Affordable marriage counselor

Archived Q&A and Reviews

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2008 - 2012 Recommendations

Nov 2010

My husband and I are going through some major challenges in our marriage. With two small children, we are doing everything in our power to try and save the marriage. It has gotten to the point that it is beyond what we can do and we need some intensive professional help. We are self employed and cannot afford $100+ for 50 minutes on a weekly basis. Does anyone have a reccomendation for a low cost provider that offers marriage counseling? We are in the East Bay. Any leads are appreciated. Thanks. Low Cost Help

For low to moderate cost couples therapy, I recommend either The Psychotherapy Institute in Berkeley (510) 548-2250, or Women's Therapy Center (510) 524-8288. Both use a sliding fee scale based on income and consider your individual financial situation. Best of luck, Debra Lyman, LCSW
The Women's Therapy Center in El Cerrito may be an option for you. They charge on a sliding scale with the maximum being $85 for the 50 minutes depending on what your household income and expenses are. Anon
You may want to look into Women's Therapy Center in El Cerrito. Best of luck. anon
I highly recommend Audrey Sabol. My husband and I have been seeing her for many years and we are very very thankful to have her. There have been manys struggles and points where we were not sure if we were going to make it as a couple and Audrey helped us work it out. She's also very flexible. We would see her 2 times a month to fit our budget and she let us bring our baby to session. I believe her rate is between $100-115. She's in Rockridge and her number is 510-869-5329. Good luck! Monica
The Bay Area Psychotherapy Training Institute in Lafayette provides low fee services by interns in their final stages before becoming licensed. They are all mature, well trained counselors overseen by very seasoned licensed professionals and provide excellent services. To schedule an appointment call 925-284-2298. They also have a website, just google BAPTI. Best wishes to you and your husband. You can make it work! Marie
Dec 2008

After 4 years of marriage and the birth of our first child, who is almost one year old now, I feel we really need some counseling if we want to make our relationship last. We have no health insurance at the moment, and it seems we have no time or money to spare either -which is probably part of the problem, but not all of it- Does anyone know of any free, or inexpensive couple's counseling? desperate new mom

Many churches have free or low cost counseling available. Also, there are classes for couples to take to work on your marriage. Our church, First Presbyterian Church in Berkeley ( has both. Good luck
The Psychotherapy Institute in Berkeley is a great resource for low-cost (they use a sliding scale) couples or individual therapy. The number if 510-548-2250. Good Luck.
It is important to remember that most relationships experience a decline in marital happiness after having a baby. Couples counseling can be very helpful in providing tools for improving communication and reestablishing intimacy with your partner. Women's Therapy Center in El Cerrito offers low-fee, sliding scale counseling by interns for individuals and couples. Their number is (510) 524-8288.
July 2008

Seeking affordable family/couples therapy in West Berkeley area. Heather

The nonprofit agency where I work, JFCS/East Bay, offers excellent sliding scale family and couples therapy in downtown Berkeley. We've got a great team of competent, expert therapists who could assist you. Call (510) 704-7475, ext. 700. Or check out our website at Though ''Jewish'' is in the agency's name, we're nonsectarian and offer services to people from all backgrounds. Best, Holly

2004 - 2007 Recommendations

Dec 2007

My husband and I are going through rough times with trust and communication issues. We have a young family (1 year old and 2 1/2 year old) and do not necessarily have the means to afford the $100-150/hr fee for a therapist. However, we are very committed to working through our issues. Any suggestions for therapists that are affordable and effective? Anon

Try the Women's Therapy Center in El Cerrito. It is staffed by counseling interns who provide individual and couples therapy on a sliding scale fee structure. Sorry I don't have the number at hand. Hope that helps
I would highly recommend Stacy Stoddard. She's an MFT Intern, which means she has reasonable rates even though she has years of experience. She actually focuses on women and couples who have babies and children, so she may be a good match for you. God knows she did wonders for us! Her office is in North Berkeley, and her website is, phone is 510.496.2733. Good luck! Anon

2003 & Earlier

March 2003

I am wondering if people have recommendations for low-cost couples counseling. I have looked at previous referrels, and many of them are out of date. I would love some names of individual therapists, or clinics. Thanks

The third year of training at the Women's Therapy Center in El Cerrito specializes in couples/relationship counseling, and they work on a sliding scale. They are mature women with great supervisors and teachers. 527-3562 is the number I have for them, but if that doesn't work, call the WTC number, which is 524-8288. Cynthia
Try the Women's Therapy Center in El Cerrito. They do individual and couples counseling. The fees are on a sliding scale depending on family size and income.
a satisfied client
October 2001

The adjustment to adding a child to our family has been hard on my marriage and after 18 months of trying to fix it with cheaper methods, we have resigned ourselves to the fact that we need to invest in marriage counseling. The only problem is that we do not have space for this in our budget. Therefore, we are looking for a high quality marriage counselor who we could see twice a month for no more than $160 per month ($80 per session). We would really prefer someone who is in Oakland, as the closer they are to home, the less we have to pay a babysitter. We need someone who would be available evenings or weekends. I have looked on the website and contacted the UC Berkeley Psychology Clinic, but their hours do not work with ours.

The Couples Clinic at University of California, Berkeley is offering low-cost, short-term therapy to a limited number of couples. Our approach is based on the latest research on marital relationships. We will help you and your partner to communicate openly, resolve your disagreements positively, and cope with negative emotions. Dealing with these issues now is an investment in the future of your marriage and the well-being of your children. Your marriage is too important to put on hold.

The Psychology Clinic is open to all Bay Area residents and offers affordable fees. For more information, call (510)642-2055.

My husband and I have seen someone recently who might work for you. His name is Bruce Ecker. He does something fairly unusual (he literally wrote the book on it!) called Depth Oriented Brief Therapy. The hallmark of this technique is that he believes that deep, long-lasting change is potentially available FROM THE VERY FIRST VISIT. He will see individuals or couples (so far we've always gone together, although some visits were more like individual therapy with kibbitzing), and he will schedule sessions at whatever interval you feel comfortable with. Each session is scheduled at the end of the current one, so you're in no way committed to see him for any set period of time. The downside is that it can mean inconsistent timing of visits, since it will depend on whatever he has open at that point. But we've never had any problem finding a mutually acceptable time within about 2 or 2 1/2 weeks. He has a sliding scale, and I believe that the bottom is $80. He is not solely a marriage counselor, but he certainly does work on dynamics between couples, very effectively (he is both an MA and MFCC). He works in Oakland, at 445 Bellevue Ave. Suite 101. Phone number: 510-452-2820. Good luck! Dawn
marriage counselor. George Gardener, LCSW has an office in Oakland and he is a really great therapist! His number is 482-1002 Good luck
we saw Joyce Lindenbaum, LCSW, on College Ave in the Rockridge area. It was many years ago so the price would be outdated, but she was flexible in reducing the fee for us. Even so, it was a stretch financially, but we figured we could put off saving money to buy a house so that we'd have the best shot at wanting to live in it together! Joyce was a tremendous help and I recommend her highly Tony
Editor Note: as of 2006, Joyce Linderbaum is not working on sliding scale