scales; private insurance may work too.


Other advice:

As to whether the adjustment is hard, yes, yes, yes! Your relationship is very different from what it was. Your patterns are all out of whack. Even if you talked a great deal about what family means and what kind of family you want to have, there will always be subconscious/unspoken fears and expectations on BOTH your parts. Your husband has his issues too, even if he had a "normal" upbringing. But it can work out. In my experience, even to BEGIN working on the problems brought relief.


I can't recommend a Berkeley therapist, but I would like to comment on the rest of your message. I also grew up in a dysfunctional family and wanted to learn to interact in a more healthy way with my , by that time, pre-teen daughter. Things were getting more difficult between us and I felt I didn't know the "right " ways to nurture a teen who, of course, pushed the limits often. I felt I was a loving mother, but that I had raised her using some of the methods my parents used, which were much too critical and judgmental. I feel this affected her self-confidence. I was able, through Xanthos, a wonderful nonprofit organization in Alameda to arrange for family counseling for my daughter and myself. They work with a sliding scale pay system and have wonderful interns and accredited therapists. Their phone # is (510) 522-8363. I can personally recommend Dr. Debra Capwell. My daughter got on well with the therapist and so she started seeing her alone after about 6 weeks. I then began therapy ,with a different therapist, to work on my parenting issues. I also worked on my self-image/self-worth issues (which were not nurtured as a child) and (major) problems I was having in my romantic relationship. I went to therapy for about two years, and it all boiled down to one main issue!! When I started looking at my personal and work relationships, both past and present, it became obvious that my self-worth /self-image/insecurities were the root cause. If you don't feel good about yourself, you don't believe anyone else does either. You distrust people and their motives. You, perhaps are very defensive and confrontational. You feel that you have to be in control of every situation, and don't know when, or how to back down, etc. My boyfriend and I had a few sessions together, also. I can safely say that I feel much better about myself now and my relationships show that. I can now deal with my daughter in a relatively calm manner (usually). My boyfriend and I have been together for four years now, and this last year has been much quieter! We argued and fought alot the first two years especially. My regret in all this, is that I desperately wish I had gotten therapy MUCH earlier in my adult life!!! Things in general would have been much easier for me (and others in my life), I'm absolutely sure!!!

I strongly urge you to go to therapy, both as a couple and separately. Be sure not to use the same therapist for couples and personal therapy. That happened to us at first, and it didn't work out well!! If your husband won't go, go by yourself!!! This is especially important, because many of the issues revolve around you feeling better about yourself, and that is something only YOU and your therapist can resolve. Sorry this is so long (and personal), but my heart went out to you when I read your message! I felt it was essential to answer in this way!! I wish you the best of luck!!


You might also check out the book, "When Partners become Parents," by Philip and Carolyn Cowan, family therapists/professors from UC Berkeley. Especially enlightening is their forthrightness in describing their own difficult transition to parenthood and the stresses it added to their relationship. The book describes research done with a large sample of couples both before and after the birth of their first babies and should be a relief to anyone worried that it's abnormal for the couple relationship to feel strained with the onset of parenthood!
There are so many fine therapists in this area and I am sure others will
post here.  I will note a few of the many reliable people who I think
might be of help. 
Women Therapists who do individual and couple support:
Gayle Peterson  526-5951
Allison Ehara Brown 525-1635
Gail Alter    433-2972
Leah Fisher  527-0107

Men who offer Fathers Groups and Couple Support:
Marti Sochet  930-9350
Bruce Linton  644-0300

Warmly,
Sherry Reinhardt, RN,MPH,MOM
Support Services for Parents

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