Therapist for Co-Parenting

Parent Q&A

Need a co-parenting therapist - Angry ex-husband Nov 6, 2020 (3 responses below)
Looking for therapist to help coparents Dec 3, 2019 (1 responses below)
Trouble co-parenting challenging kids - resources? Oct 30, 2019 (3 responses below)
Support for co-parenting with depressed spouse Jul 30, 2018 (2 responses below)
Co-parenting Counselor Recommendations Needed May 15, 2017 (1 responses below)
Seeking a co-parenting therapist Feb 23, 2017 (4 responses below)
  • I'm looking for recommendations for a therapist who can help me navigate co-parenting my wonderful 15-year old son with an angry, hostile ex-husband. My ex has severe anger issues, and I'm worried about what and how he's behaving around my son. I don't fear for my son's physical safety; it's the subtle manipulation and messages that worry me. Ex barely communicates with me, screams profanities at me, refuses to help pay tuition to my son's school (he earns $400k a year; I earn $50k). The list goes on.

    We've reached critical mass and need a rational, reasonable person to help us align our expectations and behaviors around our son.

    Thank you for any recommendations.

    Hands down, Chandler Hoffman is the best, especially when dealing with angry husbands.

     One divorce tip that has worked for me, is to only communicate by email.  No texting or conversations.  That won't solve all the issues of an angry ex-spouse but it might help a little bit.

    I would highly recommend Alexis Adorador: www.alexisadorador.com

  • Looking for therapist to help coparents

    (1 reply)

    Hi,

    I’m looking for recommendations for a therapist who will work with coparents on coming up with a common set of goals and structures for their 8 year old in their respective households. They have a good working relationship with each other but the environment in the two houses is very different  and it’s creating some difficulties for the child.  I’m looking for someone who will work with both parents on the high level goals and also on the details of the behavioral implementation. Any recommendations are greatly appreciated!

    I want to raise a big red flag about Julia Wallace, who is recommended in another message string beneath this one about therapists for co-parents. We saw her in February 2018 based on us seeing this very recommendation in BPN.  In the middle of what was a pretty normal session, she became furious and attacked me verbally, diagnosing me with autism and two other conditions after about two hours of conversation and insisting that we walk away from each other. We spent most of that session trying to calm Julia down and regain our balance.

    It was all very troubling and potentially destructive for anyone who may already be fragile to begin with. I checked on Yelp and by coincidence another woman posted on the same day as my session about a very similar experience with Julia. It's really worrying that Julia's out there practicing. Thankfully, we survived and are now co-parenting an awesome 17-month-old boy. BTW I do hope BPN posts this warning. We trust the info on this site and there needs to be space for feedback on your postings. Thanks.

  • To start, we did not get the easy model of children. Our 15 yo has ADD that presents a bit more like Aspergers, 11 yo has significant anxiety. So we have some extra challenges as far as parenting goes. They are really great kids though -- funny, sensitive, earnest and deeply empathetic. My husband and I have completely opposite upbringings and as a result he struggles with the kids that he imagined vs the ones that we actually have. I think he also suffers from depression due to some trauma about 15 years ago (and our parenting challenges) and this results in a lot of explosive behavior, diatribes and shaming our kids -- not helpful as I end up getting the kids back to their equilibrium. And grown up explosive behavior doesn't help with our kids' explosive behavior! Our parenting strategies/philosophies are just not jibing and I am now at wits end. And even though I feel it is largely his depression and disappointment in parenting that are the biggest contributors to our situation, I know I'm not the perfect parent either and am interested in any kind of resources that will help us parent better together. Advice, books, parenting classes, anger management, great co-parenting counselors -- please, send it all my way. Thank you!

    First of all, family dynamics are so very hard especially with ADHD and anxiety disorders. I know because both my daughter and husband have ADHD. My first piece of advice is to research and/or have a licensed counselor work with you guys to understand what it is like to be your child. I have found that you have to parent a child with ADHD differently and a lot of it is counterintuitive.  Other than that, I would recommend 2 books: one called the Anger Workbook and one called Sacred Parenting.

    I am so sorry you are experiencing this strife in your family and marriage. You are not alone! I'm four years ahead of you with a story that sounds familiar. My suggestion is to find a stable of therapists - an individual therapist for your husband, a marriage therapist for the two of you, and a family therapist. This seems like a lot and it is. Despite endless hours of networking and research, I have yet to find one therapist or program to address the range and depth of the situation and people you describe. For me and my family, at various times, different professionals have been helpful. We dial up and down as needed. I'm sorry to say that ultimately, we have divided the family into two households for the time being to release the tension for the benefit of all of us (my children are older). I hope you are able to find what's best for you and your family sooner rather than later.

