Compassionate, Experienced Therapist needed

I am hoping to begin therapy (again) soon. I am a seasoned veteran at this point, but deal with recalcitrant mental health issues and challenging life circumstances. Both have reached a tipping point, and so I find myself seeking some guidance. I would love to find someone nurturing, experienced, and conversant in dealing with conflicts around and ambivalence regarding relationships, mothering/parenting, and professional aspirations. I am not partial to any one modality, but have not had much success with somatic therapy or hard-line psychotherapists. I have had so very many therapists over the years that the thought of having to relate my life trajectory to yet another is enough to make me want to run the other way, but I also now that with the right person, it can make a world of difference. I am a fairly stubborn, intelligent, critical, and highly sensitive person. I need someone warm and non-judgmental who can appreciate these qualities and gently challenge them, but not with a bulldozer. Perhaps you have some thoughts.

Insurance is not an issue. East Bay-based.

Thank you!

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You sound like me! I've been seeing Ellie Vargas in Oakland and she's fantastic. Warm and compassionate yet still points out my issues in a kind way that I can handle. It's hard to face my own role in my life issues but Ellie has a good way of pointing stuff out without making me feel judged or attacked. She's really a gem.

Well, I haven't had any luck finding the right person on this (east) side of the bay. The best therapist I ever had was Julia Wallace in SF- truly gifted at challenging and guiding those of us of the stubborn/intelligent/critical/highly sensitive variety;). She doesn't take my insurance so I haven't been able to see her in years but I compare every therapist I've been to since and none compare. I've sent numerous people her way and they have all been equally impressed. If you have the funds and don't mind traveling to Hayes Valley, I highly recommend her!

I highly recommend Kristin Hirt, LMFT on Lakeshore Ave. in the Grand Lake district of Oakland.  Kristin is wise, warm, and engaging.  I never, ever felt judged even while she challenged some of my stuck patterns and encouraged me to consider alternate perspectives.  Her website is www.insightfulgrowth.com.  Her phone number is (510) 872-2336. 

I really appreciate my therapist, Heather Roselaren, for exactly the things that you mention--nurturing, experienced, helps me figure out relational conflicts, so non-judgemental and very gently challenging. I'm a mom with long term, off and on depression and Heather has been a god-send to me over the years! She works in downtown Berkeley. email: heather [at] heatherroselaren.com, phone: 510-527-1217. Best of luck to you!

I would highly recommend Laura Soble (510-527-1501laurasoblemft [at] gmail.com ( )).  I am dealing with many of the same issues and have found her to be highly intuitive and direct.  She is kind but doesn't allow me to hide.  She is also a 50ish mother who has been there.

Like you I've found that modality is less important than personal connection and warmth.  And that it's better to work with someone who has a broad toolbox, as opposed to loyalty to one method. I'd heartily recommend Galia Schecter in Berkeley. I saw her for a while in couples counseling, and would be seeing her for individual therapy now if that hadn't been the case.  She's very warm, and somehow manages to get to the heart of things with a light touch. 
 

 Tatjana K. has a bunch of therapeutic modalities under her belt, most notable of which is Somatic Experiencing. It's an (emotional and physical) trauma healing approach, that works on reorganizing the nervous system. It's really very different from talk therapy, for sure not a bulldozer. I'd recommend to try a session to see if it resonates. Tatjana is very sensitive, present, warm and heart oriented. She's based in Oakland, and her number is 415-425-5013

I recommend Karen Levine, MFT. I've faced some very similar issues, and my work with Karen has helped me to understand patterns in my relationships and the ways my own behavior sometimes prevents me from getting what I want in my life. Karen has helped me to clarify my own goals and needs related to parenting, my marriage, and my career. Her style is warm and connected, and she uses a variety of therapeutic "tools," from being actively involved to being more quietly empathetic and present. She has gently challenged some of my assumptions about myself in a warm way that feels attuned, connected and non-judgmental. I know that finding the right therapist can be challenging, and I encourage you to see if Karen might be the right fit for you, too.  Her number is (510) 761-5303 and she also has a website.  Best of luck.