Psychiatrist to Manage Meds

Parent Q&A

Psychiatrist to manage medications Jan 27, 2021 (2 responses below)
Looking for a Child Psychiatrist who takes Blue Shield PPO Feb 19, 2020 (1 responses below)
Looking for Blue Shield PPO Psychiatrists Jan 31, 2018 (1 responses below)
  • Psychiatrist to manage medications

    (2 replies)

    Looking for a psychiatrist or other specialist who can help my sister manage her anti-depressants. She is on several other medications, as well, so she doesn't want to rely solely on her internist. Hoping to find someone smart and kind who takes Medicare and/or Anthem.

    I've seen Dr. Lawrence Cohen for several years for management of my depression medication. Smart and kind are exactly how I would describe him. He is with Bay Psychiatric Associates, who seem to take several insurance companies. Good luck!

    I am a therapist and often refer people to PCPA.  They are a group practice and accept many insurances.

  • I've been very encouraged reading so many wonderful posts and responses about ADHD lately. I hope the community can offer some support to us as well. My tween son's psychiatrist will be moving out of state and was not able to recommend anybody for medication management. Kiddo is in the throes of early puberty and we would love to have his meds re-evaluated. A doctor working with Blue Shield PPO would be preferred, but we are open to others as well. Thanks, everybody! 

    Try Pacific Coast Psychiatric Association. They have two offices in the Bay Area. I’m not positive they take Blue Shield but they do take Blue Cross. Good luck.

  • Hi all -

    Our Blue Shield PPO plan makes it impossible for us (due to ridiculously low reimbursement rates) to keep our current out-of-network providers (who were in-network with our previous insurance). So we are looking for recommendations for Blue Shield PPO in-network psychiatrists - one for a kid with ADHD, one for an adult with dysthymia. We need them for medication management, not for psychotherapy. Many thanks for any advice on whom to see (or not to see). 

    - Overwhelmed by medical bills 

    Have you checked out Psychiatric Wellness Alternatives?

    They are a referral agency that works with psychiatrists who take your insurance (my husband has the same plan as you and had trouble finding someone in-network - he has a great connection w the psychiatrist he meets w regularly to monitor his anti-depressants). 

  • I am looking for a Psychiatrist in or near Oakland, for a Medication Evaluation for my daughter who is 9 years old and has been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.



    Hello Emily,

    I have twin daughters that are 17-1/2 years old. When one twin was a toddler she began suffering from anxiety. It got so bad in kindergarten than her teacher suggested she see a therapist. She saw Dr. Fortunee Kayra-Stuart in Berkeley. Dr. Stuart is a psychologist with extensive pharmacology knowledge. She prefers to work with children through play and she's exceptional. So if your daughter doesn't need to be medicated, perhaps Dr. Stuart can help. She's currently vacationing in Alaska. She migrated from Greece in the 60's, is married and raised two very accomplished daughters. She's also a mediator for the courts, she's in her 80's, dynamic, loving, and very good at what she does. After seeing her weekly for 18 months, my daughter was just about cured of her anxiety. Dr. Stuart really knows what she's doing. She will work with the entire family to advocate for her little patients. She will teach your daughter coping skills to get her through the rough patches.

    My other daughter suffers from major depressive disorder and social phobia. Diagnosed by East Bay Family Institute ( just before her 12th birthday. The testing took two afternoons and the testing technician is Liz Walser, she is extraordinary. Because my daughter needed medication, she saw a couple of male psychiatrist that I would not recommend. Old guys. East Bay Family Institute director, Dr. Lesleigh Franklin, Ph.D, recommended I find another psychiatrist. I searched high and low and found  Dr. Amber Lerma, Cal and UCSF grad. Dr. Lerma is affiliated with Pacific Coast Psychiatric Associates, website at bottom. Her office is located in Walnut Creek, (they have more than one office). Dr. Lerma is excellent and my daughter is very happy with her. She interviewed my husband and me for two sessions before meeting and working with our daughter. She's also a mother of two very young boys so she's well aware of the issues we all face as parents.

    Good luck Emily. It's challenging raising children in the current environment we find ourselves in, but you're doing the right thing to reach out to others who may have had similar childrearing experiences. Hang in there.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions See these pages for more reviews:

2010 - 2014 Recommendations

Medication Management Psychiatrist

May 2014

The most recent Archives posting on psychiatrists who are skilled at medication management is dated August 2009, so I'm hoping for more current recommendations. I'm in the East Bay. I've been taking a well-known antidepressant for a long time, and would like to find a new psychiatrist to consult about possibly switching to something newer, since recent life events have laid me pretty low. I was previously a Kaiser member, but am not now, so I don't have access to the doctor I used to see there. I am in therapy, but have found over the years that therapy works best when my brain chemistry is working well.

