Berkeley Parents Network >
Therapists, Counseling , & Support Groups >
See also: Couples Counseling
I've been with my current boyfriend for 6 years, living
together for 5. I'm currently 24 and he's 28 so we've
basically grown up together. We've reached a point where we
need to decide if we are going to make it official and take
the next big step. Both us want to, but have hesitations for
various reasons. Also we've both had major family crises
this past year (life-threatening long term illness of a
sibling, death of a parent) and so just recently started
arguing due to all the stress, not exactly a romantic year
to get engaged!! I've heard of pre-marital counseling and
wonder if it would help to go to a few sessions...
Do any of you have good or bad experiences with pre-marital
counseling and if so, know of any good counselors? Some
topics I think we'd like to discuss are going back to grad
school, sibling/parent in-laws, communication and stress
management for life crises that come up.
My husband and I saw Sandy Steinman in Berkeley. His contact info is 526-
9699. We saw him for 2 years prior to getting married and then continued to
see him when we needed it after getting married. He helped us develop great
communication skills and coping strategies. He gives homework! I found
him because he does great work with adult children of alcoholics (me) and
has extensive background in working with addictions.
Our situation was vastly different than yours in some ways... we were older by
more than 10 yrs. My husband had previously been married to a very, very
difficult person and had many children with her. I definitely attribute the
development of our abilities to communicate and understand and empathize
and just BE with one another to the work we did with Sandy. We have been
married for just about 12 years and have been through many, many major
stresses... death of a parent, life-threatening cancers in another parent,
bankruptcy, a few moves, adding 4 children of our own into the mix,
experiencing profound loss in a few arenas, serious legal issues.... man, have
we been through it!
We still love each other and are very much in love with each other. There are
still difficult issues, but we are infinitely more able to cope with whatever is
tossed our way.
I highly recommend him.
Sending my best!
My now-wife and I went to four different therapists during
our nine-year courtship. We found Aliyah Stein 848-5167,
and we got married about a year after we started seeing her.
We still see her on a less-frequent basis. Unlike other
therapists, she will take time during a couple's session to
dig into the background of one member to better understand a
particular feeling that comes up. Then she asks the partner
to be a source of support. She also teaches an
assertiveness training course at Kaiser, that non members
can attend inexpensively. We both took her course. She
demonstrates how you can be both assertive and sweet.
I recommend Cambria Lowe, very highly. (510)704-4002. She's
been astute, helpful, gentle, understanding, validating,
wise, easy to work with.
We've been seeing her on and off for several years, as a
''proactive'' measure, not because anything was wrong but so
we could have some help building a strong relationship, and
so we'd have a resource available if things did start to get
Still Happily Married!
Can anyone give current recommendations for a good, experienced
pre-marital/marriage counselor? We are considering marriage but have
some reservations. We also have somewhat tight budgets.
Thanks for the help!
If you are looking to save some money, I know
that a lot of local churches also offer marriage prep programs
(usually in a weekly, class format) for engaged couples or
those considering marriage. Something else to consider if
resources are tight.
Does anyone have any experience with the following therapists? I'm looking for a
pre-marital counselor and these providers are on my insurance list. Thanks!
Before you choose a therapist from your insurance list, make sure that your
insurance will cover ''pre-marital'' counseling. Many insurance companies will
only cover conditions that are deemed ''medically necessary,'' and I doubt that
pre-marital counseling would qualify
We are a young couple looking for a great pre-marital
counselor. Our wedding date is less than 90 days away so we are
kind of late getting started on this issue. We have been
friends for a very long time and are looking for an opportunity
to learn richer ways to communicate with one another and skills
to help address any negative scripts/dialogue patterns we have
established as ways of significantly enhancing our current
We live in Berkeley, we're open to groups, weekend seminars or
individual counseling. We are also open to programs that are
religious in nature (Baptist or African Methodist).
As is common my husband-to-be is less gung ho about this so it
would be great to have a male therapist.
Betty Tharpe is a counselor/therapist/whatever-she-is my wife
and I used for pre-maritial counseling. We liked her. She's
located on Solano Ave in Albany. She recommends 6 or 8 weekly
one-hour sessions. I don't remember her address or phone
number, I do remember she's in the same building at MPR
Financial (a mortgage broker).
