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Therapists for Teens & Preteens

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Therapists, Counseling , & Support Groups > Therapists for Teens & Preteens


Therapist Reviews from Parents Advice about Therapy for Teens More Reviews of Professionals for Teens Advice & Reviews for Specific Teen Issues More Resources

2011 - 2013 Reviews


Therapist Dean Lobovits

July 2013

We are looking for a therapist for our son and one recommendation was Dean Lobovits. Has anyone had experience with this therapist and how was it? anon


My son saw Dean Lobovitz for several years, and still does occasionally. We highly recommend him. He specializes in adolescent issues and was truly a life saver for us. As a family, we trust him completely. Schedule for morning appointments if you can, and prepare discussion points. All the best of luck
We used Dean as a couples therapist a few years ago and he was absolutely awful in every way. He took sides, was unprofessional, had his own agenda, was not smart in any way, and completely wasted our time. There are many skilled therapists in the area, but he is not one of them. Anon

Tried Somatic Psychotherapy for your teen?

June 2013

Hello, has anyone tried somatic psychotherapy for a pre-teen? My son and his father are having difficulty communicating. I've suggested therapy but neither are interested. A friend mentioned somatic psychotherapy as an alternative because its less formal and maybe more fun. Does anyone know about this? worried mom


Yes, I have tried somatic psychotherapy and found that it helped me resolve something very difficult in a quicker, more direct way than talk therapy. It seemed to open things up, lighten things up right away, get rid of the tension around what I needed to resolve. I was able to overcome some heavy stuff in one session. I would highly recommend the practitioner I went to, she is really insightful, fun, creative, and great with communication skills. I think she would be an ideal practitioner for a teenager and his Dad. She is really experienced at working with men and younger men. She won an award for her work in the East Bay this year. Her web: jessicaengle.com and her email: jessicaengle@jessicaengle.com Rose
We had a similar problem in our family. We went to see Monika Broecker and had good success with her alternative approach. Her website is here: http://center4personalgrowth.com A Better Listener

Therapist for mother & daughter

May 2013

I am in desperate need of a therapist who would be willing to work with myself and my daughter. It may be helpful to see someone who is Indian or who is aware of the cultural differences. We live in Hercules. Thanks in advance. Concerned Mom


I want to recommend a therapist who has changed our family's lives for the BETTER!! Her name is Cara Zeisloft, LCSW, 2001 Blake Street, Berkeley, CA (510) 594-4331 and her website is carazeisloftlcsw.com I am not sure about cultural awareness, so please check with Cara directly. I can only say we were at the end of the rope emotionally until we found Cara who has worked miracles with our teenager. Our teen is a person of color and has connected wonderfully with Cara, so that is a good indicator, but talk to her as she may have a referral if she is not right for your family. Btw she is not inexpensive, but she is worth every penny to us. Teen family saved by therapy

Therapist for depressed 16 year old daughter

May 2013

My daughter, who is 16 and a sophomore in high school is suffering from several disappointments that have affected her grades and have made her very depressed. She has had injuries that caused her to have to quit her favorite sport, soccer, and prevented her from pursuing lacrosse. She has tried the swim team, but does not like it that much. Also, since she cannot run due to her injuries, she has gained weight, and that also depresses her. She is also having problems with friends, her best friend is moving away at the end of the year, and other friends are not there for her. Her grades have plummeted this year, and she is having problems with motivation in school. Could anyone recommend a therapist for her? Thanks, Concerned Mom


I would highly recommend Regina Shields, Ph.D. for your teen. She is warm, very smart, very experienced and ''gets it'' about teens. Her office is in Rockridge. Her number is 510-839-1740. Best of Luck

Need therapist recomendation in san francisco for female SFSU student

April 2013

Hi, My daughter is now is a college student at San Francisco State and called me to help her find a therapist in San Francisco to help her with issues of perfectionism ( she is so very hard on herself-body image, performance, wants to make good impression on others ), relationship issues--trust, and help clarifying her future direction. She has blue cross insurance and was raised by lesbian mom and feels that lack of father figure was a big problem. Any suggestions for sensitive, empathic therapist? Thanks!


I highly recommend calling Dr. Annie DeJong. She is a thoughtful, warm and experienced psychologist, who definitely has experience with all the issues you mentioned. She also tries to work with insurance whenever she can. She can be reached at (415) 346-8144. anon

Need Therapist who Does House Call for Teen w/ Depression

Feb 2013

My son, who is really bright and always had gotten great grades, has gotten so depressed in last year he often refuses to go to school. He's up in middle of night using computer, then goes to bed at 7:30am. The days he does go he won't do homework and has mostly Fs. He has VOC insurance and I got therapy appt. but he wouldn't go. I finally found one who agreed to come here, but now he won't talk to her, tho' at first he liked her & agreed to see her again. I can't even get him to go to store to try on jackets or to dentist. Last time I removed computers, he sat all day on couch refusing to go to school or anything. By 2nd day he was cutting his jeans into pieces (bored). I can't get rid of my computer (needed for work) & if it's here he has it, only letting me use it when he's sleeping. Trying to take it results in power struggle and could break it. He only speaks to 1 friend, boycotting me & everyone else. Friend tried to get him to go to martial arts show, which he loves, but he refused. He hardly eats & is lethargic. He goes from bed to couch & back. He was victim of violent crime and seems to not want to leave house now. He's getting worse. Homeschool won't work. He needs to socialize w/ others & be out at BHS to get over PTSD, not be more isolated. He won't do HW here; he'll just use cmpt. all day. My son really loves reading, swimming, playing instrument, martial arts, making food, playing games etc. but now all he does is sleep and use computer. He no longer smiles or chats w/ me. He only eats when i leave or go to bed unless his friend is here. I'd like recommendation of therapist who deals w/ computer addiction but s/he'd have to make house calls & take VOC insurance. I'd try a curandera/herbalist if I can find good one. (Curanderos who spit rum don't work. Tried it--he hated it.) Homeopathy costs arm & leg & didn't work. Other helpful suggestions welcome.


Your son is depressed and needs therapy. But your family is being run by your kid, you feel powerless, and trust and affection has been seriously eroded. You are in need of a skilled family therapist, who can help you re-establish your authority and help you get your kid the help he needs. Most therapists in private practice will not make housecalls. It is not clear that having the therapist come to you is the best way forward. However, it may be a useful first step. a psychologist
Dear Seeking Solutions, Your situation is very worrisome and I understand. I have some names of therapists I think are good or may have advice. 1.) Dean Lobovits in Berkeley tel. 510 527 4569 (He knows a guy for computer addition also) 2.) Bob Heavner Berkeley tel. 510 843 4377 3.) Dr. Lawrence Diller tel. 925 945 6060
tracy
There are few Therapists who understand this new predicament with our gaming addicted sons and daughters who will get you to where you want to be...having your kid back. I write here @ BPN often & it may be time to establish a separate BPN forum devoted to this contemporary condition, and I truly feel for you and your family. Can you save up money for an intervention, or wilderness camp? I had a friend who did this with a son into drugs & violence. It's a bit of an ambush -the camp counselor literally picked him up, no warning, and off to a well staffed wilderness camp experience. There are myriad choices listed, and there's hope for a placement covered by insurance. Eventually he will thank you for saving his life. You are experiencing a very difficult situation. I have been there and you are doing great, so far. http://www.video-game-addiction.org/video-game-addiction-treatment.html http://www.wilderness-programs-info.com/ http://www.netaddictionrecovery.com/ Stay strong!
Try Dr. Simone Taylor, based in Oakland. Registered with victims of crime (VOC) program in Alameda. Not sure if she does house calls though. http://www.apsychologistintheeastbay.com/ Dad

Therapist for Depressed College Drop-out

Dec 2012

Re: Son feels like a failure after dropping out of college
Sorry to tell you, you are not alone. A lot of my son's friends came back after 2 years in college. I have no idea what is going on.We read all around that there is a problem with boys, etc but I don't hear solutions...is a totally different story with girls.. My son is seen Dr Frank Davis in Berkeley (510) 496-3470. I think he is great with young man and pretty helpful to the whole family. I know how you feel, hopefully our boys will be able to figure it out. good luck! mgr


Hey There, We too have a bright son who dropped out of college in Jan 2012 after failing classes, came out feeling like a total failure and slipped into a deep depression. While we still are not on the other side of this hard journey, we have made progress. He started seeing a therapist 2 x week, had an neuropsy eval and ended up with a dx of ADHD, depression and anxiety. He has continued with therapy, meds and started taking classes at Laney. We also do weekly family therapy. I suggest Samuel Tabachnik, PHD who does a lot of work with young men. There is also a parents group for this specific issue run by a woman named April Wise. I think a new group will start in January. I have felt very alone and at a loss how to help him and ourselves at times. My advice to you is therapy, patience with yourself as you struggle with the stress this brings and with him as well. Good luck. anon

Therapist for 16 yo girl on Saturday?

Dec 2012

I am seeking a therapist recommendation for my 16 yo girl who seems to be struggling socially, with her perfectionist ways and general growing up issues. I am hoping to find someone in Berkeley who has Saturday hours. Thoughts? anon


Try Dr. Simone Taylor. Her office is right on the boarder of Berkeley/Oakland on Telegraph. http://www.apsychologistintheeastbay.com/
dad
My teenage daughter saw Nina Shilling, a therapist in Berkeley, for a number of years. She is a wonderfully warm, witty, and creative older woman who was an excellent mentor for my daughter. She came back from each session stronger and more clear. I highly recommend her- she was such a great support and guide. I do believe she has Saturday appointments available. Nina Shilling 540-0813. Judy

Therapist for 16 yo son struggling with school, drugs, behavior

Dec 2012

I am looking for a therapist for my teen (turning 16 soon). He is a great kid, loving and friendly, but he has had some struggles with school, illicit drug use, and behavioral issues. Most of this has cleared up recently due to significant efforts from kid and parents. His Dad and I divorced six years ago, and he lives 50% with Dad and 50% with me. I have supported his relationship with his Dad despite many storms -- on numerous occasions our son has argued intensely with his Dad, suffered verbal abuse (and an occasional shaking when he was younger) from his Dad, refused to move to Dad's when the time came, walked out of his Dad's house and spent the night elsewhere a couple of times (when I was out of town -- he's also come to my place for refuge), etc. His Dad turns to me for back-up, asking me to persuade our son to move back, apologize, etc. I have tried to mediate arguments between the two of them where I was shocked at the level of disrespect both of them expressed. Our son, who is polite and respectful to me, gives back as good/bad as he gets from his Dad. Now they had a blow-up and son moved back with me, saying he doesn't want to return to Dad ''for a long time.'' Dad claims he felt physically threatened in the arguments they had, son claims that Dad lacks all empathy. I hope to persuade son to move back in with Dad on 50% basis, but I can't control Dad's behavior. Now son has confided that he has violent intrusive thoughts that bother him. I need to find a therapist for son, but he has resisted therapy steadfastly in the past. If I could find a male therapist who has worked with kids of divorce, who has some experience in working with kids who have experimented with drugs and have some symptoms of depression, that would be great. My son has expressed willingness to talk to a therapist if the focus could be on self-exploration and understanding rather than ''curing,'' and if there could be concrete things accomplished rather than just talk. Finally -- we have to have a therapist who takes our insurance: United Behavioral Health. I would be grateful for any leads. divorced mom


You raise a host of complicated issues here. On your son's concern about ''cure'' vs. ''self-exploration,'' tell your son right off the bat that therapy is indeed about self-exploration, finding useful tools for coping, understanding self-damaging behaviors, navigating difficult relationships, etc., NOT curing.

On the issue of finding a therapist, ask your insurance for a list of providers in their network. Go online and look at their websites (most therapists have them now). Don't be discouraged if they all sort of say the same thing, e.g., ''I work on issues of loss, self-esteem, divorce,'' etc. You can tease out the differences fairly easily. Look at their gender, training, areas of interest, the way they describe themselves, years in practice, work with teens, etc. Then call them and ask for a (free) 15-minute phone interview to see if you like them and if you think they'd be a good match for your son. Don't ask them for advice during this time; just describe your situation very briefly and ask if they'd be a good match, what their experience and approach are, etc. Anyone unwilling to do this can be crossed off your list. Ask the best prospects (you will have only 1-2) if your son could meet them in person for 15 minutes to see if they're a good match. This is how I got a very good therapist for my very disturbed foster son. And BTW, even if someone else on this list gives you the name of the world's best therapist, you should still do pre-meetings to see if they are a good match for your family. That's what matters. Referrals only get you so far.

And you didn't ask for this advice, but I urge you to reconsider being the mediator between your husband and son. It's not your job to convince your son to go see his father. It's their relationship. If things are very tense between them, and it sounds like it, maybe it's better that he be with you nearly 100% of the time. Because it sounds like they're going to come to blows at this rate. Don't make your son keep going through this. Put your energy into getting a good therapist, and ask the therapist to be the mediator, not you. hang in there; I know it's hard


Our son (now 20) has seen Dr. Ken Seider on Domingo St. in Berkeley, both for family therapy and, at his own request, for individual counseling. He saw him perhaps 20 times from the ages of 16-19. Our issues were probably less serious than those you describe. We have been very happy with Dr. Seider, and the fact that our son has (more than once) requested meetings on his own with Dr. Seider suggests that our son also saw value in meeting with him. I have no idea what insurance he accepts. Anon
Michael Simon at Market Hall in Oakland specializes in teens and is amazing with teen boys~ and their parents. He is a gift to this community! Give him a call. anon

Looking for a therapist specializing in teens and anxiety

Aug 2012

I'm looking for a great female therapist experienced with teens and anxiety. My teen has been in therapy last year with very little improvement and feels bad about it, given that we all had hopes for more results... Your recommendations are much appreciated! Thanks. anon.