Dr. Jules Tanenbaum (510) 537-5533 or (925) 287-8262. He is in Walnut Creek, easy parking, right off the freeway. He is very flexible with the medication, easy to talk to and has a very nice dog. Try something, if it doesn't work, try something else, if it doesn't work, try a combination. He'll work with you. I've tried 3-4 different stuff with him. Be patient, it can take a while to get the right med mixture. He's also a great talk therapist. been there
I recommend Dr. Manisha Punwani. She is in San Francisco, and has done a full year's training in psychopharmacology (in addition to the usual training) so she really knows medication. My young adult son started working with her recently and she has been very responsive, and best of all, was able to get him off meds that were having very debilitating side effects that many other doctors didn't recognize as side effects. She knew what to do to antidote the side effects immediately, and how to wean him off the meds, using a wholistic approach (using diet, etc., in addition to meds) She works with children and adolescents, too, including those on the autism spectrum, as well as others. Her phone is 415-933- 6124. She has a website: Good luck! mom of a patient
Hi, I highly recommend Dr. M. Randy Bloch. He is located in Walnut Creek. Several physicians had told me that he was the best around. He is kind, bright and very knowledgable. I am taking many different medications, for a variety of conditions, and he has monitored my meds, and his psych med recommendations have been right on. Also, he is internet savvy, which is very convenient. His contact info is :1600 S Main St, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 (925) 943-1561 Good luck. anon

2007 - 2009 Recommendations

Need Psychiatrist/Psychopharmacologist

August 2009

I need to find a psychiatrist with a specialty in psychotropic mediations. I know that all psychiatrists prescribe medications, but I've had no luck finding someone who really knows about this in detail. Recommendations, please? Still Looking

I very highly recommend Dr. Michael Lowenstein. I've known him for many years and many of my clients have seen him for med evals and med management. He is very skilled, and also warm and down to earth. He definitely is up to date on meds. He has offices in Orinda and The Presidio in SF and his # is 415-561-6773. Lynn

New to Berkeley, out of my medications

August 2008

I am hoping to find a psychiatrist that focuses on anxiety and depression. I am new to the Berkeley area and with the move etc. I have been out of my medications for a few months. It is obvious to me that I still need them and need to see a psychiatrist. Does anyone have a recommedation? Thank you. jen

I was in a nearly identical situation when I moved to Berkeley last year. And as you may have already discovered, there is nearly a 1:1 ratio of psychiatrists:non-psychiatrists in Berkeley, so the options are endless. Based on my insurance situation, I quickly chose Dr. Donald Stanford and was quite pleased with him. He's an older man (so if you're looking for a woman, sorry), and his office is at 2232 Carleton St in Berkeley (phone: (510) 540-6235). I saw him only a few times, so I cannot give you a detailed analysis; however, I felt very comfortable with him and benefited greatly from my appointments. The most important thing for me (and probably you, too) was to see someone soon. anon
I hope I'm not too late to reply to this. After trying a psychiatrist in Berkeley and talking to several others, I've ended up with Dr. Randall Bloch in Walnut Creek. It's not as convenient as Berkeley, but I use it as an excuse to go to the mall there afterwards. :-) Dr. Bloch does not take insurance, but he's extremely competent, up on the latest research, and really good at considering all the options--for example, he's as open to ''natural'' treatments such as fish oil as he is to pharmaceuticals. He suggested a drug for my mild depression and anxiety that has helped me immensely, and he is continuing to work with me to minimize side effects. Now happier and less irritable

Psychiatrist for depression, good with meds

Nov 2007

My husband is looking for a good psychiatrist, preferably in the east bay, to help him get better medication for his depression, grief and anger issues. His GP prescribed the meds he's currently on, that have bad side effects, such as making him feel physically numb. He needs someone who specializes in prescribing the right meds for his issues. Thanks anon