I have two suggestions that you might want to look into. The
first person is Adria Blum. She is a great counselor who you
might be able to get into to see.
The second individual is a mediator that I went to for pre-
marital legal work, however, she is also great at just working
back and forth between the two sides to sort of reach common
ground. You might discuss the possiblity of her helping you
come together to reach your desired goal.
Ruth Cohn MFT (Rockridge location) uses the approach you are looking
for. I've worked with her in the past with a different method (Imago) and it
was very helpful.
Congratulations on your upcoming marriage! We were referred to
a premarital counselor, Ruth Cohn, in Rockridge who we really
liked. I too had a reluctant fiance who initially didn't really
see why this was a good thing to do but thankfully, he ended up
liking Ruth (she wasn't too touchy feely for him). One of the
most helpful things she did for us was providing a framework
for helping us stop and truly listen (and get!) what the other
person was trying to say. That might sound too simplistic but
it's amazing how that part can be the primary source of
misunderstanding! Her number is 510/653-6256.
My fiance & I are interested in couples counseling. This is a
first for both of us and really would love any recommendations
folks might have for therapists in San Francisco. I saw all the
amazing recommendations for therapists in the East Bay and am
hoping someone has some great recommendations for SF too!! Thank
you so much.
We have a really fantastic couples counselor whom I've already
recommended to several friends (after several friends recommended
him to *us*!) and now we're all seeing him and everyone seems to
think he's just terrific. Michael Baugh, LCSW LC 9324, Clinical
Director, New Perspectives Center for Counseling, 650-756-1758.
He has two offices where he sees patients, one out on Geary Blvd.
and another down south (past Krispy Kreme). He's given us a safe
place to sort out hot issues, and tools to argue and talk better,
plus he has some background in child development and has
interesting input about child-rearing issues. I can't say enough
good stuff about the guy, we think he's just great (and so far,
so does everyone else we've sent his way!).
Saved By Counseling
my husband and i went to jeff meeker. he's sensitive, intuitive,
and balanced. we saw him through some stressful times for about
12 sessions. he practices at networks counseling center on
clement street near 19th ave. we learned communication skills
that enhanced our relationship considerably.
Several members of our family have worked with Nancy Novack,
Ph.D., who is at 3669 Sacramento Street, San Francisco 94118.
Phone is 415/383-3058. Tell her Ilene and Bob sent you! Ilene
I would recommend Naomi O'Keefe, her office is near Union
Street. Her number is 415-441-2429.
I can't say enough about Catherine Regan, PhD, the couples'
counselor we saw a couple years ago. She really helped us get
through some rough patches and we're now happily married with a
baby. We've referred other friends to her, as well, who have
also had excellent experiences. Her office is in the inner
Sunset. Her number is 753-2661. Best of luck. It's hard work
but so very worth it.
I highly recommend Rodney Shapiro, Ph.D. in SF (and Marin). He
specializes in couples counseling. My husband and I have seen
him on and off for about 5+ years, beginning when we lived in
SF. He has helped us build a really strong and happy marriage.
He is very down-to-earth and personable in his manner, (humor
is a regular part of our sessions), and offers concrete
suggestions that can help.
We are seeing him now again, and travel to Marin to do so,
which is easier from Berkeley than going into the City. He
practices at Networks Counseling Center on Clement at about
11th street (an unrelated bonus: you can have a good asian
dinner before/after at one of the restaurants in the
neighborhood). He can be reached at 415-386-4545.
Glad to Have Found a Good Shrink!
My husband and I found a wonderful San Francisco therapist when
we were engaged eleven years ago--Dr. Norman Sohn, 415-563-8276,
located on Sacramento Street. Dr. Sohn is remarkable, and I
HIGHLY recommend him. He worked wonders for us, opening the
lines of communication more fully and getting us to really
understand why we were experiencing various issues in our
relationship. We still see him occasionally now for what we
call ''fine tuning''.
Best of luck to you!
Been There, Happily Married
Denise Capra Young helped me during various difficult periods
up to my marriage. She is not a touchy feely counselor. She is
a very careful and skilled listener. She's also very smart: She
immediately clued into my sneaky ways of avoiding intimacy and
styled her approach in an appropriate manner. I do recommend
selecting a counselor with a lot of experience if you can
afford it. Good luck with whomever you choose-
this page was last updated: Sep 18, 2010
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network