Therapist for Teens at Kaiser

Parent Q&A

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  • Kaiser Psychiatrist for a teenage boy

    (2 replies)

    Hello, my son is 16, and has been diagnosed with depression. He already has a therapist, and also needs a psychiatrist at Kaiser, preferably at Kaiser Oakland.  Has anyone had a recent experience with a Kaiser psychiatrist who works with teens?  Who would you recommend?  Who would you avoid?

    Thank you in advance.  It's a tough time for us, and it makes it easier to go through it knowing that I can rely on this great community for advice.

    My daughter sees Dr. Gershon. I rely a lot on her outside therapist for insights and strategies for dealing with my child's anxiety and depression. Dr. Gershon prescribes medication and helps with side effects, dosage etc. Things I really like about her include that she ramped up the medication dosage really slowly so my child could adjust to any side effects and seems conservative in her approach, starting with the most studied meds. She responds promptly to email , and I I have also had phone calls with her, but it can take some time to get in to see her in person. That said when it seemed urgent she did find an appointment within the week. I'm not sure what the relationship with a psychiatrist outside of Kaiser would be like but I don't feel like my child knows Dr. Gershon well or vice versa. However, it works fine for us and I would recommend her. 

    I know from personal experience that getting a psychiatrist through Kaiser can be a chore! It's difficult to find a number to call and people don't always return your phone calls. However, if you are persistent, you will find someone. Good luck!

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Kaiser Oakland Therapists for teens

July 2012

I'm looking for a therapist in Oakland Kaiser for my 13 year old son who is shy and sensitive, has anxiety issues, depression, executive dysfunction. We are new to Kaiser. anon

I love the advantages of being a Kaiser member and would be one again in a heartbeat if my current employer offered it. But Kaiser is not the place for what you probably think of as therapy. It's just not what they do. It's a short-term, behavior oriented approach. If you think your son would benefit from that approach, then there are lots of good clinicians who work with adolescents, and several kinds of groups for teens. Ironically, if your teen is in short-term therapy and gets worse, requiring hospitalization, as mine did, the intensive outpatient follow up program is excellent and not time-limited. Also completely free, not even a copay for more therapy. Go figure. I have only good opinions of the practitioners who work with adolescents, with one only exception. It's not their staff, it's Kaiser's lack of commitment to real emotional/psychological therapy. Maybe, given the indeterminate length of traditional therapy, it would be impossible to control costs under Kaiser's structure. Good luck.

Kaiser therapist to work with a teen girl

Dec 2009

Hello, Can anyone recommend a Kaiser therapist to work with a teenage girl (on issues of self esteem, friendships, family, ''stressors'', etc.) - preferably Kaiser Oakland, but also possibly Kaiser Richmond? Has your teen benefitted from seeing someone at Kaiser that you would recommend? Thanks for any input Seeking Kaiser therapist for teen

Both my teen son and teen daughter saw Maxine Turret at Kaiser Oakland. (I am sorry, but I do not think I have her name spelled correctly.) Because my son had liked her, my daughter went to see her at a later time and also felt it was a good match. She is not a psychologist, but an MSW in the child and family psychiatry department. My husband and I also met with her and found her helpful. Before any of us saw her though, my husband and I had to attend an orientation/workshop given by the department. I don't know if this is still part of the process. Kaiser member

Earlier Recommendations for therapists

Dec 2005

Re: Hostile 17-y-o refuses therapy - help for parents?

My husband and I, and eventually our daughter, went through therapy at Kaiser Oakland and I truly don't know how we would have gotten through otherwise. They were an incredible support and went out of the way to support us in every way. ... Kaiser has a teen group that meets, maybe he would find that more acceptable?

We don't have exactly the same issues with our 15-year-old as you do, but we definitely have been dealing with parenting issues like teen hostility, reasonable boundaries, appropriate behavior, bad teen judgment, and protecting/nurturing a younger sibling. All I can say is, we've seen Larry Liebman at Kaiser Oakland over the past year, and we'd recommend him as a family therapist in general. I value his perception and his willingness to be in touch by phone as well as in person. We've been able to work on and move on various issues partly because of his ability to re-frame how we look at them and each other, which was helpful for us when we were stuck. His style is very open and chatty, which works for us.

