Therapist for Cancer Patient

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi wise parents,

    My young adult was recently diagnosed with cancer and would like some help navigating the emotional aspects of this new challenge.  Does anyone know of a compassionate therapist who has experience with these issues? We appreciate any referrals that you may suggest.

    This is not a therapist rec, but there are group support programs for young adults with cancer at the online community called 

    First, I am so sorry your and your family are dealing with cancer. I can highly recommend Dr. Korie Leigh to help you and your young adult navigate the emotional aspects of dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Korie has vast experience working with children, young adults and families dealing with cancer and other illnesses and health issues. She is kind, compassionate and just an all around wonderful therapist for exactly this situation. She used to be in the bay area but relocated to New Mexico, so you'd have to be open to meeting remotely. If anything, she most likely can recommend someone in the bay area if zoom, etc isn't ideal. Here is her website. If you have any other questions, feel free to PM me. Wishing you and your family healing. Here is her website:

    Check for support groups through the center where your young adult is being treated. If you child is a woman, the Women's Cancer Resource Center is an invaluable local resource.

    I'm so sorry about your child's diagnosis and hope that their treatment will go very well. I don't know what her experience is with cancer specifically, but I saw Zara Drapkin for help navigating issues relating to chronic illness, and she helped me tremendously. She is also willing to see patients over zoom if that helps. Best of luck to your family.

    Hi there,

    So sorry you are going through this. I recommend Laura Matthews. I worked with her taking care of oncology patients (I am a nurse practitioner and she is a clinical social worker). She also has her own practice and continues to specialize with people like your young adult.

    Hope this helps! Thinking of you and your family during this time.

  • Seeking therapist for cancer diagnosis

    (3 replies)

    I’ve recently been diagnosed with cancer and I am seeking a therapist who can help me navigate the myriad of emotions I am having and has experience working with people with cancer. I need someone who accepts insurance, I have Cigna.  

    Any recommendations appreciated.  

    Hi there -

    I'm so sorry that you have to go through this! I'm so glad you are looking for professional support in this tough situation. No matter where you end up regarding therapy, this group here has a reputation of offering wonderful support overall: - womens cancer resource center.

    All the best to you - 

    I'm a cancer survivor.  I know what a confusing, scary time this is.  Burton Presberg, M.D. on Santa Clara Avenue in Oakland, is a psychiatrist who works exclusively with cancer patients or families of patients.  Several women in my breast cancer support group saw him.  I don't know which insurance he takes other than United Healthcare, which is what I have.  He's very kind.  I urge you to call him.   510-597-0536.  

    I am a cancer survivor of over 10 years and found the free support groups and programs at Cancer Support Community in Walnut Creek to be invaluable. They offer a host of programs for people with all types of cancers and their families/caregivers. I am still in touch with the people from my newly-diagnosed group- all these years later. 

    Best of luck to you in your search for support at this challenging time. 

  • After a recent diagnosis of stage 3 breast cancer, I'm looking for a therapist with interest and experience in helping women cope with illness.

    I prefer individual therapy over groups, and I need someone in the Berkeley area who takes Medicare. Thank you!

    Dear Friend- I am not a therapist...worked years ago as a children's therapist in my school district...but I have have Stage 4 breast cancer for five years now and am doing fine (except for having cancer) If you ever feel frightened or have any questions about treatment, please feel as though you can email me. We are all here to support each other :) Susan McReynolds  susan2804 [at]

    I don't know if he accepts Medicare, and his office is in Oakland, but Dr. Burton Presberg exclusively works with cancer patients (and their families).  He is a psychiatrist, so if medications are something you and he decide would be helpful, he can prescribe.  Several women in my breast cancer support group have seen him (and I still do, even five years after the end of treatment).  His office is on Santa Clara Avenue in Oakland.  Phone number: 510-597-0536.  Wishing you all the best in your treatment and recovery.

    Hi there -
    Do you know about the nonprofit "Women's Cancer Resource Center"? They offer 12 therapy sessions free of charge to low-income women and also refer to other therapists. Hope you will find qualified help soon!


    So sorry you are dealing with breast cancer.

    Women's Cancer Resource Center have a program that offers 12 free sessions of psychotherapy for low-income persons and families.

    Best wishes,

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Father's anxiety & depression after cancer

May 2009

I am looking for recommendations of a good cognitive-behavioral therapist for my father who has anxiety and depression mostly related to his declining health. Does anybody know of a psychologist near Berkeley/Oakland who has experience in helping people with chronic/terminal illness and the issues surrounding it?. I?m interested in the SF Bay Area Cognitive-Behavioral Center in Oakland- anybody love their psychologist there? My father is a cancer/stem cell transplant survivor currently in remission but constantly plagued by the likelihood that the cancer will return and claim his life. He wants to work on developing better coping skills to deal with his anxiety, depression and catastrophic thinking. My dad doesn't like ''touchy feely/kumbaya'' therapy- someone smart, articulate but with a sense of humor would be ideal.

I would like to recommend a colleague of mine for your father to try, Larry Yabroff, Ph.D. He is a seasoned, older therapist, wise, warm, practical and not touchy-feely. Though not specifically CBT, he works extensively to help people reduce anxiety and depression and specializes in chronic illness issues. I have known his work for many years and recommend him highly. He's on Ward Street in Berkeley and his # is 649-0640. I wish your father and you all the best. Lynn

Therapist to help me cope with breast cancer

May 2008

I have Health Net Insurance with Hills Physicians Group. I am dealing with breast cancer right now and am looking for a good therapist on my plan that has experience with this. Any recommendation would be appreciated. Kelly

I don't know if he's in Hill Physicians, but Burton Presburg deals primarily with cancer patients and he's wonderful. I saw him a couple of times just for medication, because he took my insurance at the time and his office, which is at the former Herrick Hospital site, was convenient, but he told me that cancer was his main focus. RW

Therapist for young woman with cancer

Jan 2008

Need recs for excellent therapist or support group who deals w/ young adults with cancer - and spouses and family members...Dealing with the denial, anger, depression, etc.. through the long journey. Someone who is also uplifting. Preferably in WC, Phill, Lamorinda. Thx. love someone recently diagnosed

I'm sorry this is happening. I lost my mom to breast cancer and it was a difficult road.

Christie Rigg, MFT is a therapist who has had breast cancer, and specializes in dealing with the issue. She's wonderful--empathetic, warm and smart.

Her website: ph: 510 287-5845 her email: christieriggmft [at]

Feel free to email me if you have questions. denise

Therapist for cancer/loss issues

Sept 2007

My aunt is looking for a therapist that specializes in working with people with cancer. She has healthnet insurance. Any suggestions would be appreciated. C

The Women's Cancer Resource Center in Berkeley may be an excellent resource for you. They offer an information and referral line for resources and therapists throughout Northern California, an extensive resource library, support groups and peer support networks, forums and workshops, as well as a multicultural outreach program.
Contact Information: Office Hours~ Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM and also available by appointment. Women's Cancer Resource Center 5741 Telegraph Avenue Oakland, CA 94609 Helpline: 510.420.7900 ~~ Toll Free: 888.421.7900 Website: ~~ Email: wcrc [at]
I have a close friend who has been on staff there for 15+ years and other friends who offer their services through their agency. Hope this helps! Maya

Cancer support group for mom with young child

March 2005

Has anyone had recent experience with cancer support groups for mothers with school age children? Ideally, it would be a group where there would be support for the moms, and the children either played together or were in their own support group. It would be ok if the mother's partners were included, but also ok if they weren't. I woke up last night convinced that my daughter was calling me, but when I went into her room she was sound asleep. I know I need support, and I haven't told her yet, but I know she'll need support.

I also wonder if anyone has up-to-date contact info and experience with that group that supports kids whose mothers are being treated for cancer. worried

Try the Women's Cancer Resource Center at 510 601 4040. They can tell you about the various support groups and services available to you. It's a terrific place to start. Best of luck! Cari

If you are under 40, there is a support group for women under 40 with breast cancer there (I didn't see your original post so I don't know if this is your diagnosis) where women with children come to talk (but women under 40 without children are in the gruop too). This is a second support group for women over 40. Another ''mixed age'' group is at Summit. I recommend any and all. Cancer survivor Mom