Seeking a Therapist for Alcohol or Drug Addiction

Parent Q&A

Therapist skilled in dealing with young adult in recovery Oct 24, 2016 (1 responses below)
Therapist for alcohol over use Aug 22, 2016 (0 responses below)
support for son with substance abuse issues Aug 13, 2016 (0 responses below)
  • Hi,

    My brother recently moved to the Berkeley/Oakland area and is struggling with drug addiction. He is able to stay clean about 4-6 weeks and then relapses for a day or two and then repeats the cycle. He is interested in seeing a therapist, and was given a recommendation, but unfortunately she isn't currently taking new clients. I would appreciate any recommendations.

    Thank you!

  • My child, a young adult, recently completed a 30-day residential rehab program and is in a sober living house for another month in the South Bay.  When she comes home, she will be going to 12-step meetings, but would also like to find a therapist in the Oakland/Berkeley area (where we live), with a lot of experience working with young adults and people in recovery.  Preferably female, but not a deal-breaker. 

    Thank you!

    Gail Alter is a highly skilled therapist and has worked with our daughter (now in her 20s).  Gail has experience with recovery/addiction and worked for a Berkeley rehab program at one point.  I don't know if she is taking new patients but she is top notch and very practical and grounded.  Her Phone is 510.928.4156.

  • Therapist for alcohol over use

    (0 replies)

    I'm looking for a recent recommendation for a therapist in the Berkeley area who is good with alcohol over use and depression issues.

  • support for son with substance abuse issues

    (0 replies)

    We are looking for a therapist who would be a great fit for our 21 year old son. The ideal person would be male, in SF, street smart, down to earth and very familiar with both substance abuse and learning disabilities. The good news: he lives at home; is a caring person; works part-time and goes to community college part-time; loves his family and is willing to talk somewhat openly about his life. The challenges:  a lot of drug use in his social environment, including cocaine, xanax, opiates and of course marijuana; a significant amount of denial and rationalization about his own use, which has recently escalated; learning disabilities and anxiety that have limited his positive experiences in the world. He has a big desire to be more independent, but also has poor judgment and limited life skills in certain areas. In addition to a therapist, we'd also like to hear any ideas about activities, programs, support to help him see his place in the world in a different way. He's pretty stubborn about trying new things, but seems to be at point where new influences could really make a difference. I know that many of you have "been there" and we could really use your experience/referrals.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Therapy for Alcoholic mom of young child

June 2007

Does anyone have a recommendation for a therapist to help a mother of young children witih alcohol abuse issues? This person is drinking daily to help cope with the stress of full time work and parenthood. She is not ready to attend a group, but wants to first start with some one on one therapy. Someone located in the Berkeley/Oakland area would be best. anon

I recommend Lynn Elliott-Harding, R.N., CEAP. She's on 5478A College Avenue Oakland, CA 94618 (510) 654-9491. She has special expertise in nutrition, addiction/alcoholism, and parenting.

Christie Rigg-- she knows addiction, and she's a wonderful, non-judgemental ear. She's in El Cerrito on San Pablo Avenue. 510-287-5845 Anon

James Wogan, LCSW is a very good therapist on College Ave in Oakland. He knows addictions really well. I also highly recommend him for anything related to raising children. He can be reached at (510) 277-0184. Mother of 2

Straight-talking therapist for 20-something alcoholic

Jan 2007

i'm looking for recommendations for a therapist for my brother, who is an alcoholic/addict and also struggles with some depression issues. he's a 20-something white male, tends to be a bit more conservative than your average berkeley resident, very intelligent, and doesn't tend to buy into they whole ''psycho-babble'' thing. he oscillates between acknowledging his need for help and denial. during those times when he wants help, i try to provide him with resources.

he needs someone with whom he can have intelligent discussions and can give him some ''straight talk''. he has had trouble finding a good therapist that he can really connect with, respects, and with whom he can establish a relationship. i'm looking for suggestions so that i can be ready to provide him with the next time he's looking! please--any recommendations for therapists out there who might be able to deal with addiction & depression issues, and who also may be able to connect with a young male dealing with all of these issues? THANKS! concerned sis

I can recommend a wonderful therapist in Berkeley for your brother. He specializes in family and adolescent therapy (also works with substance abuse). He also works with adults. He is very individualized in his approach, doesn't adhere to any certain ''isms'' or treatments du jour. His name is Anthony Guarnieri, phone 510.845.8499. Email me if you'd like more info, or to talk. Claudia

I would recommend Dr. Heftsi Assaf for help with your brother. She is an intelligent and extremely insightful woman who individualizes her treatment to her client's needs. She does not use scientific terms, but speaks as one intelligent person to another. I have referred patients to her in the past with great success. While I have never been in treatment with her myself, I have found her counsel and advice to be a godsend when I have needed it. While your brother must find out for himself whether she is a good ''match'' for him, I recommend her without reservation for this situation. 510 869 5009. Good Luck Elizabeth

I would like to refer you to an outstanding psychologist with extensive experience in helping people with substance abuse problems and recovery. Her name is Martha Schmitz, Ph.D. 510-595-4195. She is located in Oakland near the Rockridge BART station. judy

Therapist experienced with alcohol addiction

June 2006

I need a recommendation for a therapist in the Oakland/Berkeley area who accepts Blue Cross HMO and has experience dealing with problems related to addiction (alcohol addiction and anxiety/depression issues that can come with it). I've checked the archives, but nothing recent fit the bill - thanks

Alexandra Howells specializes in working with clients with addictions. She can work with the individual and if needed she can work with partners and family as well. 510-869-4394 anon

Erika Masak-Goldman 469-4691 Works in the Grand Lake area. Used to work at Thunder Road, experienced working w families and teens. Dry humor, straightforward and clear, zany -- even takes insurance! We found her after many requests for referrals.
anon mom

Husband doesn't want to go to AA, wants a therapist

Jan 2006

I am looking for a recommendation for a female therapist who can help my husband work through emotions resulting from attempting to quit drinking. He doesn't want to go to Alcoholics Anonymous, but is willing to go to a therapist. When he tries to quit drinking he feels bored and like life is kind of pointless - he's very uncomfortable talking about this stuff. It's like pulling teeth to get him to talk to me about it at all, so I need someone who he'll feel safe enough to open up with - we want a female who is also committed to him making progress and not just going to automatically look to prescription drugs to alter the emotions. It would also be nice to have someone who will support our marriage working well also (so possibly someone who might be willing to eventually include me in some sessions to help with the way this stuff impacts our marriage.) anon I'm sorry to hear that you are married to an alcoholic. The good news is that there is help out there for YOU ... Because you did not cause it, you can't cure it and you will not be able to control it for him .. all you can do is help yourself and your children by going to Alanon meetings.

Here's the link to find a meeting:

There's also a great online support group, called Room 3 is where families and friends of alcoholics meet.

It's not easy, but you can learn to have hope and happiness. Good luck to you.

By the way, we all start out looking for help for the alcoholic. We end up realizing that the only person we have control over is ourselves... My heart goes out to you.

Couples therapist experienced with alcoholism

Feb 2004

I'm looking for a couples therapist with expertise around alcohol issues (agreements/contracts, boundaries, ACA pieces). I've checked the archives and haven't seen anything specific to this. Thank you. anon

I highly recommend Kirsten Beuthin, MFT. She specializes in working with alcohol and substance abuse problems, as well as ACA issues. Her number is 652-0990. anon