Therapist for Depression

Parent Q&A

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  • I am hoping to get the name of an excellent therapist who would work well with my adult son who is depressed.  

    Thank you for any help!

    Liz Walser was the technician that diagnosed my daughter with severe depression. She eventually became my daughter's therapist and I cannot speak highly enough about what an amazing person and therapist Liz is. She's raised sons so don't let her being female dissuade you from reaching out to her. Her expertise is beyond all therapists we had to suffer through to find the right person. My daughter ended up going back to her while at college after seeing another therapist that wasn't helping her the way Liz did. Liz helps my daughter stay the course unlike any other therapist (and there were lots!).

    Best of luck to you and your son.

  • Hello

    I’m 55.  Female and married with two kids. I’ve lost my way these last three years.  I was asked to leave my job due to various issues. I don’t have close friends anymore.  Husband and extended family relationships are strained. I might be depressed. I lose interest in projects quickly.  I’m forgetful. Any criticism destroys me.   I want to find joy and meaning and fulfillment again.

    Kaiser insurance.  Berkeley Oakland Richmond location preferred.

    Thank you in advance..

    I see Barbara Hart in North Berkeley. I highly recommend her. Great listener and gives practical advice. I saw her through my pregnancy with my second child and am going back to her as I am now dealing with the sudden death of my mother and a third pregnancy. 

    Unfortunately if you have Kaiser you have to see a provider through Kaiser and they have waitlists. I’d still start with them and see what they can offer - assuming you want it covered through insurance. Otherwise, see if your spouse says employer has an EAP program which may offer free counseling sessions. If so, they can also recommend in network therapists!

    Some of the things you describe such as depression, forgetfulness, etc. can also be symptoms of menopause and perimenopause. So if you haven't discussed how you feel yet with your Obgyn, it might be good to do that and see ideas of how to manage it, e.g. HRT, in addition to a therapist. Your OB can then also refer you to the behavioral health department at Kaiser. From my experience, Kaiser does not offer mental health care unless things are really really bad. So you might have to look out of network. All the best!

    I have no recommendations but I want you to know that I believe in you and your efforts will pay off.

    The first thing you might want to do is to talk with your Kaiser PCP and asked to be screened for depression.  Your doctor can then talk with you about anti-depression medications and screen for any physical reasons for depression.  Simultaneously, you can also call Kaiser mental health services directly and make an intake appointment (you don't need a referral from your PCP).  The number for services at Kaiser Oakland is 510-752-1075.  I hope you call.  Sending love.

    Kaiser also refers out to non-Kaiser therapists sometimes.  It's called Magellan, I think.  My therapist sometimes has a few clients come via Kaiser.  You will find yourself again,  I hope you get the support you need.

    Call kaiser member services - the number is on the back of your card. Tell them that you want to see a therapist and they will set you up with a quick telephone screening, then you can get a list of therapists in your area that take kaiser insurance. (At leas this is how it worked for me.) You can call people on the list to see if they are taking new patients and see if it might be a good fit. :)

    kaiser has a reputation for having bad mental health services - but they have been putting a lot of effort into fixing this. They are very conscious of this reputation so I think if you call member services they will be attentive to making sure you figure it all out.

    Best of luck! Take care. 

  • Looking for a therapist, probably female, who I can talk with about my anxiety, depression, family/parenting concerns. Someone with a sense of humor. Someone warm and welcoming. Someone who accepts Blue Shield Insurance. 

    I'm not sure about the insurance but I recommend calling Lauren Finklestein. I can't recommend her highly enough.

    I go to Heather Roselaren and have Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance. She helps me with my depression and family/parenting concerns. 510-527-1217

    Hi there,

    I recommend without resevation Marie Hopper ( Her office is in Albany, close to Solano Ave., and she also has a Lafayette office. The only insurance she accepts is Blue Shield. I have found her to be a  kind and patient therapist. I wouldn't be here without her.

    Be well, good luck!

    I had great success working with Mallika Bush for about 6 months last year ( for exactly the issues you're seeking help with. She is very flexible (after the first couple months, we ended up doing most of our sessions over Zoom during my toddler's naptime) and really helped me work through a lot of my kneejerk reactions to stress/stressors so that the next time my life hit a bump I was able to cope MUCH better. I opted not to submit claims to insurance b/c they required a diagnosis code and I was a little gun-shy about giving myself a pre-existing mental health condition given the uncertain state of healthcare right now, but Mallika will provide you with the necessary paperwork to submit as an out-of-network provider. Hope this helps!

