Family Therapists for Teens & Parents

Parent Q&A

Academic/Emotional Help for 8th Grader Sep 29, 2021 (1 responses below)
Need therapist/counselor for mom/teen communication Nov 13, 2018 (1 responses below)
Family Therapist for Parents and Teen Daughter Mar 13, 2017 (1 responses below)
  • Academic/Emotional Help for 8th Grader

    (1 reply)

    Our 13yo son needs help, badly. Historically an anxious over-achiever with some obsessive tendencies, during remote computer-based work he became increasingly distracted on the laptop, and now cannot focus for more than 5 minutes at a time. The result is homework taking HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS. We have tried web site blockers, standing over him to nudge, setting hard deadlines with anticipated academic consequences if he doesn't get the work done (though weirdly, not completing the work has never actually generated any academic consequences) -- none have proved particularly effective or impacted his behavior, nor are they really sustainable at this age. All of this is increasing his anxiety and personal frustration, resulting in very very late nights and thus late mornings, impacting his (and our) entire day. Compounded by 3-hour showers, 2-hour bathroom visits (and of course I know what that might suggest at this age, but this really seems excessive). We reached out to a handful of therapists with an emphasis on teen OCD, and the few who actually responded weren't taking new patients. But who should we even be talking to about this? Is it an emotional issue? A learning issue? An executive functioning issue? A school counselor issue? Where do we start? All suggestions welcome!

    I am sorry to hear about your son's struggles. As a mother of a young adult who's had multiple emotional and learning issues (and still has), here's what I wish we'd have done, or done more of. For one, does your son have something other than school that he's really into? Not necessarily a passion, but a hobby he really likes?  What about a job? Things like that help one ground themselves in reality and make it easier to take on academic and other "artificial" challenges. It's hard to tell from your post if he's attending school in person now, but kids and young adults need to have in person experiences more than adults. If school is all or a lot of it is virtual, that could be contributing to his lack of attention.

    Speaking of attention, has he been assessed by the school district? Could he possibly have ADHD? If he's in private school, you can say your are thinking of transferring him to a public one and request an IEP. 

    Last couple of things. A therapist or maybe a mentor/coach would be nice. Someone who could meet with him and talk to him about his interests and goals. That could get expensive, but might be worth it. I've heard good things about

    If I'd do it all over again, I would find a good academic coach for my son to work with. My son hasn't ever learned how to study and organize himself, and now that he's in college he's reluctant to seek help to learn that, and is having a very hard time with his classes.

    As for long bathroom breaks and showers. I think I know what you are thinking, but another thought is... Have him tested for drugs. That kind of thing impacts ability to focus and takes up quite a bit of time, in a private space. Don't want to freak you out, but...

    Take care, and take of yourself.

  • My 14 year old daughter and I have hit a major communication roadblock.  She's often rude, dismissive, and increasingly uncommunicative with me. I know some of this is normal separation stuff, but some of it is concerning to me. On top of this, she has no activities at all outside of school - no sports, clubs, interests - and this concerns me as well. I'd love recommendations of people between Richmond and North Berkeley. 

    Jessika Fruchter has been amazing with our 13 year old daughter who was very reluctant to go to therapy.  She goes on her own so I don't know how it would be with both, but Jessika has been so great I imagine she would be able to help you and your daughter.  She specializes in teen girls.

  • My husband and I would love to sit down with a therapist and our 15 year old daughter to get to the bottom of all her anger towards us. She angrily told me that she has no relationship with me and all I am is a chauffeur. It was very painful to hear her say that, especially given that I stayed home full-time for the 6 years of her life and went back to work part-time so I could be there when she was out of school. After giving it much thought, I realized she is right. I spent the first 12 plus years of her life doing activities with her and backed away when I became less cool to hang out with and gave her privacy when she was holed up in her room. We have developed a pattern of me driving her to her different social activities and never doing anything together. Her anger towards her father is also at an all time high and they just can't see eye to eye on any issues without getting into a screaming match. I don't want to lose whatever relationship I have with her and am willing to work at repairing what I may have damaged. Any referrals to a family therapist in Oakland or Oakland/Berkeley border would be much appreciated.

    I would recommend David J. Frankel, PhD in Berkeley.  My husband, 13 year old daughter, and I had a couple of sessions with Dr. Frankel earlier this year when we were searching for a therapist for our daughter.  We had tried someone who our daughter didn't click with so we set out on a new search.  We all loved Dr. Frankel.  He is very gentle, and we could have easily had great success working with him.  Ultimately, our daughter chose a different therapist (a female, who it turns out that her BFF at school is also seeing) but we did like David Frankel very much and would wholly recommend him for your family.  He is in Berkeley, near University and Milvia, and his number is (415) 927-7067.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Family therapy for mom, dad and 2 teens

Oct 2010

I checked the BPN website and the recommendations for family therapists were pretty old. We need help with issues of stress/anger around long period of dad's unemployment, kids using weed, time to rev up about college admissions, to name a few things. Berkeley/Oakland area. Do I prefer someone older and experienced? Someone young and hip? Male? Female? Someone who has or is raising teenagers? I don't know. For sure, someone who can keep us all open and honest and can cut to the chase and not drag things out. Thanks!
signed: family member most willing to do therapy

Hello, I would like to suggest that you call Claramarie Collins, at the Berkeley Therapy Institute. She is very good at working together with all members of the family, equally. She is especially good at getting the teens to participate- which is huge! The best of luck to you! Claramarie Collins 510-841-8484.

We have (had) now my kids in college, the BEST THERAPIST in the world. My son would often say, ''I need a Karen, Mom'' I really dont know how he is surviving without her she is so cool. I think shes about 27 and works at clearwater, which is all about teens and families. Karen Sprinkel 510 596-8137. RR

Family therapist for teen & parents

June 2005

We are looking for a family therapist for us, the parents, and our 14 year old son. Someone who is knowledgable about disability issues, both physical and learning, would be helpful but not necessary as long as they are insightful. Berkeley or Oakland area is preferred and someone who can get right to the point is best. We already have a couples therapist and our son has a therapist so we don't need long term. We need someone who can help us troubleshoot through some unpleasant entrenched family dynamics but where all people are open and willing to change.

Lynda Kravitz, Ph.D. has a private practice in Oakland. She meets with families that have children with special needs. I saw her speak for a class on family therapy. She seems very calm and insightful. (510) 420-0888 Another person to try would be Erica Czerwinsky, (510) 595-5591 Kristin

Jill Lebeau, MFT, is a great option for a family therapist. I personally think she is one of the best in this area and I have referred many patients to her from my acupuncture practice. She has two sons of her own if that makes a difference to you. She is very good at getting to the point and moving everyone forward in a very quick and easy way. Her number is 510.849.1010.