Seeking a Therapist for an Individual

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Therapist for someone in late 20's

Dec 2011

I am need of a good therapist. I am in my late 20's and kinda fit into the disaffected ''youth'' category. I need to see someone that ''gets'' me. Does anyone have good experiences with a therapist in the area (El Cerrito/Albany/Richmond/Berkeley) Any recs would be highly appreciated! Thank you!! Grateful

I recommend Marenka Cerny, MFT. Marenka is located in south Berkeley, easy to reach by public transportation or car. See her website at www.somatic- I can't say enough good things about this woman as she has studied and worked in clinics 7 years, and has an inherent understanding of teenage youths and young adults. She is kind, appreciative, and hard working and will thoroughly consider your needs throughout your sessions. I know first hand of her work with two people in our family and I have to say that she is great on setting boundaries and communicating to others on how to focus on their needs and goals, and work within their personal limitations. a10

I would recommend Yvonne Mansell, (510) 528-9551. She also has a website so you can get a sense of her that way as well. She is warm and insightful and quite in touch with the needs of young women. Good luck, Marie H

Katie Jennette, MFT has a lot of experience working with young adults and is wonderful. She's in south Berkeley: (510) 859-7340. S. B.

You should call Emily Johnson, she's a great therapist. She's located in Rockridge, which hopefully isn't too far for you. Emily is really bright, engaged, and has a good sense of humor, which is a nice asset in a therapist. She's a really open-minded listener and can really help you sort out what you want and feel. Her number is 510-601-0734. anonymous

Need help sorting out issues of major transition

Aug 2011

I'm looking for a therapist to help me with the issues of teen getting ready to leave home, coming to terms with what my marriage has evolved into, how to make the transition to what is next.... It is the beginning of lots of transitions. It is kind of confusing and a bit lonely. I would love help in figuring this stage out. Thank you for your suggestions and experiences.

First of all congrats on making the decision to look for a good therapist. I highly recommend that you contact Shira Gallagher, LCSW. She is a highly skillful, warm and engaging therapist who is excellent at working with people who are undergoing a lot of change and need a safe place to sort through feelings. She is wonderful. You can reach her at 510-594-4008. Her website: Good luck. ems

What you're describiing is so familiar to me. When I was going through a series of major transitions, a friend recommended a wonderful, experienced therapist in North Berkeley named John Conger (510-524-8212). Wise and kind, practical and insightful, he helped me with some major decisions until I began to reconnect with parts of my life that I had set aside long ago. He has seen me through some rough spots in my marriage, too. My life is so much better, and I'm very grateful to him. I can't recommend him highly enough. Good luck to you. Lesley

2010 - 2009 Reviews

Help me make peace with my situation

Aug 2009

I hate living in Berkeley but am stuck here because of my husband's job. I need to find a therapist to talk to, but don't even know where to start. The recommendations all seem to be geared toward depression and anxiety, neither of which I have. I just need to find someone who can either help me make peace with my situation or help me/us think of alternatives. Anon

A therapist sounds like a good choice, but don't be mislead by what therapists specialize in. Therapists all are trained to work with life transitions even if it you aren't depressed or having major anxiety. For example I see mostly women dealing with infertility issues, but I also see clients with a variety of life issues and a wide range of ages. So look for someone you can connect too.

Miriam Gross, MSW is terrific at ''putting our heads together'' to look at a problem like this. She's at 1225 Marin Ave, Albany. Phone:510-524-5103. She's respectful, good at putting things into words, and great at collaborative problem solving. If you want a more traditional therapist, Candis Cousins, Ph.D., is fantastic, too. She's near Piedmont and her office phone number is 510- 763-5358. They could be on vacation, but both are good about returning calls when in town. Judy

Elayne Savage, Ph.D. is the best therapist around! She's great with helping you look at options and alternatives to feel ''unstuck''. She will make you feel totally at ease and is non-judgmental, down to earth, and has many years of experience. I have really benefitted from seeing her and leave the sessions feeling positive and grateful to have an objective person when talking through issues. Here is her web address: and her phone is: 510-540-6230. I believe she is accepting new clients at this time. feeling positive

re: your request for a therapist to help you make peace with your decision or help you think of alternatives. I live in the East Bay and am seeing Fran Wickner in Albany. I like her style: very non judgemental and she works on what I want to work on, not what she thinks I need to do. She's very practical and could be a good fit to help you make a decision to stay or go. She has a website with her email if you want that, or her phone number is 510-527-4011. LK

I would recommend Lisa Lancaster. She helped me with a similar issue. I have found her to be a sensitive and insightful therapist. She is in Berkeley and her number is 510-841-2525. anon