  • I have been urging my husband to seek therapy for a very long time, and to my great relief, he has finally agreed that it would be very helpful.  I worry, however, that if he doesn't find a good fit with a therapist, he'll easily give up -- and who knows how long it will take me convince to give it another try?!  His untreated depression (which manifests itself as anger and irritability) is really having a negative impact on our family in so many ways, and it saddens me what our life will continue to be like if it remains untreated.  So, needless to say, I have an investment in helping him find a good fit.  In any event, because we do have good behavioral health benefits through our insurance carrier (Health Net - UC Blue & Gold plan) and have limited financial resources, I'd like to try and find a therapist in network.  Health Net contracts with MHN for behavioral health, and the list I'm seeing is so exhaustive and with no names that I recognize.  Ideally my husband would like:

    * a therapist with an office in Berkeley

    * an older, mature female therapist (he seems to be more at ease in opening himself up with this "type")

    * someone with experience in addressing depression, anxiety, PTSD, work-related stress, and anger management issues in men

    * someone who is more verbally engaged (as opposed to someone whose style is just to be more of an active listener)

    BPN community, I would be ever so appreciative if you could help identify anyone who meets some (if not all) this criteria, and it would be especially great if you think they might be in network for Health Net members.  Thank you!

    Therapy Den and Psychology Today are excellent websites that allow you to search for therapists based on some keywords, location, experience, and insurance. You can match the list from your insurance to the descriptions on these sites to help you narrow it down. Good luck!

    I recommend Kristin Hirt. She was a very good therapist to me, fits your description. Her office is just off the freeway on Lakeshore Ave in Oakland.

    I have the exact same insurance and recently tried to find a therapist for my teenager. I highly recommend that you do nothing on line and CALL MHN immediately. You tell them what his requirements are and they will find someone who is accepting new patients that fits that criteria. I beat my head against a wall for the longest time because I looked at profiles for practitioners on their website, tried to research, contacted them, and inevitably I would be told that they weren't accepting new patients even though they were listed as accepting on the website. When I called MHN after looking for a while, I found them to be very helpful. I stated all the requirements (my teenager preferred female provider, had to be after school or on the weekend, had to be a certain day of the week and time so I could transport and attend a few sessions with my teen at their request). I thought I was being too particular, but that's what we needed for this to work. It took them a while and they had to "upgrade" me to a supervisor of some sort, but it worked! If you go through insurance, you save thousands of dollars, but these are the hoops you must go through. I sometimes want to try someone where I see their website, but I realize that the people who don't take insurance have the best websites because they need to have them to attract patients! There is also access to an on-line portal through MHN that you can get by calling MHN that he might respond well to because it is more anonymous and private. They make sure you understand your benefits too--make sure they go over them with you. Good luck!

    We really like Dominique Lambert-Blum. I'm not sure of the insurance situation, but she has experience of the type you seek judging from how she interacts with my husband.

  • Can anyone recommend a counselor who has helped them through life-altering depression, helping them get back on their feet and stick to "normal" routine?  Please send me names and contact info, and THANKS.

    I highly recommend Amy Wallerstein Friedman, who practices in Oakland. I've seen multiple therapists in different cities and Amy is by far the best. She got me through almost a decade of on and off depression and I am now in a very good place. Practical, very wise, empathetic, and intelligent. I like her a lot.

    I would hugely recommend Dr. Lisa Lancaster.  She is in Berkeley right near the Oakland line.   She helped me with severe depression a few years ago.  I can't say enough about how life-changing my time with her proved.  Her number is 510-841-2525.

  • I am in search of a parenting coach or therapist to help me better parent my 9-year-old son, who has started exhibiting some signs of depression.  I am a lifelong depressive and am terrified he will follow in my footsteps.  I'd like to be able to talk to someone in detail about my son's words and behavior--someone who can help me respond most effectively to try to prevent what I think I see happening.

    You might try giving Dr. Patricia Zurita-Ona a call. She specializes in anxiety and depression. She's in Walnut Creek, and her number is (925) 956-4636, email ebbehaviortherapycenter [at] Good luck with your search!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Depressed for 5 years - other ways of healing?

