Theraputic help with sad/angry 11 year old girl

hello friends,

We recenlty moved from europe. our youngest is really struggling with the change and wont go to school. She is sad and mad and also very tired in the mornings. She is seeing a school therapist (play based therapy) but its very slow going. In the mean time she is missing lots of school and we need to accelerate her healing. We are looking for an experienced therapist/psychiatrist to help her. We are not interested in prescribing medicines. Plesae share any referrals for specialists in north berkeley area.

Many thanks.

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Sorry you’re dealing with this! You may have already done this but I wanted to suggest that you talk to the school-based therapist and make sure she knows how bad your mornings are and how much your daughter is struggling. Could you set up a meeting with the therapist and teacher (and anyone else who might be helpful) to strategize. Maybe a new morning routine or an incentive plan would help? I had some success with both of those when my child was younger. One other thought-I’m wondering if you’re home during the day? Sometimes part of avoiding school is about either worrying about parents or wishing for the coziness and togetherness of home. Good luck!


I am sorry your daughter is struggling. First I would say her in CA and the US in general middle school is not as problematic to miss as in Europe. That said school refusal is very serious and we also have had that issue. I recommend Janine Sandler. She is great with that age. My child saw her when she was younger

Also I would point out that a psychiatrist is generally for prescribing medication and therapist are for dealing with the issues in various modalities.

I hope she and you find relief soon. 

Hello - Having a kid who's going through challenges is hard.  Was she perfectly normal in Europe and then there was a sudden change here in the U.S.?  I ask because you may want to get her assessed by the Summit Center (or at Children's, talk to her doctor) to see if there's anything else going on to rule out.  (I have a kid who's hypersensitive and was a school-refusenick as well.)  Also, I'm guessing you've checked in with the principal or her teachers to see if there's a situation that she's afraid to talk about.  (In one instance, mine was being manipulated by a friend to say mean things to other kids - the guilt kept her from wanting to leave the house.  She wouldn't tell me; it came out when we sat down with the principal.)  And so the next question is, is there any consideration to switching schools?   The new environment just might not be one to bring out the best in her.