2008 - 2007 Reviews

Homeschool-Friendly Therapist

Oct 2008

I am looking for a therapist who can help me with a range of issues, primarily about myself, but also related to parenting. I homeschool my children, so my ideal is someone who is familiar with homeschooling. At the very least, I need someone who is homeschool-friendly and who won't immediately assume that any and all difficulties are the result of that one factor. Needing Some Help

I saw Ahbi Vernon while I was homeschooling. She took an unjudgmental attitude about homeschooling and was very helpful around other parenting and personal issues. I should say that we did actually conclude together that it would work better for our family to have the kids in school, but I felt that came from an unbiased place and was supporting my/our needs. She's right near the Berkeley Bowl; 510-845-4808

Borderline Personality Specialist

Sept 2008

I am looking for a therapist in the East Bay that specializes in Borderline Personality Disorder. Or at the very least, someone with a substantial number of years experience treating Personality Disorders in general. Any referrals shared would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.

Kirsten Beuthin specializes in working with personality disorders, and she can be reached at 510-652-0990 or 415-401-7180. She's an exceptional therapist. Best wishes. anonymous

Emily Johnson, LCSW is a wonderful clinician generally, and one of few colleagues I confidently refer to when looking for a therapist to work with Borderline Personality Disorder. Emily is very bright and skillful while also having a personable and straightforward style. Her office is in Rockridge and phone number is 510-601-0734. Best of luck-

Need a good therapist!

May 2008

I finally have the time and energy to spend some quality time learning more about myself, my relationships, patterns of behavior that I see but don't understand. etc. I have MHN (health net) insurance and live near Solano Avenue. Anyone have a fabulous therapist that is on the MHN panel of providers? Thanks! anon

Paul Minsky is a psychologist on Solano Ave in Berkeley. He's real good. I'm pretty sure he is on alot of the insurance panels (I have MHN) 510 524-0700 Good Luck

Anne Marshall has been a terrific fit for me, and helped me understand and start to address some longstanding core issues. She is smart, empathetic, funny, and gives good PRACTICAL feedback. I come out of sessions with a sense of what my next steps need to be. Her office is midway down Solano, and she takes MHN. 220-0808. anon

i can wholeheartedly refer laine demetria as an integrative psychotherapist. her wise and compassionate approach to listening, relating and participating is unlike any other counselor i have ever been involved with. you can see her website and decide if you're on the same page - a hopeful work in progress

Down-to-earth and practical therapist

Feb 2008

I am a woman and mother looking for a therapist in the Berkeley/Albany area. I have reviewed the webpage, but without a particular name to start with, all of the information there is a little overwhelming. I am struggling with three issues in particular -- work-related stress and anxiety, possible depression, and losing my temper with my kids (obviously all related). I want to see someone who will understand my life as a professional with a high stress, high stakes, high anxiety career that I cannot just leave because I am the primary breadwinner for my family. Most immediately, I want some guidance on parenting skills and how not to blow up at my kids (harsh yelling), but I want to see someone who can talk to me about that, at both a practical level and with respect to the deeper issues, without making me feel even worse about myself. Someone down-to-earth and practical, with a sense of humor, and not too hypothetical or spiritual, if that makes sense. Need Help

I highly recommend Sara Grunstein. She specializes in children and families and is also great for adults. I brought my son to her when he had some difficult fears. She has children herself and works at Children's Hospital as well as private practice in Berkeley near Andronico's on Telegraph. 548-0161

I can recommend a ''down-to-earth'', direct but also deep therapist who I worked with for over a year. He helped me to make some profound changes in my life. He got to the fundamental issues very quickly. It was a very good experience that made me believe in therapy again. His name is Dr. Hans Stahlschmidt in North Berkeley, (510)848 5347. anon

Hi--I don't have a good bay area therapist recommendation (very sorry) but your situation sounds very similar to mine as far as stress! I tend to turn to books and wanted to recommend ''10 days to a less distracted child''--my depression and stress has made my child spacey and distracted (in part, some is just him). It helped me feel less frantic about my child's ups and downs and treat us both more gently. Be kind to yourself! It sounds like you are doing a ton and as a high intensity professional I'm sure you are expert at seeing what can be changed and trying to do it, but it also sounds like you are perhaps (?) as a result criticizing yourself more than you should. Good luck in your search--even before meeting any professionals, it might help to remember to treat yourself with as much love and respect as you wish for your children! You deserve it too! Take care! still working on it

Recommend an insightful therapist?