April 2012

I have been depressed for the better part of 5 years. I've had psychotherapy, been on and off various antidepressants, etc... all of which have helped to some extent. I've read books as well. The depression has been from repeated traumatic events and I'm looking for other ways of healing. I've been interested in hypnotherapy, reiki, etc... and am looking for recommendations for these and other solutions. I just don't feel that talking about it is helpful anymore and I don't want to be on antidepressants anymore. I'm looking for something deeper. Any suggestions would be so helpful! looking for healing...

My heart goes out to you. Yes, it seems that at a certain point, talking has limited use. I have several recommendations that have helped me: 1) Recovery, Inc. 2) Reiki 3) EFT tapping. Meg

Since you are open to alternatives, let me strongly suggest homeopathy for what ails you. I credit homeopathy with helping me recover from a life-long depression. I know there are good remedies for PTSD, too. Good luck.

One of my neighbors is an EMDR therapist for the VA, working with PTSD veterans. Apparently EMDR is highly effective. If I hadn't met her, I never would have heard of it. Do your research, but here's a start: ''Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)1 is a comprehensive, integrative psychotherapy approach. It contains elements of many effective psychotherapies in structured protocols that are designed to maximize treatment effects. These include psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, experiential, and body-centered therapies2.

EMDR psychotherapy is an information processing therapy and uses an eight phase approach to address the experiential contributors of a wide range of pathologies. It attends to the past experiences that have set the groundwork for pathology, the current situations that trigger dysfunctional emotions, beliefs and sensations, and the positive experience needed to enhance future adaptive behaviors and mental health. EMDR is further described here: *** ...wishing you swift healing & complete recovery!

Hello, I know that you have tried multiple therapies but have you tried EMDR. It is an integration of cognitive, somatic, and emotive techniques. It was originally used with the PTSD of veterens. However, some of the main symptoms of PTSD include depression, anxiety, anger, and other emotional dysregulation. So it has expanded to the treatment of these issues. Andie

The 2 things that have helped me tremendously are EMDR and meditation-serious meditation-week long silent retreats. This may be hard for you to do, but EMDR is not, and it helped me so much. anon

Hi! I have had severe PTSD since I was a teen (I'm 40). I, too, found conventional talk therapies useless and went through several therapists with no success. Then a co-worker of my husbands, a child psychologist, mentioned that people with PTSD need to be in therapy with PTSD specialists. I started cognitive behavioral therapy. It's made a world of difference and is much more than just ''talk therapy.'' While I'm all for alternative healing solutions, too (I exercise, journal, do self care stuff), my experience is that if you have PTSD, you need to see a PTSD specialist. Good luck! also have PTSD

I've spent the past few years healing from PTSD and I've tried a variety of approaches. (I, too, realized that talk therapy wasn't doing anything for me --in a way it just made the depression worse, since I was always talking about my problems and ''what was wrong.'' The more I focused on the negative stuff, the worse I felt.) Two things I have found helpful are EMDR and somatic therapy (primarily Somatic Experiencing, developed by Peter Levine).. I've also seen a variety of alternative (some REALLY alternative) practitioners. If you'd like to talk more about this, please email me directly. kricodi

i have significant experience with depression and have also done therapy and drugs, as well as a number of alternative approaches. i will tell you what really makes the difference for me (you have likely heard it before): exercise.

i do know that making yourself exercise when you are depressed is next to impossible. so do yourself a favor and hire a trainer or commit with a friend... anything that will MAKE you get started. (maybe commit to running in a race on a certain date, or something with a goal to have in front of you.) though it may not fix everything, you will start feeling better very quickly and everything will seem more manageable. anon

Hi there, I wanted to suggest seeing a therapist who specializes in trauma therapy and uses EMDR. I have found it so much more helpful than talk therapy or meds. Just a few sessions have been incredibly helpful! I am sorry that you are having so much trouble. EMDR is excellent at addressing trauma and getting rid of it. I hope you find something that helps. Feel free to contact me if you have questions. angmartin

Hi, I had a beautiful stillborn baby last year and felt as though nothing was helping, certainly not talking any more. The first bit of healing I got was when I saw a woman I had previously seen for massage. Turns out she had been doing Shamanic training in South America. This is nothing I would have sought out, but she was a wonderful massage therapist, so I was game. Completly amazing and healing, and very moving. My husband has also benefitted tremendously. Her name is Marin Cassasa and she works mostly of San Franciso. Her number is (415) 513-8576. stephanie

