Therapists for Help with Parenting
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Therapists for Help with Parenting
We are looking for a parenting coach to help us deal with our strong willed 9
year old daughter. Someone who understands the nature of gifted children and
their sensitivities/intensities/excitabilities would be helpful & validating, but
we suspect stronger parenting skills will ultimately help our situation the most.
She functions so much better with structure, boundaries and routines but we have
come to realize that these slip away from us all too easily. We have the added
burden of homeschooling her and need help dealing with her resistance, attitude,
manipulations and lack of independence. She has a very pessimistic outlook on
life and we worry that she is paving her way towards depression. Yes, we have
tried individual therapy for her, but really feel that we get more bang for our
buck if we are given guidance for managing her behavior (and our attitudes
towards her, to be honest). Is there any parenting counselors out there who
charge less than $100/hr in the Oakland area. Willing to travel for a great
all Maria Antoniadis PhD ( on Leimert in Oakland) and see if she will work with
you under your conditions. I know you are hoping for less than $100 an hour, but
I'll tell you, an hour with her+me+my husband every 3-4 months( at about $190
each visit) is worth meeting weekly for a year with many others! She's a
fabulous communicator and she knows her stuff. Also if she thinks your idea of
what you need won't work..listen to her with an open mind. Believe me, this
woman has really helped us to turn my 9 year old daughter's life around in a
significant way. She's also helped us to learn how to parent in a way that
really works for us all: win-win!
Mika Gustavson in San Jose is exactly who you need - except that she's in SJ! But
maybe call her and ask for her referral for someone closer to you? Ask at the Summit
Center in Walnut Creek? We have many 2E homeschooling friends, you are not alone!
have you checked out http://sfbaghs.org ? hmm, you might also try talking to Anne
You should call Tom Limbert. He used to own Studio Grow and is now a parenting
coach with a book out.
I have used a parenting coach a few times for transitional times in my son's life and
found the strategies to be very helpful. I highly recommend Tom Limbert, a parent
coach, local author and former teacher. He has affordable packages, years of
experience and a nice approach with parents. Although he mostly works with younger
children, his messages apply to all ages. I appreciate how he infuses humor into his
dialogue as parenting can be hard!
He may be reached at email@example.com or 510.685.8553.
Bay Area Mom
I have a coach for you. We have been in a very similar situation. In fact, I feel
like you were describing my nine-year-old son in many ways. I also felt that we would
get more bang for the buck from a clear, consistent parenting approach then from
therapy. And I felt like my husband and I needed an outside person to get us on the
same page with the approach, even though our goals are the same. The coach we've been
using is Rebecah Freeling. She's been really great. She comes to our house and
initially our sessions with her were just adult sessions, no kids. She is sensitive
to the different cultures of each family and works within that framework and also
makes it clear what you will need to do to get results. In our case she came up with
a discipline plan that was simple enough for us to follow but has yielded results.
Our son doesn't like it, of course, but his behavior has definitely changed. We are
still working together to fine tune things and keep us on course. It's very easy to
slip back to old habits so follow-up has been important. I highly recommend Rebecah
and the two references she provided me also gave her glowing recommendations. More
info about Rebecah Freeling at: http://www.rfreeling.com/. Or call her at 614-
769-3563 (she is bay area located despite the area code). Best of luck!
I'd like to recommend Rebecah Freeling - a family coach who is also a Waldorf
trained educator. I worked with her when she was our preschool teacher last year
and she helped us to set a routine for morning time and getting out of the house
with my then 4-year-old twin daughters. Waldorf is all about rhythm and Rebecah
really understands children! Your exact situation sounds like a really good fit
for her skills and experience. She is smart, down to earth, funny, and deeply
cares about helping parents to connect with their children and to meet their own
needs as grown-ups. Your 9 year old daughter is also going through what's called
'the 9 year old change', and Waldorf educators are uniquely qualified to help
you understand what she's facing and what she needs, all while helping you to
set structure, boundaries, and get your family back in sync with each other. Her
website is: http://www.rfreeling.com/
So far, my husband and I have agreed about nearly all
parenting decisions for our 4 and 2 year old. However, our
four year old continues to come up with new and challenging
behaviors faster than we can solve them and we're starting
to get burned out and venting our frustration at each other.