Hi, At age 14, my daughter, ''A'', developed a real anxiety disorder. Her original therapist was amazing but relocated to Chicago when A was about 16 and then on more of a ''maintenance-type'' schedule of therapy (only checking in maybe once a quarter or twice a year). On referral, A saw Dr. Rachel B. Levi, whose office is in Oakland in the Market Hall building. Her phone is (510) 287-2625 (All phones are online). A hasn't seen Rachel in a few years but did like her a great deal. However, along with Rachel, I would strongly recommend a psychiatrist named Robert Epstein MD, on Dana Street in Berkeley. (510) 848-0900, IF you think meds might be in the picture. I had A see him when she first started in therapy at 14 because I'd been told he was extremely conservative around teens and meds, yet I thought A might be a candidate for meds just to help her see a bit of daylight from the hole of her anxiety. While it took her a while to warm to him, he was just perfect understanding what she needed. 10 years later, she's a very well-adjusted college grad, though she does continue to see him periodically to tweak her meds with life's slings and arrows, and he continues to have a very moderate approach. He listens to her as to where she's at, what she wants to aim for and work with her on that basis. Susan
My then 12-year-old son was helped tremendously by Wendy Ritchey in Walnut Creek. He did a short course of therapy, learning helpful techniques for recognizing when the anxiety was beginning, and also more positive self-talk, and his anxiety and sleep difficulties reduced dramatically. That was 15 years ago, but I see that she is still practicing: http://wendyritchey.com/ Good Luck! anonymous
Interestingly, we just discovered Dr. Sheila Krystal and liked her right away after one visit. She has a natural approach worth looking into, and takes our insurance. I believe teen anxiety is very common and is often a physiological experience related to hormonal development. There are natural remedies. Pharmatherapy is not the only answer to teenage angst! The office is not a typical sterile environment, your child might enjoy the change. Good luck!

Looking for East Bay Therapist for Teen who accepts Medi-Cal

April 2012

We have a teenaged bi-racial daughter who needs to get back into therapy. We recently moved to the Bay Area and we need someone who is good with teenaged girls and who accepts Medi-Cal. Our daughter was in therapy for many years (she was adopted by my husband and myself within the family) but has not seen anyone in the last 4 years and she's in great need of help. Thanks. Concerned Mother


Center For Family Counseling 9925 International Blvd, Suite 6 Oakland, California 94603 Telephone: (510) 562 3731 cffc@sbcglobal.net they specialize in children, youth & families... Provide case management, and accept Medi-cal. Helpful Info

Experienced Therapist for 17 year old daughter

Feb 2012

Seeking youthful yet experienced and licensed therapist to help teenage daughter with issues around procrastination, self-sabotage and ADHD. Though open to therapy, she is skeptical and bright enough to have an inexperienced therapist running around in circles. Ideally, close to central Berkeley. Many thanks! Grateful for suggestions


I'd like to recommend my son's therapist, MarRem Remington, because she is fantastic with kids with ADHD (like my son) and kids wired differently (more emotional, more sensitive, more explosive, etc.). MarRem has 20+ years in special education before becoming a therapist, so she seems to really ''get'' these kids on almost an energetic level and connects with them in a skillful and compassionate way (without being ''played by them''). She is also great at giving the kid and the rest of the family strategies to honor the kid's emotional experience, while increasing his/her functioning in the family and at school. She has been seeing my son for awhile and he has gone from an ADHD kid frustrated with school and family life, to a much happier kid with emotional awareness and skills to self-regulate. She has really helped our entire family (my husband, our younger sibling and I) work with the ups and down and particular challenges of having a family member with ADHD in the family. She is located at Ashby and Shattuck in Berkeley. If you'd like to talk more about her style or any other details, feel free to e-mail me directly or call her for a phone consultation at (510) 835-4357. Good luck! j.
J.J. Kelly at Berkeley Therapy Institute has helped my teenaged daughter with similar issues, and we are grateful. I don't know where we'd be without her! She is wise, straight-forward and effective. Her phone number is 510-841-8484.
There are two fantastic, licensed therapists who see teens at JFCS/East Bay--a nonprofit agency right here in downtown Berkeley (accepts insurance and has sliding scale). Call 510-704-7475 and ask about Rikki Sudikoff and Alexis Lowenstein. More info at www.jfcs-eastbay.org. FYI, ''Jewish'' in the agency name, but services open to all.
For your daughter's therapy, taking into consideration your words: ..''youthful yet experienced and licensed therapist to help teenage daughter with issues around procrastination, self-sabotage and ADHD''. I recommend Marenka Cerny, MFT, in Berkeley. Marenka has experience with youths and young adults exhibiting symptoms that fit your daughter's needs. Marenka is a delightful person, excellent clinical training; with a good head. She also possesses a good youthful energy. You can see her intelligently written website. Her writing there clearly shows her professional background and her personal insights that she puts into her practice. Go to: www.somatic-psychotherapy.org/ Ph:510-717-9365. Marenka Cerny has helped members of my family with real life issues. She has effectively helped their personal growth and there has been positive behavioral changes in their lives. Suzanne
Hi, I would completely recommend you Orit Weksler, MFT in Berkeley. She is great with intelligent teenagers. Have a look at her website: www.oritwekslermft.com Best, Eszter

Therapist for teen son's anxiety

Feb 2012

Hi, I'm looking for a counselor in the San Ramon to Walnut Creek area for my teenage son who has self esteem/ anxiety issues. My insurance gave me a couple of choices...Mary R. Cross and Julie Scheinman. Has anybody had any experience with them that they could share? Also, is there anyone else you can recommend in the area who is good with teenage boys. Thanks. anonymous


If you and/or your son can commute to Oakland, I strongly recommend Dr. Callum Eastwood. He is intelligent, experienced, and effective. He sees clients for assessment/consultation or ongoing psychotherapy. His phone is (510)459- 4837. He also may be able to recommend someone in the Walnut Creek area if Oakland is too far of a trek. Anonymous

Therapist for middle school child who is hurting himself

Dec 2011

My 11 year old son is frustrated in a class in school and has been hurting himself (banging his head against the desk). I am looking for a therapist experienced with children who hurt themselves, are gifted, and have anxiety. Ideally the therapist would be located in Berkeley or Albany. Thank you. Want to help my child.


That's a tough situation. I recommend Dr. Ken Braslow. He's a child psychiatrist who works with kids/families and has been helping us with therapy for our child (and meds more recently). My husband & I appreciate the time he's taken to get to know us. Our son really likes him and is getting better. He's in Berkeley. Laura R.

Therapist for 15yo daughter in deep trouble

Oct 2011

I need recommendations for an excellent therapist for my daughter who is in deep trouble. Hates school, angry, depressed, doing drugs of all kinds, alcohol and doesn't seem to care about the consequences. Any recommendations on alternative schools/residential treatment centers/boarding schools all with an emotional component and not just academics. She is very artistic. I've heard the RTC's in Utah are dangerous and horrible to the kids and kids suffer PTSD after being dragged off in the night to these places. What alternatives are there out there to help her???? She is seeing a therapist now, Piera Piagentini but nothing is really happening that is positive. I appreciate any recommendations-thank you so much. Desperate mom


My advice for teens that are out of control is to find a good educational consultant. We used David heckenlively in Walnut Creek and were happy with him. For our son, we sent him to wilderness with Second Nature then to a therapeutic boarding school. Second nature is fantastic! Some kids do well with wilderness alone, and others need longer treatment. Been there
I'm sorry to hear about your daughter. Our daughter had a long list of very self destructive behaviors last year. We finally found a therapist that she connected with. Her name is J.J. Kelly and she is excellent with teens. Though we are not completely out of the woods yet, our daughter is doing so much better. J.J. has helped our daughter tremendously. She also runs a DBT group periodically. She is the reason we did not send our daughter to a therapeutic boarding school. I have heard good things about Montana Academy.It was started by some bay area therapists. Good luck with your daughter. been there

Therapist for 16 year old daughter

Oct 2011

Needs names of good therapist for teenager 16 year old female. Desperate for help


My 16 yo son sees Jason Brand in Berkeley. Jason is young-ish and seems great w/ teens. My son likes him a lot and my husband and I felt as if he ''knew his stuff''. His number is: 488-3093. Good luck anon mom
I highly recommend Mick Hausauer, 4281 Piedmont, Oakland, 654-2311. He is amazing with teens. A friend told me about him and he was wonderful with her child and mine. mother of teens
As a family we are seeing Robert Terris at the Family Mediation Center in Rockridge. Our 15yo son seems to like him and has made him feel comfortable and willing to talk. As we are in the fairly early stages of our 'therapy', so I can't say on what the long term results will be, but he has certainly come up with some good insights. Don't know about the insurance aspect if that matters to you. Good luck. -- 5665 College Avenue Suite 340D Oakland, CA 94618 tel. (510) 684-2172 email: famcmc@gmail.com website: www.famcmc.com . T.

Therapist for depressed 19-year-old college student

July 2011

I would like a recommendation for a good therapist my 19 year old son, who just finished his first year of college and is home for the summer. He is struggling with several issues: depression, low self-esteem, video game addiction, difficulties in his relationship with his father. He sleeps a lot during the day, plays video games at night, seems unmotivated and confused about what he wants to do, exhibits a lot of anger. He has agreed to talk to a therapist/psychologist and I am hoping it will help him sort things out. Thanks. Concerned Mom


Len Levis, Ph.D. is the man for your son. He specialty is teens/young adults. My teen son, myself and my husband are recent clients of his and he is fabulous. He is very clear, non-judgemental, KNOWS the teen mind and the world we all live in. He is very easy to talk to and very practical too. Very sane and good advice/insight. Can't say enough positive about him. He is in Berkeley. 510-540-5052. dr
Dean Lobovits 527-4569 1530 5th St. corner of Cedar & 5th, Berkeley The Best!! He knows and works with male teens and older as well as families and couples. He has seen it all! Excellent communicator/educator, has great practical/hands-on suggestions. He bikes, plays guitar, flute, has friendships in multiple and diverse communities. All around man.Contact me directly for more info. Good luck! aurrea
I know some excellent therapists who work with children, teens, and adults. They understand the issues you are trying to help your son with.

Best of luck, it is always challenging to know how to help when they are in the ''almost adult stage'' and having trouble finding their way.

Jason Brand, LCSW, can be reached at 510-488-3093 Pay Rose, MFT, can be reached at 510-587-3234 Sandra Bryson, MFT at 510-653-6353
nurserona


Karen Sprinkel karen_sprinkel@yahoo.com at Clearwater in Oakland saved my 19 year olds life. She is gentle, kind, cool, and he still see's her via skype from college. I could not recommend her more solidly. RR
I would recommend Dr. Lisa Lancaster. I think she is the best and most effective therapist I have come across. anon

Therapist Harmony Satre

June 2011

Looking for feedback on therapist Harmony Satre whose name was given to me in connection with working with teens.


I'm glad you got Dr. Satre's name. I am the mother of two girls and I have nothing but positive things to say about Dr. Satre. She is patient, understanding, and extremely professional. I was immediately struck by her deeply caring attitude towards her patients and her committment to the best interests of the child she is working with. Good luck! c.b. (mom of two)

Therapist for moody & depressed 16-year-old girl

May 2011

I am looking for a recommendation for a therapist for my daughter. She has been moody and depressed lately and now says she's willing to try therapy again. Over the past 3 years we've tried 3 times, but she was never willing to talk to anyone I chose. I'm not terribly optimistic, but I know she's in pain and she won't talk to us, her parents. We have insurance coverage (MHN), but very few people accept it, so that's not particularly important. Prefer Berkeley-Albany-N Oakland. concerned mother


Sara Biel 878-4130 on Adeline in Berkeley is excellent. My daughter sees her and has a fair amount of issues: adoption loss, ADD, school troubles, etc. She is compassionate, firm, & very experienced with teens. anon
We consider ourselves fortunate indeed to have found J.J. Kelly, my teenaged daughter's wonderful therapist. She has made a great difference in my daughter's life, and we are grateful. She is at the Berkeley Therapy Institute in Berkeley.510-841-8484 relieved parent of teenaged girl
Our therapist Fran Wickner works with teens and is in Albany, she takes our insurance, too. Honestly, we are so happy to write a recommendation for her, she's great with being supportive but also challanges us to figure out what we need to do. I'm sure she will do the same with your daughter, help with ways she can deal with her depression, etc. Fran's number is 527-4011. L.K.
If your daughter is open to therapy now, I say jump at the opportunity. Erica (Rikki) Sudikoff, LCSW, at the Jewish Family and Children's Services Center helped my 16 y.o. daughter deal with the same issues through weekly therapy sessions over several months. Rikki has some parent reviews in the BPN archives you can read. She is open and comfortable to talk to, even for shy/reserved teens. She's good at keeping the parent informed too. I highly recommend her. She accepted our insurance (UBH) with a $15 per session co-pay. The office is at 2484 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley (downtown), and the phone is 510-704-7475. I wish you and your daughter the best. mom to happier teen

Dialectical Behavior Therapy for 15-year-old

May 2011

My fifteen year old daughter's therapist is recommending a switch to Dialectical Behavior Therapy as an alternative to her current therapy. I've read about it on the web but I wonder if others have direct experience and impressions with it? Thanks. Anon


Boy, I don't often respond to these BPN questions because we're not a wealthy family prone to experiencing the same kinds of high-functioning issues that many BPN parents talk about, but...DBT therapy we know about!

My kid has been in therapy since she was 3 years old, after surviving two years of cancer treatment. She has been off and on with it since then. When she was about 14-15, she started harming herself, culminating is several serious attempts on her own life. After her first hospitalization, she was recommended for DBT. With some trepidation (due to our financial situation and not feeling like we could afford it), we applied to a program.

Since starting DBT, my daughter has had one last hospitalization, many months ago. She has a great relationship with her individual DBT therapist, and our family attends both groups skills training and family therapy on a weekly basis. It's been like therapy on steroids. It's a very serious commitment to cure a very serious problem in my daughter's behavior. We find it's working, and there is some relief (albeit no perfection, either). Hope this might be helpful DBT Mom


Teen therapist in LaMorinda area

March 2011

Looking for a therapist for a 15 year old girl in the LaMorinda area. Would like someone with expertise in teenage issues. concerned mom


My teen daughter just started with Michele Spitulnik in Lafayette, so I don't have much to say other than she seems very nice and was highly recommended by a counselor at the Lafayette middle school. Good luck. http://www.michelespitulnik.com/index.html Lafayette mom

Recommendation for DBT Therapy?