I would highly recommend trying EMDR. There are many therapists locally that do it. Keep asking until you find someone/something that helps. Julie

It sounds like you would be a very good candidate for a treatment called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). This was originally developed for the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and is an incredibly efficient way to move past issues that have not resolved through other methods of treatment (like traditional talk therapy). Eye movements are used to trigger your brain's natural information processing mechanisms to help your mind ''digest'' traumatizing and adverse experiences so that you don't continue to respond to the memory of them in the same way. I wanted to reach out to you because you wrote that you were sick of just talking about the issues and the beauty of EMDR is that you don't have to verbalize everything all over again. It is such an efficient way to resolve traumas. I am a therapist and discovered EMDR after a friend experienced the profound results in her own therapy. It has changed my practice because of the closure I have seen it bring to so many people who have been struggling with the same issues for their entire adult lives and are frustrated and desperate because they feel stuck. You can find out more about it at Wendy

I was treated for PTSD (but not depression) for my inability to move on from surviving a violent marriage combined with death of friends during childhood. I did cognitive therapy for 7 years and still couldn't move on. What worked for me was EMDR, I did this for about 4 sessions and I don't know why but it worked. I was finally able to let go of the shame and the survivors guilt that burdened me for so many years.

I did that 10 years ago and am no longer in therapy. I do, though, have to take steps to keep myself emotionally healthy. Currently I visit the acupuncturist monthly for my needle nap and recently began daily 30 minute mindful meditation. The meditation, btw, has had a much more powerful impact than I could have anticipated. Especially when it comes to my ability to remain calm when dealing with my 2 young high energy boys. Best of luck to you! Hope this helps!

Husband's debilitating depression

April 2011

I have a 4 month old daughter. My husband has a major, long-term, ''treatment-resistant'' depression. He's tried every medication (the list is something like 30 drugs and combinations) including some MAOI's, one of which helped land him in the ER when I was 9 months pregnant. He has heard from everyone that he should exercise, but won't/isn't able to actually do something about it. Ditto with dietary changes, such as cutting down on the wine, coffee, etc. These things contribute to his being overweight, having sleep problems, snoring. He also suffers from migraines. He's been in therapy with his Psychiatrist but he doesn't seem to think it has done anything to help. Bottom line is he's depressed. Often to the point where he is in bed most of the day. I'm looking for some sort of support group for myself. Does anyone know of such a thing in the Bay Area? coping

Check with the National Alliance For Mental Health. They have s support group for depressives in San Francisco. According to the link there are also affiliates in Oakland and Albany. What is positive about NAMI is that they are a group that encourages both medical and social management of mental illness. It also helps family members reduce their feelings of isolation, and advocates for better medical care and the governmental financial resources necessary to provide that care. anon

Not directly responsive to your question, but it struck me reading your post (about snoring and overweight and not wanting to exercise) that your husband may have sleep apnea, which can exacerbate depression by causing exhaustion.

Pharmacological treatment for depression is typically an adjunct to therapy, not a substitute for it. You didn't mention whether the prescribing psychiatrist is having regularly scheduled (at least weekly) sessions with him. Local NAMI chapter could be a place to look for support groups for yourself. Self-care could also include therapy for yourself.

It's a tough situation. Be as good to yourself as you possibly can, and this includes scheduling fun activities and seeing your friends. All the best to you! Ilene Diamond

Hi Coping,

Your situation sounds very difficult, especially with a new baby. I have to say that when I read about 30 medicines, drinking too much wine and coffee, and landing in the ER, it sounds very much like a classic case of addiction to me.