Feb 2008

Can anyone recommend a therapist who truly provides insight and education, as well as emotional support? I benefit most from understanding why I behave the way I do, and I've yet to meet a therapist who is really insightful about human behavior. If there's a therapist who can relate to being brought up Catholic and dealing with the fallout (good girl/bad girl, constantly feeling judged) from that, even better. Need Therapy Now

Hi, I have been seeing Dr. Lisa Lancaster for about 6 months now and can truly say that she is most insightful therapist I have ever seen. I have been struggling with the fall out from a very painful divorce and the death of my mother, who was a very devoted catholic. I left the church in my 20s. Dr. Lancaster has been extremely helpful in getting me to understand all of the emotional tummult that these losses have stirred up. I can recommend her very, very highly. She is in Berkeley. Her number is 510-841-2525. Seek her out! anon.

i'd like to recommend Yvonne Mansell on the Berkeley/ Albany boarder. she is definately insightful and supportive in helping me navigate the effects of being raised mormon. i always feel she is accepting of where i am, yet willing to share her wisdom so i can let go and move forward. i believe her bio is in the BPN files. she also has a website. autumn

I want to recommend Isabelle Choniere-Correa she is a professional Intuitive Consultant. I think she is exactly what your looking for! She works with clients one on one and is extremely insightful about all areas of your life and helps you overcome and grow as a person. She is wonderful to work with, call her today. Her contact information is below.

Hi, I think Claire Rubin is a really insightful and caring therapist. She is really good at seeing the whole picture and helping others see it too. I don't know what area you are looking for, and she is on the Oakland/Berkeley boarder. Her number is (510) 594-1851. Good luck, Marie

Try Christie Rigg. She's not just a good listener; she's smart, insightful and kind. You can reach her at 287-5845 Her website: --Anon

I highly recommend my own therapist who I have worked with for 2 years, and is very insightful, and very helpful, and yes I worked with other therapists before who just didn't seem to have much to offer. She's great though. Warm, supportive, REAL, and proactive, and gets in there with me, and educates me about stuff. And, I am a ''recovering catholic'' myself and without going into it too much, I can say she understands all the guilt, shame, etc, that goes along with it and has helped me with that a lot... She's in Oakland and also SF. Tell her Sarah referred you! I refer people to her a good deal... 510-220-3558 is her #. Oh, Kathryn Hirt is her name, she's an MFT. (kathhirt [at]

I would like to recommend Audrey Martin as a tremedously insightful therapist. She is direct, empathic, compassionate and has a good sense of humor. I have experienced wonderful personal growth with her as my therapist, and I highly recommend her. She has an office in Oakland near the Rockridge BART station, her phone number is 428-1505. anon.

Therapist in Walnut Creek area

Jan 2008

I need a recommendation for a good therapist (preferably in or around the Walnut Creek area) to help with stress, anger management and self esteem issues. Anonymous

Here are 2 resources for therapy services.

1. Bay Area Psychotherapy Training Institute (BAPTI) in Lafayette provides therapy on a sliding fee scale. 925-284-2298

2. Women's Therapy Center in El Cerrito provides therapy on a sliding fee scale and works specifically with women, adolescent girls, and couples of any gender mix/sexual orientation. or 510-524-8288 x1

I am a Marriage Family Therapist Intern at both locations and would be happy to answer any specific questions or meet for a consultation. CM

Therapist in Pinole Hercules El Sobrante

May 2007

I would appreciate any recommendations on a couples/family therapist in the Pinole/Hercules/El Sorbrante area. Needs Help in Pinole

Hi, WE live in the same area and I haven't found anyone around here. I drive to Berkeley and I have a wonderful therapist, her name is Monica Simms and you can reach her at 510-848-3633 Hope it helps you

Foster City /Peninsula Area Therapist

May 2007

I am looking to find a good therapist (female preferred) in the Foster City/Peninsula area, mostly to deal with past relationship issues. Prefer to find one who is willing to give you honest opinions/feedback (versus someone who just sits back and listens). I have reviewed the previous recommendations on the parents website, but info on women therapists and Peninsula was limited. Thanks! RR

I highly recommend you call Lori Luft, a psychologist who practices in San Mateo. She works with individuals and couples, and offers a good combination of attentive listening and insightful feedback. Her number is 650-340-8229. anon.

Kristina Speer Cooper is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who does individual therapy in both Palo Alto and the South Beach area of San Francisco. She specializes in relationship issues and is very good. Her phone number is: 650- 619-7213. I believe her email is: krissyscoop [at] She also has a website dealing with her faimly services at: a.r.