March 2011

Does anyone have experience with their teen receiving Dialectical Behavioral Therapy? This has been recommended for my daughter who does not manage intense feelings well ( has used alcohol and cutting instead to cope.) One location recommended was the Clearwater Center in Oakland. Any comments on them? Thank you. Scared Mom


I highly recommend ClearWater clinic. My daughter has been seeing a therapist there for about a year now. I am taking one of the parenting classes. They are great! Karen
Having gone through a similar experience myself, my heart goes out to you and your daughter. I found Clearwater to be a very good DBT therapy center and I highly recommend Demi Rhine as a therapist, if you can get in with her. The classes they provide as part of the therapy are excellent and will be very helpful for you in living with and supporting your daughter through her emotional ups and downs. I also recommend the book ''Don't Let Your Emotions Run Your Life'' by Scott Spadlin. Sympathetic Mom

Good (great) UBH Therapist for 18 YO daughter

Jan 2011

Our depressed and troubled 18 year old daughter has finally agreed to go to counseling. We may have only one chance to get her straightened around and want to find an effective therapist to overcome her reluctant attitude. We need to use United Behrvorial Health but can't find any ''substantive'' recommendations for counselors that take that insurance. UBH only offers names and generic info, so hard to sort and guess etc. Can anyone recommend a ''great'' UBH teen\young adult therapist? hopeful dad


Our 16 y.o. daughter is seeing Susan Bresee, who I'm almost sure is on the UBH list. She is right in central Berkeley. Her number is 843-1396. Our daughter finds her to be very caring and easy to talk to, and she (the kid) seems much happier and better able to cope with stresses and unhappy times since she has been going to Susan. Best of luck. I know how heartbreaking it is to see your daughter struggle. hopeful mom
I can recommend Elayne Savage in Berkeley (510-540-6230), who counsels adults and teenagers. She is warm and cuddly and talks to you (as opposed to sitting and listening and not expressing much). Elayne is a parent herself, and I think she has a good, sympathetic understanding of adolescent turmoil. My daughter likes Bobbi Schear in Oakland (Rockridge/Broadway Terrace area; 510-655-7240), who is a kind soul, but quieter, less bubbly. Both Elayne and Bobbi are skilled at drawing people out, and Bobbi does sandtray therapy as well, which fascinated my daughter.
I have been seeing Karen Hollinger Jackson for a few years now. She is wonderful and has a great ability to be caring and helpful and very professional at the same time. If you call her, you may want to ask how long she will continue to be in practice as she may not be for more than a year. Good luck to you and your daughter. anon

2010 - 2009 Reviews


DBT therapist for self-harming issues

Dec 2010

Does anyone have a recommendation for a DBT therapist that is good with adolescents? We are looking for someone who is very skilled at dealing with self-harming issues. Thank you. Worried


J.J. Kelly at Berkeley Therapy Institue is wonderful. She has truly helped my daughter grow and evolve through a difficult period;I don't know where we'd be without her. 510-841-8484 Anon
To the parent seeking a DBT therapist I can recommend Clearwater Counseling Services in Oakland. Their web address is http://www.clearwaterclinic.com/index.html and their phone number is 510.596.8137. A note of caution though, DBT is really only helpful if the person involved is committed to the program and practicing the exercises.

If your child isn't responsive to the DBT therapy s/he might get as much help from a therapist s/he connects with if s/he's open to therapy. If that's the case, you might want to look into DBT for yourself in helping you cope with your own and your child's emotions. The DBT Center of Marin offers monthly drop-in meetings for $20 and they cover a specific topic each month. Their web address is www.dbtmarin.com.

As the parent of a struggling child myself, I find the book ''Don't Let Your Emotions Run Your Life'' by Scott Spradlin very helpful in getting me through the ups and downs of my child's struggle. He is a DBT therapist and the workbook goes through the principles and techniques of DBT in a very straight forward and friendly way.

Best of luck to you and your child. claire


Female therapist for teen who accepts MHN insurance

Dec 2010

My 16 year old daughter needs help dealing with self-esteem, depression, emotional volatility, anger, feeling overwhelmed by social rejection (real or imagined), etc. etc. She would prefer someone young and female and I would prefer someone in Oakland who accepts MHN (Managed Health Network). Thanks for any suggestions as there is no one posted in previous recommendations who fits the bill. Concerned Mom


While not in Oakland, the Berkeley Therapy Institute accepts MHN insurance and has several therapists on staff including a few who see adolescents. Our daughter is seeing Dr. Richard Levine for medication management. Dr. Bonnie Kahane works with adolescents. Anon

Therapist for my 16 year old son with mild depression

Oct 2010

I am looking for a therapist in the south bay area , who has experience with teens and depression, for my 16 year old son. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


I recommend Ilene Diamond, J.D.,PsyD. She is an intellegent and compassionate therapist who has expeience working with teenagers. I know she has an office in Menlo Park (as well as san francisco). Her phone # is (415)820-1508 and you can look her up on her website drdiamondpsyd.com. Diane

Low cost or free counseling for troubled 18-y-o

Sept 2010

My daughter's boyfriend (18) wants to see a counselor about some issues he is struggling with. He does not want his parents to know- and does not have much money. I have been told that JFK has interns that can counsel him for free. Does anyone have any other recommendations? Albany, El Cerrito or Berkeley areas preferred. thanks. anon


The Wright Institute and UC Berkeley Psychology both have sliding scale clinics. WestCoast Children's Clinic is another option, as is the Access Institute in SF. Intern (and licensed) therapists in private practice sometimes offer low fee.

At 18, the teen is no longer considered a minor and parents need not consent. As a practical matter, they might find out if the teen is covered by and chooses to use his parents' insurance, but it would be worth a phone call to member services to determine how his privacy might be maintained in this situation. Even if his parents knew he were seeing a therapist, they would not have any rights to receive information about the treatment without his consent. Use of parents' insurance, if a viable option, would provide more choices for him. Ilene D


He can call West Coast Children's Clinic in El Cerrito (510) 527-7249, http://www.westcoastcc.org/ Services are community-based and they serve children, adolescents and adults. If you would like more information you may leave a confidential message at any time by calling their intake desk at (510) 269-9043. All the best for your young friend. Barbara

CBT/Psychological testing to find a diagnosis for teen

July 2010

To any parent who struggles in finding therapeutic care for their children. I'm sure my story is not uncommon. For the past two years I have struggled with obtaining a diagnosis for my teenage son and have had drugs thrown at us from his psychiatrist who are treating him for either depression, OCD, a chemical inbalance, anxiety or possibly mild bipoloar disorder, which I don't agree with. At this point I don't believe they really know what my son has, which I find very sad and disappointing. This year at my son's urging, we admitted him into Herrick for 4 days and while there, that psychiatrist took him off the 3 medications his Dr.'s at Childrens had prescribed. He was on 5 medications! We have now been advised to obtain a psychological assessment and I'm wondering who out there has had success with this and if it did in fact help find a diagnosis? Also, I do believe my son has some OCD tendencies (which was diagnosed while at Herrick) but his rituals do not disrupt his life enough to really ''treat'' this. No matter what the diagnosis, I believe a capable CBT therapist could address his depression and/or anxiety and OCD, but can not for the life of me find anyone in the East Bay who willingly treats teenagers. I've already gone through the folks at the Center for Cognition and I can say, they weren't as helpful as I had expected. Long story short, I need current referrals for CBT therapist and information on the value of psychological testing. I feel as if I've turned every stone at this point and don't know what else to do.


I read your post and I definitely feel for your situation. We tried long and hard to get a diagnosis for our son, and went to a CBT therapist on College Ave that had been recommended. He would have seen our son, if our son was wanting to get help and was cooperative. But he wasn't at the time. We also went to Brad Berman, a medical doctor specializing in behavioral and learning issues. And we also tried about 7 different therapists over the years, some of whom were slightly helpful but none were very helpful except the therapist that I currently see myself.

Our son's social and learning issues seemed to have mostly resolved. We did a few years of EM Power Plus (a vitamin supplement that has shown results in studies for mood disorders, particularly bipolar disorder) which was mentioned in the book ''Raising Your Moody Child.'' He takes lots of omega 3 fish oil (Ultimate Omega by Nordic Naturals). He takes acyetl L carnitine, recommeded by the pediatric behavioral M.D. Our son did not ever do medication, although we thought long and hard about it. He can still be a real difficult kid for us parents, but he is doing great in other areas of his life.

I wish you the best of luck finding what works for your son. anon


I know how bad this feels for you and your son as I've been through this with my son. I don't have an East Bay recommendation but have been happy with the care we've gotten at Stanford's Pediatric Mood Disorders Clinic. I know this is a long drive but wanted you to know they've just banded with 17 other universities to form the NNDC (National Network of Depression Centers modeled after the National Network of Cancer Centers that made such inroads in treating cancer in the past decades). It often feels to me as if we're still in dark ages in treating these kinds of issues but you do have parents in the same boat. Some organizations to look into: Parents Helping Parents, NAMI, and Wind in the Willows in Palo Alto. You could also contact Dr. Justine Forbes in Los Gatos and ask her for recommendations in the East Bay. She is extremely knowledgeable as well as very kind and competent. Wishing you and your family all the best. A.
In my opinion, Lynn Martin is one of the best (if not the best)CBT therapists around. Her information is: (925)377-0410. I know you have not had a good experience with psychiatrists, but if it is necessary for your son to see one, Dr. Jeanne Leventhal-Alexander is fantastic. Her information is: (510)377-0410. K.
I don't have any easy recommendations but we find ourselves in a similar situation. I would love to form a support group so that we could get together and share resources! We have a 16 year old with various diagnoses, including OCD, anxiety, and ADHD and have also tried many different medications and therapies. Any interest in getting a group of parents/caregivers together to share resources? L.
Please consider Rachel Levi, psychologist for CBT work. She is in Berkeley and does great CBT work for OCD and other anxieties. Her number is 510-287-2625. Good luck to you. C
Lynn Martin RN, MS, CS,NP,PMH is excellent and is in Orinda. I am not certain if she works with teens, but worth a call: (925)377-0410 Jill
Anastasia Kim at the Wright Institute in Berkeley works with teens and is excellent. vanessa

Male therapist for 14-year-old son

Feb 2010

I am looking for a male therapist for my 14 year old son, in either Berkeley or Oakland. He does well at school, has a good group of friends, drug free, etc. His problem is his relationship with me(the mother). His father encourages his dislike of me, as he wants our son to live with him. I have custody of our son and he is with me 75% of the time. A therapist that is familiar with this type of situation would be ideal. anonymous


Are you firm on a Male therapist? Unless there are uncompromising reasons you have not disclosed, I'd recommend being open to female therapists and would refer you to Dr. Lily Ly, PsyD, in Alameda near Park Street. Lily is very kind, gentle, yet firm in her approach, and she has a lot of experience working with children, children of divorced parents, children living with single mothers. She may be the good fit you're looking for. I personally saw Lily as a patient for nearly 2 years while I was becoming a single mom, and she gave me great insight, but in a hands-off approach. She guided me through the therapy, and let me discover on my own, what I was doing and believing about myself that was not healthy for myself or my child. At the same time, she helped me to see my strengths and ''wins'' that were worth recognizing. Seeing her was the best thing I think I did for myself and my son during that time. I felt comfortable with her and she came across as more of a friend than a therapist. Obviously, I am not a teenager, nor is my son, but I know that she had a lot of patients that she saw through high school until they graduated and moved away for college. What's also great is that she is a mother, herself. She's able to be objective and non-judgemental, while drawing from her experience with children, and as a mother. Good luck. Lily W. Ly 510-864-0135 Therapy Believer
I suggest you talk with Ivan Skolnikoff, MFT. He has a variety of specialties including adolescent therapy. He is talented, smart, resourceful, creative and caring. He is trustworthy. He is able to connect with his clients and make a difference. He accepts insurance. Here is his contact information: 2000 Hearst Avenue, Suite 202B, Berkeley, CA 94709, 510-647-9091, ivansmft@comcast.net, http://www.skolnikoffmft.com/. Anonymous
Fran Wickner on Solano Avenue worked with our family and our teenager. She's been a therapist for many years and we liked her style- very interactive which worked well for our teen and our family. I just went on her website, here's her information, franwickner@hotmail.com and her number: 510-527-4011. L
One of our sons needed help as a teenager and he saw Dr. Hans Stahlschmidt in Berkeley. We had a very good experience and were impressed how knowledgeable he was in regards to complicated parenting issues. My son liked him and we have recommended him since to friends who think also very highly of him. His office is in North Berkeley on The Alameda. Karen
I recommend talking with Aaron Huey of Firemountain Programs http://www.firemountainprograms.com/index.html He has great insight into the needs of boys growing up. He may still be offering a free 1/2 hour consultation by phone. Call him at (303) 443-3343, tell him I referred you, and ask for the free 30 minute consultation. He recently did a joint call with my son's dad and myself, and it was very helpful. AD

Sliding-scale fee therapist for 14-y-o daughter

Feb 2010

My 14-year old daughter needs to see a therapist for once-a-week, preferably twice a week sessions (at least at first), preferably in Oakland. I am unemployed, so fees are a big concern. Looking for suggestions of female practitioners who are great with teens, who occasionally take on sliding-fee clients or a clinic with same. Open to interns and supervisees, but I'd like my daughter to establish a relationship with someone that will last past the current school term (i.e., not someone whose internship will end in June). I'm asking for a lot, I know, but my daughter needs the help.


The Women's Therapy Center in El Cerrito works with teen girls and offers a sliding fee scale. Most of the therapists there are interns but once they finish their internship many transition into private practice settings and so the relationship can be an ongoing one. I was an intern there for 3 years and would highly recommend the agency and the therapists are great www.womenstherapy.org Best of luck- Caroline

Seeking smart, compassionate therapist

Jan 2010

Hi - We're looking for a local therapist for our teenage daughter. We've begun to narrow down our search and - while I know this may be a little awkward and for that I'm sorry - I'm wondering if any parents can share their personal experience with any of the following therapists: Fran Wickner, Jill Shugart, Shira Gallagher, Gloria Lawrence. We're looking for someone smart, seasoned, compassionate, great with teens. I know this is an issue that comes up a lot among this community of parents and I've thoroughly read the archives on this subject. Thanks so much


Hi, My son goes to Katherine McCarthy in Berkeley on Regeant St. He goes once a week for teen boy group therapy and I have to say she is AMAZING! She took a long time to form the group only because she wanted to be sure that she got the ''right'' group of boys for my son. I hope you find someone that clicks with your daughter as I have found therapy to be so important for my son, he also see a Kaiser Therapist every other month. D.