Perhaps you could get an addiction assessment for your husband, or go talk to the good folks at Merritt Peralta Institute, or take their free series of 4 Saturday am classes on the topic to learn more about addictive behaviors. Alcohol, pills, stimulants, and depression go hand-in-hand. For yourself, you could also try out several Al-Anon groups which you can find online at It is suggested a person go to several groups when starting, and you can bring your baby to many. Best of luck to you. Been There

Therapist (cognitive behavior?) for depressed male

Dec 2010

I am looking for current recommendations for a therapist (preferably one who specialized in cognitive behavioral therapy) for my brother, a depressed and anxious adult. He needs someone who is laid back in personality (not pretentious) and able to really work with him and ask pressing questions. My brother is uncertain about what is triggering his long term depression and really needs help beyond surface level speculation. Concerned Sibling

I highly recommend Robert Gorden, LCSW. He has offices in Pinole and Berkeley. Over 25 yrs experienced. He is a colleague of mine. He's been my consultant on a number of cases and he's great-compassionate, smart---- Since he owns his own Employee Assitance Program which serves local hospitals, he has lots of experience w/ particular challenging folks like high powered MD, lawyers etc but does great with all. His number is 510-847-8830 monica

Action Oriented Psychiatrist/Therapist to help with husband's depression

Sept 2010

We are looking for recommendations for psychiatrists (preferably female) in the Oakland/Berkeley area to help with my husband's depression. He has struggled with depression and taken medication in the past and feels that medication may also be the route to get him back on track this time. He would like to find someone who can give him concrete strategies to overcome his depression and regain his happiness. He wants to feel like he's accomplishing something and not just expressing his feelings with someone who's a good listener. Any recommendations are greatly appreciated. We have two very young children at home and I want them to know their daddy as a happy guy! Hoping for Happy again

I recommend you investigate Emotional Brain Training It is based out of UCSF and has shifted my depression and anxiety tremendously. best wishes

I don't have a recommendation for a therapist, but Kaiser offers a class, open to non-members for a fee, that was a big help to me when I was suffering from depression. When I took it the focus was on cognitive behavioral therapy-- recognizing pattern of thinking that lead to negative feelings. The cost for 8 sessions is about the cost of 1 hour of a one-on-one therapist's time, and it is very self- help focused. Here's a description snipped from the Kaiser website:

Managing depression series Depression is common, real, and treatable. But it can be hard to recognize. It is often felt as a low mood, sadness, or irritability that won't go away. This series will explore the causes and effects of depression on your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. You'll learn how to challenge negative thinking that contributes to depression, and how to reduce stress. You'll also get support for speaking up for yourself and for returning to the activities you enjoy. The skills learned in this course can help you manage moods long after the class is over. We recommend attending the Managing Depression Overview before taking this series. This class is open to the general public. Contact information (510) 752-1075 Carrie

My wife gets these postings and showed me your request for an action oriented therapist for your husband. I saw Dr. Fran Wickner on Solano Avenue, ''dragged in'' by my wife. I hadn't been to counseling before and was expecting someone to just sit there and look at me and make me come in every week. Instead Fran gave suggestions and homework that I could work on between our sessions and if I had a work meeting or other things happening we would reschedule our appointment or meet the next week. The flexibility and the fact that she interacted with me made me actually start looking forward to our sessions. She's on the Albany side Solano Avenue near the Berkeley border. 510-527-4011, don't know her email but she has a website. Husband helped by therapy

I can recommend Christine Benvenuto as a therapist for your husband who struggles with depression. It's so hard to watch someone you love battle depression and not living up to their emotional potential. I believe Christine can help! She is a very action-oriented therapist who is trained to teach mindfulness along with skills, both interpersonal and to help people respond to their emotions in productive ways. She is very engaging to be with and has worked successfully with many adults overcome debilitating depression. Her website, which I believe may be in-the-works, is Her office is in Rockridge and phone number is 510-421-6766 I wish you and you family the best... supportive BPN reader

2007 - 2009 Recommendations

Therapist for general Adult Depression

April 2009

I am looking for an intelligent well-rounded psychologist in Alameda or San Francisco county who specializes in adult depression and obsessive-compulsive disorders (these are self-diagnosed so they may not be correct). I would love suggestions of therapists as well as suggestions about how to support a loved one as they are going through counseling. Thanks! CJ

Dr. James Ballenger is an excellent therapist that specializes in adult depression. He practices both in SF and Oakland. He's results-oriented, compassionate, and has a lot of experience! His phone number is (415)385-5400 and email: jballengerphd [at] Good Luck! Casey

I would recommend Orit Weksler MFT. She has experience working with people who struggle with depression, OCD and other pretty severe difficulties. She's creative, thoughtful and has a unique way of looking at things. Her office is on University Ave. in Berkeley and her phone # is: 510-295-2588 As for supporting a loved one who is going to counseling- you know, counseling isn't an illness, first thing would be to support their decision to go, then enduring listening to them as they talk endlessly about their therapist! good luck- Tish