    I understand this problem. My husband and I have been at odds for 18 years over parenting a child with severe inattentive ADD. Our two different takes on how to parent are the reverse of your and your husband's - I'm the one who explodes and he is the compassionate softie.  Our son just started college this year and is living away from home - what a relief to not have the daily battles over how to parent him!!!  We miss him and love him of course, but a burden has been lifted and our life as a couple has been much more harmonious and pleasant these last few months. So there is light at the end of the tunnel!

    Over the years we tried reading books about parenting and working with parenting coaches but it didn't really help in terms of getting us both to agree on an approach. We are both resistant to therapy; me because I'm a skeptic, and my husband because he sincerely believes he is smarter than everyone else.  My husband found a book about ADD that he thought was good, and for several weeks he read and re-read it, constantly quoting passages to me. But for me it was all obvious stuff that we had already tried. What helped me was the two of us attending a few sessions with parenting coach Rona Renner.  At the time our son was 12 or 13 and it was a rough time for all of us.  Rona understands kids' behavior on a very deep level, and she is also adept at picking up on the little triggers that cause parenting strife.  She is very diplomatic and she has seen it all, and she gave us great advice. Of course my husband thought her advice was all either obvious stuff that we were already doing (we weren't) or not as well-informed as his own opinions, since he had read that one book. But her insights have stayed with me over the years and helped me to be a better parent to our son, and maybe even a slightly better partner to my husband.

    So in our case, we never did agree on a parenting approach. We still don't agree about choices our college-aged kid is making but it's out of our hands now - he doesn't live with us anymore!  But we did each find our separate methods for coping with a challenging kid. I hope you and your husband do too!

  • Are there any support groups or parenting groups that focus on this?  Managing feelings and managing impact on kids?

    I have been looking for the same thing. Sending you support from someone going through the same situation. It's not easy. 

    I did find this, FWIW: https://www.nami.org/Local-NAMI/Programs?state=CA

    Good luck!

    ----Parent Dealing with the Same

    I don't know of any, but please share if you find something! I sure could use it too.

    Yours in solidarity...

  • Hi, I'm seeking recommendations for a tried and trusted co-parenting counselor, a male counselor in particular. My husband of 15 years and I are separating, we have a 5 year old child. We need someone to guide us through custody decisions with our daughter's best interest at-heart. My husband is distrustful of therapists and would feel more comfortable working with a man. Hoping for a down-to-earth, honest, sensitive and fair person to fill this role. 

    We can travel as far north as Richmond, as far south as Oakland (we are in East Bay).

    Thank you!

    Nick Wightman in north Oakland is a good balanced therapist with experience with kids. Google or yelp and you can find him. 

  • Seeking a co-parenting therapist

    (4 replies)

    Hello,

    My partner and I have never been married, we live together and have a 6 yr old son together. We are in terrible disagreement regarding our values and have differing opinions regarding use of screens for our son. I am seeking someone with a strong knowledge of childhood development who is not in favor of kids in kindergarten using websites and computers for purposes of reading, learning, etc... I come from a holistic background and my values reflect a more home grown approach to learning such as reading with your children, relating, and building skills without the interference of flashing lights, beeps, sounds, etc...of computerized programs. My son's kindergarten teacher sent home a letter asking the parents to download a computer app for reading and practice. This has caused difficult disagreement between my son's father and me. Any suggestions for a therapist who specializes in co-parenting and a more holistic approach to child development, such as a background in Montessori or Waldorf/Steiner would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! Anon

    Julia Wallace in Hayes Valley is an excellent therapist with a lot of coparenting experience. I highly recommend her. That said, I would gently suggest that seeking out a therapist who is going to side with you on your parenting preferences might be counter productive to finding common ground with your partner. It sounds like you both need to learn how to work together to find compromises and understand where the other one is coming from and come up with a system to dealing with parenting disagreements in the future. A good therapist will help you do this without choosing sides. If you pick a therapist that is just going to be on "your team" to gang up on your partner, your partner is likely to get defensive and not want to participate in the process. Best of luck to you, I hate all the screen time too.

    I strongly suggest that if you want a therapist to help you co-parent, you not go into it with the idea that the therapist will be strongly biased toward your point of view. Coding and computer science are part of elementary education now, as they are essential skills (as essential as reading and arithmetic) for the job market, and it might behoove you to consider that your rigid aversion of all "screen time" may be putting your child at a serious disadvantage. 

    I mean no offense, but it sounds like you are looking for a therapist who will take your side, agree with you, and join with you in convincing your husband. That is not a therapist's job - they should value your opinions, as well as those of your partner, equally, and facilitate good communication between the two of you to work it out.  If that's not what you're looking for, then I don't think you're looking for a therapist.  Maybe you're looking for a parenting expert who shares your philosophies?

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Questions


Therapist for co-parenting after divorce

Aug 2013

I am looking for a recommendation for a therapist who is particularly skilled in the area of co-parenting after divorce. I need someone covered by my UC insurance (Optum - formerly United Behavioral Health), and someone in Contra Costa County (preferably Walnut Creek/Lamorinda).

Recently divorced, the co-parenting challenges were a huge part of the reason for our divorce. Divorce, of course, hasn't changed any of those challenges. We still disagree about most things. Our daughter is 15 and I am finding I really need to work with someone who can not only understand the challenges, but gently guide me to be able to work through the challenges. My ex and I disagree on 90- 95% of parenting issues (I'm bad cop, he's good cop) and it was, and remains, extraordinarily challenging and frustrating to co-parent.

Related is that our daughter is extremely strong-willed and likes to be in control. She has always played her dad and me against each other. She also refuses to go to therapy (she went briefly last spring and quit after a few months).

And finally, my ex's attitude is that he gets to parent how he wants at his home and I get to parent how I want at my home, and ''that is divorce.''

Thanks. need guidance, not just an ear...


I highly recommend Lucia Grauman; she is compassionate, very intelligent, and very good at dealing with relationship issues. Besides, she is a pleasure to work with. Both my sister and my aunt have been counseled by her, and the improvements have been consistent and permanent. Her office is in Rockridge, and all her contact info is in her site: http://luciagrauman.com/ Angie


This is going to sound harsh but as someone with lots of experience in this arena, I feel it is true. You are not ever going to get your ex husband to agree with ''your'' rules now that you are divorced.

He will do what he thinks is ok and you will do what you think is ok and ya know what? Your daughter will figure it out. Call her on the stuff she is doing that plays the two of you against each other. Clearly state ''this is how we do it here.'' Don't bad mouth dad but rather say ''he and I don't agree of this issue''

You do need to let this go. You have no control over him or what he does anymore (barring anything considered truly negligent....) anon


Therapist for co-parenting with ex's girlfriend

July 2013

Hi. I am looking for a good therapist (Berkeley/Oakland area) for myself, my daughter's father and his girlfriend. My daughter is 5.5 years old, and her dad and I have been divorced for about 3 years. We have an ok relationship, and communicate frequently about our daughter. She splits her time between our homes. I am seeking a third party to help with the relationship of co-parenting and how his girlfriend fits the picture. I need a strong listener and problem-solver. I appreciate your help. Thanks! Frustrated Mom


I don't think you could do better than Dr. Lancaster. She has been tremendously helpful in getting my husband and I to work out some pretty difficult child-raising issues. She is warm, supportive, and best of all, effective. anon


Hi there, I have had great experience with Fran Wickner and feel great about recommending her work. She has been in the area for 25 years and is highly esteemed by her colleagues as the strong listener and problem solver your family needs in this difficult situation. Her phone number is 510-527-4011 and her website is: www.franwickner.com Sara


I can highly recommend Alexis Adorador, MFT. Her practice is based in North Berkeley, and I think she would be very well suited to fit the specifics of the type of therapist that you state you're looking for. To find out more about her and to get her contact information, you can go to her website: www.alexisadorador.com Craig


Co-parenting counselor for shared custody with dad's second wife

Jan 2012

Looking for a co-parent counselor in the Pinole-Ricmond - Berkeley area. I find myself in a bad situation with my son's absentee dad and his controlling second wife. She has pushed him into court with me after 8 years of him not being a much of a participatory dad, my son is 8. I was ignorant and did not protect myself legally when my son was born. My son seems ok but this is all new to me and having to now share custody and some decision making after always doing it solo is really tough. What makes it harder is she is doing all the communication as him through his email - I have proof - so there is no communication between me and my son's dad. I realize this is a different scenario as there was no marriage or relationship to begin with, but I really want to know if others have been in this situation and I want to do right by my son. Any advice out there or counselor recommendations would be most appreciated. Tired of being angry