Our marriage is suffering and we're both feeling like we're
lunging from one parenting challenge to the next. We've
agreed that we need to find a therapist who is equipped to
help us explore options for our parenting while also dealing
with the emotions, frustration we've having independently
and together - a therapist/parenting coach. Any suggestions? More than a
Hello, you should try Positive Parenting Program (Triple P). It involves teaching
your family strategies using positive reinforcement methods to help reducing unwanted
behaviors. There is also a aspect of the technique that involves reducing conflict
and increasing emotional intimacy between parents to support each other. At Alameda
Counseling we are nationally certified in the technique. Personally, I have found it
to work well with my ADHD 5-year old and my 2-year old. If interested please give me
a call at 510-227-6404. I have day,weekend and evening appointments and take several
insurances. Andie Butler Acuna
I know a great therapist for this. She specializes in couples issues and she has been
enormously helpful for me and my husband in figuring out how to deal with our
wonderful (but very difficult child).
She is really smart, figured out right away where we were getting stuck, and helped
us come up with a plan that worked. Plus she got us feeling like we were on the same
team again instead of fighting with each other about how to handle our son. Her name
is Cindy Blackett and she's on Solano Ave. I think she's just amazing.
Hello, I would give Robert Terris a call. He is in Rockridge. We went to him for
awhile and I thought he ideas were constructive. Robert Terris
-- Family Counseling & Mediation Center 5665 College Avenue, Suite 340 Oakland, CA 94618 tel. (510) 684-2172 email: firstname.lastname@example.org websites: www.robertterris.com www.famcmc.com Been there
I feel your pain! We have a six year old son, but over the last two years we have
dealt with one issue after another (just like being on a treadmill), and because of
this our marriage suffered. We ended up seeing a marriage therapist in Albany named
Cindy Blackett and she is terrific!!! After just a few visits with her we started to
understand the nature of frustrations (it was not just our son) and started learning
to see other in a different way that helped us to communicate. I cannot tell you how
helpful and real she is. She really listens well and offers suggestions that are
truly meaningful- not just the stuff that you expect therapists to say. I highly
recommend her as she has saved our marriage. Her number is 415.798.6082.
Looking for a professional who can fill a multi purpose role: a therapist,
parenting coach, advisor, and mentor. I am gay with long term partner and
have two children under 5. I would really like this person to be a parent
(preferably of more than one child) who is open, non judgemental and has a
great sense of humor.
I would highly recommend Laura Goldberger. I think she
would fulfill what you're looking for. She helped us (a
lesbian couple) a lot with couples issues and a range of
parenting advice. Her website is lauragoldberger.com and
phone is 510-665-7755
Ben Ringler would be ideal for what you are looking for.
Here is his webpage:
My partner and I are looking for some guidance to help us with our
18-month old's behavior. He has always been sensitive and needed
extra love and attention and prone to angry outbursts, but lately
things have deteriorated to almost-constant screaming tantrums,
hitting, and biting. We realize that these are on the spectrum of
normal toddler behaviors, but with a 2.5 year old also needing our
attention, we have been totally unsuccessful in redirecting and/or
soothing him. We've both been frustrated and losing our patience
with him, which I'm sure makes things worse I'm looking for either
a class or therapist experienced in coaching parents through these
phases. Any recommendations or suggestions would be greatly
I'm sorry to hear you are having a difficult time. What a challenge.
Asking for coaching so you can meet his needs is a wonderful perspective.
JFCS (Jewish Family and Children's services http://is.gd/w171To) offers
counseling to families with young children. They are particularly trained
and skilled at helping very young children and their parents. I would
encourage you to call them and set up an appointment to determine how
they might help.
Wishing you well.
Co-parenting therapist sensitive to gay families
My ex-partner and I need co-parenting help. Our situation:
1. I had a baby as a single (lesbian) mom by choice.
2. When this child was 4.5, I met a woman. We dated for 1.5 years
and then lived together for 3.5 years. My child and partner fell
in love with each other, and over time my child considered my
partner her second mother.
3. While we discussed my partner adopting my child, it didn't
happen for a number of reasons. 4. When we broke up, I wanted to
support my child's relationship with my ex, and they currently
spend 2 days a week together, including half the weekend.
