Adoption Therapists in Oakland, CA

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Photo of Nathan Greene, Psychologist in Oakland, CA
Nathan Greene
Psychologist, PsyD
Verified
3 Endorsed
Oakland, CA 94618
I am a bilingual (English and Spanish-speaking) licensed clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy services to adults, children, adolescents families. I support clients in fostering resilience and in building more meaningful, connected relationships. In therapy, I take a supportive, curious, nonjudgemental stance. My clients struggle with issues related to depression, anxiety, loss, adoption, psychological trauma, childhood development, parenting, and everyday stressors.
I am a bilingual (English and Spanish-speaking) licensed clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy services to adults, children, adolescents families. I support clients in fostering resilience and in building more meaningful, connected relationships. In therapy, I take a supportive, curious, nonjudgemental stance. My clients struggle with issues related to depression, anxiety, loss, adoption, psychological trauma, childhood development, parenting, and everyday stressors.
(949) 577-6606 View (949) 577-6606
Photo of Esther Ehrensaft, Psychologist in Oakland, CA
Esther Ehrensaft
Psychologist, PhD
Verified
Oakland, CA 94618
I am also specialized in the area of adoption, for adult adoptees as well as children.
Most people seek out a psychologist when they have truly done their best to resolve their difficulties on their own. When you can't see your own emotional blind spots, feeling stuck and distressed can ripple through many areas of your life. Perhaps this is your first time seeking out a therapist, or perhaps you are returning to psychotherapy for a fresh perspective. As a psychologist with over 17 years of experience, I have a seasoned understanding of what leads people to hit roadblocks in their lives, in areas including work, school, marriage, parenting, family, and intimate relationships.
I am also specialized in the area of adoption, for adult adoptees as well as children.
Most people seek out a psychologist when they have truly done their best to resolve their difficulties on their own. When you can't see your own emotional blind spots, feeling stuck and distressed can ripple through many areas of your life. Perhaps this is your first time seeking out a therapist, or perhaps you are returning to psychotherapy for a fresh perspective. As a psychologist with over 17 years of experience, I have a seasoned understanding of what leads people to hit roadblocks in their lives, in areas including work, school, marriage, parenting, family, and intimate relationships.
(415) 578-7673 View (415) 578-7673
Photo of Brandy Gadson, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Oakland, CA
Brandy Gadson
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LCSW
Verified
2 Endorsed
Oakland, CA 94602
), adoption/foster care issues, LGBTQ+ issues, and issues related to navigating the world as a person of color.
My practice is rooted in the belief that there is power in knowing and telling your own story. Who are you? Where did you come from? What's important to you? Let's work together to untangle your story, identify your strengths, goals, passions, and barriers; and make you the author of what comes next. I work with people who want to make positive changes, but feel paralyzed by stress, fear, indecision, or old habits. I can also help you learn concrete strategies for managing uncomfortable thoughts, emotions, transitions, health conditions or problematic relationships.
), adoption/foster care issues, LGBTQ+ issues, and issues related to navigating the world as a person of color.
My practice is rooted in the belief that there is power in knowing and telling your own story. Who are you? Where did you come from? What's important to you? Let's work together to untangle your story, identify your strengths, goals, passions, and barriers; and make you the author of what comes next. I work with people who want to make positive changes, but feel paralyzed by stress, fear, indecision, or old habits. I can also help you learn concrete strategies for managing uncomfortable thoughts, emotions, transitions, health conditions or problematic relationships.
(510) 901-3757 View (510) 901-3757
Photo of Carol Hernandez, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Oakland, CA
Carol Hernandez
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LCSW
Verified
Oakland, CA 94610
Hello, My name is Carol Hernandez, LCSW. I am excited to be able to provide therapy services to people seeking a better version of themselves. I believe in positive psychology and practicing mindfulness. I have experience in adoption- working with both birth parents and adoptive parents. I have experience working with adoption-related issues, including the adoption triad, infertility issues, and grief and loss. I also work with clients who wish to improve their overall well-being.
Hello, My name is Carol Hernandez, LCSW. I am excited to be able to provide therapy services to people seeking a better version of themselves. I believe in positive psychology and practicing mindfulness. I have experience in adoption- working with both birth parents and adoptive parents. I have experience working with adoption-related issues, including the adoption triad, infertility issues, and grief and loss. I also work with clients who wish to improve their overall well-being.
(209) 391-1509 View (209) 391-1509
Photo of Nina Anderson, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Oakland, CA
Nina Anderson
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LCSW
Verified
Oakland, CA 94601
Adoption Collective is committed to providing ethical and competent specialized services for all members of the adoption constellation. Nina Anderson, LCSW offers Counseling, Education, and Consultation Services in the area of Adoption and Family Formation. As the founder of Adoption Collective, Nina recognized the need for personalized support for those involved in the adoption process. Nina provides counseling to pre-adoptive and adoptive parents, expectant/birth parents, and adoptees, and supports Post Adoption Contact Relationships.
Adoption Collective is committed to providing ethical and competent specialized services for all members of the adoption constellation. Nina Anderson, LCSW offers Counseling, Education, and Consultation Services in the area of Adoption and Family Formation. As the founder of Adoption Collective, Nina recognized the need for personalized support for those involved in the adoption process. Nina provides counseling to pre-adoptive and adoptive parents, expectant/birth parents, and adoptees, and supports Post Adoption Contact Relationships.