Looking for Alameda therapist

April 2007

Hi, I'm hoping to get recommendations for a therapist in or near Alameda for individual therapy. I'd like someone with experience in work/family balance issues, but really I mostly need someone who can help me through some mild depression and feelings of being overwhelmed all the time. I'd even be open to a career counselor with some therapy skills, since some of this is likely related to my career. I'd like someone who's a good listener, but who will be a little assertive in helping me delve into issues--I can be passive and unwilling to work on things, and this made a previous effort at therapy pretty useless. Thank you. anonymous

try edith dutch key or scott perna at california counseling on park street. both are great. anon

Try Kathryn Hirt, an MFT in North Oakland, not far from the Alameda tube. She's interactive, works with anxiety and depression in a caring way that is warm but will still gently push you towards shifts in how you think about things, taking action, etc. Very helpful, insightful and proactive too, and down-to-earth at the same time. 510-220-3558. Good luck to you. Paul

Charles Wickstrand MFCC I saw him for quite some time. He is very supportive but also directive, there is no blathering on and on without guidance. Charles offers sound commentary and advice and doesn't really allow you become so self absorbed that you make no progress. I have seen some therapists who just let you talk forever and don't intervene to get you going in a positive direction. i really enjoyed our sessions and if i ever go into therapy again (i'm sure i will) i will choose to see him. his number is 510.522.8922 Jo

I really like Karen Hollinger Jackson in Alameda. She is kind, helpful and wise and is helping me with anxiety and family issues. anon

I highly recommend my career coach, Louise Goeckel, who can be reached at 510-749-9624. Louise is a wonderful human being, a great listener, a compassionate yet straight forward support. she was able to help me sort out all my ideas and emotions about my life and career. She gave me the tools to mature, to grow and to feel good about my decisions. I can't say enough good about her. Celine

Jan 2005

I am looking for a recommendation for a therapist in Alameda (or perhaps Oakland) to discuss the typical issues associated with having kids, becoming a SAHM, arguing with the partner, etc. I don't need a touchy-feely personality - just looking for someone who is very smart and insightful. Thanks for any leads. anon

My husband and I recently saw Karen Hollinger-Jackson MFCC, 2121 Central Av, Alameda, CA 94501, (510) 523-8404 to help deal with similar issues. I liked her because she was a good communicator and helped us resolve our issues. Christina

Therapist in Marin

April 2007

I'm looking for a solid therapist in Marin -- preferably San Rafael -- to help me with some family of origin issues. Does anyone have a recommendation? time to heal

I highly recommend Susan Stordahl in Corte Madera. Wow, she has guided me through some family of origin issues like no therapist ever has. 415-924-4098. finally making progress

There is a wonderful and experienced therapist in Marin named Heidi Minnick. I am certain that she can work with family of origin issues. I highly recommend her. Her number is 415-457-1793. lynn

2006 - 2005 Reviews

Therapist to help w/ codependent relationship

Oct 2006

After years of trying to figure out why I am the way I am, I have come to realize that I am in a mother-daughter ''codependent'' relationship. I know many therapists don't whole-heartedly subscribe to the theory, but whatever you want to call it, I need to learn some coping skills so that I can stop wasting my life trying to gain the approval of my mother and others. I have behavioral health insurance coverage through Aetna, but can't fathom blindly picking a random name off an extensive list of providers. I live in the Walnut Creek/Concord/PH area. Anyone know of a good therapist in the area that might help those w/ ''codependent'' characteristics work through their issues? Any and all names, male and female are appreciated...I can check insurance coverage before calling. Thanks anon

I would recommend Debra Lyman 510.594.4099 3120 Tel. Ave, Ste. 9, Berkeley, CA 94705. She has an amazing background and is well rounded in her practice analuz

Linda Blackstone, LCSW has an office in both Concord and Oakland/Berkeley border. She is one of the best therapists I know (I'm in the Social Work field .)Everyone I have ever referred to her both for addiction/co-dependency issues and other issues, have thanked me even for years afterwards. Her number is (925) 676-3054 Good luck. Betty

Dianne Donnelly in Lafayette is great. I went to her years ago - not sure if she specializes in co-dependency, as you described it but worth a call... Good luck! anon

This is not silly or outdated at all. Codependence is real, and I can speak to it, and got great help with it through my therapist Kathryn Hirt who works in Oakland and SF. She is fantastic, and really understands how things work- what the hooks are, what the behaviors look like, what attitudes are underlying all this- she is extremely insightful and at the same time very down-to -earth and REAL, and compassionate. And sometimes funny. Call her-510-220-3558. She'll help you through this and give you great support and feedback. Good luck to you! Sarah