5. Much of our fighting has to do with our roles. I'm the only
legal parent, and I have full decision making authority. My ex
really resents this and feels it undermines her role as parent.
We really need some help. I'm not sure if we're looking for a
therapist or a mediator, but I would like someone who could handle
the emotional aspects of our issue, be sensitive to gay families,
and could maybe help us work on a written co-parenting agreement.
We're not looking for long-term couple's counseling. Most of what
has been previously posted on co-parenting is over 5 years old or
focuses on parents needing a lawyer.
Your situation sounds like a perfect fit for Reba Connell (LCSW)
510-594-8224. She's specialized in these types of situations and
enjoys the challenges of this very complex dilemma. She's a great
listener and will help you find a solution. LL
I think that Reba Connell, MFCC, at the Center for Stress
Reduction would be a great choice for your dilema. She has
many years in the field and has a LOT of experience with
lesbian couples and family issues. She uses a method called
the Gottman Method and is the only person in the East Bay
certified in this method. I have found it to be an
extremely effective method after doing counseling numerous
times in the past. I strongly encourage you to contact her
and see if it seems like a good fit, whether you do
individual or couple's counseling around this. It
definitely sounds like a difficult situation and I wish you
luck. Reba is great! You can find her at 510-594-8224 or
In response to your question, I have a wonderful referral
for a ''Family coach'' that may be able to help. Her name is
Rachel Griffin, her website is: www.rgsquared.com. She has
many years experience working with both blended and
unconventional family arrangements. She is East Bay based
and will travel. Best of luck to you and your family!
Therapist to help us make changes in our parenting style
I've got an 8 year old son who does great in school and gets
along really well with both kids and teachers but drives us
crazy at home. He incessantly picks on his little sister
(yes I know much of this is typical) but he can be very
disrespectful to his dad and I and continues to have
tantrums when things don't go his way. I'd love a
recommendation for someone to talk to us as a family about
making parenting style changes as well as someone who my son
could feel comfortable talking with as well.
Looking for extra support
Please give JFCS/East Bay a call. They offer a range of
services for families facing just these sorts of
issues--with particular expertise in family therapy and
getting everyone all on the same page. They can definitely
discuss parenting styles and what works and doesn't work for
each member of the family. It's a nonprofit agency in
downtown Berkeley--wonderful people who really can help you.
Phone is (510) 704-7475 or visit www.jfcs-eastbay.org and
check out Parenting & Youth under the Services tab.
I've done therapy and I've been in parenting classes, now I want a combo of the two.
seems like when I've been in therapy, therapists are not too keen on talking
about what to do as a parent, what I might be doing wrong or right, what I can do to
correct my issues, and how to address concerns I have with my children as they grow.
Generally, I get some polite amounts of time to talk about this kind of stuff here and
there in a session, but not exclusively and not time after time.
I didn't have the best role models and I can feel a lot of bad patterns from my own
parents creeping up in my parenting.
Can anyone recommend at therapist that would indulge my need to really discuss
parenting issues and stages of development for children as well as children's needs.
Also, can you recommend someone who might take Aetna insurance? Thanks.
Need parenting therapy
Try Michael Simon at Practical Advice for Parents
Stacy Stoddard! 510.496.2733. Stacy worked A LOT with me and my partner around
parenting stuff. She's very down to earth, and she would always let me talk about what
I wanted to talk about. She has her own kids, too, so I always liked knowing that.
a better parent
I am a single mom of 3 year old. I am truely frustrated and
helpless about the situation about what my daughter is going
through. Recently, when my ex comes to pick up our daughter,
she refuses to go. Even before he comes, when I tell her that
her daddy is coming today she will start crying and not wanting
to go. Past couple weeks have been really, really hard. She
will cry and scream ''mommy, I don't wanna go'' ''I want to
stay''. I see her eyes with streams of tears and hearing her
screaming for me are just heartaching experience. But there is
nothing I can do. He will just tells me ''just give to me'' and
takes her from my arm. I know she will be OK, but it's been
really hard to deal with this...I know I have to be strong for
her, but it's been really hard. Are there any therapist that I
can see and may be talk about my feelings and frustration? I
don't know what to do with myself. I need help...
