Therapists for School-Aged Children

Parent Q&A

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  • We've met with a child psychologist at Stanford Children's Health for our 5-yr-old and were given recommendations for Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). The only problem is the providers are all located in the Palo Alto and San Jose area. We'd love to do these sessions in person if possible so we're looking for PCIT resources in the East Bay. We live in Alameda and are willing to travel within the East Bay/Alameda County for therapy. Would love any and all recommendations. Thanks in advance!

    I think of all therapy PCIT actually works really well online. The kid doesn't interact with the therapist in any meaningful way and there would be a two way mirror if you were in person. When you do it virtually you just set up a laptop or camera. We did PCIT virtually during the pandemic and used a provider based in SF. 

    I'm not 100% sure they are still offering it, but we did PCIT with A Better Way in Berkeley. 

  • My 10-year old has always been on the strong-willed, intense side, making her Kinder-through 2nd grade experiences at school tough (lots of ostracized moments and being sent out of classroom).  She is bright/quirky and now at a more suitable school, but is acting out at home (roughness, hitting, impulsivity) and at the very least, I think she has self-esteem issues.  So I am looking for recommendations for super-positive, compassionate, genuine, wise psychologists/ therapists who can help with her self-esteem through one-on-one sessions and if necessary, additional parental guidance.  We're on the Peninsula now but willing to drive further if we find someone helpful.  

    I highly recommend you get a complete neuropsych assessment to find out what is going on with your child. She may have a learning issue, ADHD, ASD, or something else. I wasted a lot of time and money on psychologists who misdiagnosed my child because they didn't do a full assessment. If you do it privately, it will be very expensive but will cost less than a year of therapy and allow you to make sure your child is getting the help that will be really helpful. 

    I strongly recommend that you get her evaluated for ADHD, as what you describe sounds very much like female ADHD. Girls with ADHD also tend to have very low self-esteem, have intense feelings, and often have difficulties with friends and social interactions -- as you describe "ostracized moments." ADHD has nothing to do with intelligence, so kids can be very bright but still have all the struggles you describe. Getting our daughter evaluated was one of the best things we ever did for her, she was so relieved to know what she was feeling and going through had an explanation and that she wasn't stupid, or crazy, or not capable (her words). This in turn actually helped with her self-esteem. One thing I learned through our experience is that educators have very little to no knowledge about ADHD especially when it comes to girls. For years I suspected my daughter had ADHD or ADD, but teachers would tell me that it wasn't possible because she was so bright, that all she had to do was stop talking so much and focus. 

    I wanted to add on to  my reply about your daughter getting checked for ADHD. is a great resource and has a really informative emailed newsletter. I just got this article on how unrecognized ADHD eats away at girls' self-esteem, the effects of which can be long lasting

    Have you tried asking for a psychoeducational evaluation at school?  That's where I would start (and I should know because I worked as a school psychologist for the last 11 years).  Public schools do these for free if they think that the assessment is justified.  Otherwise, maybe check out Social Thinking.  They may be just what your child needs.  Good luck!

  • We have a 6 year old with encopresis and we are in a good place with medical management right now and he is no longer soiling but any change in routine or week off school etc causes him to get a bit backed up again. It seems like anxiety to us and we are looking for a therapist who is good with this age group and familiar with encopresis. Hoping for east bay or virtual!

    I am so jealous!  We also have an almost 6 year old with encopresis but he continues to have to wear pull ups because of it (and because of likely related pee accidents) despite almost 6 months of medical treatment.  As it happens we had been wondering whether some of this is behavioral and have been seeking therapists in this area.  We have Kaiser so have reached out to their pediatric psych department.  Can't comment on their efficacy or provide specific names because we haven't had an actual appointment yet.  However, we have heard really good things about Dr. Becker at UCSF Osher Center and have been trying to get an outside referral to him.  Not sure if he does virtual but perhaps give his office a call.  If you get any recommendations and/or find someone you like, I would be so appreciative if you could circle back here and post their name.  We are honestly a bit at the end of our rope.

    Mindy Szelap is an expert in encopresis and really helped our kid and us.  You can reach her at  mindy.szelap.lcsw [at]

    My daughter saw Dr. David Becker at UCSF, last summer, and he was great.  She saw him at the pediatric pain management clinic.  He also has a separate therapy practice at UCSF.  Very good at connecting with my daughter, and very knowledgeable, and very caring.

  • Therapist for 8 year old

    (2 replies)


    I am hoping someone can recommend a good therapist, ideally play therapist, for an 8 year old girl. I am looking for someone who is good at helping work through anxiety and sensory issues. Not looking for a OT, just looking for a child therapist/psychologist. Not through Kaiser, just private practice. 


