Grief Counseling for Children

Parent Q&A

  • Therapist for a grieving 7 year old

    (3 replies)

    Hi Parents! I am seeking a child therapist for my son. We lost my husband almost 5 years ago, my son was 2 years old. He has began to act out in school and was recently dismissed from Y Camp because of behavioral issues..any recommendations?! Please help!!!

    We also lost my husband almost 5 years ago and at the time, my kids were 4 years and 5 months old (now 8 and 5).  We started going to Circle of Care in Oakland for group therapy about 1.5 years ago- and the kids haven't wanted to stop- the adults are separated into their own group and the kids have theirs based on age, and they have counselors do doing activities with the kids. More than anything, I think my kids having a safe place where they aren't the only ones who have lost a parent/loved one and being able to have a voice in that space has helped tremendously.  I originally went for the kids and was surprised at the benefits of having that type of support for myself as well.  Groups are starting up again this September, you can call/email to see if you can join!  As for individual therapists, I'm sure you can get many recommendations- so many good ones in our area!  Take care, you aren't alone.  You may also think about getting an evaluation done for your son- he may also be dealing with other issues such as ADHD/sensory processing (also us).

    After my two children lost their father, Stacy Outten and Laura Soble helped them tremendously, starting when they were six and nine.  They are both wonderful therapists.  I don't know if they're taking new patients but it's a place to start.  Stacy's number is (510) 594-4311 and Laura's is (510) 527-1501.  You might also want to talk to Evan Keeler Wolf, who has worked extensively with Stacy.  Evan isn't a therapist per se, but he offers  mentoring and life coaching services that can really help with behavioral issues, particularly those associated with underlying emotional issues.  He was great for my son.

    I was at a couple of conferences that featured experts who did research with kids who had behavioral problems.  I think therapy w/ a caring

    person is always great.  Try turning off all wifi at night and keeping wifi and cellphones off during the day when not in use.  We put our modem on a timer

    so it goes off at night.  Also, replace your cordless landlines w/ a corded phone for 2 months and see if it helps.  According to researchers, this has helped

    their ADD kids, improves grades at school, protects melatonin production, and Ca ion levels not accumulating within the cells.  There is apparently over 400+ 

    research papers published on the effects of wifi and cell phones.  See Dr Moskowitz' webapge at UC Berkeley School of Public Health.  If interested, I will post

    links to the conference presentations here.    

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Grief Specialist for 4 year old who lost her dad

Feb 2012

In an unexpected and sudden way, my husband died overnight. As much of a nightmare as this has been for me, I am mostly concerned for my 4 year old daughter who was ''daddy's little girl'' and spent allot of quality time with him, especially after the arrival of her baby brother (now 6 months old). Last night she was playing a new game, ''trapping'' her voice in playdo containers and closing the lid. Listening to what she was putting in there, one container held the following: ''Daddy died. Mommy's heart has my love. Daddy died because of me.'' Close lid. Of course, I immediately followed with saying that it wasn't her fault at all, that it was an accident, etc. But I am worried for her. Looking for warm and loving therapists who would be able to assist. Play based preferred. Any advice is also welcome. Broken & Concerned

My heart goes out to you! Linda Cozzarelli LCSW specializes in grief issues. She helped me figure out how to help myself and my grieving four year old daughter when my father died quite suddenly and unexpectedly a few years ago. While she worked with me and not my daughter directly, I know that she has tons of experience with children (and a cozy office full of toys and games). She is in Rockridge at 510-428-9050. another mom

I am so sorry for your loss. Call Dr. Simone Taylor at 415-496-6417. She has an S.F. area code for her phone service, but her office is on Telegraph in Oakland near Alcatraz, close to the Oakland/Berkeley border. Your daughter's grief may be on top of a reaction to the new addition to the family as well - Dr. Taylor can unravel it all. She uses play therapy too. Parent

First, My heart goes out to you and your little girl. Have you called West Coast Childrens Center. It used to be in El Cerrito near EC High School. We went there as a family and for my son in individual sessions. We saw Dr Joan Lovett for quite awhile. I am not sure if she is still working with the center but I found everyone there helpful and caring. B.