(415) 993-6226 View (415) 993-6226
Photo of Karisa L Barrow, Psychologist in Oakland, CA
Karisa L Barrow
Psychologist, PsyD
Verified
3 Endorsed
Oakland, CA 94611
Waitlist for new clients
Specialties: Gender and Sexuality, Foster Care/Adoption, Parenting Work & Trauma Areas of Focus: Adjustment, Depression & Anxiety, Children with Developmental, Emotional & Behavioral Difficulties, Parenting Consultation & Collaboration, Trauma, Loss, Dying & Bereavement.
I strive to create an authentic connection with my clients so we can develop an effective partnership in which healing, trying on new ways of thinking, and exploring change can happen safely. I believe that the foundation of mutual trust, empathy, and curiosity that I create with my clients will help them build meaningful relationships with others, mend old wounds, and learn more about themselves and how they contribute to their struggles. Helping my clients see themselves through a new lens will help them achieve the growth and fulfillment they want in their lives. Please don't hesitate to call for help.
Specialties: Gender and Sexuality, Foster Care/Adoption, Parenting Work & Trauma Areas of Focus: Adjustment, Depression & Anxiety, Children with Developmental, Emotional & Behavioral Difficulties, Parenting Consultation & Collaboration, Trauma, Loss, Dying & Bereavement.
I strive to create an authentic connection with my clients so we can develop an effective partnership in which healing, trying on new ways of thinking, and exploring change can happen safely. I believe that the foundation of mutual trust, empathy, and curiosity that I create with my clients will help them build meaningful relationships with others, mend old wounds, and learn more about themselves and how they contribute to their struggles. Helping my clients see themselves through a new lens will help them achieve the growth and fulfillment they want in their lives. Please don't hesitate to call for help.
(510) 962-9394 View (510) 962-9394
Photo of Psychological Testing & Evaluations - Dr. Dean, Psychologist in Oakland, CA
Psychological Testing & Evaluations - Dr. Dean
Psychologist, PsyD, QME, Author
Verified
Oakland, CA 94607
I'm Dr. Dean Leav, licensed psychologist and qualified medical evaluator (QME). I've been featured on ABC, NBC, KCAL, and other programs as an expert psychologist. I provide Evaluation Services, including (and not limited to): diagnostics (ADHD, Autism, Learning Dis.), cognitive/neuropsychological evaluations, workers' compensation (QME/AME), immigration-related evaluations, pre-adoption psychological evaluations, parenting/bonding assessments, drug & alcohol evaluations, pre-employment evaluations, and legal/forensics/criminal evaluations. These evaluations may be used to meet eligibility for certain services or accommodations.
I'm Dr. Dean Leav, licensed psychologist and qualified medical evaluator (QME). I've been featured on ABC, NBC, KCAL, and other programs as an expert psychologist. I provide Evaluation Services, including (and not limited to): diagnostics (ADHD, Autism, Learning Dis.), cognitive/neuropsychological evaluations, workers' compensation (QME/AME), immigration-related evaluations, pre-adoption psychological evaluations, parenting/bonding assessments, drug & alcohol evaluations, pre-employment evaluations, and legal/forensics/criminal evaluations. These evaluations may be used to meet eligibility for certain services or accommodations.
(510) 945-1478 View (510) 945-1478
Photo of Adriana N Taranta, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Oakland, CA
Adriana N Taranta
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LCSW, MSW
Verified
Oakland, CA 94610
Are you concerned about your child’s behavior? Are you struggling to understand what is happening for your child? Are you finding parenting overwhelming? I work with children and parents to help them make meaning of life’s challenges and work with children and parents, both individually and together. I bring more than twenty years of experience providing therapy, consultation, and assessments with children and their families to my clinical practice. I have experience working with children and families around many issues including, loss, attachment, adoption, anxiety, depression, atypical development, learning differences and trauma.
Are you concerned about your child’s behavior? Are you struggling to understand what is happening for your child? Are you finding parenting overwhelming? I work with children and parents to help them make meaning of life’s challenges and work with children and parents, both individually and together. I bring more than twenty years of experience providing therapy, consultation, and assessments with children and their families to my clinical practice. I have experience working with children and families around many issues including, loss, attachment, adoption, anxiety, depression, atypical development, learning differences and trauma.
(510) 661-3529 View (510) 661-3529
Photo of Laura S. Anderson, Psychologist in Oakland, CA
Laura S. Anderson
Psychologist, PsyD
Verified
Oakland, CA 94610
Specialized areas of interest include: supporting those in the adoption triad; transracial adoption; issues related to gender identity/expression; "third culture" children and families; women's health; diagnosing autism spectrum disorders; and parenting support in general.
Are you hoping to have more energy? Would you like to be a calmer parent or partner? Are you hoping for stronger or smoother relationships with important people in your life? Do you worry about how your child is doing in school, or how they feel about themselves as a learner? I provide detailed assessments, and individual, group and family therapy to help kids, families and adults build on their strengths. Together we will figure out how to help you, and/or your children, feel better, function better, and live a life with less friction and more fulfillment.
Specialized areas of interest include: supporting those in the adoption triad; transracial adoption; issues related to gender identity/expression; "third culture" children and families; women's health; diagnosing autism spectrum disorders; and parenting support in general.
Are you hoping to have more energy? Would you like to be a calmer parent or partner? Are you hoping for stronger or smoother relationships with important people in your life? