Couples Counseling at Kaiser

Archived Q&A and Reviews

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Couples Counselor who works with Kaiser

May 2008

My long term boyfriend and I are looking for a couples counselor to help us work through several long-standing issues, including jealousy on his part and communication issues in general for both of us. We both have Kaiser, and have very little disposable income, so either need to work in the Kaiser system - is it possible to get private couples counseling with Kaiser? - or with someone who will work on a sliding scale and charge us as little as possible. I looked the archives but everything I can find is several years old. We live in Oakland near Piedmont Ave but are willing to travel for the right person. Thanks. anon

Kaiser does not provide couples counseling anymore. I went up against the Dept. Head, etc., last year in Oakland. Even if they did still provide couples counseling, Kaiser has a policy of getting folks ''cured'' in 6 session or less. So, not sure if that's helpful for everyone. They do have a group communication workshop that acts as a substitute. Good Luck! Unhappy with Kaiser
For low fee couples counseling outside of the kaiser system, I'd recommend either The Psychotherapy Institute in Berkeley or The Couples Clinic of The Women's Therapy Center in El Cerrito. Deena

How to get Couple's Therapy at Kaiser

Sept 2007

My husband and I need couple's therapy at Kaiser, but I can't figure out how to go about getting it. We are way beyond the couple's communication class they offer and we need some individual attention. Can anyone who has done this lay out the basics for me? anonymous

I don't have the answer to your question, but I would be very interested to find out. We have Kaiser for 7 years now, and when I have tried Kaiser a few years ago for individual therapy, they told me that you could get up to 4 or 6 counseling sessions a year for mental health, and that was it (unless you were homicidal or suicidal). If you wanted more, and individual attention, they would refer you to an outside service. The best thing they have done was to refer me to Berkeley Therapy Institute (BTI) at the time. This year, we decided to start couple's therapy with my husband, and I did not even think of trying Kaiser, and went directly to BTI. They have some excellent people over there, it is non-profit and the fees are sliding scale. I would strongly recommend them (and their ''interns'' if you cannot/don't want to pay the higher fees, and they are outstanding as well). I would be surprised to find out if Kaiser provides couple's therapy sessions for more than a few times a year (maybe if you really push them they might, and on the other hand if both you and your partner have Kaiser, you may try to negotiate to have double the number of standard maximum). I think mental health/counseling services is the weakest aspect of Kaiser, but otherwise I am happy with them. Good luck anon
Unfortunately, Kaiser does not offer couples therapy (outside of the communication classes.) My husband and I went through this earlier this year. Kaiser is our primary (and only) health care provider. I spoke to someone at Kaiser about couples therapy. Bottom line: they don't do it. Luckily, we found a really great private practice therapist who is helping us make strides individually and together. Her name is Susan Glick (510) 381-2984. She is compassionate and understanding. Couples therapy is NOT cheap, so you may have to give up something else in order to do it, but I urge you to speak to someone. In my opinion, its worth it. Good luck! Anon.
My husaband and I just tried this at Kaiser and unfortunately, they do not offer any couple's work other than the communication group. What we ended up doing, which was better than nothing but a far cry from what we needed, was contacting my employer's EAP (employee assitance program). We got two sessions with a therapist. It was not nearly enough as my husband has substance issues, but it was something. I empathize - once things get to a certain point... Can you afford some sessions with a private therapist? Certain places (Earth Circles in Oakland, I think) have sliding scales. Good luck. Anon.
Kaiser may have recently changed their format for couples therapy. However, if you insist you both need help, & keep calling, going higher up the administrative chain, if necessary, you should be able to get some help. However, the word is INSIST. They have some excellent people & if you get someone who doesn't seem to work out, then ask for another therapist. Been there
I'm a psychologist for a Kaiser clinic in the East Bay. I'm so sorry about how hard it is to get couple's counseling. Most of us who are clinicians agree it should be offered but we are so impacted... Regardless, one possibility is to simply ask for an individual appointment either for yourself or your husband, then once you're established with someone, many therapists will be open to bringing in your partner. You may want to ask around or even search this network for recommendations of therapists who will be more accommodating and/or who are well liked. If you've already done the communication class, that should help you. At my clinic that class is a prerequisite to doing couple's work, and then the adult therapists are supposed to offer it - but I'm not sure of the policy at Oakland. You should of course also pose this question to the triage at Oakland Mental Health if you haven't already done so. Deb
My husband and I did couple's therapy at Kaiser in SF. It was as simple as calling and requesting an appointment, but it was not easy to set up regular appointments. We had to set them up at the end of each appointment and when we missed one, there was no follow up by Kaiser to set up another and because the available times were inconvenient, we let it go. It was helpful, but we really needed something more regular and closer to home.
Things must have changed in the last year because my husband and I were allowed 5 or 6 weekly couples sessions through Kaiser Oakland about 1 1/2 years ago. The requirement was that we also attend the Couples Communication class. I actually found the class quite good and wish we could continue going every week. The sessions were less helpful. Really, you can't do much in that time period and I felt rushed through the process by the social worker. Seems like if you want good therapy, you have to pay for it; despite all we pay for health care, apparently mental health is not thought of as so important unless you have a really serious problem. If you want to try through Kaiser, I think I called the psychiatry department. I recall having to wait a few months before our first session. Alternatively, ask your OB or PCP for a referral. I find the best way to navigate through the system is to have a doctor do it for you! They know the tricks. Been there, need more
This is regarding ''How to get Couple's Therapy at Kaiser''.