I was 4 when my mother passed away. I can tell you that you never get over such a loss. And that your grieving often doesn't really occur until years, many years later. It is normal for children to personalize the experience. Thinking... if they really loved me, they would have stayed. Not completely understanding the concept that death was not their choosing. This can bring up unconscious feelings of not being lovable. Even though everything about that is untrue. I can't recommend who to see, but I can say kudos to you for getting her support and giving her an opportunity to explore her emotions. I didn't have that access. The other thing I can add is the importance of letting her know constantly of how much her father loved her. She'll want and need proof as time passes. Create a book of memories of this. Whether it be pictures of them hugging or kissing or stories about time they spent together. Let love be his legacy. Wishing you strength and hoping both you and your daughter find support and the right help. anon

My heart goes out to you and your children. My own husband died unexpectedly a few months ago, and although I don't know of a grief specialist for young children, I found a great source of support for myself and my teenaged children in our therapy sessions with Howard Lunche. Howard specializes in grief therapy and has worked in this field for many years; I expect he would be able to recommend someone for your daughter.

I would also suggest that you might find it helpful to see him yourself. I found it to be a key part of getting through these past months. His number is 510-841-2930; his office is in central Berkeley. Feel free to contact me through the moderator if you would like to talk more. Newly widowed

I highly recommend Circle of Care:

''East Bay Agency for Children offers one of the nation's few programs providing counseling and support services to children and their families where a parent, caregiver or family member has died or is living with a life threatening illness.''

They are an amazing organization doing great, specialized work. All the best to you and your daughter during this very difficult time. Heather

I highly recommend Circle of Care's grief counseling program. I am not in the individual therapy department, but I do work for the agency which provides grief support for 3yrs old and up. Their web site is Shoshana

I can recommend Circle of Care at East Bay Agency for Children from personal experience. They have grief groups for children and adults. For counseling I can also recommend therapist Laura Soble in Oakland. So very sorry for your terrible loss.

I'm so sorry for your family's loss. Its so brutal trying to manage your own grief and that of your child as well My husband died suddenly when my daughter was 2. We went together to Circle of Care which has simultaneous groups for kids and their surviving parents.

When my daughter was 4 I started taking her to see therapist Sara Brose, PHd. She is play-based and wonderful. I met with her as well and she helped me understand how to support my daughter and talk to her about her loss.

I also strongly suggest that you get support yourself. You know the old ''put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting your child'' advise is valid. Howard Lunche, a grief counselor, was very helpful putting my grief process into perspective. His number is 510-841-2930. I also did a wonderful ''writing through grief'' workshop with Joan Monheit. Her number is (510) 845-1557. She also sees individual clients. Take good care. stacia

oh, wow. i'm so sorry for your loss. try phyllis rothblatt 510-325-3077. if she is unable to take you, i'm sure she can recommend someone great. anon

I highly recommend the Ann Martin Center in Oakland. They emphasize grief work with children. You are facing tough times. I wish you good luck, nance

My husband unexpectedly died recently, I also have a 4 yo and baby. I've found some resources but have yet to find a psychotherapist for us- if up for it, I'd like to connect to share resources, support, etc. .... Lost in grief O.

I'm sorry about your loss. I jumped to reply to your post in the previous message without mentioning your tremendous agony and had to write back and apogize for being insensitive. I've been looking for a support group and possibly other young widows and have just begun to walk on this new path that I didn't choose, nor want and do not like, and I'm so sorry that we share the outlines of perhaps a similar story. My young family is also in tremendous pain- Perhaps if our kids know other children and us moms know other moms, going through loss we can benefit in some way? Share notes on resources? Have an ear that really gets it? I have a feeling that my 4yo would be interested in the idea one day (when the time is right) that he's not the only one (unfortunately). My baby will go through it on a different timeline but it'll be there nonetheless in the future. Hope we can exchange messages and talk. Lost in grief O.