Family therapist for father/son power struggles

Jan 2010

I'm looking for a recommendation for an aware and insightful family therapist who can help bring some level of peace and acceptance into our family. My son is 19 -- he's had issues with depression and anxiety and his grades have gone from average (in high school) to poor (first year of college). He also has a track record of doing some impulsive and immature things that have lost our trust. His dad is an achiever, goal-oriented, more of a ''decider'' than a ''compromiser''. We've struggled in our relationship with my own frustration about the lack of balance and mutual compromise in the relationship, so it is not exclusively an issue between the two of them. Also, my son recently came out to me, but not his dad, and wants to go back to school elsewhere with financial help from us. I need a therapist who has experience dealing with difficult father/son relationships, issues of power within a family, sexuality issues, and anxiety/depression. I think a younger, male therapist would work best. We're in the San Leandro area, but can certainly travel for the right person. Thank you! anon. mom


I can't say enough about Clearwater Counseling - they are excellent in working with teens and young adults especially with impulsivity issues. We were at the end of our rope with our teen daughter - and I have an MS in counseling - I did not know where to turn. Clearwater assess you and your family and works together as a group of counselors to solve your specific issues. They are very validating to all parties - you never feel like you are the mean parent or crazy for thinking anything. They are located in Oakland next to Oakland Kaiser. We drove there 2 times per week for almost 6 months (we are a little further than SL) and we would do it again for the amazing help our family received. They saved our family. Their website is clearwaterclinic.com. It is worth a try to get the relationship back you once had. Mom in a similar boat

Seeking teen therapist in Lamorinda

Dec 2009

Would appreciate input and recommendations for a therapist in the Lamorinda area for high school teen (my son) with anxiety and depression challenges. Someone with a sense of humor is a real plus! Susie


I can reccomend two therapists in Lafayette. Dominic D'Ambrosio and Leslie Foge. My son has been seeing Dominic for about nine months. My son really likes him and has been making progress. My husband and I consulted Leslie Foge on a specific issue - and liked her a great deal as well. Teen Boy's Mom
A very good friend of mine lives in Moraga and she has a son who's a Jr at Campolindo. He was having drug-related problems so she took him to see Josh Wilson. I have not used Josh for my own family but my friend likes him alot for his ability to work with teens in both individual and group counseling. Apparently he is an MFT intern and has an office on Moraga Way in Orinda - his contact info is 925.813.0865 and his web site is JoshWilsonMA.com. Good luck! Howard
You might want to try one of the therapists at Coyote Coast in Orinda. More information on them is available at: www.coyotecoast.org 23 Orinda Way Orinda, CA 94563-2520 (925) 258-5400 All the best. Michael
My son has been seeing Paul Lewis in Walnut Creek for a while. He has a great sense of humor and really connects with teens. He is almost like an older brother, and less like from what I consider to be a typical therapist. He works mostly with teenage boys and their families. My son is very judgemental and it took us quite a while to find the right therapist so we are very happy with Paul. You can call him at 925-944-5523. anon

Male therapist for 15-y-o with depression, panic

Oct 2009

I am looking for a therapist who can work with my son who has had a wide variety of issues and concerns. We started the year with his disclosure that he felt like he was depressed; he was suffering from panic attacks, which he was managing in silence; he was severly sleep deprived and he had/has a preoccupation with suicide and death and refused to confide in either me or his Dad. Through quick intervention/ proper medication and his willingness to go to therapy, we have been on our road to recovery. The problem is, his last therapist was perfect for him but has left his practice in the Bay area to relocate back east. My son was upset, we were disappointed and are now struggling to find someone for him who lives up to his comparison of the last therapist. So far, we have visited, talked to two new therapists, but my son prefers not to work with them for a variety of reasons. My son needs someone who will challenge him, confront his issues head on, and will not be sucked into being alarmed by all his thoughts and experiences. My son is a big guy for his age (15) and is an African American. He's very bright, he's a poet, excellent student and a great athlete. He also enjoys the therapeutic process. My husband and I believe a male therapist/psychologist would be best, but who knows? Can anyone refer someone in Oakland/Berkely area?


I suggest that you and your son have a consultation with Mic Hausauer, LCSW. He has worked with teens--often boys--for many years with significant success. He is warm, sincere and insightful. Mr. Hausauer can be reached at 654.2311, and his office is located on Piedmont Avenue. Kathy
I would recommend Forrest Hamer, Phd, 510 652-2150 a wonderful male psychologist who does great work with kids and adolescents. I recommend him in many, many situations, but an extra bonus here might be that he is African-American. He is in Rockridge. lb
My 15 year old boy loves Dean Lobovitz on 5th st at Cedar in Berkeley. Sorry, I don't have his number handy, but he's listed... Anon
Steven Freemire MFT is an excellent therapist who works with teens in Berkeley. Experienced, smart, sensitive, athletic. Susan
Robert Terris has done amazing work with teens. Check him out at www.Famcmc.com Good luck! seen the progress

Therapist for middle schooler who is lying & stealing

Sept 2009

I am seeking a therapist for my daughter. She is having trouble believing in herself, as well as adults. The result is that she is lying about a wide variety of issues and occassionally stealing. I am a single parent, and am looking for a good therapist who works on a sliding scale. Frustrated Mom


I can highly recommend 2 great therapists who work wonders with kids. Joanna Self, joannaself@sbcglobal.net, and Laura Soble, laurasoblemft@comcast.net, Both work with kids of all ages, with all kinds of issues.They are hugely skilled and are wonderful people. They both have offices in Oakland. Hope this helps june
I know a really terrific therapist! Elisa Dumesnil. She is a parenting specialist, a former school counselor, and she especially loves working with teens. Her secret is that she is very, very real with kids, while remaining very grounded and practical. Her phone # is 510-338-4233 or email her at edumesnil@eastbayces.com Laura
Some therapists that have been recommended to me in the past are: Heather Burns, LCSW 888-550-1211 Caroline McDowell, MFT 510-496-3457 Jen Wachter, LCSW 510-501-9860 Also, the Women's Therapy Center in El Cerrito may be worth checking out. Best of luck! Anon

Female therapist for teen daughter

Aug 2009

I am looking for a female therapist for my teenage daughter who takes our insurance (UBH) or has a sliding scale fee. Prefer El Cerrito, Albany or North Berkeley. Does anyone have any experience with the Womens Therapy Center in El Cerrito, or other practitioners? anon


I would highly recommend the Women's Therapy Center. I've had personal experience with the agency and have recommended it to many people. They don't take insurance but offer an affordable sliding fee scale. Good luck. anon

Family therapist experienced with teens

Aug 2009

We are looking for a really good family/couples therapist who takes UBH, has experience with teens and parenting. Any suggestions? a


Elayne Savage (510-540-6230) in the East Bay, who is recommended elsewhere on the BPN site, takes UBH. She does couples therapy, and has also counseled adolescents. I've found Elayne very kind and perceptive in working with me on my marriage and on family patterns from my mother's side (and how they have influenced my relationship with our teenage daughter). Anonymous
Ken Benau was great for our family. El Cerrito, at the circle. anon

CBT therapist who specialize in social anxiety

May 2009

My 15Y son has social anxiety. He is extremely anxious about going to the public places, especially school. I am in the process of choosing a new school. He is not able to get out of the car while we about to have a tour. Anxiety is interrupting his life. I am looking for a good therapist using cognitive behavior therapy to help him, and a group therapy that deal with this problem. I am living at south bay area, but willing to travel to east bay if there is any good therapist and group therapy. Thanks L


I suggest you contact the S.F. Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy, (510) 652-4455. If you aren't able to drive to Oakland for the visits, they will definitely have recommendations for folks in the South Bay. SFBACCT is basically the hub for all things CBT in Northern California. They have excellent clinicians and do work with teens and children. You can also find out more about them online at www.sfbacct.com Good luck! Michael
Southbay. Try Center for Developing Minds in Los Gatos. The initial evaluation will be by a behavioral developmental pediatrician who looks at the whole child. Not cheap but insurance may cover. Check w/ insurance. Don't know what they offer for social anxiety. We are going for ADD/organizational issues. See their website. -Anon
Our 15 year old son also has social anxiety and has been working with a great therapist (MFT) in Lafayette, John Barakos. His practice seems to focus on adolescent boys with anxiety issues. I highly recommend him. His number is 925-451-5280. Anon

2008 - 2007 Reviews


Therapist to come to my home in Alameda

Dec 2008

I need help in finding a therapist who will come to my home (in Alameda)to help with my son who has Asperger's. Does anyone know of such a therapist?


You might try George Mutch, Psy.D., MSW. He has expertise with autism spectrum kids and prefers to work with families in their own homes. ghmutch@yahoo.com
a fellow traveler

Smart, compassionate therapist for 15-year-old daughter

Nov 2008

Given the challenges of high school and some old unfinished business, I think my 15-year-old daughter would benefit from therapy. At the risk of seeming very particular here, I think the best fit for her would be a Jewish woman, who needs to be both very smart and very compassionate, and seasoned in her field. Definitely looking for a PhD rather than an MD. An office in North Berkeley or close to Berkeley High would be the icing on the proverbial cake. Thanks for your recommendations.


Jill Shugart,MFT, helped my son immensely in a just a few months of therapy. She has lots of experience with children, teens, parents, and families. We love her! (I don't know if she is Jewish or not.) Her office address is 910 Tulare at Solano Ave, Berkeley. Phone 510-528-0309 website: www.jillshugart.net Deb
Shula Stevens (916) 442-7315 is a PhD candidate with a therapy practice in Berkeley. She was our rabbi before she was our family, and our 15 year old daughter's therapist. I can't recommend her enough: she's warm, compassionate, smart AND is mother of an adolescent daughter. Niki
Hi,I would highly recommend Deborah Essex,MFT for your daughter. She is a very experienced therapist who specializes in working with teens and families. She is warm, thoughtful and also happens to be Jewish! Her office is on Shattuck near the Berkeley Bowl. Her telephone number is 548-8980. Catherine

Therapist for very emotional middle-school daughter

Oct 2008

I have a middle school daughter that is going through some emotional times. She seems to get upset very easy and is crying all the time. I want to help her and deal with the constant disrespectfulness she gives me. I usally get, ''I hate you and you're the worst mother in the world.'' I feel very torn between disciplining apauling disrespectful behavior and dealing with her crying breakdowns. I would like to find a good adolescent therapist in the Lamarinda/ Walnut Creek area. annomanous


We really liked Sandra Lessingden for therapy. She has lots of experience with teens and families. Her number is 925/933-3338. Karen
I would recommend Madeline Finegold (510) 540 8715--this is a Berkeley number but she also sees patients in WC (or at least she did). Our son went to her several years ago and she is great. If you want to try family therapy, I recommend Barbara Safran 925 927 8888 in WC--we are going to her now and it is helpful. best wishes
Hello, our daughter benefitted enormously from her work with Dr. Kristen Carey. She's located right next to the Rockridge BART station so it could work for you. Her middle school years and first year at BHS were very emotional and Dr. Carey helped her sort out what her issues were. She learned to articulate her feelings and be more assertive in general. Dr. Carey also helped me to be a better parent of a middle school girl. You can reach her at 587-3260 kathe
I highly recommend Alison Trules in Walnut Creek: (510) 654-5582. She is a talented seasoned therapist who is extremely caring, sensitive and insightful. She can be of help to both you and your daughter. another parent

17-year-old son is sad and depressed a lot of the time

April 2008

My 17 year old son is a wonderful, expressive, thoughtful young man who is sad and depressed a lot of the time. I love him very much but find that I become frustrated and probably make the situation worse (''what do you have to be depressed about!?) He is willing to talk to a therapist. I have looked over the archived therapists/counselors but didn't see much. We are looking for someone in the El Cerrito/Albany/Berkeley border area. Please let us know who has been helpful to your teen. I realize that we will probably end up having some family sessions as well. Thank you all!


My daughter and I have worked with Meira Salmon and find her to be outstanding. Gets right down to the feelings, no messing around with ''he said/she said.'' Very sensitive, intuitive and kind. Without a doubt the best therapist I've ever seen. She can be reached at (510) 548- 5160. Her office is in Berkeley near Herrick Hospital.
Jim Sparks is a wonderful therapist in El Cerrito. My son had other issues, not depression -- but Jim was insightful and engaging and very kind. A very significant plus was that he is also on the list of therapists for our health plan. His phone number is 433-7477. anonymous

Therapist to work with rebellious teen

Jan 2008

I'm looking for more recent recommendations for a family therapist used to working with families with teen rebellion issues. Also helpful would be a support group/empathetic moms/dads who might be willing to commiserate occasionally, since none of our friends are having such serious issues with their teens. desperate mom of rebellious teen


Our young adult son is struggling with mental illness that emerged in middle school as what we thought then was 'rebellion,' and we have a whole team assisting our son and us. Margaret Rossoff (658-0389 in Berkeley) is our family therapist, and Deborah Scott (925 256-6451 with offices in Walnut Creek and Berkeley) provides me individual support. They're colleagues, and both have expertise with troubled teens (including addiction) and family issues.

We're also working with the Bodin group of consultants who work with teens & young adults and their families www.bodingroup.com - you can email them or call them (website has contact info.), and they'll put you in touch with an appropriate consultant; ours are Lexy Spett and Shayna Abraham, and they're both terrific. Bodin's speciality is placement in residential treatment (placement, monitoring, parent support, coordination with parents' therapists etc.), but they provide other services as well.

Finally, there are some resources on http://groups.yahoo.com/group/schoolsnotforboys/messages. This group no longer meets or posts at this site, but the resources are still relevant. You might consider resurrecting this group, because there are so many parents and kids out there with a lot of challenges.