    Dr. Fortunee Kyra-Stuart is an excellent psychologist who used play therapy and was incredibly helpful when my 5-1/2YO daughter began suffering from separation anxiety. After 18 months of weekly sessions my daughter gained the confidence to overcome her anxiety and Dr. Stuart brilliantly ended therapy for her. Dr. Stuart also treats adults and I worked with her for years, she is excellent! She's in Berkeley on 9th street near Dwight. 

    We found someone great here on BPN, but she's ZOOM-only and has recently relocated to Sacramento. Her name is Lyndsey Rocca and she does talk and art therapy - and has a sliding scale. 831.246.6144 roccacreativementoring [at]

    Lyndsey plans to start doing in-person again soon, but we live in Oakland, so... It will remain on Zoom, which is a bummer. But my 13-yr-old daughter likes her a lot and seems to be getting a lot out of it - despite it being on Zoom. (Ironic, since it's pandemic/zoom-life that drove her to need/want therapy in the first place! And here she in Zoom-life, yet again. Ugh. Life can be weird like that, right?)

    Good luck!


  • Therapist for 10 yr old with anxiety?

    (1 reply)

    Our child was just diagnosed with anxiety and we are looking for a therapist. Has anyone had experience (good or bad) with any of the following cognitive behavioral therapists? Is there someone else whom you'd recommend? Berkeley, Albany, Oakland would be ideal. Thank you so much in advance!

    • Dr. Rachel Zoffness, Berkeley 

    • Dr. Rachel Levi, Berkeley 

    • Amy Manin, LCSW, Pleasanton 

    • Dr. Natalie Compagni Portis, Oakland 

    • Kristina Whitney

    • Sara Brose

    I'm a current (adult) patient of Sarah Brose, and I think she's terrific.

    No experience with the others on the list, though.  Good luck!

  • I am seeking a recommendation for a therapist who works with young kids (and families) to navigate social-emotional challenges (e.g., impulse control, emotional regulation) that are impacting social behavior & relationships at school. Someone who does play therapy, looks at family dynamics, has experience with very bright kids who have deficits in other areas, and is accepting new (preferably in-person) clients would be ideal. We'd also be open to a social skills group with similar aged peers (6-7 yo). We are currently working with with Wits End Parenting, and while helpful, the approach is limited. Many, many thanks. 

    You should contact San Francisco State University psychology clinic. They are great! 

  • I have two children. My younger child has anxiety and Aspberger's, and can be aggressive, including toward their older sibling.

    My older child, age 10, is kind, lovely, sad about getting hit by their younger sibling, and won't talk to me about it....or anything these days.

    I'm looking for a child therapist who can break through to this "in-between" pre-teen age....not quite ready for talk therapy but on the older end of play therapy....

    Proximity to Berkeley/Oakland is preferred.

    Thank you.

    Whitney Pepper specializes in siblings of children with disabilities and has been so helpful to us. She's currently in SoCal but doing great work via Zoom.  whitney.pepper.therapy [at] 

    Sibshops put on by Social Learning Works in Marin was a great help to our family. Similar situation. Feel free to use my name with Allie -- Andrea DeRochi

    This sounds so hard!

    may I suggest Family Therapy instead of individual counseling? At 10years old, your child might feel penalized (or blamed) if they have to start individual counseling, even though this is clearly not your intent. 
    we have had a great experience in working through our family dynamics (older son with ASD, much younger sibling bearing brunt of atypical sibling relationship/behavior) with Sheri Glucoft-Wong in Berkeley. 
    feel free to contact me individually if you want. 
    best wishes. 

  • Hi. My daughter is 11 years old-soon to be 12 and she has had numerous compulsions over the years. There was one point where she felt like to she had to do a nightly ritual before bed or else something would happen to her family. She's always been a very sensitive child and has had some challenges with anger over the years, especially toward her younger sibling. She used to come to me crying each night worrying about something happening to me or fearing she would be kidnapped. When this behavior was at its height (around age 8 or 9) she was in therapy for about a year, which seemed to help. She doesn't have a trauma history and has had a typical childhood. Most of the time she is happy, jovial, does well in school, and has friends. But she often goes to a really dark place, and it happens without much warning. She is also struggling with her self esteem which I know is typical for this age. I am the only one she goes to with her fears, angst and worry about her compulsions. She doesn't talk to her Dad about it, nor to friends or any other adult (since therapy ended a couple years ago). She seems to keep it bottled up and then she'll come to me and it'll just erupt.

    As of late she has come to me a couple times expressing deep anguish about a new compulsion. She says that when she hears someone else sneeze, she feels tingling in her genitals. She says she can't stop the feeling and she even confided in me that she had been watching Youtube videos of people sneezing. When we've talked about it, I listen, reassure her that she's ok, and tell her that I want her to feel better and that we will get through it together. But to be honest, I am in over my head with this one. I don't know how to help her, and I'm worried about mental health overall. 