Gheorghe Cosmin, Licensed MFT was my teens and my family therapist for almost 3 years. He is great with kids and adults and families. Before I found him we went through 5 different therapist and programs without any success. He help my teen son to recognize and cure from drug dependencies. He help my whole family to deal with it. It was almost tree years back. Then Cosmin left for New York. Now he is back and he opens his private practice in San Francisco 5-10 min walk from Momtgomery BART. You can see his website at: Also he gives free seminars: His phone: 415 279 8240 His email: cosmin [at] If you have questions you are welcome to email me jvk

Therapist in San Francisco

August 2006

Can anyone recommend a good therapist in the city? Someone who is willing to cover everything - from family/kids issues to anger management? Marina

I recommend Jane Walter on Sacramento St. She can be reached at (415) 433-4633. She is caring, warm, smart and capable, and does individual and couples therapy on a variety of issues anonymous

I just started working with someone in SF who came very highly recommended (and so far seems really good). Very smart, well trained (Stanford), sharp/stays on topic, assuring but stays ''real''. My belief is that he will be as good as everyone says (but don't have much more to offer in terms of a recommendation than that given how little time I have been seeing him). His name is Cannon Thomas and he has a website (if you Google him you will find him). Had to move to the city

My friend sees a therapist she loves in SF who works with families and with couples and also individuals. Her name is Kathryn Hart, she practices in the Richmond district and has affordable fees. She says she's really down-to-earth and also skilled, insightful and clear and also compassionate and warm. Contact info is 415-668-3904, ext. 5. Hope that is helpful! Tip Giver

Dr. Terri Campbell is a terrific therapist in San Francisco. She does one-on-one and couples therapy. She has a really good approach - kind but no-nonsense, and is very insightful and intuitive. I know she has a Jungian background, but she also seems to use other approaches as necessary. I have found her to be extremely warm and so helpful. She's very open-minded to all lifestyles, too. Her office is on Sacramento Street, her number is 415-823-4910. Good luck! anonymous

March 2005

Finally after years and years of us pleading with her, my sister is finally ready to seek therapy. She has had years of issues around intimacy, abandonment, depression, aniexty and panic. So this is a really big step for her. She is also slow to open up and talk so it would be great to have someone who can draw her out. She is looking for someone in the Pac Heights, Marina area who could meet with her early evenings or on weekends. Thanks!

Try Sandra Lewis, PhD on Union Street. She is the best therapist (she is actually a psychologist) I have ever seen. She gets right to the heart of the matter and doesnt let you beat around the bush. If you want to make progress call her: 415-567-3882. Now Happy

I recommend Marc Wallis. He is very sensitive and competent and sees individuals and couples. I think he can see people on Saturdays. His phone number is 415-820-9609.

Therapist for lifelong procrastinator

June 2006

Can anyone suggest a therapist (or other help) for a middle aged man who has finally concluded that he needs help getting to the underlying reasons for chronic disorganization, procrastination, and constant lateness? Admitting the problem is a good first step, but he needs help overcoming these issues before he drowns in a sea of paperwork, lost items and missed appointments! anonymous

I know of a very good therapist who has helped me with my procrastination and really helped me move forward in practical ways as well as helping me understand myself better and any underlying issues around my procratination. Her name is Dr. Joanne Chao. She is very interactive, compassionate and easy to work with. Her # is (510) 594-4003. You can also check out her website at Hope that helps anon

As you seek a therapist for your lifelong procrastinator, you might also consider the possibility that the procrastination has a biological rather than a psychological basis. I, too, was a lifelong procrastinator, and was very down on myself for being unable to make what seemed to be pretty trivial changes in behavior. Then in my 50s I discovered quite by accident that I have actually had ADD all my life (ADD = Attention Deficit Disorder, though the name doesn't really capture the essence of the condition). This is a real disorder, and there are medications and other treatment approaches that have helped a lot of people. I suggest you read ''Delivered from Distraction'' by Edward Hallowell and John Ratey, two down-to-earth Harvard-affiliated physicians who have ADD themselves and who have done what I think is some of the best writing in this field. They also offer reasonably-priced conference call ''classes'' where they talk about many aspects of ADD, including medications and strategies for dealing with ADD and for dealing with partners who have ADD. The attendance is generally small enough that participants can ask questions about topics of particular interest to them.

For me it has been an eye-opener and a tremendous relief to realize that there's a physiological reason I have trouble getting organized, following through on tasks, taking minutes, finishing projects in advance, etc., etc. (even though it's a downer to realize there's something organic ''wrong with'' your brain). But ADD has a positive side, too, which Hallowell and Ratey emphasize. The website with info on the classes is

The website for Dr. Hallowell and the Hallowell [medical] Center (a branch of which has recently opened up in San Diego) is There's a list of some of the positive attributes associated with ADD there, as well as links to other useful articles.

