Ann Martin Center

Community Subscriber
Emeryville, CA

Psychotherapy, Educational Therapy, Diagnostic Testing, Parent Education

Parent Reviews

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Archived Reviews: 

Social skills group for five year old?

July 2014

My son needs help learning how to share, use words, collaborate in play, and stop getting physical when he's frustrated. I want him to be able to get along better at school and also start developing ongoing friendships. I've heard that the Ann Martin Center in Emeryville has a program called Cornerstone, but there's nothing recent on BPN about them. Would very much appreciate any suggestions. Thank you! Oakland Single Mom

My 5-year-old son has been going to the Cornerstone social skills playgroup at the Ann Martin Center in Emeryville for 8 months. I think this program is helping him a lot. We've received a lot of mental health services along the way and this is about the best I've seen, so I highly recommend it.

My son's group has 4 kids in it ages 4 to 6 and is facilitated by 2 highly skilled therapists, one of whom is bilingual in English and Spanish. This is therapy-by-doing rather than talk therapy. The format is that the kids come into a room with a variety of options: Playdough, trucks/trains, etc. If the kid doesn't gravitate to one thing or another, a therapist immediately engages him to get him playing and relating socially. So for example, my son needs to learn to share toys and control of the play, to manage frustration, and to use words instead of hitting and grabbing. If he's been playing by himself, the therapist might warm him up by narrating his actions and asking low-pressure questions. When she sees an opening, she makes a connection to another kid. So say my son picks up a particular truck. The therapist might say, enthusiastically: ''Oh, I think that's the truck Rob was playing with!'' And turning to Rob: ''Look, Rob, Jonah is using that truck you were playing with! Do you want to come see?''

After free play, there are more opportunities for social interaction: the kids clean up together, set up for a snack together, pick out a book together, and then sit around a table, listening and commenting on the book while having a snack. You can stay in the room, hang out in the lobby (which has WiFi), or leave and come back when the session is ending.

Through on-the-spot observations from the lead therapist and in separate sessions with just me and her, I've learned a lot about how my son thinks and how best to help him. The playgroup lasts 90 minutes and is held twice weekly, year-round. They accept Medi-Cal and I know they have a sliding scale if you're paying out of pocket. This is a really solid, research-based program. I strongly recommend it -- it's been great for us! Local Dad

May 2014

RE: Educational Assessment for Son
The services I know about are in Berkeley/Oakland, not Fremont, but I think these would be starting places. Given your eligibility for Medi-Cal you should be eligible for low-cost services at nonprofit organizations. From what you said it sounds like your child needs complete cognitive and psych testing, rather than the kind of limited testing an educational therapist does. Ideally you would get as many of these services as possible through the school district. For Sliding Scale Assessments:
Ann Martin Center They provide testing and also services.

March 2014

RE: Lindamood Bell for kindergartener who can't read?
My child was struggling with reading and I had her evaluated at the Ann Martin Center. She received intervention that made a measurable difference in just one semester. Good luck.

Sept 2013

RE: Donating a large sum to a 501(c)3 in Berkeley?
Perhaps you already know of the Ann Martin Center--a wonderful community organization that provides psychotherapy and educational support for hundreds of kids. They've been around for years, are highly respected, and have recently moved to a great new facility in Emeryville. It's an organization with a highly skilled staff of dedicated and sensitive professionals. Well worth considering as you look at your options. Joseph S., LMFT

May 2013

RE: Trying to find therapy for my son, our family
I am a therapist in private practice in Berkeley. The Ann Martin Center has been around for a long time, they have both seasoned therapists and fresh post-doctoral trainees who together form a very solid program working with families. Orit W.

Feb 2012

RE: Seeking Grief Specialist for 4 year old
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

Cornerstone Program at Ann Martin

March 2008

Has anyone had any experience with the Ann martin's Center in Piedmont? I'm specifically interested in their Cornerstone program (social skills group for preschool-aged kids).

I hope things have changed in six years, but our experience with the Ann Martin children's center was awful. Granted, at the time we did not know for certain that our then-six-year-old daughter has OCD, so it was assumed that her extreme behaviors could be dealt with ''normally.'' The reasons we fled from there after two visits: they have a sliding fee scale and we were at the top, which was fine, but they assigned an intern to us - a therapist with virtually no experience, and not a lot of talent, from what I could tell. They let us switch to someone else after the first visit. On the second visit, the new therapist insisted she'd have to talk with our daughter's teacher before proceeding. We said no, because her behavior at school was never an issue. We did not want her to be stigmatized because it was not necessary. Then she tried to probe our family life as if we were withholding information that led to our duaghter's behaviors, which we were not. I know that it's the therapist's job to do these things, but we had very accurately described the reason why our pediatrician and we had chosen to try to get help. We were distinctly mis-matched there; I think maybe run-of-the-mill problems are within their capacity. Serious disorders should be dealt with by other professionals, in my opinion.

I was surprised to see a negative post about Ann Martin Center. Our family has been using their services for 5 years and are extremely satisfied. Yes, they use interns. But theirs is a very competitive internship so they get the best of the best. Both therapists our family has seen were great and the center clearly does a fabulous job mentoring their intern-therapists. Another bonus is they have services for both mental health and learning difficulties. They serve a wide variety of families and have lots of experience with children who are in foster care, dealing with the death of a parent, or going through adoption. I know many happy Ann Martin parents and children. Ann Martin Center's Biggest Fan

The Ann Martin Center was highly recommended by a friend. I took my son there for therapy. It took over a month for someone to contact me. Then it took even longer to schedule an intake. At the intake the intern decided that *I* was the one who needed therapy not my son. After much discussion I told her NO - that we were leaving. I questioned whether she understood Asperger's, which she didn't. However, she was willing to learn. She assured me that she could help my son and asked that I give her a chance. [This is when I should have left but I dread the thought of starting all over again with another agency.] My son saw her for a few months. Often, he would come out of his sessions thoroughly confused and upset. Each time we talked (his therapist and I), the whole conversation was based on me, and how I should come in for therapy. We discontinued our relationship. Trust in your gut feeling. If something doesn't feel right don't do it - no matter how time you've invested and how low the cost. Best of luck

Jan 2005

Re: Therapist for very emotional 7-year-old
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.

June 2003

Re: Grief support for young mother

Ann Martin Children's Center has a bereavement program that helps families cope with the loss of a parent --call 655-7880 and ask for Linda Cozzerelli, LCSW

Re: 4th grader's poor social skills (Dec 2002)
Try the Ann Martin Center located on Piedmont Ave. They do a variety of children's groups, including ones that are focused on social development. They can be reached at 510.655.7880. Andrea

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.