    Can anyone recommend a therapist that specializes in helping adolescents overcome compulsive behaviors? 

    Thank you for sharing so earnestly. I don’t have a therapist rec, but your story reminded me of this amazing episode of the podcast “bodies” that you might find to be a meaningful listen:

    I’m so sorry your daughter is struggling with compulsions. It is an awful thing to go through. It’s really good she’s talking to you about it, as it hopefully means she is open to help. The most important thing is to find a therapist who is trained/experienced in ERP therapy. It is considered the “gold standard” for obsessive compulsive disorders. Some, but not all, CBT therapists work with ERP.
    My daughter worked with a therapist, Ilyana Romanovsky, who I can highly recommend. She was amazing and extremely effective. 
    If she doesn’t have availability im sure she can recommend some other therapists.

    When you find a therapist make sure they are familiar with misophonia 

    Hi, this sounds like OCD, which can take many forms, including worrying about bad things happening to your loved ones. The psychotherapy of choice for the treatment of OCD is exposure and response prevention (ERP), which is a form of CBT. I would recommend finding a therapist that specializes in this. Here are three names I was given by the Children's Health Council. While they may not be close to you, some offer virtual sessions. With time and practice, your daughter will be able to manage it!

    From personal experience with our family, I can   recommend Dr. Amy Jenks to perhaps assist your daughter with what may be an OCD issue.

  • Hello. I'm looking for recommendations for a therapist for a nine year old child who is struggling with ever increasing anxiety. I'm particularly interested in a therapist with experience with CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) or similar modalities that offer both near- and longer-term practical support and assistance.  The catch: I'm hoping to find someone who is in the Magellan or Beacon system (two networks of therapists that Kaiser refers to).  If you have someone that you'd recommend but don't know if they're on Magellan or Beacon, that's fine. Any and all referrals would be great; I can always check myself as to whether or not they're in those two systems.  Thanks in advance.  

    Our daughter worked with Elise Geltman--she came recommended by the school counselor at our daughter's middle school. She was well-versed in CBT and communicated well with us--was also willing to do Family Therapy on occasion and / or collaborate with another therapist. I'm not sure if she's still on a Magellan or Beacon list, but she was a few years back. We were also Kaiser patients seeking an outside referral so that our daughter could be seen consistently (not once every five weeks). Here's a link to her website:

    Wishing you all the best...

    I just started working with Megan Gredesky.

    She specializes in brainspotting, a type of EMDR therapy, which I was skeptical of at first, but I actually really like it. We've been doing zoom only appointments, and yet I still feel her warmth and empathy. Not sure if she's filled up yet, but she does take Beacon Health/Kaiser patients. 

    My daughter, who had ADHD, saw Anitra Clark. I think she was through Beacon, but not 100% sure. We had a good experience with her.

    Pacific coast psychiatric associates accept Magellan. Currently they only offer zoom sessions.
    They have both therapists and psychiatrists.
    The plus side of zoom sessions is that you can probably choose a therapist from any one of their offices ( LA, Walnut Creek, SF and more)
    Best of luck

  • Does anyone have any recommendation for a child therapist for a 9 year old girl? She comes home at least once a week crying because she feels excluded and writes long graphic novels about being bullied at school. She needs help sticking up for herself and help building her self-esteem. We'd like to find someone who does play based therapy and is close to Montclair/Rockridge/Grand Lake area. 


    I'm sorry your daughter and you are going through this.  For several years, our son saw Rebecca Spengler, who has an office close to Broadway/40th and does play-based therapy.  He made a great connection with her, and she really helped him through some periods of difficult social dynamics at school.  Her phone number is 415-494-4919 and her email is rebecca_spengler [at]

    I think the connection your child makes with the therapist is the most important factor to success, and as that is something very personalized, you should be prepared to try different therapists until you find someone your daughter likes.  

    When my son was 8-9 years old he saw Reyna Cowan PhD and absolutely loved her. Among talking about his issues they played a lot of games and he thought it was a lot of fun and always looked forward to going. She is located in Rockridge near Trader Joes. Her number is (510) 601-0232

  • I'm looking for recommendations for my 8 y.o. son for therapy, possibly CBT.  Someone skilled in working with 2e kids  -- he has ADHD, social anxiety and especially struggles with behavior regulation. 

    My son 2e son saw Reyna Cowan PhD (510) 601-0232, when he was about 8 or 9 years old. He had similar issues, ADHS and anxiety. I don't know if she does CBT, but my son loved her and looked forward to going to therapy. She is located in Rockridge near Trader Joes. 