When we had an 8-year-old frightening us with suicide threats, we saw Kate Mountain at Kaiser -- she is more low key, more of a traditional listening therapist. We liked her as well, and got what we needed out of our sessions, but she was out on maternity leave when we wanted to come back with a teen. I believe she's back now.

my very best wishes to you in finding someone to help you. I don't have any specific advice for you, but wanted to let you know that I know of many people, including myself, who have had very positive experiences with Kaiser Oakland and Richmond mental health clinicians with regard to parent/child/adolescent issues. they have some really excellent clinicians, and should be at least a good first step for you. anonymous

We were having some problems with our teenager daughter a year and a half ago when she was on 7th grade & went to Kaiser to meet w/ a therapist. Our daughter starting meeting w/ her own therapist 2 times per month, and going to a teen group once a week. We ended up going in to an 8 week group class @ Kaiser Richmond, that they hold for parents of strong willed adolescents. In the first week of this class, we learned some valuable tools for setting boundaries & consequences for our daughter that we all discussed in detail. We set up a contract between ourselves and our daughter that went over as many possible issues as we could come up with and decided ahead of time what the consequences would be for each item. We also discussed rewards & privileges for good behavior.

The main premise of the consequences in this program is what they call a T.E.A.S.P.O.T. (which stands for: Take Everything Away for a Short Period Of Time). So instead of being on phone restriction, or having to go to bed early, we would take EVERYTHING away for a 1/2 hour, or an hour, or a day or two days for something extreme. She put this to the test the first weekend after we went to the class, (ran away from her friends house when she was having a sleep over!!). We put her on a TEASPOT for 2 days, and the impact of those two days doing NOTHING (we took almost everything out of her room) had more impact then having the phone taken away for a whole month, or being on house restriction for 2 weeks had done in the past.

I highly recommend this class. There were quite a few parents who were having extreme issues w/ their kids, and being able to share w/ others and get feedback from other parents gave us a lot of support & perspective on what we were going through. Once you determine the things that your kids are attached to, CD players, TV's, cell phones, going out etc... and take it all away, they really do start to get it... If you live in my house, these are the rules and these are the consequences. Takes a lot of the drama away when you have it all written down and talked about in advance.

The material they presented in the class and the teacher were all very helpful. We are still using the TEASPOT when we need to, but don't have to hardly ever these days. Our daughter is now in 9th grade and is doing great. She still has a smart mouth, and pushes the limits on some stuff, but so far this year, things have been going really great. Best of luck to you & your family!!! Gina

Re: Therapist for LD Teen (April 2002)
Within the Kaiser system, I just received a recommendation from another mom, whose 16 year old daughter is working with this therapist with positive results. Her name is Alicia Barrett-Singer, and she's located in the Pediatrics Department in the Mosswood Building at Kaiser Oakland. Please look at the Kaiser directory for the phone number.

About 15 years ago, Kaiser had a pilot program in Lafyette that was only for teens. It was run by a psychiatrist. There were group sessions as well as individual sessions. The young person I knew who was in therapy was in the program for about 6 months, did get some medication and emerged fine. FR, Berkeley High School

Family Psychiatry, Oakland Kaiser

Re: African American therapist for teen
Dear Mom with Clashing Son and Husband: If you have a membership with Kaiser Permanente which includes mental health benefits, I highly recommend their family psychiatry department over in the Mosswood building at the Oakland facility. They have two outstanding Black male professionals on staff (and perhaps others whom I am not personally familiar with). Dr. Whitmore and Dr. Simmons counsel both adults and children in individual sessions and in groups organized for early/pre-teen children. You will need to inquire as to whether your situation meets their criteria for obtaining services and of course, they are probably already very busy. But for serious family problems affecting our children, Kaiser members should be aware that affordable help can be obtained. Good luck. Nicolie

(See also: Roscoe Simmons recommendations.)

Can anyone recommend a Oakland Kaiser therapist to work with family and school issues for a 14 year old boy?

Mario Raya is wonderful. Very in-sync with the kids and good at drawing them out.

Rosco Simmons at Kaiser, Oakland is excellent.

I work with troubled teens at Alta Bates (inpatient & day treatment) and had several clients that were Kaiser patients. Karen Orsolac was the therapist that I usually coordinated with. She used to run the Teen Clinic at Kaiser Oakland & I think still does. She is very good with both teens & parents. She has very direct style of communication that seems to get to the core issues quickly. Cyclechik1

One of the other therapists in my building used to be a Kaiser Oakland therapist, so I asked him. He suggested Dr. Roscoe Simmons and Dr. Gerald Whitmore of the child and adolescent unit. The number to call for appointments is 596-2737. Good luck. Vicki