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Every so often, my now 6-year-old son will go through a period where he exhibits some quirky behaviors. In the past it's been things like: very frequent need to urinate or constantly worrying he's wet his pants (when he hasn't); repeatedly apologizing for everything, over and over; spending over an hour wiping his bottom and never feeling like it's completely satisfactory. These things went away and now they're back, along with an inability to make very simple decisions (which book do you want to read?) or answer questions about his feelings and opinions. None of these things is a big deal - it's the intensity and repetition of them that worries me. I wonder if it's anxiety or something more serious like OCD. It seems to peak a few weeks into the school year (i.e. now), when the novelty has worn off and his anxiety sets in. He's exceptionally bright and has no trouble with school work, but he'll spend hours on 5 minutes of homework, constantly asking if he's doing it right. My spouse will not consider getting him evaluated for OCD, so I'm kind of stumped as to what to do. At this point I don't feel comfortable violating my spouse's refusal to have him evaluated/treated, but perhaps if I could get some guidance myself I could get a better handle on how to minimize his struggles. Clearly he's struggling with something, and I want desperately to help him. Can anyone recommend a Berkeley or Oakland therapist I could meet with to get ideas on how to help him cope with some of his stress? Again, this would have to be someone willing to meet with me, not with my son, at least for the moment. THanks for the recommendations in advance. East Bay Mom
Our daughter experienced pretty much the exact same symptoms -- and then some -- at the exact same age. I think that by the time we found her a therapist these particular symptoms (which we were told were not especially unusual ways for a child this age to manifest anxiety) had passed on their own. But in our child's case they are always eventually replaced, down the road, by some new worry. We ended up, years later, seeing the AMAZING Dr. Ellen Singer for cognitive behaviorial therapy, focussing on practical strategies that the whole family can use to help get the kid past particular anxieties. It was very, very helpful, and yes, she did meet with us alone (as well as with our daughter). She works in Berkeley, and her phone number is (510) 525- 1975. Good luck! Anonymous
There's a really wonderful therapist in Berkeley who specializes in assessing and treating these kinds of anxiety symptoms. Her name is Patricia Zurita Ona. You can find her at: eastbaybehaviortherapycenter.com. It's so good that you are asking for help around this and reaching out for resources! Good luck. Rachel
I think sometimes very bright kids get paralyzed by choices. They don't want to make the wrong choice, especially if they've been praised a lot for always being right when they were in preschool. Hopefully it will wear off with time. My son couldn't choose things even in art time, then in first grade his teacher explained to the class that there was not a ''right'' or ''wrong'' in art, and that made a big difference. My friend's kid who is also very bright has the same problem of taking forever to do a small assignment, with great attention to detail. I haven't run into the issue of bottom wiping for 1 hour. But some of the school related issues you mention may get better over time -- I just started telling him ''that's good enough'' on his homework, though his teacher said usually she recommends to tell kids ''always do your best'' she agreed in his case it was okay to stop after awhile and not aim for perfection. Hope this helps somewhat. anon
I was concerned about my daughter's compulsions and anxiety and yet wasn't sure what to do. I have been taking her to a 'play therapist'' I am out of the area so I don't have a recommendation for you. What I love about her is she's less about defining whatever the ''diagnosis'' is and more about giving tools to you as parent and your kid. So I am wondering if your husband might lift his ''ban'' if the therapist was more about the tools for coping than the diagnosis. We did have a 'diagnosis'' to get insurance to cover.
The therapist uses and highly recommends this book (and the series). http://www.amazon.com/What-When-Brain-Stuck-What-/dp/1591478057/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1318899683&sr=1-1
My daughter really connected to it and it gives us some language to use. I think it would be helpful though to work through it with a therapist but I could see it being useful on your own. Good luck. anon
Your son's behavior screams OCD at full volume. What could possibly be your spouse's objection to even having him evaluated? Unfortunately I can't help with what you're looking for, but for your son's sake I very much hope your spouse comes to his/her senses soon. local pediatrician
I am looking for a good psychaiatrist in the Berkeley area that can help me deal with OCD. I am suffering from recuring obsessive thoughts that I cannot get away from and cause me a great deal of anxiety and interfere with my work and personal life. Also, I have been taking Prozac for more than 10 years now.
I highly recommend Deborah Efron,LCSW. She is a superb Cognitive Behavioral Therapist with a great deal of experience in the treatment of OCD. Her office is in Berkeley on Solano Ave. She can be reached at 510-717-1415.
Pam Zelnik, Marriage Family Therapist
Hi, My 8-y-o daughter apparently has obsessive-compulsive disorder (and possibly other anxiety-related issues). I called the cognitive behavioral center in Rockridge based on previous recommendations on the UC parents list, but Michael Tompkins (the main guy there) is booked up. They did give me a referral; does anyone know anything about Melinda White, in Berkeley? Or does anyone have recommendations for another female (or easy- going, non-intimidating male) therapist who is trained in cognitive behavioral therapy for OCD? Thanks. anon
I recommend the following therapists for cognitive behavioral work-I have heard great things about them:
Lynn Martin in Orinda-925-377-0410
Sharon Smith in Oakland-510-891-9430
Wendy Ritchie in Walnut Creek-925-935-4448
I am looking for recommendations for a child psychologist or child therapist who is familiar with complusive behavior brought on by anxiety.I checked the archives and haven't seen any recent posts. Also are there any opinions out there as to whether a child should see a licensed psychologist or a therapist with an MFCC?
A great therapist for OCD in kids (or any kid/adolescent problems) is Dr. Michael Tompkins of the Center for Cognitive Therapy. He is a psychologist and fantastic therapist. I am also a psychologist and can tell you that although OCD can be very challenging it is also one of the most treatable psychological disorders and Dr. Tompkins is one of the best at it. Good luck. LRE
this page was last updated: Jan 8, 2012
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