  • My family needs more support with our 7 year old spirited son.  We've read books, tried to implement strategies, and don't know what else to do.  If you have had success finding a therapist to work with your spirited child and are willing to share recommendations, please do.  We live in the Richmond/Berkeley area.  Thank you!

    I too have several spirited children and have found the Positive Parenting class with Wellspring Educational Services to be super useful.  (  Of course change didn't happen overnight but I learned a lot taking the course.  They take an every child is different approach by giving you a toolkit of 'tools' to use - not all will work and some will work better than others depending on the child.  They also believe that no child is misbehaving on purpose and that as a parent, it's our role to try to determine what in the environment or internally that is causing the child to be dysregulated and appear to be misbehaving and to teach our child how to self-regulate themselves.  They also recommended the book Self-Reg by Stuart Shanker.  

    Though not a licensed therapist, our family consulted with Rebecca Freeling who has billed herself as being a good resource for working better with a spirited kid. Personally, the term “spirited” is such a catch all term for variety of behaviors snd interactions that can go sideways with a kid. Ours is great outside the home, but comes home and is either passive agressively or in your face, over the top defiant and nasty mean to siblings and parents. Fun times! Rebecca reminded us that we’re the adults, we’re the parents and to hold the boundaries and not get sucked into negativity. Easier said than done, but it was a good reminder to be the kind of parents your kid needs, not necessarily the kind you always wanted to be. 

    My husband alsotook the Positive Parenthood Class at Wellspring and it was invaluable to our family.  We still refer to the binder Robin Hague gave us (our "Bible") frequently!

    Allow me to recommend another fantastic book - also life-changing - and very much aligned with the Wellspring class:

    The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child by Alan Kazdin.

    Don't let the title frighten you like it did me!  Many friends had recommended this book to me over the past couple of years but I always avoided it, thinking that it must be a book for parents of children with ODD...this book is not just for parents of children with fact, I feel that this book contains information that every parent should read!  It is all about positive reinforcement (and explains how and why our parents' punishment techniques don't work) and not only helps children to cooperate but brings you closer in the process.  Worth its weight in gold!

  • Seeking Therapist for First Grader

    (3 replies)

    Our first grader may need some professional help with regulating emotions, managing anger without hitting/crying/yelling, etc. Any current recommendations? We have Kaiser, so it could be someone at Kaiser or outside, in which case we'd be out of pocket. Thanks.

    We sent our son to see April Netzer in Albany. She was reasonable for out of pocket costs.

    Good Luck

    We have Kaiser but decided to pay out of pocket for a private therapist (Kaiser would have been much cheaper but lots more hoops we didn't want our son to endure and we were able to have more input on who he saw and were able to find a good fit). I'd recommend our therapist, Kimberly Koljat. She does play therapy, drama therapy, and filial therapy. She doesn't take insurance, though, so she's totally out of pocket. Her email is Kimberlykoljatmft [at] and phone is 415-379-0945. I believe she sees clients in both Oakland and San Francisco. 

    The Kaiser children's mental health program didn't work for our daughter.  There was not enough focus on her issues or our parenting --  just a lot of group programs that didn't help her.  On the other hand, we've been extremely pleased with the child therapy and family therapy at Bay Area Children's Association (BACA) in Oakland. The initial evaluation process is intensive and expensive (four sessions, $1,900), but very worth it, as the psychologist and psychiatrist came away with a pretty clear understanding of her issues.  Even though we have Kaiser, we actually purchased an Anthem Blue Cross plan for just our daughter to use at BACA.  The premium (about $375 per month) plus the minimal copay was far less than the out of pocket costs of the intake process.  We also save money this way for our typical month of services (two sessions per week, once with just her, once with her dad and I).  Good luck! 

  • Can anyone recommend an art therapist for a sensitive 8-year-old girl who experienced some early trauma. Berkeley area preferred. Thank you.

    I highly recommend Francine Ostrem : - talk to her she is great with children and specializes in using art with traumatized children. 

    Juliane Kowski is amazing.  She's on MLK corner of Rose Street.  She is a music therapist and incorporates a lot of art too.  Highly recommend!

  • Many of the recommendations are quite old.  Does anyone have a recommendation for a counselor, therapist, psychologist for a 6 yr old with anger management issues?  Ideally in Oakland or South Berkeley.


    We love Andrea Weicker. She  specializes in youth and adolescents , and is located in Oakland. She also does weekend appointments.

    (510) 397-9342

  • My daughter has some issues around impulsivity, anxiety, anger, and adoption. Can anyone recommend a therapist in Berkeley who might be helpful for both my daughter and myself to learn about how to deal with these issues. My daughter prefers to deal with a woman and an African American woman would be amazing, but not essential. We would really like to find a therapist in Berkeley.

