Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Parent Q&A

Select any title to view the full question and replies.

  • My almost thirteen year old daughter has been seeing a therapist for about 2 years and has made very little progress. She struggles with emotional regulation, acting appropriately when "getting in trouble" at school, and taking responsibility for her actions. My daughter has ADHD and multiple LDs. 

    From what I can tell, her therapist does some pointed work with her but much of their time is spent chatting.  

    I realize this is a difficult time to find anyone with after school openings but I'd appreciate recommendations for a skilled therapist who can help her make progress. An even taller order, we need someone who accepts insurance...

    Thanks in advance for any and all recommendations! 

    We have had great success for these issues through the SSP Safe and Sound Protocol.

    Google for local providers in your area.

  • Hi BPN-ers,

    I would love to get  recommendations from other parents for a cognitive behavioral therapist who specializes in children with anxiety. Our 11 year old son has been developing anxiety in a couple of different areas and needs some professional support, but it seems that many of the therapists from the archives are no longer taking new patients or have closed their practices. Any insights with regards to therapists or other resources would be much appreciated. Thank you!

    Hi, I would recommend Dr. Rama Ronen. She works with adults and children. 415-378-0328

    She is very easy to work with. She is located in San Ramon but does telehealth right now.

    Psychology Today's website has a list of therapists that can be searched within a zipcode.  

  • Hi Fellow Parents,

    i am searching for my shy niece who has been showing signs of OCD throughout middle and high school.  She has also been sleeping more since started high school.  Recently, she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression.  Looking back, she was showing signs of anxiety in six grade but too settle to recognize.  She is also very caring and sensitive to her friends and the school community.  Lately, she is isolating herself from friends. Her doctor recommended a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist.  If you could recommend someone in San Ramon, Berkeley, Oakland Area, I would very much appreciated.  Someone who takes insurance would be fantastic since funds are limited.  I can be reached by my private email as well!

    thank you very much!


    Our 9 year old has a phobia and a little generalized anxiety. We found Dr Kim at the Wright Institute in Berkeley very very helpful.

    akim [at] 

    All the best.

    So sorry to hear that your niece is dealing with this. What a great aunt you are for reaching out to seek resources for her.

    You say that your niece has been showing signs of OCD—has she been diagnosed with OCD by a psychiatrist? If not, I’d definitely seek the expertise of a good psychiatrist ASAP.

    If she has OCD, CBT therapy is absolutely essential. It can be hard to find a CBT therapist in the Bay Area with an opening, nevermind one who’s covered by insurance. Not sure what insurance your niece has, but I’d call the insurance and explain the situation and ask for their assistance in locating some practitioners who are trained in CBT.

    My daughter was recently diagnosed with OCD by a psychiatrist (Lester Isenstadt, who does accept some insurance plans and whom I can highly recommend)  after struggling with anxiety on and off throughout 8th and 9th grade. He prescribed an SSRI medication to help her for the short-term but made it clear that the only way to truly address OCD is with CBT.

    We went with a CBT therapist whom he recommended—unfortunately she doesn’t take insurance. Her name is Ilyana Romanovsky and she practices in Berkeley and is located near the Claremont Hotel. Our daughter has only been seeing Ilyana for 6 weeks, but she has already made huge strides.

    Another great source for CBT is the San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy, which is in Oakland.  

    Please contact Roger's Behavior Health in Walnut Creek. It is a great center that treat exactly what you need. They will be able to help you or refer you to a cbt therapist.
    Also, you can look up therapists here:
    And specifically in San Ramon Dr. Robin Yeganeh is highly recommended 925-400-9604
    Best of luck to you!

    I am the parent of a now-adult child with OCD. If you think your niece has OCD, I strongly encourage her to be seen by a psychiatrist (MD) who specializes in OCD for a firm diagnosis. It is a distinct illness. UCSF has an OCD clinic with an emphasis on pediatric OCD and the clinic takes insurance. They are experts and can provide a diagnosis and treatment plan. She will also need to get a specific form of CBT called ERP (I highly recommend going to the website of the International OCD Foundation for info and referrals to treatment providers). Most therapists who specialize in ERP don’t take insurance bc they are in high demand and can be paid higher amount and avoid the insurance hassle. I suggest calling your behavior health insurer and asking them to find someone. If they cannot, you can then ask for them to cover the cost of treatment with an out of network therapist. Beware that lots of therapists claim they treat OCD in their listings but they have little experience or no training with ERP. So you want to make sure you aren’t given a run around to someone who isn’t qualified. OCD is a federal and state Parity Act diagnosis so read up on that if your niece has health care insurance that also includes behavioral health. I hope she gets treatment soon so that she can learn to cope with her illness and participate in her life. 

  • We thought our son might have ADHD so he was recently evaluated by a neuropsych, who identified that he doesn't have ADHD but recommended some CBT to support him with some strategies for anxiety. He's super bright and doesn't have any social issues, but gets pretty nervous about doing the right thing in school and seeing approval/reassurance. Does anyone have any recent recommendations in Oakland or nearby?

    My daughter saw Dr. Daniela Owens in Rockridge for CBT for social anxiety. Dr. Owens was wonderful.

    Hi there, I wanted to forward this along. I'm a school-based OT and this popped into my inbox today, a free mini workshop on anxiety. I'm planning to listen in, hope it is helpful to you too

    Clearwater in Oakland is great with CBT (they call it DBT, a take on CBT that includes mindfullness)

    Contact Emily Berner at SF Bay Center for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Oakland on Rockridge Avenue. She works with my 7 year old son on anxiety.

  • Any recommendations for CBT who accept insurance in East Bay and know 2e kids well. I send my kid to see a regular Marriage and Family Therapist who also a CBT but she doesn't know 2e and I am afraid she can't give the best advice or provide right direction to this type of special kid. I know lots of centers where have CBT but not taking insurance.  Thanks!

    Sara Stutz in North Berkeley did wonders for my son. She's amazing. I'm not sure about insurance, but worth checking. (510) 375-5420, smstutzpt [at]

  • Hi all,

     We are looking for a competent CBT therapist trained in Exposure and Response therapy for OCD, for our older son, who is a sophomore at Cal.

    Any leads are much appreciated!


     I highly recommend Jonathan Barkin, Psy.D.  My daughter saw him a couple of years back.  He is located on College Avenue in Oakland and has expertise in treating OCD with CBT. 

    Hello, I can recommend Dr. Amy Jenks.  I believe her primary office is now in Orinda, but is easily accessible by BART.  Good luck!

    Please look on the iocdf website, they have a great database.

    You can also ask the local affiliate

  • My 12-year old son is very anxious. We tried sending him to therapy but he hated it and, as nearly as I could tell, got nothing out of it. I heard that CBT could be effective and was looking for someone who might be able to do that with him. Any suggestions about someone who would be good with a smart, funny, stressed out 12 year old boy?

    My 8 yo has anxiety (diagnosed by a pediatric neurologist). We have Kaiser and have done some of their offerings, which tend to funnel children/teens into groups, as well as paid out of pocket for a traditional therapist, which at the time (he was 6.5/7) was not super helpful. The Kaiser group we attended for about a semester was surprisingly useful for my son (the whole time I was really disliking the leader, but guess what, the therapy wasn't for me); and a year later, we have pulled out some of the tools they discussed to try to head off a flareup of anxiety before it becomes all-consuming again. So my rec is to look for a group - especially for a 12 year old, who is a little more savvy and less prone to "adopting" other anxieties aired in the session. That was a big concern of mine because all the kids in the group had different foci, but in fact my son seemed to grasp that he didn't have to worry about X just because another kid did. Kaiser Richmond & Oakland have totally different groups, so feel free to get recs for multiple facilities if you have Kaiser. Your son should have a case manager (MSW or psychologist) at the facility you'll be doing group at. And if you're out of pocket/not in Kaiser, this should all be easier to survey and pick one to try. Good luck, anxiety is no joke but a 12 yo can definitely be part of the solution.

    We also have Kaiser. My now 14 yo did not like the groups there and wasn't progressing with the therapist there either. Now she is seeing Heidi Ronfeldt a CBT practitioner in Oakland. She really likes her and I think she would be good with boys as well. She's very down to earth, good sense of humor, and has gotten my daughter to try things outside her comfort zone. She's expensive and it's too soon to tell if it will make enough of a difference that my daughter won't have to go on medication but I do think she is excellent and would be worth calling. Good luck I know how tough parenting an anxious child can be. 

  • My daughter (17) has been suffering with chronic migraine for years, and her neurologist has recently suggested trying CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) to help manage it.  I wonder if anyone has a recommendation for someone who specializes in this very particular niche: has anyone had wonderful (or not-so-good) experiences with therapists hopefully in the East Bay?  Thanks in advance for your help!!

    Hi. I don't have a therapist to recommend, but as a peer of yours wanted to share my story with you as a migraine sufferer. Migraines run in my family and at the age of 12, around puberty I began experiencing them. It was only a few at first, but at age 16 they would happen once a month and shut me down for days and only a trip to the E.R. could remedy the worst ones, (there were none of the currently available meds at that time to treat them.) My own personal feeling is that they are seriously tied to hormonal fluctuations for women, AND really tied to our stress level and emotions. I also don't think it is fair to tell women that they are "all in our head" either, because they certainly are not, even if our emotional state contributes to them!!!! I was a very Type A person in high school, involved in way too many activities, constantly juggling academics and my leadership roles and working part time. My own family was stressful and I really did not know how to manage any of it. It seemed that I was really pulled together on the outside, but on the inside, I worried and hid so much from my own family. I think that is really what made my migraines soooo bad. When I left for college, I decided not to join any clubs or groups, and I was out of reach of my parents and all of their expectations, and I started being a little bit of a "bad girl"(but it was all very tame by today's standards- ha ha) and you know what? My migraines stopped. I think also that my hormones had leveled off as well, but letting go, not having a really high stress level with the pressure to succeed and also starting to see a therapist to work out old issues helped me as well. I know that hormones and stress are my biggest triggers, but every woman is so different. I really wish that CBT had been offered to me as a teen, it would have helped me so much. I think it is a great avenue to explore, and I wish you both luck- there are gonna be some great therapists in this area who specialize in this! I hope some other posters can share names with you. best...

    Hi Susan. I saw your message and had to reply. There is a child psychologist in Berkeley who specifically does CBT with teens who have migraines and chronic pain named Dr. Rachel Zoffness. I heard about her from my daughter's friend's mother when I was looking for a CBT therapist who works with kids. She has stellar training (Brown U, Columbia U, UCSD) and has a PhD in Psychology. Website has all the info, It's such a specific niche I felt silly having this info and not sharing it with you. I hope your daughter gets the help she needs and feels better soon!! Best of luck to you... PT.

My child sounds similar to yours and we've had great success with CBT. It does take work in between sessions, but our therapist did an amazing job of getting my child's buy-in when suggesting new things to try. She always takes time at the beginning of the session to check in on general stuff - how things are going with friends, any new school drama, how the soccer game went, etc. And she must take amazing notes because she remembers everything! Which of course makes my child feel connected and heard. It's expensive, but short-term. We did a few months in the spring and successfully addressed panic attacks and some sleep issues. We are now back for some new stuff, but the expectation is that this will also be short-term. 

Unless you are scared for their safety I would not go the med route at age 10. You may end up on a non stop road of meds that are not really made for children. I have a lot of experience in this having gone through it with my own child. DBT therapy would be very appropriate. It has groups, parent training, individual therapy all as a part of it. Another option is Equine therapy. Both of these are helpful for anxiety and trauma. They helped my child immensely. 

Hi, I am a therapist and would recommend talking with a few therapists. I think Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) would be a good place to start. But most therapists will assess if the type of treatment is appropriate for your child. And most ERP therapists are also trained in CBT, not always the other way around.

For parents there is also SPACE treatment (Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions) which is a way of treating the child’s anxiety through working with the parents only. It’s a great treatment for school refusal due to anxiety and childhood anxiety in general.

I'm sorry that you've had such a hard time getting effective support despite your best efforts. Unfortunately, I don't have a specific practitioner to recommend that's taking new clients at this time. But, I would encourage you to look for someone well trained in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectic behavioral therapy (DBT). DBT can be considered a ramped up version of CBT. These are the gold standard treatment approaches for significant mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, addiction, etc. Both are evidenced-based treatments based on behavioral science.

CBT and DBT have been a game changer for my young-adult children and me after years of ineffective talk and relational therapy.

My child is a little older and will not commit to the work she was recommended to do through her CBT. DBT is another level you might look into.  Exercise is really all she relies on for calmness. While she is the one experiencing all the confusion of this newly diagnosed condition, if I don't remember to take the time to take care of myself and let myself go I can be of no help to anyone.  So my advice is to be good to yourself,  continue to be a great role model and utilize a spa day once in a while. 

I think I have a pretty good idea of how you are feeling and what it's like to be the parent of a child who is suffering emotionally. Our son entered into a deep depression w/ social anxiety and was suicidal a lot of the time. We found a CBT therapist about a year ago. The CBT person recommended he do the CBT work but also see a psychiatrist. Its been a little less that a year and WHAT A DIFFERENCE it has made. He had to make an effort do the CBT work (visualization, meditation writing, etc) but it paid off. The psychiatrist recommended he should try Fluoxetine, (which we were not in favor of in the beginning) but it REALLY helped. It gave him a break from the depression so he could actually do the CBT work.  By the way Fluoxetine (Prozac) is often recommend for premenstrual dysphoric disorder, which your daughter may or may not have.  I don't mean to imply our son is "happy all the time", but he is himself again, doing well in school, having fun with friends, fighting with his siblings, etc. In his darkest hour (a few weeks into treatment) I did talk to him about my experience with faith, not faith in any particular god or anything, but that sometimes when people are in their darkest hour, faith is the only thing left. We also cried together a few times just hugging and not saying anything. I have faith that you will see your daughter smiling again, brighter than ever!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Cognitive Behavioral Therapist who doesn't use ''The Feeling Good Handbook?''

July 2012

Does anyone know of a really good cognitive behavioral therapist who does not use ''The Feeling Good Handbook?'' I tried CBT and the therapist used this book (there was an alternative one, but he didn't recommend it very highly) and I just didn't like using it, consequently I didn't get much out of it. CBT comes highly recommended, so I'd like to give it another try. Would be interested in hearing from anyone who had a good experience with CBT, not using this book. Thanks so much. Willing to give it another go

I have been through my share of therapists and this guy is unbelievable. He has changed my life and my relationship - significantly for the better, for the first time. I like who I am better and have much more clarity when interacting with others, whether there's an altercation, sticky situation or just boundary challenges. I've never felt inept but can now navigate much more skillfully. He's the best that there is: Don Elium, MA MFT 925 256-8282 Don [at] Good luck! Been through my share of therapists

Mark Balabanis in Rockridge, above Market Hall. I went to him for about a year after I saw him recommended on BPN. He never mentioned that book to me, so I don't know if he uses it. I think it is on his bookshelf, tho. He is so wonderful - kind, caring, intelligent. He's not cheap at all, but he's worth every penny. OCD patient

You may want to try the Mood and Sleep clinic at CAL, they use cognitive therapy for depression, but not a workbook. Anon

I'm not sure who you saw previously, but for a long time I was a patient of Dr. Jacqueline Persons at Oakland's Center for Cognitive Therapy and I can honestly say that she saved my life (I was plagued with intense panic and anxiety, on top of the clinical depression I've suffered from since I was a child). I wish you the best of luck finding a treatment routine that works for you. CKY

San Francisco therapist who practices CBT

June 2011

I'm looking for a good therapist in San Francisco to help with anxiety. I'd prefer someone who practices Cognitive- Behavior therapy. Anonymous

Hello - Blair Wellington, MFT is great and does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in San Francisco. good luck, Carleigh

I go to a truly fantastic cognitive behavioral therapist in San Francisco. His name is Cannon Thomas, and he is part of the San Francisco Group for Evidence Based Psychotherapy. Cannon is very very smart, focused, skilled and caring. His training is impeccable (he did a postdoc at Stanford and has taught at UCSF). He offers great personal guidance and support in handling the personal issues I am working on. He also has taught me so much about how people work (what the research says about various issues). My main focus with him has been on anxiety -- and its been unbelievable how much I have changed. I have grown a great deal with his help and I would highly recommend him. His number and email: 415.771.9999, thomas [at] Thank heaven for behavioral therapists!

Kathryn Hirt works in downtown San Francisco and is very skilled and competent in cognitive behavioral therapy and ways to work with your thoughts and emotions more ''skillfully''. She seems to understand the workings of the whole mind-body process so intimately, I learn something new every time we meet, and every week I leave with something new to practice, examine, or apply in my life in difficult times. I find this empowering, therapy not being relegated to the 50 minutes we meet once a week. She's in downtown SF and also north Oakland- I meet her in both places. 510-220-3558 is her contact info and www. for her website (which I found very informative when first looking) Good luck! anon

Affordable Cognitive Therapy

April 2011

Is there such a thing as Affordable Cognitive therapy in the Bay Area? How about affordable treatment for drug and alcohol addiction? Any resources that aren't so obvious would be most appreciated. The free resources are difficult to access. looking for help

I don't have a comprehensive list, but here are two suggestions for affordable cognitive therapy and affordable drug and alcohol treatment.

The Berkeley Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies Clinic offers affordable cognitive therapy for adults. The fees currently range from $15 to $45 per session for individual or couples therapy and $10 per session for groups. All of the therapists are experienced doctoral students being supervised by licensed psychologists, and they are trained in the most up-to-date, empirically validated cognitive and behavioral treatments. They treat a wide range of disorders using traditional CBT and mindfulness-based therapies (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), but are not currently equipped to help clients whose main problem is substance abuse. There are several groups (depression, anxiety, mindfulness-based stress reduction) which are starting new sessions in May, as well as an ongoing dialectical behavior group (for treatment of borderline personality disorder) which has periodic openings. You can reach the Berkeley CBT Clinic at (510) 486-8998.

For affordable substance abuse treatment, consider Options Recovery Services in downtown Berkeley. It offers a low-fee, year-long program which includes access to therapy. It is an abstinence-based program. Options has a website: where you can find their contact info. Alexis

Cognitive Behavioral Therapist in Berkeley/Oakland

Feb 2011

Looking for a great cognitive behavioral therapist in Oakland/Berkeley. I searched the archives and wanted something more current. Has anyone been to the San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy recently ? I currently deal with major anxiety and refuse to go the Paxil route again. Have taken the Kaiser anxiety class, but Kaiser really sucks when it comes to mental health. They just want to drug you. Anon

I saw Dr. Weiner at the SF Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy, and I cannot recommend him highly enough. He helped me work through my anxiety without medication, and I have been totally anxiety free for 3 years now. He really gave me the tools to keep things in check. Good luck! Anonymous

Heidi Ronfeldt, PhD, in the Rockridge area is really good (510*926-8490) Hope this helps!

2007 - 2008 Reviews

Female cognitive-behavioral therapist?

August 2008

I am looking for a cognitive behavior therapist in the East Bay. Preferably a female practitioner, however, if you have had a stellar experience with a male practitioner I would appreciate the info. Thanks so much East Bay Mom

I would highly recommend Dr. Katherine A. Martinez with the SFBA Center for Cognitive Therapy on College Avenue. She is very effective and very easy to work with. She is young and can really connect with the kids. 510-652-4455x14 anon

I recommend Dr. Katherine Martinez at the Center for Cognitive Therapy in Oakland (510/652-4455). She worked with my teenage son and the results were mixed but I think it was because that kind of therapy was not the best fit for my son. She came highly recommended from our pediatrician who is very hooked into the Bay Area therapy scene. Dr. Martinez is very supportive, extremely clear about therapy goals and expectations and she measures progress in a clear, systematic way without being overly clinical. She helped me with some parenting issues and checked in with me regularly about my son's progress. She was generous with her time, having a long phone call and some e-mail exchanges with me and not charging me. I loved that she was so prompt with e-mail responses to my questions. The Center for Cognitive Therapy has an excellent website and you can learn more about her and the other therapists there. C

I don't know a female CBT therapist in the east bay, but I'd like to offer an alternate recommendation, in case you can't find exactly what you're looking for. There's a great CBT course offered at Kaiser Vallejo , both an adult 10-week session and a children's 6-week session. $70-170 for the whole thing. Email phobease [at] and they'll probably say it's fine to come to the first class (Sep 11th for adults) before you sign up.

When I was considering going, Vallejo seemed really far. I never would have done the hour-long drive from Berkeley if I hadn't been travelling with a friend. And I definitely would have preferred to learn CBT from a female therapist in a one-on-one setting. But the guy who teaches the course, ''Dr. Fear'', has a real knack for making the CBT tools accessible, and his totally wacky lightheartedness is exactly what many people need when facing issues that require us to seek out CBT. Also, you can be as public or as private as you want during the class when talking about what you're using CBT for.

I would STRONGLY suggest that anyone who thinks they may want CBT go to the first class Sept 11. I use CBT tools all the time, and they've made a real difference in my life, so congrats that you're reaching out to look for a resource, for whatever you're struggling with! Glad I attended

CBT Therapist for help with panic attacks

May 2008

I'm looking for recommendations for a cognitive behavioral therapist in Oakland or Berkeley who takes Pacificare insurance. About 7 years ago, I had a panic attack. I'm starting to feel some panic symptoms (muscle tension, racing heart, shortness of breath) again since I've returned to work after maternity leave. It is already hard enough trying to work as a new mother, but now I am dealing with the fear of having another panic attack. I would like to see a good therapist who can give me tools to handle stress/anxiety and panic feelings. Thanks for your help.

Hello, I've been seeing my therapist, Stacy Taylor, for a couple of years and she's great -- very warm, interactive, experienced. She does a lot of CBT and has worked with both myself and my daughter around anxiety symptoms. I believe she takes insurance, but she also has a sliding scale that is quite generous given the going rates. She's on Solano in Berkeley. Her phone is 234 7224

PS Stacy is very knowledgeable about health issues and she suggested I see my doctor and check for endocrine problems -- and it turns out I have a thyroid problem! Make sure to check this out! But, many of the standard tests (eg TSH test) are not l00% reliable so you sometimes have to push the doctor to run more specialized tests. Kate C.

Seeking Cognitive Behavioral Therapist for panic and agoraphobia

April 2008

I'm seeking a talented Cognitive Behavioral Therapist with experience treating panic disorder and agoraphobia. Preferably in SF or Berkeley. I have MHN (Health Net) insurance. Thanks for your help! Berkeley Filmmaker

If you are able to get to the Fruitvale district of Oakland, I can recommend a wonderful therapist named Renee Miller, LMFT 510-530-3648. I know several people who have had success with her. Feeling Better

I had a very good experience with the Center for Cognitive Therapy on college ave. I had Simon Madan as a Psychologist, this was 7 years ago and to this days I use the techniques learned there and keep my panic/anxiety under control.

Now my 7 years old son is also having anxiety and I am taking him to see Dr. Katherine Martinez she is just great and thinks are working very well for my son. The tel number is 510 652-4455. They do not accept any insurance as far as I know but will give you a receipt to seek reimbursement with your insurance company or to a smaller rate scale I think.

2005 - 2006 Reviews

Need Cognitive Behavioral therapist for teen

Oct 2006

I am looking for a therapist who works with adolescents and uses cognitive behavioral methods for dealing with obsessive/compulsive behaviors. Who has a pracrtice in Berkeley. Can anyone recommend someone-preferably a woman-who works specifically with teenagers and who takes insurance or who has a sliding scale? (The Wright Institute doesn't deal with children.) thanks! anon

The Psychology Clinic at UC-Berkeley offers cognitive behavior therapy for children, adolescents and adults. Our services are sliding scale, and we are located on the North Side of campus. Give us a call at 510-642-2055 for more information or to arrange a consultation Laura

Cognitive Behavioral Therapist for anxiety and depression

September 2006

I'm having problems with anxiety and depression, and my psychiatrist recommended that I see a cognitive behavioral therapist. Can anyone recommend a female cognitive behavioral therapist in the East Bay? Many of my concerns are surrounding parenting issues, so someone who could relate to that would be a plus (if that even matters -- I don't know much about CBT). Also, if anyone could relate their experiences with cognitive behavioral therapy, that would be great, since at the moment it sounds like a scary, intense, high-commitment ordeal to me. anon

Kathryn Hirt is a great therapist who uses CBT methods and also incorporates mindfulness/ awareness practices that are tremendously helpful. She is really great- insightful, compassionate and very real, and warm as well, not afraid to confront gently. 510-220-3558. Good luck to you! (she's in Oakland and also SF) sarah

I saw two male therapists at the SF-BA CCT (check archives) for anxiety (Balbanis) and for help deciding whether to become a parent (Tompkins). Life-changing, effective, amazing. Do it.