I am so sorry for your loss. I think that the Circle of Care program would be a wonderful resource. They provide play based support groups for young children together with parents, parent support, and individual therapy as needed. The program is for families dealing with serious illness and bereavement. Meg

Circle of care in Oakland has groups for children and parents after the death of a parent - groups are at the same time and divided by age - so, the teens are together and the school age kids are together and preschoolers are together - while the parents get to meet with other parents and a facilitator. Low/sliding scale for fees. If your child attends once, I can almost guarantee they will want to go back, and look forward to attending. They are in Oakland, near the Mormon temple. I cannot emphasize enough what a difference it makes for kids of all ages to meet others who have experienced the death of a parent. If you google Circle of Care they should come up. Take care

Therapist for 9-year-old's anxiety/grief

Jan 2004

My 9 year old son needs a therapist for anxiety/grief. I would like to find someone in the Albany, Berkeley or El Cerrito area. I have been given the following names by our insurance. Please let me know your experiences with these people and if you have others to recommend. Leni Siegel, Robeta Stern, Roberta Schear, Richard Bloom, Meshulam Plaves. OK to email privately. Sue

PediatriCare is one of the very few programs of its kind in the country devoted exclusively to the needs of children and their families who face loss, illness, and trauma. Services include support groups, home-based services, outpatient counseling and crisis intervention. Of special note is therapist, Emily Weaver. She's great! Wanda

Editor Note: Emily Weaver is now in private practice.

I want to correct a recent posting recommending psychotherapist Emily Weaver. She is an excellent clincian specializing in chronic illness and grief however, she can no longer be reached through the organization Pediatricare. Her psychotherapy office is now located on Hopkins St. in Berkeley. Emily can be reached at (510) 869-4170. Susan S

Therapist for grieving children about loss of their father

Nov 2001

My husband recently passed away. Does anyone have any recommendations for a therapist/counselor who could advise me on how to deal with my children and their questions and grief? While they have seen therapists, the verbalized issues about their father seem to arise only when they are with me. Thanks.

A good resource is the Alameda Co. Crisis Counselling Center. They offer grief therapy groups for adults at $10/session, and may be able to advise you on getting help with your children. I attended a group for survivors of suicide after my sister committed suicide two years ago. It was excellent therapy, and I found that group therapy was much more effective than indivudual therapy. I don't have their phone number, but the Suicide Prevention Hotline will give it to you and they're in the white pages.

[Editor] as of March 2004: Crisis Support Services of Alameda County (800) 309-2131 24-hour crisis line Crisis Support Services of Alameda County (800) 309-2131 24-hour crisis line

To the woman whose husband recently passed away and who wanted referrals to professional support around your family's grief, I offer an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) on Piedmont Ave. in Oakland named Thana Christian. Although I have seen her alone, I know she has a lot of experience with family dynamics and pediatrics and is the most caring person I've ever met. I can't imagine a counselor/therapist who could be of greater assistance to you at such a sad time. I would be happy to give a more in-depth referral if you e-mail me, or just call Thana directly at (510)547-1779. I am very sorry to hear of your loss. Whether you work with Thana or not, I wish you the best and congratulate you on reaching out to find help for you and your kids. Michael

Rachel Clark is an excellent grief counselor and counsels with families and kids. She is in Berkeley -- her phone number is 524-2918. Cam

There is a great group called Circle of Care , 208-3535, that helps families cope with death and terminal illness. They're based in Oakland and have many ongoing support groups as well as counseling.

I would like to pass along to the parent who lost her husband that I received good information and referral from CARE Services staff Anna Denoon and also that CARE staff person Laurie Yamamoto is facilitating two grief and loss workshops on November 6&13 from 4-6. I am seeing Susan Bresee, an LCSW with the Redwood Center that is on Dwight Way near campus. I am also participating in a bereavement group facilitated by a counselor from Pathways Hospice in Oakland, which provides individual, family and group counseling. Because it's open enrollment she may want to review health plan coverages for their mental health coverages. I switched to UC Care last year because I thought it had the most extensive mental health coverage/provider options and that has been a real best wishes to this parent.