I am not a therapist, but do know of someone I would recommend most highly. Jan Bowman: the very best. Intuitive, very committed, and compassionate. I also think she has sliding scale. 510 594 9569 ANON

I'm not sure if those issues are her specialty, but I have been seeing Dr. Lisa Lancaster and have found her extremely intelligent and well-rounded. I came to her with some pretty severe depression and have really improved. Her number is 510-841-2525. She has an office in Berkeley. anon

Psychiatrist for Depressed Husband

March 2009

My husband is a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps kind of guy and is incredibly resistant to the idea of seeking help from other people. That said, I am looking for recommendations for a psychiatrist in the Berkeley or Walnut Creek area for him who is smart and logical and no-nonsense without being dismissive, but who can also work with a patient who is not going to be especially willing to be there, except to discuss medication options. My husband struggles with depression and has recently been drinking more--and more frequently. He agreed to cut out the alcohol and get some help. We have Blue Shield HMO. Trying to Help Him Help Himself

I highly recommend Dr. Richard Levine in Berkeley for your husband. Dr. Levine is extremely no nonsense, down to earth, humorous and irreverent. I am sure that your husband could deal with seeing him. He is not your typical psychiatrist at all. I have seen him for medication management for depression and always enjoy him. I don't usually post answers to advice requests, but this one just sounded like a perfect fit. Kristen

Therapist or psychologist to help with husband's depression

Nov 2007

We are looking for recommendations for a therapist or psychologist who contracts with Healthnet (MHN) to help my husband with his depression. My husband has seen a few people in the past, but felt that while they were good at listening to his issues, they didn't offer enough analysis or solutions to help him feel as though he was moving forward. He is particularly looking for a therapist to help him understand the causes of his depression and give him strategies to work through it. We're looking for someone in the general Oakland/ Berkeley vicinity. Anon

Paul Minsky, PhD is a great therapist. My husband went to him and really benefited from the therapy. He also does couple work. His number is 510 524-0700. He has an office across from Herrick Hospital and on Solano Ave. Good luck!

I would recommend Dr. Lisa Lancaster for anyone suffering from depression. She has done wonderful work with me over the last 6 months. I think she could help your husband. She is in Berkeley (510-841-2525) anon

Since it sounds like you are looking for actionable techniques to combat and overcome depression, I would encourage you to look for a therapist who primarily specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I also think ''Feeling Good'' by Dr. Burns and ''Mind Over Mood'' (forget the author but it's well known and easy to find) are a good supplement to therapy and something to keep your head above water while you look for the right therapist. This approach deals with debunking distorted thought patterns that lead to distorted emotional reactions. It requires some effort on the part of the patient but in my experience it has been a big help. I don't have anyone to recommend to you, unfortunately, but I hope this helps you find the right person and keep it together until things improve. Take good care. Montclair Momma

If your husband would benefit from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, whose basic premise is that the way you think influences how you feel and behave, then I might be a good match for him. I am interactive and use a lot of education about disorders in my practice, and accept MHN. I have an office in downtown Berkeley and would be happy to speak with him further about his needs and concerns. CBT is very good for anyone who is willing to examine the ways they're thinking and how it contributes to their moods. Anxiety and depression can both be ameliorated by challenging distorted thinking and replacing it with more balanced, rational thinking. I can also recommend the book, _Mind Over Mood_ by Padesky and Greenberger (and published by Guilford); this nifty self-help book helps people examine their thinking more logically and objectively. Lisa

Sharp and Versatile Therapist for clinical depression

May 2005

Hoping you can help... I have a number of issues that I'd like to see a therapist for. I suffer from clinical depression, which I've managed successfully with and without medication for 10+ years, am a recent first time mother, am having some marital issues and also self re-assessment issues that I would like to talk to someone about. Therapy/counseling has not worked for me in the past because I never felt like the therapist had much to offer me. I'm an intelligent woman and do a lot of self-evaluation and self- managed cognitive therapy, and none of the therapists I saw seemed, well, smart or good enough to do anything for me I couldn't do myself. And bad therapists just make things worse when you're feeling frustrated. I'd like to see someone who is exceptionally sharp and can help me examine the many issues in my life. I am not interested in a ''crunchy'', feel-good approach, but want to talk to someone who is extremely well educated, experienced, and down to earth. Someone with experience with clinical depression (maybe even a psychiatrist?), but also with marital issues would be preferred. Someone who has evening or weekend hours available would be ideal. Thanks! anon