Sevin Philips is great. http://www.sftherapy.org/
I highly recommend Chris Weipert, whose office is in Noe Valley
(Church & Duncan). Her phone number is 415-710-6769. One of her
specialties is working with parents of young children. She's warm
and understanding and makes you feel comfortable. She has a website
for more information: www.chrisweipert.com. Good luck.
my heart really goes out to you! it's not easy to have conflict
and additional guilt and worry from your child's preference bearing
down on you. my advice for dealing with your daughter is to make a
point of telling her that you love her no matter what and that you
will be with her again soon and never leave her. i then turn these
statements into questions to drive it home, just asking her
basically if she feels loved, if she needs more hugs... i'm sure
you do all this, and that's why she wants to hang onto you. you
might also tell her that it's okay for her to love you and daddy,
that you will not be mad at her for loving him and that you
understand that it's hard right now. you might tell her that while
you and daddy aren't getting along, that has nothing to do with her
and that you both will love her always. if he's on the same page
and can say the same, it may help, and don't just say it once. say
it a lot! maybe you two can work it out so that you hug her goodb!
ye and then amicably hand her over. can he let her call if she's
missing you? (he probably wants to grab her and go, since it's
uncomfortable for all of you). my partner and i have experienced
this in a smaller version, because whenever we bicker, she's all
about mom and wants nothing to do with dad. she can be cruel! i
basically interpret this as she's picking sides and puts her
positive feelings about him at bay to be loyal to her #1 person.
(i'm guessing you're it, and so she wants to show you she's loyal).
it takes my daughter a long time to get over any argument and trust
him again, (and i mean days!) and i take it that your girl is just
being her smart and sensitive self too. one question, did this
kind of preference happen in a smaller way before the split, like
did she prefer you in more subtle ways during conflict? one more
thing with your daughter, speak very well of him in front of her
and promote their relationship.
on looking for a therapist,
you can seek counseling through ucsf. there's a great
psychoanalyst named jeanne leary. she's pretty limited to adoption, but she might
be able to give referrals. i only saw her once, but she's the
smartest therapist i've ever encountered. she sliced through my
issues like butter... lots of good wishes to you. don't forget to
take mommy time, massage, a good book, sit on the beach and do
nothing, get a babysitter or ask family/friends for help watching
her. give her special time on a regular basis (weekly or monthly)
with just the two of you at fairyland or some other magical place.
I highly recommend Janna Wissler, MFT. I saw her for individual and
then couples counselling, and I think she is just amazing.
Here's her website: http://www.beinghuman.us/
and here's the Yelp review I wrote of her:
Midwife to the birth of new consciousness, Janna accompanies you
where you didn't think you had the courage to go. Right down
through all the sh*t and blood and guts, Janna bears witness to the
unfolding of truth. During my year+ of therapy with Janna
(individual and couples) she has taught me to honor those dark and
messy places as part the beauty of being human. Ready for
transformation? I highly recommend jumping in with this brilliant
Does anyone have a recommendation for a doctor or counselor who
specializes in teaching parents to parent? Someone to discuss parenting
issues and to get advice from on how to parent in different situations?
Any recommendations would be helpful!
Parent in need of advice
I started working with a wonderful parenting counselor 4
years ago to help me understand and help my delightful but
very anxious child (she's now 8). I started with a group
parenting class with Leah Statman, who has an office in
Albany. Since then, I've met with Leah to work on parenting
issues and for help crafting a parenting agreement during my
divorce, to discuss all kinds of parenting issues with her
one-on-one, to attend some of her ongoing parent support
groups, and to do touch work (Jin Shin Jyutsu) for both my
daughter and myself. Leah has a deeply healing and positive,
optimistic presence, is deeply practical and creative in
truly bringing parents into harmony with each other,
themselves and their kids. My favorite thing about Leah is
that she always has an insight about how to ''get through''
or find the next step, or find the truth of a situation and
then work with it. She is an invaluable resource for me and
my family. I cannot recommend her highly enough. Her
website is www.leahstatman.com and her phone is
510-525-5080. You are welcome to email me if you have any
(Editor note: Leah Statman passed away in 2011.)