You fear that it is a ''scary, intense, high-commitment ordeal to me'' -- not scary or high-committment for me -- usually over in a matter of weeks or months, unlike classic talk therapy, and there's no blaming other people or digging into childhood trauma. Maybe intense, in a good way. Change the way you think in a logical supportive fashion -- it works
A Worrier Myself

I would like to recommend a wonderful female CBT. Her name is Lynn Martin, she prictices in Orinda. She's a lovely woman -- very warm, understanding, easy to talk to and helpful! I'm not sure if she is currently taking new patients, but give her a call. She's wonderful -- I don't know how I would have gotten through many years of severe clinical depression & anxiety without her. Her phone number is 925-377-0410. I'd be glad to share my experiences with you -- I certainly understand what you are going through -- I was nervous about starting therapy too but it proved to extremely worthwhile. Please feel free to email me directly. I'm sorry you are going through this rough time. K.M.

Effective therapist to help me change bad habits

August 2005

Hi, I've been looking for a therapist near Berkeley who isn't too new agey, but who does hypnosis and/or cognitive behavior therapy. I don't want to waste a lot of time going over my background and discussing my problems, family, etc. (I already know about my family and problems.) I just want to change some bad habits and bad ways of looking at situations, myself, gain some insight, etc. I have health insurance, but I'm trying to find recommendations and then seeing if the doctors are covered by my insurance. Any advice would be welcomed. Thanks!

Based on my personal experience, I'd like to recommend cognitive behavioral therapy as a quick and effective way to change unproductive thought patterns (without having to delve too deeply into their causes). It really works, and for me it worked fast. I've already posted several times to this list about my success reducing anxiety, obsessive thoughts, and resolving stuck decisions with the help of the therapists at the San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy . They're in Rockridge; check the archive for more information. Less Anxious

CBT Therapist for anxiety disorders

January 2005

Hello, I am looking for a good cbt tharapist in the berkeley area who has experience dealing with anxiety disorders any info would be greatly appreciated. thanks

I highly recommend Paul Malkin, he's a cognitive behaviorial therapist in Oakland. I don't know if he has specific expertise in anxiety disorders since that is not my issue but I have found him extremely helpful in working on my distorted thoughts. Paul Malkin, 510-494-0328.

2004 & Earlier

May 2004

Re: Mom's anxiety - Conventional psychiatry hasn't helped I am sorry your mother is struggling with anxiety. Is it more generalized anxiety or is she having acute panic attacks? It would probably be helpful for her to see a new psychiatrist in conjunction with a therapist who specializes in cognitive- behavioral therapy (CBT). I know there is a Center for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Oakland & a psychologist there, Dr. Michael Tompkins, is very good. If acute panic attacks are the problem there is a man named Dr. Liebgold (aka Dr. Fear) [see Howard Liebgold for this review.] Anxiety can be incredibly debilitating & interfere with daily functioning. I would recommend your mom not give up on trying new medications. I am a psychologist in Berkeley. I do not specialize in CBT but do work with anxiety disorders. It is important to find someone who can teach your mother techniques to manage the cognitive distortions which are increasing the anxiety. Ruth

Therapist in Rockridge

Feb 2004

I'm new to the east bay and have a new baby. So for convenience I'm looking for a therapist in Rockridge. Since there are about 50 on College Avenue alone--I''m hoping for a good referal.