Warm wishes, mom of struggling son in residential treatment


Kirsten Beuthin is excellent with teens and families. Highly recommended. (510) 652-0990. teen mom
JFCS/East Bay in downtown Berkeley has an amazing parenting & youth department with therapists who specialize in just the issues you're facing with your teen. Rikki Sudikoff, LCSW, in particular has lots of teen-parent therapy experience. While the agency is inspired by Jewish values, the services are open to people of all backgrounds and ethnicities. Sliding-scale fees are offered and insurance is accepted. Call (510) 704-7475 x299 for Valerie Rosenfield, who does the initial intake. You can also find out more at www.jfcs-eastbay.org. Good luck! Holly
Don't have a therapist recommendation for you, but some friends of mine recommended Boudin Associates for help in putting together a plan for dealing with this issue. You might give them a call and see what services they offer. Good luck. anon

16-year-old daughter's angst and stress

Jan 2008

Hi. i'm looking for a therapist for my 16 year old daughter. nothing spectacular going on, the usual teenage angst and stress. she also has learning issues. i have to use someone on my insurance and don't know of any teen counselors. does anyone have any experience with any of the following therapists? someone warm and has experience with teens would be best. thanks


I saw Peggy Kelly first with my husband and then on my own. I have yet to find someone like her again. Thumbs up for PK

12-year-old is angry, sullen and withdrawn

Dec 2007

My daughter turned into a teenager all of a sudden this summer, and we've been having a really difficult time. She was doing well in school early in the year, in spite of her insistence that her classes were boring and her teachers were terrible, but her grades have slipped, partly because she can't seem to hand in her assignments. She says that she doesn't care, but it's clear that she is upset when she does poorly on a test or gets a bad grade. Her behavior toward us runs the gamut: she's angry, sullen, withdrawn or miserable much of the time. She has lost interest in many of her old friends, and although she admits to having made new friends at school, she seldom makes the effort to spend time with anyone outside of school. She's snotty and unpleasant, with occasional rare lapses into pleasant communication that remind us that she's human. In other words, she's a teenager; still, she reminds me of my own miserable youth and I worry when she collapses in misery or turns into an unresponsive but clearly unhappy lump. We've taken her to a therapist, but she refuses to engage, and has told me that she thinks the therapy is boring and that she would prefer to see someone younger.


I highly recommend Kirsten Beuthin at 510 652 0990. She worked with my 13 year old, awhile ago, who needed someone outside the family to talk with. It seemed like Kirsten really got my daughter. Good luck. parent of teen girl
2 suggestions for adolescent therapy resources that could offer a sliding fee scale and potentially younger therapists. **Womens Therapy Center in El Cerrito 510-524-8288 www.womenstherapy.org **Bay Area Psychotherapy Training Institute in Lafayette www.bapti.org I am a Marriage Family Therapist Intern at both of these locations and work with adolescents and their families. Caroline
I can recommend a adolescent psychiatrist named Anthony DiGiovanni,MD. I don't have his phone number off hand, but look it up. I work with him at a hospital and he's wonderful, young, and great with teens!! Hope that you find some help! Anon
Our daughter was a depressed and bi-polar sophmore at Berkeley High Independent Study when, upon recommendation of a couple therapists, she started attending the Hyde School, a co-ed boarding school in Maine.This may seem like a long way to go, literally and figuratively, but she is now a thriving senior and looking forward to college. Hyde is truly a unique place that educates the whole family. Not enough space here to elucidate so check out www.hyde.edu if this seems appropriate. There are about 40 Bay Area families attending the campuses in Maine or Connecticut. There will be an informational tea in Berkeley in May '08. Hyde parent
Your daughter is right a normal therapeutic session is boring. But there is hope, I would suggest that you contact Berkeley Mental Health which has a child and adolescent section and ask about their services. Also know that when you do find a therapist you have the power to choose the gender and suggest the setting in which the therapy is conducted (going out to do an activity or have food etc.). Anita

7th grade daughter is a bit adrift socially

Nov 2007

I am looking for a female therapist for my 7th grade daughter. She is feeling a bit adrift socially and could use an ally. She is basically an optimistic gal, but does have a tendancy toward depression which she keeps under wraps. We are in the east bay.


I highly recommend Taryn Thomas. Her specialty is with teens. I think she is great for teens or young girls. She can really connect with them, and understand them in their own ways with compassion and without judgment. Her number is 510-496-6070. WEI

Teen daughter feels very sad and lonely

May 2007

My daughter often says she feels very sad and lonely, sometimes overwhelmingly so. Although I know such feelings are normal, particularly in adolescence, they bother my daughter a great deal and sometimes interfere with her ability to do normal things such as pay attention in class or enjoy hanging out with friends. She has seen a therapist before, briefly, but things were different then. We need to find someone new, preferably someone who is good with teenagers. Can anyone recommend someone? Even better if the person takes HealthNet insurance. My daughter will be leaving for college in August. Thanks. Worried


My daughter really liked Susan San Roman. She wanted someone she could relate to, youngish. Susan is in her thirtys. My daughter went to her for almost two years, and she helped her immensely. Susan was an intern when my daughter began, but has since begun a private practice. After interviewing many therapists on the phone, Susan seemed like the right choice. I don't know which insurance she takes now. She was on College Ave. in Oakland, phone number 510-452-6156. Mother of 17 year old girl
Mathilda St. John is a thoughtful, smart, hip, insightful, and well trained therapist. My daughter(now 19) has seen her off and on for several years and continues to find her a great support and resource. She is part of a group called Psyche that works with women of all ages. Their motto: ''Not your mother's therapist.'' I don't know if she accepts Health Net. anon

Angry 12-y-o refuses therapy

Jan 2007

I am seeking recommendations for a female therapist for my 12 year old daughter. We live in Lafayette but I'm willing to go to Berkeley or Oakland as well if there is someone who can really connect with her. She does not want to see a counselor but is becoming increasingly sullen, angry, resentful and disrespectful. mother seeking recommendations


Hello, I am a Marriage and Family Therapist with an office in Lafayette and Albany; I am also a mother of a pre-teen and a teenager. I support your desire in finding a therapist for your daughter to connect with. It is so important for the teen to feel like they have some ''say'' over the therapy; sometimes it is helpful for the parents to ''screen'' a few therapist for their teen while having a more informal first meeting so the teen can have a sense of the therapist before moving forward.

This can all be difficult when a teen is resistant to therapy in the first place. Saying something like We need to get some help, let's try to meet _______ and see what we think, or it has been a difficult time, it may be helpful to have someone to talk too. If there is someone close to your daughter who might have more luck in communicating the importance of getting help, that could work or asking the school counselor to talk with her.


2006 - 2005 Reviews


Could 13-year-old be bipolar?

Dec 2006

I have a big order for an African American therapist for my teenage daughter (13) who is very angry and hostile most of the time. She is on ADHD medication which she must take for school. She does get ''medication holidays''. Her behavior has escalated over the past few months and has begun to be so disruptive that I suspect something other than teenage acting out. Does anyone have any recommendations. We have Kaiser insurance and can use medi-cal for 2nd opinions (She is adopted) How does one differentiate between bipolor disease and adolescent acting out?


Check the web for symptoms of bipolar. Try NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness. http://www.nami.org/ Does your daughter get much sleep? Who prescribed the ADHD medication? Ask them about the diagnosis of ADHD vs bipolar. Does she have times of depression? Does she exhibit risky behavior such as drugs, sex or money? Talk to the Kaiser Mental Health advice line Anon
If you are willing to use your medi-cal, it is fairly easy to obtain an African American therapist and psychiatrist. spider
This is not a direct response to your request, but I'm wondering whether you've also considered the possibility that, if your daughter is menstruating, she might be suffering from severe PMS or even PMDD? Joan

19-year-old daughter needs guidance & direction

Oct 2006

Our 19 year old daughter has dropped out of community college and now works about 20+ hours week at a retail store, lives at home and pays us ''rent'' to cover some expenses. We would like to see her find more direction toward her future. We think we/she could use outside help, but we don't know if she would benefit from seeing a therapist, an educational psychologist (she is quite smart and capable when interested, but has had problems with depression and had some learning issues), a career counselor, a life coach. I know the parent's network has some of this advice archived, but I would be particularly appreciative recommendations of anyone who works specifically with young adults in this situation Concerned Mom


Try Kathryn Hirt. She is fantastic with young adults, and self- proclaims them as a specialty of hers and people she loves working with, and it is evident in her work. She is very real, down-to-earth, and also warm, and sometimes, funny, which really reaches kids that age. She was an incredible help to our son who is 21, helping him find direction in ways that were in tune with who he is. 510-220-3558 is her contact #. Good luck to you and your child! Paul

17-year-old has been stealing

Sept 2006

Re: 17-year-old daughter needs help with stealing
I understand how painful your situation is, and I recommend Margaret Rossoff 658 0389, a family therapist in S. Berkeley with extensive experience with troubled kids. I realize that you're requesting a therapist for your daughter, not a family therapist, but in our experience a kid's recovery is not possible without family therapy, and Margaret can help you find a separate therapist for your daughter. Your daughter's behavior sounds like compulsive (essentially addictive) behavior, and our son suffers from quite similar compulsions/addictions. Our son has seen several therapists (each briefly - he was not open to treatment), and no one was able to help. Now my husband and I see Margaret, and our son is in intensive residential rehab. Your daughter may not need such an intervention if she's open to treatment, but Margaret is very knowledgeable about programs if it becomes necessary. I've also found -Anon groups essential to my own recovery, and a 12 step program essential to your daughter's recovery. A theme in 12 step programs is (as you suggest) that the addict make amends to those they've hurt as a way of (re)building personal integrity and responsibility. Our son may wind up in jail even after rehab, but we have bailed him out of far too many situations, and doing so has not changed him one bit. It may feel loving in some ways, but, based on our experience, the outcome is no change or even worse behavior, so the best way to love a troubled kid is ensure that they address the situation and struggle with the consequences of their actions. Believe me, I understand the pain of all this, and I wish you and your daughter and your ex the very best. In much the same situation


Going through a hard time with 16 y.o. daughter

June 2006

Hello, Could someone recommend a therapist for a teenager? We are going through hard time with our 16 y.o. daughter. Thanks!


Kirsten Beuthin does exceptional work with teenagers. Her number is 652-0990. Good luck been there
My 16 year old was having a very hard time a few months ago and we decided together that we would find her a therapist. She was also very explicit that she wanted someone somewhat ''hip'' - meaning, explicitly, NOT someone who was as old as her mother. We found Kristin Beuthin 510-652-0990 through BPN. Her office is right across the street from Rockridge Bart so it is easy to get to both by bus or BART for a teenager. I had a very good conversation with Kristin when I called to make the initial appointment and then she did a great job at the first appointment making it really clear to my daughter that she was there for her and that really gave my daughter ownership of the therapy and great trust in the confidentiality. It has been a few months now and my daughter likes working with Kristin very much Anon.

Therapist and Psychiatrist for 18-y-o Borderline daughter

June 2006

Our 18 year old daughter is returning from a group home out of town and we need to find the best possible care for her. We are aware from much previous experience that this is a very difficult diagnosis to work with. We'd prefer the referral be in Berkeley or Oakland, but are not adverse to San Francisco or through the tunnel for the right people. She has tried DBT therapy and not found it particularly effective, but is willing to give it a go again. Thank you for any help! anon


Kirsten Beuthin is an excellent therapist to work with personality disorders. She helped my daughter and me tremendously through some very tough times. Her number is 652-0990. Good luck anon

Anxious 11-year-old wants a therapist

April 2006

Hi, My 11 year old son has recently asked me to see a therapist. He is insecure and and has learning difficulties. He is quite talkative but has had anxiety issues in the past. He is now complaining about fears he can't get out of his head when he is going to sleep and feels he needs ''to get alot talking out of hisself''. I am looking for a therapist in the oakland or south berkeley area who has experience with kids and anxiety issues. I am pretty anti medication and am looking for a wholistic approach as I do not trust giving SSRI's to children. Please don't debate me on this one. I just want recommendations for therapists.Thanks for any help. worried mom


My now 10 year old son, who is a very anxious person, has done very well in therapy with Rachel Levi (3120 Telegraph in Berkeley, (510) 287-2625). He has been very successful in learning to talk issues through with her and construct solutions that have worked for him. Not that he isn't still an anxious person, but he is starting to have strategies to use when faced with situations that make him anxious. H.
When my son was 11 (four years ago), he had panic attacks and we took him to see a therapist named Donna Parsons. She really helped him a lot. At that time, she had a satellite office on Hegenberger in Oakland. Here is info to her Fremont office which would have more info on where she sees patients. Parsons Donna MA (510) 796-3689 39355 California St Fremont, CA 94538
C.
I wish you and your son the best. I have a daughter who also suffered from fear and anxiety. She was beginning to do some compulsive behaviors trying to eliminate it and was even more anxious at night than during the day. She saw Ellen Singer Phd at the reccomendation of a psychiatrist at Childrens. Ellen was able to help her (and us) feel much more secure. Her number is 525-1975. anonymous
Regarding your anxious 11 yr old son, I highly recommend the Cognitive Therapy group in Rockridge. Michael Tompkins would be terrific but if he is not available, you can trust the other members of the group. I know of several families who have successfully worked with a cognitive approach, It makes a lot of sense for teens and preteens. mom of teen boys
It's wonderful that your son is able to articulate his needs as you've described. That bodes well for him.

I strongly recommend Michelle Horton, Ph.D. (985-2958). She is a clinical psychologist who specializes in working with kids like yours, does great work in therapy with them and is an expert in learning and emotional issues -- which are often quite interconnected. She's located on College Ave. near Broadway, which fits your geographic desires. She also can recommend other options or therapists who may fit your needs.


I recommend you call John Sprinson, he has an office in Oakland on Glen Eden (off Piedmont Ave.). His number is in the white pages. He is kind, smart, has a wonderful calm presence and will give you and your son an honest assessment of your son's needs and a course of treatment. been there

13 year old son struggling academically & socially

Oct 2005

My 13 year old son has always been a challenging child, he has a very hard time ''going with the flow'' and makes life so much harder for himself than it needs to be. His (wonderful) third grade teacher told me that he's the kind of kid who continually bangs his head against the wall and then wonders where all that blood came from. I liken it to throwing rocks into his own path. He has always struggled in school, mostly academically. Now he is in his second year of middle school and is struggling socially as well. He says that life is too hard and overwhelming and that too much is expected of him (he's referring to school). He is fearful of growing up and thus has seen friends fall by the wayside as their interests move on. He is not savvy and therefore fearful of change. He says he has no friends and from what he tells me is fast becoming one of those fringe kids we all remember from school. There really isn't anything he likes to do except watch tv or play video games (sigh) so he has no avenue in which to connect with others. We've tried sports (soccer - refused to participate, and swimming - refuses to progress beyond the basics), music (drums, loved the teacher but wouldn't practice), drama (tried out for the school play but wasn't selected), fencing (the teacher couldn't deal with his lack of focus), etc. I believe him when he tells me that the other kids avoid him but I really and trully believe that it is his attitude rather than lack of prowess that keeps them away. He's unique but by no means the oddest duck in the pond.