Good luck! Finally understanding my procrastination

Looking for a therapist near Richmond

June 2006

I'm looking for a therapist in Richmond, El Cerrito, Pinole, Hercules, Albany areas. I have issues from my childhood and they are still going on mainly with my mother and they are affecting my marriage. I also need therapy for anger management. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. MCA

For MCA, who was looking for a therapist in the North Bay and another woman looking for a female therapist in Berkeley: Lisa Larsen - 510-232-9122 - is a great therapist who sees clients in Richmond and Berkeley. She can definitely help with the issues mentioned. Couples, childhood issues, marriages, anger - the whole sturm und drang. speaking from experience.

Therapist needed for Super Stressed Mom

Nov 2005

Can anyone recommend a seasoned therapist in the Berkeley (ideally N. Berkeley) area who might be a good fit for a cerebral and stressed mom? I've done a lot of therapy in the past but am new to this area and facing a daunting littany of issues from an interminable home remodel to a divorce while still adjusting to my unrecognizable life as a mom in a new town. I'd love to work with an articulate, smart, and compassionate therapist who is comfortable being direct. It would be great to have a competent guide while I endure more transitions than I could ever have imagined. Also, might there be groups out there for moms with young children on the verge of divorce? Many thanks for any suggestions and referrals. -Anon

Super Stressed Mom- Call Robin Gayle, Phd, at 415.456.4607. She is over the San Rafael bridge, on Sir Francis Drake in Kentfield but is totally worth the short drive. I have been in Robin's Womens Group for over 10 years--which doesn't sound like a recommendation in itself, except the group is constantly seeking higher ground from pretty good ground now. Having had much therapy, from numerous practitioners before Robin, I can assure you with great confidence she is absolutely the BEST. She teaches at Domenican College (training other therapists)--the most professional, insightful, supportive, innovative, focused-on-the-solution-to- help-you therapist you could possibly find. I can't say enough great things about her. She can definitely help you. Good luck- Another Mom who relates

My husband goes to Michael Thomkins . He is really fantastic. It sounds to me like you could use a behavioral therapist (I have found that practice of therapy to be the most direct, most effective at helping create skills and solutions for the types of situations you are facing). Their group is described at (652-4455, in Rockridge, on College by Bittersweet and Diesel books). I know another therapist in the group who specializes in kids and is also really great. You should check them out. Many years on the couch, found behavioral therapy to be the best

I recently saw Michael Simon , who is a therapist located in the Rockridge area. While I originally started sessions to help me get organized as a mom feeling stressed and overwhelmed with trying to keep up with the demands of kids, school, running a household, etc. In the end, there were unresolved issues that came up which I ended up working on that helped me deal with the issues I was initially trying to cope with.

I thought that Michael Simon was great in helping me sort through things and he is very pro-mom and encouraging of you doing things for yourself while taking the time that you need so that you are not stressed and in turn are a happy mom. He also does drop in appointments for parenting issues that come up. You can view his website at: or 433-2959. -anon

Jill Lebeau is the greatest therapist in the world. She is well known in the area and does this type of therapy that she has coined as rapid transformation. This is very different than talking about your past while someone stares at you for an hour. She is very involved and takes you through a process that will teach you how a new way of living that does not include feeling overwhelmed and stress. She changed my life and many of my friends who have also seen her. She was just featured in the Berkelely Voice last week and has a big following at her elephant pharmacy workshops. Her number is 849.1010. Her office is off of solano ave. Good luck. maureen

I would recommend the Alexander Technique, and Susan Schreier Williams is an excellent teacher. Since you are a cerebral person, this work, though it definitely includes the mind, is very body based. Susan has been really honest and right on with me about my habits physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I had no idea how much these habits were running me. It has been extemenly helpful and all encompassing in terms of my ability to relax, regardless of external circumstances. Her number is (510) 482-2276. She is in Oakland, right off Grand Ave. exit, and very worth the drive. Good luck! been there

Therapist for depression about career

Aug 2005

I am writing on behalf of my husband who might not seek this type of information out for himself.

He has recently completed his MBA and has made a career change. He is unhappy in his new career, and is starting to feel lost and depressed.

He has had weak results with career counselors in the past and approached me tonight with the possibility that he might need to see a therapist.

The website had some recommendations for career counselors, but is there anyone out there who is a therapist specializing in issues surrounding career changes? Maybe there is someone who is a therapist/career counselor all combined into one?