My husband goes to Michael Thomkins and has had a really incredible experience with him. His office is right by Diesel Books. Michael was recommended by my therapist, Lisa Post, who is down at Stanford and is just awesome (so her recommendation means quite a bit). My husband has been able to grow actively in Michael's care, not just in how he feels, but in how he ''is'' in his life. It has had a very positive impact on him, on his job and in our relationship. I would highly recommend Michael (and I am sure if my husband ever took the time to write to the UCB Parents Network he would too, and much more eloquently). A good therapist is worth his/her weight in gold


Cognitive Behavior Therapy vs. Talk Therapy for Depression

January 2004

i'm writing again on behalf of a dear friend with severe anxiety/depression that is also connected with some other physical and biochemical issues. he is considering cognitive behavioral therapy and is wondering both about the effectiveness of the modality in general and also if someone can recommend an excellent therapist who works in this capacity. one issue we are wondering about is how different this is from ''regular talk therapy.'' thanks in advance and thank you also to everyone who helped the last time. (p.s. i already searched the website) anon

There is a real difference between cognitive behavioral therapy and talk therapy for depression and anxiety. There is 25 years worth of data from controlled and well designed studies that document the effectiveness of behavioral therapy. Whereas, there is not the same documented well designed studies that demonstrate the effectivness of talk therapy for these disorders. If some one is desperate and looking for immediate relief cognitive therapy is the best way to go. I am speaking based on personal experiencing going through this with family members and professional experience. I am a clinical psychologist with an extensive background in behavioral therapy. I have an ex-co-worker that is in private practice and she is trained in cog beh therapy. In fact, she teaches the depression and anxiety class for Kaiser in Oakland. I worked with her for many years and she is exceptional she not only has training in cognitive behavioral methods she is system center trained and is very rooted in buddhist philosophy and practice. It is a nice integration to meet many peoples needs. She is on solano avenue in berkeley, Alison McCabe MFT 510-496-3490. Linda

I have a different take on cognitive behavioral therapy for depression than the one given, based on my experience with it. I know that it claims a high success rate, but I'm not sure how this is determined.

I have suffered from severe depression over many years, and have done a lot of talk therapy. I got a lot of insight and support from it, and it helped me to grow and to survive. It did not solve the underlying biological problem, which medication finally did. I don't regret at all doing the therapy- I learned a lot- but wasn't able to reap the full benefit of it until medication pulled me out of the paralyzing depths.

While I was beginning medication and trying out different ones to get it just right for me, I took the Beh Cog class at Kaiser. I got a couple of useful tools and reminders from it, but found it overall to be quite superficial. Solving real depression is not mind over matter, which I found the gist of the class to be. When you are deeply depressed, you are simply mentally and physically unable ''snap out of it'', and being given self-help tasks to do can make you feel even more like a hopeless failure.

I observed that people in the class who were mildly depressed, not long term or deeply depressed, benefitted the most. One fellow in the class, who was obviously deeply troubled and in intense pain, appeared more and more distressed over the course of the class. I have no way of knowing if he was also getting psychiatric help, or if the instructor recommended it to him, but he clearly needed it. In terms of how people rated the class at the end, my observation- not just in this particular situation- is that many people say that they haved been helped by a class or therapy so that they don't feel like a failure, and sometimes to be polite.

My class instructor had been doing this work for a long time, so it was not a case of her being inexperienced. But I would have felt that the class was more ''real'' if the instructor had made it through and out of serious depression herself. If this woman had, she didn't say so. It is very very hard for people who have not experienced this crippling disease to understand what it feels like from the inside. Friends and family can expect someone to pull themselves out of it, which only further isolates the depressed person. I have many friends who call me now and ask if they can give my name and number to someone they know who is severely depressed and I always say yes. I can share my experience, give them feedback and suggestions, and give them hope that this too will pass with the right help.

Best wishes, anon

Therapist who practices cognitive-behavioral therapy?

Nov 2003

Can anyone recommend a therapist practicing cognitive- behavioral therapy? Thank you. cliff

Melinda White, on Solano, does cognitive-behavioral therapy. I think she's good. anon

I had great success with Kristin Valus, Psy.D., at the San Francisco Bay Area Center of Cognitive Therapy at 5435 College Ave, Suite 104, in Oakland. They have a website you could check out too - Good luck.

I recommend the SF/Bay Area Center for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy . Their Oakland office is located at 5435 College Ave in the Rockridge district. They also have a SF office. Margaret

Dr. Michael Tompkins at SF Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy, on College in Rockridge. My son sees Dr. Tompkins for obsessive- compulsive disorder. He is extremely helpful to my son, and very supportive of the whole family. --knock on wood THREE TIMES