    I would strongly recommend Katrinca Ford.   She has an office just over the Berkeley line in Oakland.  She is extremely experienced with adoption and an overall excellent clinician. A fellow adoptive mom wishes you luck with this ....

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Where can 8 year old learn internal/emotional regulation?

Feb 2012

My daughter, who has been diagnosed with ADHD, has struggled for years to manage the very big feelings that she experiences more intensely than most. Now she's 8 and wants to behave in ways that are more socially acceptable and attentive to the impact on others, but has a very hard time regulating her irritability and anger -- that is, it just bursts out of her in the form of excessive rudeness toward others (which we do discipline but it continues). At other times she can express that she actually wishes she could not act that way. She's been in play therapy, but I think she would benefit from some sort of CLASS OR THERAPY that would actually teach her self-regulation. Yoga and meditation have helped me with this as an adult, but I want something really targeted for her. She quit karate after a couple lessons, so I don't think martial arts of that type will work. We'd love to hear other ideas for specific classes or therapy. Seeking Regulation

I highly recommend Communication Works. From their website at ''The Center at Communication Works (CW) provides a variety of comprehensive services including evaluations; consultation; and intervention for speech, language, occupational, self-regulation, and sensory processing challenges for people of all ages.'' I have a daughter with ADHD who has trouble with social integrations, self regulation, social anxieties, some sensory issues. She is highly sensitive and, as a consequence, is overly reactive. She is in a small group therapy with 2 other same age girls. She likes going there as the teaching approach is playful, and the group is very well mixed. They pay a lot of attention to the combination of the groups, and the therapists are very in tune with the kids and the parents. We receive a wrap up after each session, and home work. It is not a quick fix, but it is a great resource for us. It is located in Oakland, 3 min. off 580 exit Keller Ave. Well worth my weekly drive from North Berkeley. Hope you will find the right help for your child.

You are looking for Mar Rem Remington. She is a therapist who specializes in kids who she calls ''wired differently''. She was also a special ed teacher for many years before this. Our daughter has grown and changed a lot in the last year of working with Mar Rem. She not only works with your child, but she will work with you, too, since parenting kids with these challenges requires some different strategies. She also does school observations and consultations. We worked with 2 other therapists before this, but Mar Rem really knows how to help kids like this. Her office is in Berkeley. 510-835-4357. dawn

Hi, My daughter has benefitted greatly from being in Devin Berry's mindfulness and meditation group for 5-7 year- olds. I'm not sure if he does one for older kids or whether private lessons would be an option. As a clinical psychologist who thinks about emotion regulation issues I would say that, from what you describe, some one-on-one sessions would be really beneficial. You can read more about him here: He's just a very nice guy, warm, calm but energetic, knowledgeable and seems really interested in making it fun and engaging for kids. We're big fans. His phone number is 510-501-0201 and his email address is devinberry [at] Susan

Communication Works in Oakland offers emotional regulation therapy and groups. Best!

Child therapist for aftermath of 8 year old's brain tumor

Feb 2012

My 8 year old son had a non-malignant but very consequential brain tumor removed a few months ago. He is still recovering and doing ok medically but is faced with many losses of his former life and former good health. Does anyone have a recommendation for an experienced child therapist who could help him grieve his losses and cope with the continued challenges of his new life? Someone in the Berkeley area would be most convenient. Concerned mom

I highly recommend Dr. Lester Isenstadt for your child with the aftermath of a brain tumor. Dr. Isenstadt is a Psychiatrist with 30+ years experience and interest in brain chemistry, AND he does his own therapy directly with his patients. His bredth of knowledge about brain function and development was very helpful for our daughter, and we still consult with Dr. Isenstadt whenever we see other professionals (ex: Kaiser) to get a trusted 2nd opinion. We first discovered him because we saw a child start to thrive who had been highly depressed and anxious and asked the parents what was helping their child. We have found Dr. Isenstadt's insight, vision, compassion, and effective treatment over a 5 year period to be invaluable. Further, he always found gracious ways to move us forward on decisions affecting our child even though my husband and I often disagreed about things like need for medication. Wishing you all the best

7yo is having serious problems at school

Nov 2010

can anyone refer a good child psychologist who deals with kids. My son who is diagnosed with asd (autism spectrum disorder) is about to be 7 years old. He is having serious problems at school. He is verbal but acts out with violence at times. The school suggested a psychologist. If anyone has any references, i would really like some referrals or suggestions. Thank you.