Hopeful thinking from a concerned spouse

I would highly recommend Eric Grabow in Berkeley. Although he isn't a therapist that only deals with career issues, he does deal with men's issues, one being career stuff. He has an amazing gift for being a manly guy and incredibly sensitive. He has been in practice for over 20 years and I know many of his clients, and we all LOVE him. I think your husband will too. His number is 549-3797 Patty

Sharp and Versatile Therapist

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 pyschiatrist?), 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!

Therapist for bipolar disorder

March 2005

My therapist recently referred me to a psychiatrist to look into medication for depression. The psychiatrist thinks that I have mild bipolar disorder. He has prescribed medication and it is working wonders for me. As I have started to read and understand the difference between bipolar and depression, I think that he is right and I've felt a real sense of relief that I can finally understand what's been going on with me for years. It has also really opened up alot of areas that I need to work on in therapy, but I'm not sure that my current therapist is the right person to work with. He initially said he didn't think that I was bipolar, but rather mildly depressed. He has been helpful in the past, but I'm starting to wonder if there is someone who would be better for me to work with. Though he is clearly happy to see me getting relief from the medication, sometimes I think he's still not buying the diagnosis, but it is the first thing I've felt clear about in a long time. (The psychiatrist does medication monitoring only, so that's not really an option.)

I'd prefer someone who is part of MHN, in the north Berkeley vicinity, and female (though that's not an absolute requirement). Any suggestions would be welcome. anon

Dr. Rebecca Epstein in Berkeley has helped me with adjusting to the problems associated with newly diagnosed and treated biplor disorder. She is not an M.D. but seems to have a lot of experience in this area. She gets it, the triggers, the stigma, the struggle to get and stay healthy. She has helped me a lot with impulsive behaviors and roller coastering moods until I finally was stable. Anon

I had a very good experience with Susan Drager when I first was diagnosed with mild bipolar disorder. I continue to see my psychiatrist to monitor my meds, but she but she helped me to work out a lot of other issues and to get my life back on track. She also taught me how to monitor and manage my bipolarism. Her office is in Oakland, by Lake Merritt. Anonymous

Therapist for young mom of two

Feb 2005

I am feeling like I might crack... I am a young mom of 2. I work 3 days and stay at home the others. My husband thinks when I'm home I should be a total house wife, but thatjust aint me, sorry hubby! At this point, my patience are worn thin and I snap easily at my 7 year old buy who is now talking back and trying to parent me. Which is not even at all ok! So mama's, you know any really good therapists with a sliding scale who are down to earth, loving but who can tell me that I need to get my sh*t together too? Pass me a line I'm ready to take care of me! Signed: -an overworked almost housewife

This message could apply to many of those requesting a good counselor. I highly recommend Tobey Hiller who works right off Grand in Oakland. She is smart and EXTREMELY insightful, has a sense of humor, a sense of compassion, but is honest and really helps set goals toward making change in your life. I worked one on one with her, but also worked in couples therapy with her and her husband Phillip Ziegler. I thought they were both excellent. Her number is (510) 658- 6282. anon.

This is a general recommendation for everybody who is seeking a good therapist with a sliding fee scale. I work at Bay Area Psychotherapy Services, a non-profit organization which provides therapy for adults, couples, children, adolescents, and families on a sliding fee scale ($30,- to $90,-). We have offices in Berkeley (across from Berkeley Bowl), Oakland (Piedmont Ave), Hayward, Pleasant Hill, Antioch, Dublin and Brentwood. Therapy is provided by a variety of very skilled MFT interns who are supervised by licenced MFTs and psychologists (many of them faculty at the Graduate School of Professional Psychology at John F. Kennedy University).

2004 & Earlier

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

More Recommendations

August 2008

Does anyone have any experience and recommendations for Alison McCabe? I am looking for a therapist that can help me with an eating disorder, anxiety, depression and career guidance. Need Help

I took a class on anxiety management with her at Kaiser..I enjoyed it..found it very helpful ..the group aspect..and great resources from her and others in the class..if you embrace the exercises,,they really help.

I see Alison for similar issues. I think she's great.

April 2008

Help. Having a tough time with infertility & considering adoption. Has anyone used therapist Deena Solwren? Is she helpful? She advertises as ''All Things Maternal'' focusing, it seems, on women's issues. Any other therapist recommendations for these issues would be welcome as well. Thank you. anon

I think your best bet is to have a conversation with her, or with any other therapist that you are interested in working with, to see if it's a good fit for you. For me, after finally speaking with her for 15-20 minutes, I felt like it clearly was not the right fit, though I initially thought she'd be terrific. She phoned me back a few times to ''check in'' with me, and each time I told her that it wasn't going to work out. I got the impression that it was difficult for her to understand that, and I had to ask her a couple of times to not call me back to ''check in'' before she got the message, and having to ask her more than once made me extremely uncomfortable. However, I do think she is very interested in assisting with ''all things maternal.''