Dr. Richard Levine in Berkeley is IMO very good. Ray
Dr. Facher is an excellent psychiatrist. But she only takes clients who are in pschotherapy which makes most sense. In your husband's case, depression can be certainly helped by medication, however, greif and anger issue will not be. The medication can prevent him from going into deep depression while he deals with greif and anger at psychotherapy sessions. There are so many kids of anti-depression out there now days that it is strongly recommended to see a psychiatrist who can find him the best combination and dosages that works for him with minumum side effect. Most GP has no knowledge of many anti-depressants. It is very hard to keep up as so many different kinds are out there. Dr. Facher can be reached at 849-0807. Good Luck working at psychiatric hospital
I see Dr. Joseph Hartog in Berkeley. He is a psychiatrist, he has prescribed meds for me for depression, and is a very nice person who listens. He keeps up on the literature on allopathic and non-allopathic medications and will discuss alternatives to pharmaceuticals. His number is 510-848-8700. anon
I can highly recommend Michael Lowenstein, M.D., who has an office in Orinda. He is really great with meds, but would be great for the therapy part as well. I have often referred to him and have known him for years. He's smart and a regular guy. His number is 925-258-9302. Good luck. Finding the right person is really important! Lynn
Try Dr. Shane McKay in Berkeley. I've found him to be very knowledgeable about options and side effects. anon

2004 - 2006 Recommendations

Seeking organized, knowledgeable psychiatrist to manage meds

Oct 2006

I'm looking for a new psychiatrist to manage meds for depression. One who is skilled in the pharmacology all the available meds out there, skilled in dealing with side effects and someone who treats you like a person, returns calls and is organized. I realize I might be asking for too much, so please if you have any suggestions at I'd appreciate it. Thanks, Frustrated in Oakland

You might try Bernard Rappaport in Walnut Creek. I've only seen him once but he seems to fit all your criteria: returns calls promptly, organized, treats you like a real person, etc Good luck

Aetna HMO Psychiatrist

Oct 2006

I am looking for a good Aetna HMO psychiatrist (M.D.) in the Albany/Berkeley area for my wife who takes medication. There are many to choose from and I don't know which are good. I have already looked through the psychiatrist section on the Berkeley Parents Network and none of the doctors listed are included in our health plan. Any recommendations you could offer would greatly help us Concerned Husband

One psychiatrist I would recommend is Donald Stanford. He's very good with medication maintenance. He's in south Berkeley, but I think a little drive is worth it if when you find the right doctor for you. I don't know if he takes Aetna HMO. He does take MHN, which some HMOs use to subcontract mental health coverage.

One suggestion I'd have is that you get a list of psychiatrists covered by your plan and then ask for recommendations on those specific names. You'll get more responses, I think. Good luck. tca

Psychiatrist to manage depression medications

Aug 2006

I'm looking for a psychiatrist to help manage depression medications. Does anyone have any good (or bad) experiences to share? I specifically need help in the area of medication adjustment. I'm on Blue Cross, and have a long long list of covered providers, but would love some input to narrow my search. I'm open to an MD of either gender in the greater Berkeley or Oakland area. Thank you! anon

My wife has been undergoing anti-depressant treatment with Dr. Jeanne Leventhal-Alexander at Kaiser in Oakland. (she has both a Kaiser practice, as well as a separate private practice, I believe) I have been impressed by Dr. Leventhal's breadth of knowledge and her desire to stay at the forefront of research for both clinical depression, as well as women's hormonal issues. She is well known and, therefore, very much in demand-- it took a while for us to get an appointment with her, but it was well worth it. Just a gentle reminder-- like many other psychiatrists, she is not really a touchy-feely kind of person and prefers to cut to the chase, of how you're handling the meds, what kinds of side effects, etc. However, she is overwhelmingly committed to finding you the best regimen. Having first-hand experience with this, both my wife and I know how hard it is to hit on the right kind of treatment (we're still fine-tuning things overselves)-- we wish you all the best anonymous
I have been very happy w/ Dr. Andrew Klompus in SF. I originally went to him to get a prescription to treat my depression. Now I see him about meds for my sleeping problems. I think he's knowledgeable and pleasant and, best of all, has really helped me. Good Luck! anon
I have two recommendations for you, both from personal experience (mine and several friends). Both of these people are psychiatrists and both are excellent at figuring out exactly what's right for you (and that part can be quite tricky, so you definitely want someone with a lot of experience).
Dr. Rachel L. Goldstone 5835 College Avenue, Oakland, California (CA) Dr. David Lewis Cherry 2424 Dwight Way South, Berkeley, CA
I can't find contact phone numbers for either of them, but if you look them up in your directory (and they are on your plan) you should be good to go. Good luck! anon
I have used Dr. George Kaplan in Berkeley to manage depression meds anon.
Dr. Richard Levine on MLK Way in Berkeley is good, knows a lot about adult depression. Also Shane McKay in the same office is very good, but I'm not sure if he takes insurance anon
Psychiatrist for meds: Michael Ratener in Oakland is very experienced and a great person to boot!
I know a good therapist in SF for depression. His name is Dr. Robert E. Wagner. I don't know his address off hand, but if you google him you can find it. I went to him for therapy for depression. He was very good Kimberly