We've tried a couple of therapists (one we liked but she INSISTED that he has ADD and that Ritalin was the answer: he isn't and it wasn't), but haven't been able to find a good fit. Of course my son feels like we are forever telling him what is wrong with him and that therapy is jjust another way to point that out. What I see is a really great, funny, attractive kid who is suffering needlessly. I'm not opposed to him living in my basement for the next 60 years but only if that is his conscious choice and not just due to lack of alternatives (get me?). There is a slight chance that we are looking at some Asperger's here - his paternal grandpa is really socially challenged and his paternal uncle is autistic. Any recommendations would be so greatly appreciated.


I was sad to read your posting about your son. While I'm not dealing with the same issues as you, I can say that there is help out there! I would start with your son's pediatrician, see what they say, maybe even get a recommendation to a specialist or two to have some tests done. Also, once you have pinpointed what's going on, you could try calling your insurance plan, assuming you have one, and ask for help. You are doing the right thing trying to get him some help because it sounds like your son is really suffering. I would get him some help right away. You can reassure him that you are not trying to point out what's wrong with him, but trying to find a way to help him feel better. I know my daughter felt relived that we were doing something to help her. We are doing whatever we can, that includes some medications for a while, with therapy. It's very hard when your child is suffering from something. For me it's best to know that I'm doing all I can to help her, and you are on that path. Good luck. anon

Hip therapist for shy, sensitive 17-y-o son

March 2005

I am looking for a therapist that my 17 year old son will feel comfortable with. My son is shy, sensitive & gets frustrated easily. We have been to three therapists all women and all over 45 and he said he didn't feel comfortable opening up to them. I thought they were all fine--patient and sensitive, but therapy won't work unless he feels ok talking. Can anyone reccomend a young hip therapist that can connect with teenagers. If possible we would prefer the Albany/Berkeley area. My son said it doesn't matter if they are male or female. concerned parent


My son has been very happy with his therapist Alf Johnson. He isn't young (50's) but he is very cool and totally able to relate to what my shy 15 year old son is going through. He was recommended to me by a therapist acquaintance who saw him with her son. His office is in Walnut Creek and his phone number is 925-952-4841. We also have seen various therapists over the years and Dr. Johnson is by far the best we've seen. best wishes
My husband and I have worked with Daniel Lesny at Center for Creative Growth, on Marin Ave in Albany, phone 527- 2100, for many years. It was a challenge for my husband to go in the first place, and now he is seeking help from Daniel when he needs it. I know Daniel has experience with teens. Call him; there are also several other therapists there, highly recommended. Diane
I recommend Leonard Levis, Ph.D. as a therapist for teenage boys. We have had a good experience with him. His office is in Berkeley on MLK Jr. Way and his phone number is: 510-540-5052. Joan
I have a therapist to suggest for your shy and sensitive son. His name is Pay Rose. He has worked with teenagers for over 10 years and is an MFT intern, about to get his licence. He can be reached at 510-587-3234. His office is on the El Cerrito/ Richmond boarder. The best of luck to you. The right ''fit'' is key for therapy.

Therapist familiar with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Jan 2005

Can anoyone recommend a children's therapist who's familiar with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)? Lacking that, perhaps you you could recommend someone who could help a young adolescent girl who has self-esteem-related problems, including difficulties forming relationships, and occasional ''explosive'' rages. Thanks. - Anon


I would highly recommend Kirsten Beuthin. She works extensively with teenager girls and with the problems you are describing regarding difficulty with relationships, low self-esteem and rages. Her office is in the Rockridge area of Oakland, and she can be reached at 652-0990. anonymous
I am a psychiatrist and would recommend a child psychologist who works in San Francisco named Devora Depper PhD. She's in the phone book. I think her office is on Divisadero. Call her and tell her about yourself. She'll let you know if she has openings. She is top, top flight. JM

Family therapist experienced with teens

Jan 2005

I am looking for a good family therapist in the Albany/Berkeley area. We want to find someone that has a lot of experience working with teens, especially with sensitive boys. I have already looked at the previous referrals and they were either in Oakland or several years old.
trying to put our family back together


I know of a wonderful family therapist in the Berkeley/Albany area. Her name is Monica Frame and she has lots of experience with kids, teens, and parents. You can reach her at 510/504-8168.
Mom of Teen and almost Tween
Jill Shugart is a Family Therapist working in Berkeley just off Solano Avenue. She has been very helpful to our family and while we have daughters, I know that she has worked very successfully with two young men I know,on of whom would be considered a very sensitive boy. I think she has a great rapport with teens-actually with everyone! She herself has two grown sons. Her number is: 528-0309. Good luck with your family and son. Recognizing that you need assistance and seeking it, is the first step to getting your family moving in a positive direction.
Our child has been guided and handheld through adolescence by Betty Tharp, MFT, in Albany and I couldn't be more grateful. Betty has a son and is great with young people--she has a light manner and is extremely intelligent so seems to get what's appropriate, always. She has the patience to wait for them to warm and come to her. She's A+. Her number: 549-2092.
A Proud and Satisfied Mom

2004 & Earlier


Help for impulsive teen who thinks he has ADD

Dec 2004

Our son has been struggling for years in school and in life, and we're looking for a therapist for him. We think he needs both medication and therapy, so we're looking for a psychiatrist who monitors medication and provides therapy, or a psychiatrist who works with a psychologist or MFCC as a duo. Over the past several years, he has seen two therapists in Berkeley who were not helpful, but he wasn't ready to be helped, and now he is maturing, identifying his challenges, and expressing interest in working on them. He believes he has ADD, which of course is widely over-diagnosed, but, as I read about it, is starting to make sense. He does poorly in school, doesn't follow through with almost anything, and is highly impulsive - buys things he shouldn't, and engages in all sorts of risk taking as well as addictive behavior that I can't comfortably describe here. He is quite immature -- many of his friends are still in high school. He is such a nice kid but struggling in so many ways, and we don't know where to turn. Advice and referrals will be so appreciated. Thanks.
Looking forward to your advice


Getting the right ''fit'' with a therapist is key for a 19 yr old, and as you said the timing is important.

I know an excellent therapist (MFT intern) who works very well with children, teens, young adults, and families. He has a terrific supervisor and will have his licence soon. He has worked with all of the issues you mention, and has many years of experience. His name is Pay Rose and his number is (510)-587-3234.

I also do a free class for parents of children or teens with (or wonder if they have) ADHD. The next series starts on Jan. 8th at 9:30Am at Kaiser in Richmond. Join us if you want to learn more. If you leave a message at 307-2539 with your address I will send you the class flyer. The best of luck to you and your son. Rona Renner


Marlene Winell has been working with my daughter and I've found her experienced, committed, sensible and knowledgeable. She's not a psychiatrist, but is familiar with advising people on how to find a good one. Fiona

Help for mom and teen son who are feuding big time

Sept 2004

My fifteen year old son and I are feuding big time. He has alot of repressed anger towards me and despite his looming 8 inch advantage over me, he says he is scared of me. I do admit to being a screamer, but hey, I feel I have mellowed out in my middle age. But we and especially ME needs help. We hope to find someone in North Berkeley, accessible from BHS. We are both quick thinkers and verbal and need someone who can challenge us. Also I'm looking for hopefully cognitive type of therapy rather than analysis. I'd appreciate any advise.
Harried Mother of 15 yearold


I highly recommend Michael (Mick) Hausauer (4281 Piedmont, Oakland 654-2311). Mick has helped my entire family at various times over the last few years, and recently saw my son and me to help us through our communication issues (it worked!). He has also seen my son individually to help him deal with a traumatic event. Initially our son was reluctant to go to him, but we insisted he go at least three times. He ended up continuing to see him voluntarily for several months...with impressive results. Mick has a kind, low-key style (without being touchy-feely) that kids respond to. I appreciate his practical/results-oriented approach. anonymous

Therapist who works with teen girls

Aug 2004 Does anyone have any recommendations for a therapist/counselor who works with teenagers, especially with females. Preferably references from people who have first hand experiences. Thanks.
I can highly recommend Gail Alter as a therapist for teenage girls and for their parents. Phone is 510-433-2972
I would recommend Kirsten Beuthin, who is highly praised on this website. Thanks. Michael Simon
I can't say enough good things about my daughter's therapist, Yvonne Beyer. She is warm, funny, relaxed, straight forward, and very practical. She has two grown daughter's of her own (she told me when I asked-many therapists don't). She is open to talking with me anytime, and has really been there for my daughter in crisis times. And she takes my insurance, Pacificare. My daughter feels very comfortable with her and comes out from her session a relaxed and happy kid (even at 13!!). Yvonne is in Oakland and her number is 601-0132.
I highly recommend Dr. Valata Jenkins-Monroe, whose office is in Rockridge. She helped my 13-year-old daughter through a rough time. Her number is 510-547-7792.
been there

Therapist for 14 year old daughter whose parents disagree

May 2004 My 14 year old daughter has dropped in her grades in school and is just acting pretty nasty. Her dad and I are divorced for 12 years and have done ok with the coparenting thing but are now at a huge impass at what to do. I feel that I want to direct my daughter toward feeling better about herself and find herself in the context of highschool and what interests her. Her dad feels that he wants to strong arm her and do things like show up at her school and walk her to her classes so she will be so embarrassed that she will straighten up so he won't come again. He has done this already which only made her dig her heels in even more. She has always wanted to spend time equally between homes but now will only stay with me. Now I am getting constant emails from dad about what I have to do with my kid and how to do it. I am totally stressed out and so is everyone else invloved. Any suggestions on a class, mediation, anything we can go to to help us out. The main focus, for me, is the support my kid, but with all of the turmoil - I think she is flying below the radar and just existing. Thanks for any referrals.
Regarding thirteen-year-old with problems: We recommend Dr. Kristen Carey at 587-3260. She saw our thirteen-year- old for six months of wonderful meetings.Our daughter would come home, full of new confidence and enthusiasm, where before, she'd felt disconnected and somewhat frightened of growing up. Our family has grown as a result of Dr. Carey's intuitive and caring approach. Our daughter is now speaking up for herself at school and at home; she's looking forward to eighth grade and a summer full of new experiences.
Dear Mother of the 14 Year Old Girl,
Mediation Services, 22227 Redwood Rd. Castro Valley, offers FREE Parent-Teen Mediation. Mediation is a safe space for both parents and youth to express thier point of view and work towards a mutually satifying solution. We will team up a youth and adult mediator for Parent-Teen Mediations. Issues such as respect, trust, expectations, and independence are issues that we see arise in Parent- Teen Mediations. Please call Shana Subelsky,Youth Services Director, at 510-733-4940 x 224. Thanks and Good Luck! Mediation Services www.mediationservices.org

Teen daughter is showing the signs of stress!

April 2004

My teen is showing the signs of stress! We are in the Hayward area and I would like some referrals to East Bay counselors with an expertise in Teens. FYI, I already tried Girls Inc, they are backed up a few months. Also, we have Kaiser but she is afraid that her stepmom (Kaiser employee) will have access to her records. Thank you! anonymous


The Women's Therapy Center in El Cerrito has an adolescent girls clinic 527-3562. Rebecca Palley (848-7764) and Cynthia Ferari (581-1274) both work in Castro Valley. You might also try calling the Community Counseling Center at Cal State, Hayward. Mary Ann

Therapist for 13-y-o with destructive behaviors

Sept 2003

Does anybody know of a therapist who specializes in 13 year old girls with problems of the sort depicted in the movie ''THIRTEEN''? The film is a dead on look at what it's like to be a 13 yr old girl in school today. The lead, Tracy, is obcessed with social status and dependent on peer acceptance leading to fast track recklessness with drugs, sex, clothes, money, and getting in trouble. The film depicts the plight of one girls alienation from her parents and her free fall into self destructive behaviors that are not survivable without intervention. Is there a therapy or discipline of psychiatry that specializes in 13 yr old teen girls of the sort described above? george


For counseling for the preteen-- Janet Long is a wonderful art therapist who works with adolescent and pre-adolescent children. She has been doing art therapy and teaching it for a long time. She is smart and easy to be with and talk to. Her phone number is 531-3267. Christine
I highly recommend Kirsten Beuthin, MFT @ 652-0990. She works extensively with teenage girls and is great at establishing a relationship with teens so that they feel comfortable talking about their problems. She also works with the parents and families when indicated. Monica
Peter August MFT is a gentle, caring, intelligent, forthright, honest, compassionate therapist. He has helped my daughter (now 13) navigate the difficult territory from her anorexia (which surfaced during the aftermath of a divorce) to a state of recovery where she expresses her feelings, and preferences like any other persistently annoyed young teen.

One very important piece of information about the work Peter has done/is doing with my daughter is that he has created and maintains a sense of safety where any combination of parents/ex's/step-parents feel safe enough to walk into a room together to discuss the things we can't work out alone. Somehow this great guy can support each of us, simultaneously, until we get through whatever we can/must to continue the important work of helping the child survive and grow.