Oct 2006

I am a 40 yr old working mom, interested in individual counseling. Any recommendations for a good family therapist, in or around rockridge, that will accept Aetna Insurance? anon

Diane Santas, (510) 834-4848, who works in Rockridge, helped me enormously with both PPD and generalized anxiety. I'm happy to be able to recommend her, and yes, she took my Aetna insurance. I just checked the online Aetna directory and she's still in there

August 2006

Has anyone been to Ava Charney-Daykin? I have heard good things about her as a therapist, and am thinking of going to her for help in recovering from a recent trauma. Thanks, anon

I went to Ava Charney-Danesh with my daughter for family therapy. We did art therapy together and found it and her to be really helpful! We didn't go for very long because we didn't have huge issues at the time, but I would go back to her.

I know 2 other people who went to her for both family therapy and individual adult therapy, and both really liked her as well.

As you know, connecting with a therapist is as much based on chemistry as any relationship is, but she is comfortable, clear-headed, and calm. I hope that will give you a good starting point. Good luck anon

June 2006

Re: Seeking a therapist
I'd like to share a treasure I found out about through a friend - the Berkeley Free Clinic provides peer counseling for free (but I think donations are welcome/accepted). I know that I have benefitted from being able to talk to an empathetic counselor....They hold drop-ins on Tuesday and Wednesday evening at 6:45, and then if you have a long-term relationship with a counselor, you can schedule sessions at mutual convenience.... Here's their website: and their phone is 1-800-6-clinic of 510-548-2570 anonymous

June 2006

Re: Seeking a therapist
Kathryn Hirt is a therapist I have been seeing for 8 months, and she has been an invaluable support. I have felt skeptical about doing therapy for years because I didn't want someone just to say ''how does that feel?'' repeatedly and a lot of ''mmmm hmmm''s so it took me some time to finally make an appt. Kathryn has helped me immensely. I am seeing her for issues of anxiety and depression, as well as self-esteem, and feel blessed to have found someone who is extremely insightful and astute, but also compassionate, kind and REAL. Down to earth. I'd be happy to tell you more about my experience if you want to contact me, or contact her yourself. Her office is in Piedmont. Her rates are average. I think she also sees couples and is great with women, and I bet would be great with men. Here's her #-510-220-3558. I have gotten so many great referrals from BPN and wanted to share the wealth. Sarah sarah March 2006

For the many people who inquire about psychotherapists, I just wanted to let all of you know of a great resource, an information and referral search tool (an online directory) on the Alameda County Psychological Association's website:

You can select a psychologist by population served, areas of practice, office location, payment method, etc. The psychologists listed are all fully licensed by the Board of Psychology and are members of the California Psychological Association. Of course, you can also call for a referral at 510- 433-9580, but I find that many people like the convenience of an online directory. Good luck. M.K.


Therapist Lloyd Willey has asked not to be reviewed on the Berkeley Parents Network, so previous reviews have been removed and we cannot accept new requests for reviews. More info here .

Sept 2005

I'm wondering if anyone has seen Karen Barnes (MFT in Oakland) as a therapist. I need to find someone on my insurance plan and she was recommended, but not by someone I know. I'd love to find out more about her style. I'm particularly looking for someone who can help me with perimenopausal issues as well as other things. Other recommendations would be appreciated too. Thanks

I have been a patient of Karen Barnes for about 3 years now and have been very happy with her. I have found that she asks questions, affirms what she is hearing me say and helps me get to the next step. She never gives advice (unless I ask). She has a very professional way of ''reading between the lines'' and helping me understand myself and my family better. I hope that helps. She has truly been a miracle worker in my life. Although I do not have issues of perimenopause that you mentioned, I do have PMS issues that she has helped me through, so I can't see why she wouldn't be able to help in your area of focus as well. Best of luck in whomever you find! J.


Does anyone have experience, positive or negative with: Therapist Sally Clark MFCC especially dealing with children's issues? Thanks very much.
I saw Sally myself for a couple of years, and highly recommend her. I think she'd be great with children as well as adults, as I know her to be very compassionate, gentle and insightful. She has experience with pre and perinatal psychology, which I found especially helpful as a parent and as someone who works with babies, to become more aware of how fully conscious babies are even before they are born. Lucia