I highly recommend Alison Ehara-Brown. She is a well known and respected therapist who uses all the great modalities including sand tray, etc. Her office is on Solano in Berkeley. She worked with my daughter as she transitioned into a new school and was suddenly confronted with ''girl drama''. She is now working with my son who is a constant target for bullying. She is kind and knowledgeable and my kids love her. Lisa

Therapist for 9-year-old's anger and frustration

June 2008

Our 9 year old daughter is having trouble managing her emotions, anger and frustration. We're at a loss as to how to handle the situation and have decided that we need to seek therapy. Does anyone have any recommendations?

The nonprofit agency I work for, JFCS/East Bay, has an amazing team of therapists with particular expertise in early childhood and grade school-aged kids. I highly recommend them and definitely think that your daughter would be well-served. I know it sounds biased, but they really are wonderful--so much so that when we had a crisis at my son's preschool, I asked one of my co-workers to come in and give a presentation for parents and teachers about the specific issues we were dealing with. The main office is conveniently located in downtown Berkeley. If you're interested, please call (510) 704-7475, ext. 700, which is the intake extension. All the best, Holly

Therapist for 9-year-old with anxiety and insecurity

April 2008

My nine-year-old son has a lot of anxiety and insecurity and we're looking for a therapist who could help. Does anyone have a recent referral? Either a man or a woman therapist would be fine. We're eager to help our son. Thank you. anon

My son went to Sara Grunstein for awhile for anxieties and she is great. Very experienced with children and their development, very loving and relaxed. Also very good at helping parents to understand the different phases of development and how to help your child through it. 548-0161 She's located by Andronicos on Telegraph. Anon

I highly recommend Jason Brand, a therapist who has an office near 4th street in Berkeley (and I think he also has an office in SF). Jason worked with our 10 year old son. He's on the younger side, so he connects well with kids. Our son was anxious about ''seeing someone'' but Jason put him at ease right away. He specializes in technology-related issues with families (families with issues about video games, cell phone, or internet ) but we went to get help about our son's social anxiety issues. His approach was very helpful to my son and also for us as parents. I highly recommend him for family therapy and for child therapy. His number is (510) 488-3093. Good luck! Anon

Therapist for depressed 9-year-old

Feb 2008

Can anyone recommend a therapist (psychlogist? family therapist? psychiatrist? not even sure what kind....) for a 9 year old who seems to be chronically depressed (unhappy, angry, self-hating, explosive all the time)? We are Kaiser members, so would be interested in recommendations there, but are not averse to going the private route for the right person. Need help!

My 7 years old have been going to DR. Martinez in Berkeley. She does cognitive therapy. My son is doing much better after just 6 sections although his problem was anxiety and panic attacks. Her phone number is (510)652-4455 x14. She is in Oakland on College Av. She does not accept insurance or it is ship, but work. Been there

Therapist for 9-year-old step-daughter

Jan 2008

I have a 9-year old step-daughter who lives with my husband and me 50% of the time. My husband and I have been together since my step-daughter was 5 and ever since then (and before I was ever in the picture - hence the separation) her mother's irrational and manipulative behavior has become more and more extreme. My step-daughter's mother and my husband were never married and together until she was 1.

My step-daughter is (understandably) very loyal to her mother even though she is beginning to verbally question her mother's behavior (to me, not to her mother or father). I am concerned. She is learning from her mother that it is okay to get what you want through anger, yelling, manipulative and controlling behavior. She does not 'test' her mother because she is afraid of her mother's reaction and of ''making her mad'' (her father and I have made a CPS report in the past). When she is with us she is testing testing 1,2,3,4. As of late the lying has reached new proportions and has, to the mother in me, become more frustrating and upsetting. However, the therapist in me can chalk some (certainly not all) of it up to the fact that she is testing us because she trusts us.

I think that it would be in her best interest to have someone to talk to separate from and in addition to my husband and me. I am a therapist (but am not very familiar with others in this area). I see a lot of Borderline features in her mother and am seeing more and more troubling patterns of behavior in my step-daughter (lying, manipulating, playing the victim) that are beyond what I would consider 'normal' for her age group. As she has gotten older, I have become more concerned. We would like to work with someone who is familiar and comfortable with these issues (separation of parents, Borderline personality disorder, 'blended' families). We are in the Berkeley area. Thanks so much! Concerned step-mom

Bobbie Schear, 655-7240, is a very insightful therapist who understands plenty about kids, and she's very compassionate and passionate about kids. She uses sandtray therapy (all kinds of sand, all kinds of objects to deal with). She also works with kids who are have a difficult time communicating, and she often will cook with them. (The child usually decides what they will cook together, and she'll talk with them through the safety of cooking a recipe.) she's also very smart, and I believe she has a PhD, so she's familiar w/ standard diagnoses, and I know she's dealt w/ a wide variety of problems with kids (and adults as well). I don't know for sure what networks she's on, but I know she was on MHN, so may be available through others as well.