Peter's office is on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland and his # is 510-654-4282. Sim


My daughter was very similar to the children portayed in the movie ''Thirteen,'' so I know what you're going through. Unfortunately once or even 2x weekly therapy may not be enough. One of our therapists told us that this area is just toxic to some kids. Our daughter was one of them, and your daughter sounds like another. We tried all kinds of therapy with all kids of therapists without success. What worked was getting her into a therapeutic boarding school out of state (in California, BTW, any kid 16 or older can walk out the door of any program and there is nothing you can do about it, which is why a lot of these places are located in states where you have to be 18 to do that). Special schools/programs are not an area into which to venture armed only with an Internet browser. If you elect to go that route, you need to work with an educational consultant. There are a lot of good therapeutic schools with committed staff out there, but there are also lots of charlatans and problem schools & camps and the consultants know which are which. We used Elizabeth McGhee at Viginia Reiss Associates in Larkspur (phone 415-461-4788)if you want to talk with her. A lot of people reporting to this site have good things to say about the Hyde School in Maine, which has an excellent reputation. Our daughter is at Island View-RTC in Utah, which also has an excellent progam, and makes the kids resonsible both to themselves and a team, so their behavior deoesn't affect just themselves, which helps drive home important points very quickly. These places are quite expensive, although if you carry mental health insurance, it can cover some of the costs (and there are educational loans that can be arranged; use the college money now if you need to). Also, there was a law on the books for a while (can't recall if it had a sunset date or not) that required medical insurers in California to cover the costs of such schools for children who were formally medically diagnosed with bi- polar disease. If that law is still applicable and if your daughter is bi-polar, that could help, cost-wise. The therapeutic schools have the kids in all kinds of therapy (individual, group, substance abuse, etc.)constantly and the people there have seen it all, so most kids learn pretty fast that they can't progress by BS-ing or finessing their way out. Therapy-wise, you need to look for someone who has didactic therapeutic training, but the results are much better if you get your kid out of this environment into a controlled one, because as long as it's an option, kids can just elect not to participate in the therapy (that was one of the things that happened to us). It's only when the element of choice gets removed that you can start making headway. My heart goes out to you. It's just a wrenching situation to be in.
My daughter has been through the Amen Clinic brain scan diagnostics (see book ''Your Brain or Your Life'' Daniel Amen) and pronounced ADD/ADHD and was exceedingly unhappy and cutting herself, using alcohol and drugs as a 14 y/o. Amazingly enough, at 15 she's completely turned around and getting the best grades possible at her high school. She is drug free (prescription drugs) and possibly trying pot on weekends. I attribute this to the most smart, compassionate and skilled therapist around: Betty Tharpe in Albany. Her number is: 510-549-2092. I've tried many therapists for myself and for my daughter: Betty is one sharp cookie and I couldn't recommend her more highly for guidance with your suffering adolescents.

12 year old daughter wants counseling

April 2003

My 12 year old daughter approached me about getting counseling. I have gone over the website and got a few names, and have two names from the school couselor, but I am looking for a few more. I think she is more comfortable talking with a woman, and probably a younger woman (not to be age-ist!). My daughter is not that talkative or open with new people. A counseler that she saw in the past did some playing, but mostly talked. I think that my daughter would benefit from someone who works with writing and art as therapy, and someone who can also discuss different philosophys/ religions (buddhism, for instance) as tools for understanding and dealing the world and its stresses. She is a very thoughful, deep, and philosophical child and has been since she could talk! My daughter is pretty in tune with herself and her feelings most of the time, but is struggling right now. She told me she wants to discuss how she's feeling in general, not something specific. If someone can recommend a young woman therapist that they have had a direct relationship with (or rather their kids have), I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks, listening mom


You might try Kirsten Beuthin (female therapist). She works extensively with teens and pre-teens, and is especially good at connecting with young people. She will also work with parents. I highly recommend her. Her number is 652-0990. M. M.

13 year old daughter is continually in conflict

Feb. 2003

Any recommendations for local therapists Lamorinda, Walnut Creek, North Berkeley for a 13 year old girl? She is continually in conflict either with us the parents or her sisters. She pushes all the wrong buttons, provokes, demands, screams and cries every day. Everything we say is an attack on her, she can't stand her family, most of the people of authority (teachers, coaches) are idiots. She would just like to move out and live on her own without all the stupid rules and regulations. Or at least send me to an expensive boarding school. She feels she should have a lot of rights but is not willing to give anything in return. Even when we set the rules together and contracts are drawn she breaks them right away. She is very smart, does pretty well at school though puts in minimal work, has some friends. She has a high sense of justice (for herself) and entitlement.

We are willing to participate in some sort of family therapy though having two other daughters with whom we have a very positive relationship we know we are not such lousy parents as she would make us to be. At the end of my rope


I understand that Kirsten Beuthin, MFT works very well with difficult teenagers. She specializes in at-risk adolescent girls, and always includes the family if possible. Her office is in Berkeley at 510-652-0990. anon
The first step you should take is to read, ''The Explosive Child.'' Even if your 13-year old is not explosive, this book helps with understanding and coping with intense kids. We also found a therapist who works based on the same principles as the book, and the combination has been great. These kids are intense for good reasons, and once you get a handle on what's going on, it's much easier to cope. Everyone benefits. Good luck. Parent of another intense teen

Therapist for teen son

Aug. 2002

Looking for a counselor or therapist for our son who is good natured, well behaved, but has a very poor time expressing himself verbally or in writing. Although he is bright, he is falling behind academically because of his weaknesses. He is also becoming socially isolated. Any suggestions for someone in or around Berkeley? Thanks.


Therapist for teen -- Dr. Kenneth Benau, on Telegraph Ave., Berkeley (510) 704-0116. He is excellent with teens as well as with families. Debra
Within the Kaiser system, I just received a recommendation from another mom, whose 16 year old daughter is working with this therapist with positive results. Her name is Alicia Barrett-Singer, and she's located in the Pediatrics Department in the Mosswood Building at Kaiser Oakland. Please look at the Kaiser directory for the phone number.
About 15 years ago, Kaiser had a pilot program in Lafyette that was only for teens. It was run by a psychiatrist. There were group sessions as well as individual sessions. The young person I knew who was in therapy was in the program for about 6 months, did get some medication and emerged fine. FR, Berkeley High School

15 year old girl who has run away four times

April 2002

Hello Parents, If you know any good adolescent therapy for a 15 years girls in San Jose area, please recommend. My daughter has run away 4 times, and my family is falling apart because of her. She was a straight A student until last year when she got in boy/girl friends relationship then things changed. I am apprecitate any recommendations from you. Thanks.


A recommendation on a therapist for teens is: Karen Hollinger Jackson. Our peditricians's office recommended her and we used her for a short term issue. A slight drawback for you is that she practices in Alameda. When I asked our doctor replied that she specializes in adolescents and they have had very good feedback about her. Realizing that it takes a very special person to work with adolescents, we went to her and were impressed! Cathy

Helping teen cope with learning differences

April 2002

I am looking for recommendations of a woman therapist who is experienced/skilled at dealing with a teen's feelings around coping with learning differences, and experienced with helping a teen develop a self-knowing, positive coping strategy for the long term. It wouldn't hurt if the same therapist is experienced with/recommended by adoptive and multi-racial families, though these are not major issues on the table at this time. My daughter says she is not interested in any kind of group therapy. Our insurance is Kaiser, but we realize we will probably need to go outside of Kaiser. It would be helpful to know the basic session cost, if you know. Thanks. Anonymous


Our daughter (16, a Junior in High School), has been working with a wonderful young woman therapist, who is an intern at Berkeley Therapy Institute in North Berkeley. Her name is Christa Hogan. Phone at BTI: 841-8484.
Within the Kaiser system, I just received a recommendation from another mom, whose 16 year old daughter is working with this therapist with positive results. Her name is Alicia Barrett-Singer, and she's located in the Pediatrics Department in the Mosswood Building at Kaiser Oakland. Please look at the Kaiser directory for the phone number.

Therapist for daughter at Cal

March 2002

Anyone know any of these therapists well enough to recommend one? This is for my daughter at Cal. These are on my insurance plan (HealthNet). Nancy


I had several sessions with Jeanne Menary and liked her very much. I chose her specifically for her expertise in helping people cope with pregnancy loss, but our work spilled into many other areas as well. I highly recommend her, if your daughter feels comfortable with her, and would consider going back to her for general counseling in the future.
I can whole-heartedly recommend Ruth Fallenbaum. (Unfortunately, she is not taking any new HealthNet/MHN clients.) Ruth is very professional and non-judgmental. She has a down to earth style that has allowed me to work to my own solutions with the advantage of her skills, perspective and insights. I don't have a lot of experience with therapists but the difference between a negative experience with one (on the MHN list but not on your list)and Ruth Fallenbaum has been like night and day. Ruth's office is at Telegraph and Woolsey in Berkeley, 835-2368.

Diane Cohen, Ph.D. on College Ave. in Rockridge (653-1464) is also very good with young women but I think she's in the same situation---that she's not accepting any new MHN clients.

Good luck. Keep asking everyone you know. I also asked the professionals who were recommended to me if they could recommend someone else. And, keep asking MHN for names. They're very stingy about handing them out. Sally


Ruth Fallenbaum had been recommended to me by a colleague who was really happy with the work that he had done with her. I interviewed her and liked her quite a bit, but she didn't have room in her schedule at the time. This seems to change over time, so I would definitely talk to her. She seems quite bright and compassionate, and was willing to offer referrals which I thought was really helpful.
I saw Ruth Hill as a therapist on a couple of different occasions when I was in college, then graduate school. I thought she was wonderful for me at that juncture in life; supportive, reinforcing, somewhat holistic, and she helped me grapple with a couple harsh crises. She is very Jungian, and a lot of her work deals in rather abstract concepts.
Kathleen Ranlett Mock, MA wasn't on your list. I know she is on Healthnet and she is a very good, easy-going therapist.

Therapist who works with teens & their families

April 2000

Does anyone have any recommendations for a therapist/counselor who works with teenagers, especially with females. I only want references if people have first hand experiences. Thanks.


I would like to recommend the therapist that my 15 year old daughter has been seeing. For the first time she actually wants to go to therapy and I've been very impressed with the way she has been able to speak to me about what's going on inside of her. I know this therapist's expertise is with teens and that she consults for treatment programs, but I'm pretty sure she also works with grown-ups. I got her name from a friend of mine who saw her. Her name is Betty Tharpe and her office is on Solano Ave. in Albany. Her phone number is 549-2092.
A great therapist for teens is Lenny Levis, Ph.D. (540-5052). My son saw him during a crisis for just 6 sessions, was very comforable sharing his feelings, felt very supported and acquired useful coping skills. Lenny is located on MLK near Hearst, so he's very accessible both to King Middle School and Berkeley High.
Re: Therapist who works with teenagers (June 1999)
My son saw a therapist who has been very helpful. His name is Leonard Levis, he's on MLK, and his number is 540-5052. I don't think it's necessarily true that a troubled child is an indicator of deeper trouble in the family. Anybody can have difficulties with a developmental stage, or a particular situation, and therapy can bring about better insights and coping strategies than mom or dad can come up with.
Re: good therapist for teens: David Akullian, North Berkeley, Shattuck at Cedar Street, 848-4203. Worked well with both my 11 year-old son and 15 year-old daughter.
It mattered a lot for our teen to like and feel accepted by a therapist--even more important than for an adult--because acceptance is the stuff of teen identity. It was also important for our teen to build a trusting relationship with an adult, and bridge the generations for a source of advice in addition to peers. From this experience, I would suggest interviewing several therapists to find the right fit, and not be afraid to change the therapist if that right fit, for whatever reason, isn't there. I can recommend , for one, Dr. Anna Berger, who is warm, savvy, and wise. 848-3050.
High on my list is Bob Heavner (843-4377). Bob deals almost exclusively with adolescents and their many issues, including drugs/alcohol, family issues, video/computer addictions, etc.
Colorado Kagan (297-4937) has a softer, nurturing style for a teen who needs to be drawn out.
Phyllis Mace (704-8455) has been effective in getting our teen daughter through a turbulent, defiant adolescence.
A personal recommendation: We moved here from Washington the summer before my daughter's 7th grade year. There was so much to adjust to -new home,new neighborhood, new peer pressure expectations, plus a new family (we lost her dad 2 years before). I found my daughter needed help to make the transition. We tried "talk therapists", but I found that it was easy for her to talk, but not work at adjusting, growing, or taking the steps necessary. What she related to was hands-on things, doing something. In the end, the person who is still a great lady in her life is a physical/art therapist named Pepper Sbarbaro. She listens and really cares about your child. They find ways to play together, doing clay, collage and free-form stuff while a great deal of talk is going on, and also some fantastic body massage to just help the child relax. It's all of a piece. Pepper reads whats going on from all of it and while she respects the privacy between them, she keeps you in the loop so you are a part of the solution. She's having hand surgery soon, but try calling if you're interested and speak with her: (510)525-0474. Tell her Loni sent you.
For the folks looking for a therapist for a teen, I would strongly reccommend Michael Simon, in Rockridge (510) 433-2959. He's wonderful with teens (adults and couples, too) and my experience is that people feel very comfortable with him immediately--that's an important part of any therapy experience. He's fairly inexpensive, too, as therapists go. Thanks! Kirsten
Glad to see postings of good therapists for teens. To me, this seems an underexplored avenue for many teens and so benefitial when the right therapist and teen can match up. In our case, we were lucky to find a therapist that our teen hit it off with right away.

It mattered a lot for our teen to like and feel accepted by a therapist--even more important than for an adult--because acceptance is the stuff of teen identity. It was also important for our teen to build a trusting relationship with an adult, and bridge the generations for a source of advice in addition to peers. From this experience, I would suggest interviewing several therapists to find the right fit, and not be afraid to change the therapist if that right fit, for whatever reason, isn't there. I can recommend , for one, Dr. Anna Berger, who is warm, savvy, and wise. 848-3050.


More Recommendations

Aug 2002

Re: Counselor/therapist for 13-year-old


I highly recommend Phyllis Mace as a wonderful therapist to work with on teen issues. She knows a lot about the schools in the area, and the different issues at different schools. Also excellent at working with parents and/or students to help figure out what will motivate a student, what type of support he/she may need, etc... Her phone number is 704-8455, and she is located at 5435 College Ave. in Oakland, in the Rockridge Area. It's a bit of a trek from Berkeley, but I think she's great.
June 1999

Re: Therapist who works with teenagers

I recommend:
Jennifer Freeman
5th & Cedar, Berkeley
526-2336
Jenny has worked with our daughter from age 10 to present (13). She does child and teen therapy. She's a warm and non-threatening woman with a pleasant Austrailian accent. She's going to visit relatives in Australia for a month or so, starting next week (I think), so you might want to call right away if the situation is urgent. Good luck!