I have seen a therapist who fits your description--Carol Drucker in Albany. She is so sharp and no BS or shrink mumbo jumbo. She is very direct and excellent and gauging what you can handle and not pussy-footing around things if you can handle them in a straightforward way. She is so smart too and moves things along. If she is not available, Bob Heavner in Berkeley is equally terrific. But I got the impression you want a woman. e

I highly recommend Dr. Allen Kanner -- 510-558-7210. He's a gifted, experienced, kind, extremely smart, patient therapist -- who is not afraid to challenge the conventional and see things through an alternative lens; however he has a traditional orientation -- nothing ''touchy feely.'' anon

I saw a therapist for a couple of years to deal with similar issues (depression, relationship). One of the best things about her was that she did not insult my intelligence. I'm no Einstein, but like you, I use my brain and am pretty good at self-evaluation. One caveat: while she certainly has experience with patients who have clinical depression and marital issues, she is not herself a parent. I don't know how that would affect her treatment of parenting-related issues for you, since I stopped seeing her before I became a parent. She is Colleen Hoff, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist 925-283-0190 She sees clients at her office on Piedmont Ave. Not sure about evening or weekend times. smart girl

Try Denah Joseph - her office is on Piedmont. Don't have the number off hand, but I sound very much like yourself and found what I was looking for in Denah. I have seen her off and on for over ten years. She is very no nonsense, knows her stuff and has amazing skill with couples counseling as well. anon

I can relate to your post. I too, suffer from major depression, am very self-aware, and have been to numerous therapists in the past 20 years. I also am a mom of two, so I know how the post-partum period can complicate things. Based on your post, I can highly recommend my current therapist, Alisa Genovese. He number is 286-7599. She is an extremly skilled theapist who is very intelligent, down to earth, intuitive, and supportive without being touchy-feely. She has particular expertise in Post partum depression and sees a lot of moms and couples. I almost always leave her office feeling better than when I went in. My husband and I have also done couples work with her and she is able to work with us without him feeling she is solely my advocate- a skill very few therapists have. I know she works in the evenings but she may be booked up. good luck!


Husband's depression has gotten much worse

July 2001

My husband--in his early 40s--is suffering increasingly from depression and anxiety. He has a family history of depression. His mother committed suicide in her early 40's, when he was 14. He has not seen a therapist since that time, and he does not take any depression medication. For most of his adult life, he has been pretty happy. During the last year and a half , however, he had several blue periods, and recently it has gotten much worse. He has insomnia and horrible nightmares. I think in part he is struggling with the realization that he has now lived longer than his mother did, and he is full of grief and overwhelming sadness. He knows he needs help, but he is not able to do anything about it. Everything--job, home, marriage, parenting--has become very difficult for him. He finally agreed that he would see someone. I would appreciate recommendations for therapists (psychologists, psychiatrists? I don't even know what kind of person would be best). I would also appreciate suggestions for how I can best help him. I am sorry that it didn't fully hit me until just recently, how really depressed he is. I have been frustrated by his lack of responsiveness and communication, and I don't think I have been very supportive. I now see that he just can't cope with anything right now. Thanks for any help you can give us.

[Editor Note: Recommendations for therapists that were received in response to this question are on this page: Therapists for Depression
Recommendations for psychiatrists that were received are on this page: Psychiatrists ]

Depression and anxiety are treated with Mental Health Services. I am a Kaiser member and found their programs very helpful with a combination of individual counseling, medication, informational workshops, and teaching of behavior-changing coping skills. I'm sure other medical plans have similar services available. Additionally, you can contact Care Services here on campus because they frequently publicize informational groups regarding dealing with depression or anxiety. Cynthia

I recommend Cheryl Jones as a therapist. (653-7374) I've suffered from depression for years and have gone in and out of counseling. She's the first therapist I've found who really seems able to zone in on where I get stuck and help me create concrete ways to overcome them, in addition to being empathetic and creating a space for me to express pent-up feelings. She can't prescribe meds, but she can work with your husband to figure out whether meds would help and his primary care physician probably could prescribe them. Alternatively, he could get a limited referral to a psychiatrist to get an appropriate prescription.