From my experience in looking for ongoing counseling for a chronic psychiatric disorder as a Kaiser member, I have learned that each Kaiser facility has its own policies regarding counseling/therapy and that it varies substantially from one facility to another.

I tried to find individual and ongoing counseling at Oakland, and they told me that a group was my only option. I tried San Francisco (the Geary St. campus), and now have a counselor I see every few weeks for as long as I want to. With that much spacing between visits it doesn't count as real ''therapy'' and it would be nice if it was more frequent, but my LCSW counselor is very good and it at least gives me some stimulation, support and a place where I can speak openly.

I don't know what they offer in terms of couples' counseling at SF, but I'd check it out and also check out all other Kaiser facilities in the area- it's surprising how different their policies and protocols are regarding many things. It's worth it to me to spend some traveling time to get the doctor or service I need, and in this case, I'm saving somewhere in the neighborhood of $125. per session. Anon

We have sought couples therapy via Kaiser Oakland since March 2007 with no luck. They have recently decided to only offer the Couples Communication Workshop. They are still seeing some couples, but only ones from before the policy change. A Kaiser psychologist who disagrees with the new policy suggested writing Robin Dea, MD, Regional Director, Mental Health and Peter Cohen, MD, Chief of Psychiatry to let them know your opinion. Good luck.

African-American Couples' Counselor

Feb 2005

does anyone know of a good couples counselor with kaiser? if this person is female, African-American, or familiar with the trials of inter-racial couples - any of those things would be a bonus but the only real requirement is that they are with kaiser and you can recommend them. thanks anon

Kaiser has generally great therapists: Afr. Amer.- Roscoe Simmons at Kaiser Oak in Children's - maybe he can see couples? If not ask him for recommendation. In Fremont check their psychiatry service and Hayward's Private: Roscoe Simmons, PhD, LCSW Robert Gorden, LCSW - 547-8830 Jean Shimozaki, LCSW - 547-8830
Dr. Papillion, Ph.D. is an African American therapist at Kaiser Oakland. She's excelllent and also teaches classes on couples communication and intimacy.
see also: African-American Couples' Counselor

Couples Communication Workshop

Sept 2004

Re: Couples Communication Workshop
My husband and I did the Couples Communication Workshop at Kaiser Oakland. I'm pretty sure it is open to non-Kaiser members for an additional fee. It was about 6 weeks on a weekday evening and was helpful. There was homework, but like everything, the more we put into it, the more we got out of it. One thing it really got me to do was shut up and listen and when I don't interrupt I hear things I wouldn't have otherwise (duh, I know, but this was revelation). Good luck. Been there

Marriage counseling at Kaiser

May 2004

My husband & I are interested in marriage therapy and are members of Kaiser Oakland. If any one has seen someone in particular that you would highly recommend- we would appreciate it. Our concerns do include some sexual issues (lack of!) and are really just hoping to feel ''reconnected'' that our daughter is almost a year old. Thank you!! anxious for more action

My husband did the Couples Communication Workshop at Kaiser Oakland. I'm pretty sure it is open to non-Kaiser members for an additional fee. It was about 6 weeks on a weekday evening and was helpful. There was homework, but like everything, the more we put into it, the more we got out of it. One thing it really got me to do was shut up and listen and when I don't interrupt I hear things I wouldn't have otherwise (duh, I know, but this was revelation). Good luck. Been there (Sept 2004)

Couples/Family Therapist, East Bay

March 2003

Our recent move from the midwest to the East Bay has brought out the worst in several members of our family. Any recommendations for family and or couples counselors at any of the East Bay area Kaisers? Thank you. Muddled from Move

My husband and I have been really happy with Kathy Mill at Kaiser Oakland. She is smart and helpful, insisive and no-nonsense. feeling better