I'm not sure whether to post this in Advice or Recommendations. We have
three kids (5, 7 and 10) who are mostly friendly, loving, well-behaved
kids, but lately our family feels a little dysfunctional. We have
generally avoided punishments and strict rules, but I'm wondering if we
need better boundaries. The kids frequently hit each other and make each
other cry. The older two gang up on the younger one. They sometimes shout
NO when we ask them to do something. They cry (a lot) when things go
wrong. I think we need a good behavioral therapist to coach us through
some gentle, solid methods of discipline. I'm not looking for months (let
alone years) of in-depth therapy, but rather a sane, no-nonsense approach
to behavior adjustment, delivered in a finite number of sessions. Can
anyone recommend someone? Thanks a lot.
Dysfunctional in Berkeley
I am really impressed with Elisa Dumensnil (the s is silent).
She is works with kids both in school settings and with kids and familiies.
She's very nice, really, she is!
510-338-4233 is her number
Father of Two
Call Elisa Dumesnil (pronounced Doomanell) at 510-338-4233. She's a mom,
she's an experienced therapist, and she's great with kids. I'm sure she
could give your family a tune-up.
I think all families could use an occasional tune up! I am no expert on
child behavior, but I can recommend a book that I recently read and have
found helpful: ''Setting Limits with Your Srong WIlled Child'' by Robert J.
Even if your kids are not especially strong willed, this book offers some
very practical ideas for how to change course in what the author refers to
as ''your family dance''. It's a fast read, so you have nothing to lose.
I don't know if there is such a person but I am looking for
some type of parenting counselor who can help me work through
issues that I am having with my 4 year old. She is generally a
sweet loving child with a lot of energy and a very strong
will. While her teachers say she is well behaved she is not
well behaved with me. I am sure there are a lot of things that
we can find that contribute to her ''Dr. Jeckyl, Mr. Hyde''
behavior and I have read many books and practice the advice
found in them but really, nothing has worked very well. I keep
thinking that I need an outsider's POV to help me work through
this. I am not interested in a group class at this point but
some one-on-one advice. Any suggestions as to who that could
Nearing my wits end
Jill Schugard is the person for you. She does groups adn private
parental counselling. She helped me and my husband a few years
ago with family dynamic issues and specific kid behaviors. She's
really good. We saw her 2 or 3 times. She gave us ''homework'' to
do and followup. She's great.
I do not have her number (sorry), but she is in the phone book.
If I remember, she's off of Solano in Berkeley. Good luck.
Last spring we worked with Monica Frame, a licensed clinical
social worker in Albany, on some issues we (and her preschool)
had with our then-3 1/2-year-old daughter. We recommend her highly.
We (parents) met with Monica alone, then Monica had 3 or 4 ''play''
sessions with our daughter alone, and then we met again with
Monica alone. At our request, Monica also observed our daughter
at preschool. From this, Monica developed good insights into
both our daughter's personality and our parenting style. She
gave us several very helpful suggestions that we have been able
to use in a variety of parenting situations. Monica is low-key,
easy to talk to and a good listener. Our daughter was sad when
her visits to Monica were over.
Monica's number (as of last summer) is 504-8168. Feel free to
email me if you have questions or need more information.
As a family therapist, I would venture to say that your 4-year-
old is doing what comes naturally -- testing her limits.
(Normal for her, but nevertheless frustrating for YOU!) I think
it's great that you want to seek some counseling/therapy around
all of this -- it's likely to be VERY helpful and it shows how
much you care about your daughter's emotional well-being. '
If I were your therapist, one of the first things I would be
interested in is your description that she seems to behave well
at school, but becomes challenging in the home. So, she's
testing you -- I would be curious about how you are responding
to her tests and whether or not there is any secondary gain for
her to continue to act out. (For instance, in some families,
children misbehave in order to draw attention and focus away
from fighting parents).
I would also want to know if anything major has changed in her
life recently (ie: new sibling, death in the family, illness,
change of neighborhood, new babysitter, parents fighting, etc).
4-year-olds are great at expressing their anxieties and
stresses through play -- so you might want to try some
directive activities with her. You could ask her to color a
picture showing what it's like to be mad! Or help her put on a
puppet show where the puppets talk about what kids can do when
they're sad. Encouraging your daughter to self-soothe (find
productive ways of managing her anxiety) will not only pay off
in the short-term - it will provide lifelong benefits!!
