Therapist for 5th grade boy struggling with friendships

Hi--my son was picked on a lot when he was at a small school in first grade and has often been a bit of a target to others because he will react to teasing.  I think that he tends to react defensively and with anger even when the situation could be laughed off and have a better outcome.  With me, he is fine, loving, gentle, fun, etc. but I can see that he needs to learn how to navigate friendships.  I was thinking that a therapist might be able to teach him some tools and I thought it might be good to do this before hormones fully set in or before he goes to middle school.

Do others have advice or recommendations for a therapist who might be a good match?  We'd like to find someone in the Montclair/Rockridge/Lake area or possibly Berkeley/Alameda.

Thanks in advance for sharing your experience!

Parent Replies

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We didn't do it at the time, but I wish we had done Boy Scouts, or any similar organization where part of the mission is to build character and be inclusive.  We did do soccer and basketball, and each helped a little.  We didn't do therapy at that time, though we did it much later, and I can see how it could have helped.  I will suggest Fusion Academy in Berkeley at the foot of University, very accessible to may cities in the Bay Area.  My son took guitar there with Danny White (as a weekly lesson, not a class), and Danny's ability to be present and encouraging helped develop my son's confidence and calm.  Alisa Pickett is the admissions person there.  I mention that because I think every activity that helps build self-esteem or provides interactions with any guy, really, helped us.  Good luck.

I believe Kaiser runs a variety of kids group therapy on social skills.  To me this is something best worked on in real time with a professional guiding the peer interactions.  good luck to your son.

My son struggled with the same issues. Two things helped: social skills groups at Kaiser and twice a week kickboxing classes at Pacific Ring Sports on 40th/Telegraph. The classes there are fun, they do not tolerate bullying and they build self esteem and self confidence. Good luck!

My son, who's now 16, had the same issue you're speaking of.   We have been doing therapy since 4th grade.   He didn't want to play sports but he did enjoy the Sax so he was involved in an assemble.  Anyway,  It's been a long road and it's very slow to change.  He is doing better and we have now moved him to a very small private high school called mentoring academy.  The therapist he works with is Anthony Graneri.  He is located on Telegraph near Ashby.   He is an older man but very hip and he seems to have helped my son.    Isolation is a big issue for kids like this so make every effort to get him involved.  I wish I had done Boy Scouts.  They need to belong to a group.  Good luck.