Psychiatrist to figure out the best medication and dosage

June 2006

I am looking for a male Psychologists / therapist / psychiatrist that is good at helping figure out the best medication and dosage for someone with depression and anxiety. Any recommendations would be great. thanks

I highly recommend my psychiatrist, Dr. Lawrence Cohen. I have worked with him for several years for the management of my depression and he was great at helping me get on the right medication at the right dosage--very attentive to my needs. His office is downtown Berkeley and his number is 510-981-9141. Good luck anon

Need to change my meds - possible side effects

Sept 2005

I really need a psychiatrist who can manage my meds (I am currently taking Prozac and Klonopin)because my PCP seems extremely apprehensive about tailoring these to my needs. Also I read on the insert that a rash is evidence of a fairly serious side effect. I have been having an unexplained reoccuring rash on my neck and the doctor just gave me some cream to clear it up. I have also recently starting having extreme leg pain and the doctor doesn't seem to know what it but guesses it is sciatica. I'm not so sure because I feel pain in the calf area as well--the entire leg really. I'm wondering if this could be a side effect as well. I would also like to investigate the possibility of talk therapy in addition to medication. Can anyone recommend a good psychiatrist (to manage meds and possible talk therapy) as well as someone that can do Adult ADD management and meds if necessary. I have Healthnet with MHN for mental health services. Someone please steer me to a good person because my frustration level is increasing and I really need my existing meds managed at least.

When I was in your situation, I was so frustrated by the number of psychiatrists who wouldn't return phone calls. I found it really unprofessional, but I'm told that this is not uncommon. They aren't in a hurry to get bakc to potential new patients. I also have Healthnet with MHN. I didn't see my psychiatrist's name on your list, but he takes the insurance. His name is Donald Stanford and he's on Carleton in Berkeley. He returns phone calls. His medication management is very skillful. I've been amazed by his ability to make good adjustments and deal with side effects. I wouldn't see him for talk therapy, but you really want someone who's more of a technical for the pharmaceutical part of this. There are probably docs who do both well, but I couldn't wait that long for a response. I don't have anyone to suggest for the talk therapy. Good luck with your quest. anon

2003 and Earlier

Depression medication specialist

August 2003

This has been discussed here before, but I'm newly curious about people's experiences in the world of psychopharmacology. I'd like to know the name of anyone you've had experience with who is the best, in your opinion, at dealing with the various medication options for depression. My spouse has been on a couple of different meds, and I'm growing increasingly frustrated and dissatisfied with the effects he's getting from them. He seems to think everything is fine, but he's not viewing his own behavior. I think a real top-flight doc, up on the very latest developments, with experience monitoring depression meds, might be our next step. Any advice appreciated.

Try Dr. Shane MacKay in Berkeley. He's got an excellent reputation for being up-to-date on psychopharmacology and drug interactions. Sara

Psychiatric medication management

April 2003

Hi, I'm looking for a psychiatrist for medication management for chronic depression. I have Blue Cross and almost certainly have to pick someone from there, but I would appreciate hearing about any doctors. Thanks.

Try Dr. Robert Levine on MLK Jr Way. anon
Try Dr. Shane MacKay in Berkeley. He's excellent. His number is in the phone book. I'm not sure what insurance he takes. anon.
I have a bi-polar (type II) disorder that was very difficult to treat. I only got good help when I went to the Langley Porter Affective Disorders Clinic for an evaluation. They have a sliding scale and it is reasonable, but I don't know if they take insurance. I had a very complete, 4 session, evaluation- immensely more complete than any you'd ever get from a private doctor. The residents are very closely supervised so you get the benefit of teaching psychiatrists with years of experience who are right on the cutting edge of the newest advancements.

I now have found an excellent psych doc at Kaiser San Francisco- Dr. Rafael Gray. He is very smart and up-to-date, and although his style is brusque he is very compassionate. But time is very limited in Kaiser appointments and I doubt that he would be able to help me as fully if I had not had the earlier help outside Kaiser. He works with vitamins, herbs, and supplements in combination with conventional meds.

I recommend Dr. Richard Lannon in SF as a resource, 415-563-6366. He teaches at UCSF, is associated with Langley Porter, and although he is usually booked he can recommend young docs who were his students and who work closely with him. He is the most compassionate psychiatrist I have ever met (I've met a lot). anon