I've heard from friends that Meg Zweibek (don't know how she
spells it) can be quite helpful. If you can't find her phone
number in the book, call Bananas (child care referal) in oakland
and they are sure to have it. You are right in seeking help. It
is important for your child to act respectfully to all adults,
including you. Of course many of our children are better when
they are outside the home. But it is not okay for them to unload
un us parents too much. And it is good for us to know how to
teach them their limits, and get them to see how their actions
can really hurt those who they love.
- A mom with loving opinionated daughters
I have heard Rona Renner
speak about parenting pre-schoolers at my son's preschool and she is a very sensible
person with a helpful, non-judgemental problem-solving approach. She has a great sense
of humor too, which you need when you're feeling overwhelmed with parenting.
I know that she also
runs workshops for parents at Kaiser. I think she'd be a great
person to help with parenting skills.
I have also spoken with Meg Zweiback on the phone
about my troubles with a very demanding and difficult baby and she was
just great, so soothing and sensible. I know that people love her for her sleep and
toilet training advice, but she is also a very experienced parenting coach.
I need help and would like recommendations for someone
who can give me personal coaching and guidance
in handling the anger and rage I often experience with my 6-year-
old son. My once near perfect child has increasingly developed
behaviors that I consider totally unacceptable, and I have not
managed to either: a) steel myself to them and let them roll off
my back; or b) get him to stop them. As a result, I errupt with
rage and do things I am ashamed of. I am looking for someone
who can help me find ways to achieve some of both a
and b above. Many of the behaviors my son engages in are not
acceptable (many have to do with personal boundaries, like
licking me, twisting my nose, poking my eyes, and poking my
husband in the privates) and he truly needs to stop them. So I
need to find effective ways to stop these behaviors. But I also
need help channeling my anger and rage, which often have me
yelling as sternly and desperately as I can muster to my child,
and deeply wishing I could just whack him one.
My husband and I went to see a wonderful therapist (she calls
herself a nurse) at Kaiser Richmond, named
Rona Renner. She is
wonderful, and extremely thoughtful! She offered us sound and do-
able suggestions on how to deal with our seven year old son, as
well as insights into why he bahaved the way he does (what he is
feeling inside, and things that we can do or say that will help
him (and us)). If you have Kaiser insurance, I would RUN to her
immediately! The other possibilty is Jim Beatty, who offers
social skills workshops for boys. He is located on Eighth Street,
in Berkeley. His phone number is: 644-1788. He probably can't
help you, but he might help your son. As an aside, I, too, am not
proud of the anger I feel towards my son sometimes, but talking to
Rona Renner really helped. I hope you can get in to see her!
Everybody Needs Help Sometimes
Why not try a marriage family counselor who works with both children and
adults? I think that if you are clear about your goals, as you were in your post, you should be able to find someone to work with you around the specific behaviors that are pushing your buttons and to help you with your reactions.
It doesn't have to be long-term work, but developing a relationship with
someone you can go back to when you feel the need sounds like a good idea.
I would contact Inbal Kashtan at 510-530-5302. She is part of
the Bay Area Non-violent Communication community and specialises
in NVC Parenting. She has a NVC parenting group you can attend,
you can attend her classes and I'm sure you can see her
individually as well. She will help you identify your feelings
and needs as well as your son's and give you tools for being the
parent you want to be.
An NVC Parent
I would suggest Dr. Philip Gross in Albany. He works together
with his wife, Miriam, who is a LCSW. Dr. Gross meets with the
child to work on whatever behavior problems there are, and
Miriam meets with the parents to help them overcome whatever
issues they have. We recommend them highly.
Hey, I hate to say this, but I have had great success taming my
rage at my middle son, who is ''spirited,'' by taking a light dose
of Lexapro, a SSRI (anti-depressant). I would not have
considered myself ''depressed,'' but my GP rec'mded the drug as
something to ''take the edge off'' and it has worked really well.
When I'm not so angry,I can better apply the standard parenting
techniques to handle the meltdowns and tantrums that were so
difficult for me. Just give it a thought.
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