My step-son had great success with Dr. Lisa Lancaster (in Berkeley 510-841-2525). We were dealing with what sounds like some similar issues with him and his mother. Dr. Lancaster was excellent and I would recommend her without reservation. Hope she can help you too. anon

Play therapist for six-year-old girl

May 2007

I'm adopting my six-year-old great niece who, along with her three younger siblings, was removed from her parents in Washington by CPS a year ago. Her parents are drug addicts with little hope of recovery, and she hasn't seen either parent for over a year. She's adjusted extremely well to living with me, my husband, and 12 year old son , but grieves deeply for her ''mommy'' and her siblings. She has a lot to work through and is angry and sad. Her kindergarten teacher (and I agree) that she would benefit greatly from working with a specialist in play therapy. She's back to wetting herself at school and regularly sobs to her teacher about missing her family. Can anyone kindly recommend an effective therapist for a six year old? The therapist must be a woman because she has some issues with males that we don't yet understand. I would be very grateful to receive recommendations for therapist in the East Bay, along with an explanation of why you find this person effective. Thank you.

We had terrific results with a play therapist about 6 years ago. She worked with my then-4 year old who was tantruming frequently (and had lots of other things going on, which we also started to treat). We saw her in Berkeley, but she also had an office in SF. Jane Rubin, PhD Play Therapist (510) 704-8759 (415) 931-0856 2434 Milvia Street Berkeley, CA 94704-1918 Good luck. - Happy play therapist client

I recommend Sara Brose. My daughter has been seeing her for over a year now and loves ''sara days''. She has a great office with a doll house, sand tray and a lot of figurines. I think she actually specializes in working with children that have experienced loss. (My daughter's father died suddenly when she was two. She is 6 now)

I also find it helpful for me because Sara makes sure to keep me abreast of whats happening in their sessions and helps me understand how to be a better parent for my child. Her office is on Howe street in Oakland right down the street from Kaiser Oakland. You can reach her at 985.2909 good luck

Therapist for 9 year old with anxiety/anger

March 2005

I am looking for a developmental psychologist/pediatrician or therapist to evaluate and treat my son, who is showing signs of OCD and other anxiety problems, as well as angry outbursts when he doesn't get his way. He is taking Ritalin for ADD (attention- type) and sees Dr. Landman in Orinda. While I think the Ritalin is helping him with the attention problem, his anxiety is creating almost daily problems now, and Dr. Landman always seems rushed and unsympathetic to anything more than a cursory discussion of his problems when he sees him. We would especially like names of therapists in the East Bay. desperate mom

I've heard excellent things about Michael Tompkins in Rockridge 652 4455...and have personally used another doc in that practice, years ago, she's no longer there, but the practice, in general iis excellent. My friend's son was treated for OCD with excellent results. kroisen

Dr. Stephen Walrod is an excellent, supportive and insightful therapist who is helping my 7-year old son with anxiety and anger issues. Across from Lake Merritt on Grand Ave. 444-4068. Good Luck. Also try reading ''Transforming the Difficult Child'' by Glasser. Been there

Therapist for very emotional 7-year-old

Jan 2005

My wonderful seven year old son is extremely emotional, extremely sensitive, and for unknown reasons has been having a tough time this year. Acting out, breaking rules, upset a lot. Over the last several months he began regressing, having potty accidents, breaking things, etc. We tried one therapist but she was in El Cerrito and we live in Oakland so with her limited appointments it was very difficult to make the schedules work. I read all the posting but havent found a match. Any suggestions for Oakland/Berkeley child therapist with experience in these areas? I have tried everything and am running out of ideas on how to help him. anon

My wife and i would recommend Ann Martin Center in Oakland/Piedmont border area (1250 Grand Avenue). They do excellent individual and group child centered therapy. My son went there and we were very pleased with the work that they did. anon.

Earlier Recommendations

Frustrated with child's behavior issues

November 2002

Frustrated, discouraged and scared from trying--without much progress--to work out behavior issues with one of my children, I need professional help. We have mental health coverage through our insurance, Pacificare. I've reviewed the archives and have found that none of the recommended therapists are listed with Pacificare. Am I delusional to think that I can find a ''good'' therapist who will accept my insurance? Can anyone make a recommendation for such a therapist or help me navigate this unfamiliar road? Many thanks, in advance, for any advice you can offer. stumped mom

I don't have the same health insurance you have so I do not know if they are part of your plan, but I have been taking my child to see Dr. Philip Gross. My son loves him and looks forward to our visits. While my son is seeing him, my husband and I meet with his wife, Miriam, a licensed clinical social worker. Their team work is very good and we feel we are making progress in dealing with our son's behavior, which had making us crazy. Good luck. been there, tried this.