As for how to help your husband, my suggestion is to let him talk about how bad he feels and just hear it, rather than trying to tell him it's not that bad. Let him cry. But tell him how much you love him and what you love about him. Then spend time doing something with him. Also, encourage him to go to counseling and to take meds. I've taken Prozac and it has really helped. It does not make you feel unnatural or drugged; it just eliminates the lowest of the lows.

The first thing I would do is get a physical to rule out a physical cause, and especially have the thyroid checked out, since the symptoms you mention can be the result of a thyroid disorder. If there is no physical cause, then I would see a psychiatrist. They specialize in medicines for depression and anxiety.

I have had a similar experience, but with myself, not a spouse. I have a family history of depression, suicides and insomnia, and when I turned 40 my own experience with depression/anxiety/insomnia began. It sounds from your description like your husband may need medication, that is something he would need to discuss with a professional (family physician, or psychiatrist) but from my experience, medication is not necessarily a solution, although it can be a great help as an adjunct to therapy, especially if the situation has gotten to the point where he is having difficulty functioning.

There are herbal medications that some people find useful who don't trust anti-depressants and such. I personally didn't have a good experience with the herbal route, but tried a lot of things because I had an aversion to using the mainstream medications. Now I think and early combination of the right therapy and medications could have saved me a couple of years of suffering (as well as my family). A doctor who is willing to work with both kinds of medications might be a good choice if you are interested in trying herbs and such.

For me the important thing is getting back as soon as possible to feeling more stable and in control of life, so that the therapy can happen. It's very hard to be in therapy when you just want to withdraw and are sleep deprived. The most helpful thing I've done so far for myself is EMDR therapy, and I'd hightly recommend it especially if you think earlier traumatic experiences are part of the picture. I am MUCH better since I began this kind of therapy. I know of other people who have had the same experience. A good psychologist who does EMDR as part of therapy is what has worked well for me. As for what you can do, I know it's HARD to live with someone who's going through this, but it can also bring you closer if he gets the right kind of help. Patience, understanding, compassion. He will not be able to be present in the marriage (and as a parent) until he gets help. It may take a while. My husband learned to be patient and giving with me while I was going through this, and now I appreciate him ever so much more. Our relationship has deepened. We're both better for the experience. Rebecca

I'm not a counselor, but your message really touched me and I'd like to help, if only to offer my support and friendship. My understanding is that your husband would need to see a psychiatrist in order to get an anti-depressant prescription (he needs to be diagnosed with depression first and other types of therapists aren't allowed to prescribe medicine). It would really help him to see a psychotherapist for ongoing therapy. I strongly encourage you to go with him to his appointments, if he's open to this, so that you can understand how depression breaks down your ability to cope, and ultimately find ways to help him help himself.

My husband was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder last year (at age 46). It's a life long disease that he's had since he was born. He has lived his whole life with people telling him he's irresponsible and lazy and that he needs to focus (I have been one of those people, so I know your plight of not being understanding at first). We started with a diagnosis from a psychiatrist, who put my husband on a drug similar to Ritalin, and are now seeing a psychotherapist for ongoing counseling to help us learn how to manage his ADD.

I'd be happy to talk with you offline. We've gone to see a couple of different psychotherapists and I can make some recommendations, if you like. I know it must have been hard for you to reach out to this board, and I'm glad you did! - Sue

Concerning treatment of depression. I strongly recommend Susan Drager. She is a LCSW but has connections with excellent psychiatrists if medication is in order. I have recommended her to a friend for her daughter and they are very satisfied. She sees patients at offices in Oakland or Walnut Creek. Her phone is 510 763 1502. Suzanne

I have been using a wonderful and highly recommended psychiatrist, who is really a 'mensch' - Richard Levine, MD for many years for familial depression. He's very up to date on the latest treatments, both prescription and therapeutic, is wonderfully compassionate, and has been an absolute lifesaver. I've sent several friends, all who have been very pleased. His phone is 540-1746. His receptionist's name is Claudia. His office is at 1749 MLK between Francisco and Delaware. They do bill insurance Hope this helps. Joan