There are some things that are basic to a co-parenting relationship, and one of these is communication -- with the co-parent, and not primarily the co-parent's spouse. I would recommend this: face-to-face communication with your son's Dad and a mediator, asking that at least the first meeting occur with just the Dad. Your son's Dad's wife is not a parent in this situation. A mediator who also has a therapist function would probably be best, given the dynamic with the wife. She seems intent either on upholding what she perceives as her husband's rights or becoming a mother to your child, which is overstepping an important boundary. There are big emotional issues involved, so I would recommend Eva Herzer (510-526-5146) or Larry Rosen (http://www.throughunderstanding.com), who are both understanding and insightful mediators and expert on the law. divorced mom


I highly recommend Yvonne Mansell(510) 528-9551 in Albany. Co- parenting is one of her areas of specialization. She is a gifted and warm therapist, and I have no doubt she can help. Best wishes to you. Marie


Co-parent counselor for separate households

Oct 2011

Looking for a good co-parent counselor for parents of a 3 year old, separate households since birth, in the Berkeley/Oakland or Lamorinda area, any suggestions? anon


Contact Julia Wallace at http://juliawallace.com/ Julia has been a great help to not only my wife and I, but several of our friends as well. We have been seeing her for several years, whenever we have a communication breakdown or just need the input and guidance of a neutral 3rdparty. Julia is also co-parenting, so she really gets what you are experiencing. She's awesome. She can also provide referrals to counselors in your exact area, if you are unable to travel to see her in the city. anon


Court has recommended co-parenting classes

April 2010

After 2 mediation sessions in 2 years, the court is now recommending that the father of my child and I go to co- parenting classes. Having a hard time finding local recommendations. I am located in El Cerrito and the father is in Richmond. We share a 4 1/2 year old daughter. Stalemate


I know a highly renowned therapist who works not only with kids (older than your daughter), but also quite brilliantly with couples to support their kids. His name is Lenny Levis and he works out of Berkeley: My husband and I have worked with him to support our son - very successfully. 5105405052 I am also very familiar with the work of an amazing woman whom I've consulted on parenting issues as well as personal: Mary Duryee. I have heard from many people that she does brilliant work with couples around parenting and mediation, and she knows the court processes very well. The problem is that she works out of Oakland. I think her assistance is totally worth the drive, but your schedule may not be able to accommodate this extra mileage. Her number is 510.839.7080 ANON


I'm sure other people will recommend them as well, but Kids Turn (kidsturn.org) offers co-parenting classes. You might have to wait a couple of months for one that fits your schedule, but I found the classes to be really helpful. Just being in the same room with other divorced parents was really useful, and Kids Turn gives some good tips and tricks about how to make things go more smoothly. Kids go to classes too -- one of my daughters found the class useful, but the other one didn't get much out of it. anon


My ex and i need some help co parenting

Sept 2007

Hi, My ex and i need some help co parenting. Does anyone have recommendations for therapists that work with families in this way? We need someone in the South bay, or the Peninsula. Thanks


Hi, I can recommend a great Parenting consultant expert. Here is his info: Matthew Van Lokeren mvanlokeren [at] yahoo.com 415 203 7293 Hope it helps, Ana


MFT to assist with our co-parenting issues

July 2007

I am looking for recommendations for a MFT to assist my child's father and I with our co-parenting issues. Ideally I'm looking for a female practitioner in the Alameda/Oakland/Berkeley area who is compassionate and is skilled in helping parents better their communication. Thank you. nomorebabydaddydrama


I've been working with Dr. Marlene Winell for a while now and have come to admire her skill greatly. She is a compassionate, honest, intelligent and insightful woman with a breadth of knowledge about human development and communication skills. She has made a profound impact in my husband and I's relationship and I recommend her to anyone seeking help from a psychologist. She's open to new clients and you can contact her at mwinell [at] gmail.com. Hope it helps!! H.


I would recommend that you call Christy Shepard. Christy is a MFT therapist with offices in Berkeley and San Francisco, phone # 415-864-5186. She is highly skilled with couples, related communication issues and all sorts of parenting concerns. anon


I've been working with Dr. Marlene Winell for a while now and have come to admire her skill greatly. She is a compassionate, honest, intelligent and insightful woman with a breadth of knowledge about human development and communication skills. She has made a profound impact in my husband and I's relationship and I recommend her to anyone seeking help from a psychologist. She's open to new clients and you can contact her at mwinell [at] gmail.com. Hope it helps!! Helen