7-year-old daughter prone to severe tantrums and OCD

May 2001

Our 7-year-old daughter is prone to severe tantrums and shows signs of obssessive-compulsive disorder. So far, we have met with a therapist at Ann Martin Children's Center in Oakland and have not been impressed - we can't get answers to questions like, Have you dealt with a child like this before? What kinds of therapies and theories do you believe in? It seems as if the Ann Martin Children's Center is more for troubled, abused children or children with learning disabilities. My daughter is more explosive (many thanks to those of you who recommended Ross Greene's wonderful The Explosive Child - describes her exactly!) and seems completely out of control during a tantrum. Does anyone have (1) experiences to share - good or bad - about using the Ann Martin Children's Center for counseling;(2) recommendations for a good therapist to deal with such problems? Many, many thanks

I highly recommend child psychologist Hilde Clarke, 420-1866, who works with children of all ages and their parents. She is very compassionate and bright, and really works with families to find creative solutions to the challenges they are facing. If she doesn't feel she can help she would probably have a good referral for you. She is located on Howe Street in Oakland.

I also have an explosive (I prefer to refer to it as falling apart since explosive sounds violent to me which is misleading) 7 year old who suffers from Tourette Syndrome as well as milder forms of OCD and Hyperactive Disorder. After flailing around with various doctors (we also called but decided aginst trying Ann Martin as we also felt they didn't understand these syndromes very well) we finally feel we are making progress with Dr. Thomas Lowe in San Francisco. We weren't crazy about going into the city, but he is so knowledgable in this area that for us it has been well worth it. His specialty is Tourette, but since this syndrome is so often linked with OCD, he also is well-informed in this area also. My daughter likes him. He's very compassionate about what both parents and child have to endure with these disorders. And his treatment approach is practical. He runs the Tourette's and Tic Disorders Clinic at UCSF Medical Center. The bad news is there is a long waiting list (we waited 7 months to start seeing him). But my first call (you leave a message) resulted in a personal lengthy call from him one evening in which he really took the time to understand our situation. So it may be worth a call, if just to talk with him and get some advice or perhaps a more local referral. His number is (415) 476-7213. Please feel free to e-mail or call me if you want to talk further about just living with this situation. I know how stressful it can be. Good luck. Cathy

Have you received a complete psycho-educational assessment of your daughter? I can't recommend this strongly enough, as it would help target appropriate interventions given her particular cognitive makeup (strengths and weaknesses). Going directly into individual therapy without some sound data on your hands (esp. for someone so young) and a framework for building an appropriate educational and emotional support network for your daughter can be a rather ambiguous venture. Holly

June 1999

Re: therapist for a child
For almost a year our 9-year-old has been attending a weekly four-child play group run by Toby Hendon (in Albany, 869-4534). It's been very good for his social skills, communication skills, and emotional stability. Toby's perceptive, gentle, intelligent, and effective; I'd recommend her for just about any child. John

Feb 1998

Re: Therapist for a child

We have been very happy with Jennifer Freeman. Her office is at 5th Street and Cedar, and her phone number is 526-2336.

Two excellent child therapists are:
Hope Dean (510) 649-1144
Peter August (510) 273-9568 Both are professional, experienced, knowledgeable and reassuring. They can help you understand and deal with children's upsetting feelings and behaviors. Pat

Feb 1998

Re: therapist for a child
I am familiar with a very fine MFCC (marriage, family, child counselor) therapist who practices in Oakland. He has specialized in working with young children for many years. His approach is holistic and includes both play therapy and use of a sand tray.

His name is Skip Roache and he can be reached at (510) 845-4441. If you leave a message for him be sure to leave a phone number and let him know the best times to call you back.

Whether you contact Skip or not, I think it would be a good idea to have your child assessed.

Feb 1998

For the person seeking a child psychologist: I recently consulted with Dr. Seligman, a child psych with a heavy psychoanalytic background. He was terrific in helping me learn about separation issues for my infant daughter. Very practical, down to earth. I recommend him highly. His number is 415 567 6369.


Re: Adolescent counseling
Hi, You might try the Ann Martin Children's Center , Oakland in Piedmont. They are located at 1250 Grand Ave. 655-7880. or try Berkeley Youth Alternatives.

Re: Therapist for adolescent
I would reccommend Michael Simon, a therapist in the Rockridge area of Oakland. He is an Marriage Family and Child Intern (so he's less expensive than a licensed therapist who doesn't work with a supervisor) and does a lot of good work with children and parents. He's given workshops and lectures at family service agencies in the area, too, on working with kids and parents. You can reach him 510 433-2959. Myriam