Gail Alter, LCSW may also work with boys, but I recommend her for girls: 433-2972
My 17-year-old daughter has been seeing a wonderful therapist named Preston Parsons Alvarez (College Avenue/Oakland). She has seen her for 9 months and the whole family is very impressed with her -- we have all been in for visits with our daughter for family history reasons, but my daughter is her patient. Preston is very clear about patient confidentiality and has kept our daughter's trust accordingly. My daughter also attends a peer group (teenage girls) that is attended by a facilitator who interns with Preston, and she is very happy with the group as well. I have had much experience with therapists of all license/education backgrounds, and am very critical of the whole thing -- I think Preston is very good at what she does. She is also very kind and supportive. Very skilled. Good luck.
In response to the request for Teen Counselors I personally recommend:
Jan Dombrower,M.S.
Liscensed Marriage, Family & Child Counselor
1345 "B" Street
Hayward, CA 94541
510/537-8630
I'm not sure where you are located, which is a concern, because if its too far to travel then you tend to not go, so get someone close to your home. I took my daughter to Jan for almost two years and the results were great. My daughter was a victim of a crime and so the state paid for our counseling (mine too!) so I don't know how much it runs. She is excellent with kids and is more than willing to give references for someone in your area.
Both of the counselors that we have seen in the past few years have experience with adolescents. Dean Lobovits and Jenny Freeman. They both practice in a building on the corner of 5th and Cedar in Berkeley. It's my impression that Dean mostly does Marriage & family counseling now, though he used to work in Teen Centers. And Jenny mostly does kids now. She saw my stepdaughter from age 10 through age 13. They are the authors of a book called "Playful Solutions to Serious Problems" (I think), which gives you an idea of their philosophy. Good luck! Dawn
This is in response to needing a recommendation for a therapist or counselor for teenagers. We found Candice Kunz in Concord to be extremely helpful and insightful. Her telephone number is (510) 687-2132.
My daughter (the 16-year-old going to MacGregor) sees Elayne Savage in Berkeley. She is a Healthnet therapist. She herself had a teenage daughter who was a handful but turned out great. My daughter and I both like her -- I think she's good with mother-daughter issues. She recently wrote a book, Don't Take It Personally, about dealing with all kinds of rejection in life. (Also, I'd like to thank those who responded for their encouraging advice!)
Therapist for teens: Though his office is in Rockridge, I recommend psychotherapist Michael Simon 510/433-2959 who has extensive experience with adolescents and children (as well as adults) and also works on a sliding scale. It's been my experience that male teens prefer to work with a male therapist.
In response to the parents looking for family therapy with their 17 year-old in the Berkeley/Albany area, I would reccommend contacting Michael Simon, M.S. at 510 433-2959. He is a wonderful family, couples, child and adolescent therapist and while he doesn't take insurance (I think the people who wanted a referral have Pacific Care), he works on a sliding-fee basis(from about $30 to $60 per session), so you can end up paying about the same as you might if you had insurance, without having to go through the insurance hassles around confidentiality, getting sessions approved a few at a time, etc.
kirsten
West Coast Childrens Center runs some groups for teens. Their number is 527-7249. They have a racially diverse population and have some groups called Senior Coed Groups for 15-18 year olds, meaning high school. They also have some social skills building groups for younger kids. Best to call and get a bit more information.
Sherry
Jan 1999

Both of the counselors that we have seen in the past few years have experience with adolescents. Dean Lobovits and Jenny Freeman. They both practice in a building on the corner of 5th and Cedar in Berkeley. It's my impression that Dean mostly does Marriage & family counseling now, though he used to work in Teen Centers. And Jenny mostly does kids now. She saw my stepdaughter from age 10 through age 13. They are the authors of a book called "Playful Solutions to Serious Problems" (I think), which gives you an idea of their philosophy. Good luck! Dawn


Jan 1999

Re: adolescent therapy

For the person looking for a counselor for a child/young adult I highly recommend Mario LaMort. He is in San Anselmo and well worth the drive. He is very direct and can zone in on what the problem is and how to work with it. Although we have not had occasion to take our child to him two close friends have taken their children and been very pleased. He is involved with the schools there, working with kids in group settings and also has a private practice. His # is 415-457-8547.


1998

I have recommendations for two therapists that my family has used and were very pleased with:
Matthew Mock Ph.D.
2714 Telegraph Av
Berkeley
848-9919

Matthew Mock has a private practice and is also the director of Family Youth and Children Services for Berkeley Mental Health. He is on the faculty at JFK University and is a nationally recognized expert on multicultural mental health issues and services. He has been very helpful to us with both our very complicated children (a niece and nephew.) (By-the-way, Berkeley is one of the few cities in the country to have its own Mental Health Department.)

Scott Lines Ph.D.
5435 College Av
Oakland
482-8460

Scott Lines was very helpful to my husband, our children, and me when he was doing a post-doc at Kaiser Oakland in 1993. We consulted with him for a "second-opinion" and were very impressed with him for the few months we saw him. Circumstances with 10 visit limit at Kaiser neccessitated that we go elswhere for long-term therapy. Scott was very perceptive. It seems that his advice and diagnosis certainly were on target. He really knew what he was talking about! The kids liked him too, though they weren't with him too long. Good luck! H.


1998

Re: angry adolescent

Dear Parent: I have two daughters, both of whom have experienced anger and depression resulting from divorce, etc. My older daughter is in therapy with a fantastic clinical psychologist who, in turn, recommended a wonderful family therapist who specializes in individual and group/family therapy. His name is John DiMartini, located just off College Avenue in Oakland near the BART. I don't have his phone number with me at the moment, but if you are interested in pursuing this, please feel free to e-mail me. The reason I like him so much is that he absolutely protects the rights of children while helping every member of the family to feel whatever is going on for them and he is extremely fair. He is excellent at enabling everyone involved to listen to everyone else -- quite a remarkable task. He is also open to suggestions if something goes off, and I think this is critical to any group situation. I don't know if he would see an individual and that individual's family at the same time -- usually therapists just do one or the other. However, I am confident that he could recommend someone else if you eventually felt the need for individual and family therapy. Obviously, since both of my children are female, I don't know first-hand about how John would do with a male child. However, I would guess he would be wonderful with your son and/or you and your husband. Good luck. Just this past weekend I was at Emerson School's playground with my younger daughter who was playing basketball, and we witnessed a 5-year-old boy who was screaming, hitting and biting his mother and sister -- his parents were also nearing the point of a therapist. My thoughts are with you. Take care, Tamara


My son went through some similar issues and we found it VERY helpful for him to see a psychologist. We took him to Madeline Finegold (Feingold?), who has an office in Berkeley and in Walnut Creek, and we really liked her (and so did our son!). He only went for about 5 times (and one visit for parents only), but we saw a marked improvement. Also, there was a somewhat superficial, but interesting, article in Working Mother magazine this month or last on how boys are socialized to ONLY express anger, no other emotions. Also, you may want to check out the website www.6seconds.org. Six Seconds is a non-profit that does emotional intelligence trainings for parents and teachers. FYI it takes 6 seconds for the chemical reaction of anger in the brain to dissipate, so the advice of "counting to ten" is excellent! Good luck!

Advice about Therapy for Teens


Therapy more than once a week is better?

May 2013

My question is has anyone had the experience of taking their child to therapy more than 1 time/week? If so, why did you choose to do so and do you think it helped?

We have a young teen who is struggling, angry, and resistant to almost any direction from us. She has been in therapy once/week yet I wonder if more frequent therapy might really help given the 24/7 level of her irritation, anger, resentment, and defiance. I'm wondering if something like a before (or after)-school therapy schedule several days a week might help build a bridge from where she is to a place of more peace within herself.

And if you have had such an experience, are there any therapists you'd recommend? Thanks for any advice you can give


I have no experience with therapy more than once/week for my traumatized foster child--we've only done weekly.

But I can say that quality of the therapy, and the level of the bond between therapist and child, is in my opinion what matters above all. I never wished my son could go more than once/week to see his amazing psychologist, but I did sometimes wish she could move in with us.

Does your daughter have a good relationship with her therapist? How does she feel about going? My son hated his first therapist and said he would never talk to her about anything. We interviewed other therapists and he liked the one we settled on immediately. He has resisted any efforts to cut back to every other week.

I hope you get some good referrals; I'm just outside the Bay Area so don't have any for you. good luck


I'm not a professional, but in my experience as a parent, if therapy isn't working then more of the same won't work any better. In my family's experience, more of what wasn't working was even damaging.

One of my children was in therapy from an early age for behavior problems that included anger, tantrums, struggles over homework, defiance. After several years of therapy with a clinical psychologist, which at best took the edge off at times, I had an epiphany that we needed to switch our attention to understanding the behavior rather than just trying to change it. The therapist's response was to pressure us to increase to two sessions a week, and if that didn't work, consider medication. More therapy made absolutely no difference.

What changed our son's life was his pediatrician's recommendation for a neuropsych evaluation, once I worked up the courage to open up to the doctor about our struggles. The neuropsychologist's findings, which totally surprised me, led to the first really effective interventions my son ever had. I still carry a lot of guilt that I kept forcing him to go to therapy, and more therapy, when he was being totally misunderstood. And for allowing myself to be guilt tripped into following the therapist's advice about doling out more and more ''consequences,'' when we were misinterpreting our sons needs and behaviors and not seeing any improvement with the punishment. His therapy delayed our finding the right kind of help.

He couldn't express it, but he knew all of us adults were getting it wrong, which has had a long-term negative effect on our relationship with him and his willingness to seek and use help. On the other hand, our relationship and his behavior improved on the few occasions when we said ''Ok, you've tried that, it doesn't seem to be working -- if you agree, we can take a break and look for something more appropriate.''

Our other child, who had totally different needs, was also in therapy for several years. After an initial improvement he plateaued, and we followed the therapists advice to increase to twice a week. As I learned more about this child's condition and the treatments that are proven effective, I realized that the therapist's training did not mesh up with my child's needs and that was the reason we saw no further improvement.

I'm a big believer in the motto in Ross Greene's ''The Explosive Child,'' that children do well if they can. If they can't it's our job to find out why not and help them. Finding out why is the hard part


Teens in therapy: rights of teen vs. rights of parents

March 2012

I would like to hear from others what the counseling policy is at their middle schools/high schools regarding teens who are in counseling at school. Our 8th grade daughter regularly sees the school counselor by choice (and we are thrilled with this and it has been helpful to her). That said, we had a recent experience that we have serious concerns about. My husband had called the counselor and asked her to call him back. There was some phone tag, but no live conversation and no information shared about what he wanted to talk to the counselor about. The counselor, the next time she saw our daughter, told her, ''Your dad called. I haven't spoken to him yet, but what do you think that is about?'' Apparently this is routine for the counselor to say this kind of thing. Well, my daughter was so upset by this that she is no longer interested in going to counseling. While in the best of all worlds, you want the family to all talk about things as a family and be open and yadda yadda yadda, we are not that family (hence the counseling). So where we are at is that my husband and I have lost trust in the counselor (whom our daughter had adored until this incident, to the point of wanting to become a counselor herself, which she now no longer wants to do either), and our daughter has lost trust in us for what she sees as us intruding in her life.

So, my question is, is this standard/acceptable procedure for school counselors? Do parents really not have the right to ask the counselor (as my husband had) to please not tell our child that we called? Do we not have the right to expect that the counselor call us back and talk to us live to (a) find out what it is we want to talk with her about, and (b) at least inform us that it is their policy that the counselors tell the student that their parent has called? We find this really disturbing. Our daughter is a minor child and we, as her parents, are responsible for her physical and mental well being. We do NOT ask the counselor what was discussed in the sessions. We do, however, occasionally have information we feel might be useful for the counselor to know, or simply have general questions.

This has been very very upsetting to my husband and me, and has been very disruptive to our family. I have subsequently talked with the counselor, but do not agree with this policy of telling the student that their parent has called (why is that the student's business?!??!??!).

Thanks for your feedback. unhappy with counseling policy


Your daughter is the counselor's client, not your family or your husband. That said, her first responsibility is to her client. She behaved ethically by putting her client's needs first. Keeping secrets from her client would not be ethical. As far as the legal issues go, California Family Code states: ''The mental health treatment or counseling of a minor authorized by this section shall include involvement of the minor's parent or guardian unless, in the opinion of the professional person who is treating or counseling the minor, the involvement would be inappropriate. The professional person who is treating or counseling the minor shall state in the client record whether and when the person attempted to contact the minor's parent or guardian, and whether the attempt to contact was successful or unsuccessful, or the reason why, in the professional person's opinion, it would be inappropriate to contact the minor's parent or guardian.''

It sounds like your daughter perceived her counselor as breeching her trust by even taking a call from her father. That is very unfortunate. Depending on the skill of the counselor, she may be able to repair the relationship from her side. My recommendation to you, as parents, is if you want your teenager to receive treatment that will help her you need to stay out of it UNTIL she invites you in, which she may do at some point in the future. Good luck!
a Bay Area LCSW


How has therapy helped your teen?

Feb 2012

I notice a lot of parents referring therapists and I would like to hear specifically how therapy has helped their teen and/or family. We have had therapy for/with our teen for over 2 years now and all the problems remain, we are in no better place, only completely broke. The issues are defiance, opposition, extreme disrespect, substance use/abuse (and other programs, including wilderness, have been used), anger, troubling choice of peers, poor self esteem, barely getting through school and with constant behavior problems, etc etc. We did switch therapists once (before these 2 years) and the newer one seemed competent and our teen liked him, so we stayed. I would like to hear how, or what, in therapy has helped other families. thank you. anon


Therapy has not helped us. In fact, I think the therapy has made things worse. I think that some people are able to act ''normal'' and charm the therapist, throwing them entirely off-course. In other cases, I think therapists don't really want to help, because if the situation improves, they will lose a client, and they will make less money. In a lot of cases, therapists feel that it their job to listen, and the clients' job to ''find their way.'' Maybe I am just cynical, but I think 90 of the whole therapy thing is a racket. If you want someone to talk to, go to therapy. If you want to learn about your problems and find a way to solve them, read a book. Or, more likely, read 100 books. S.
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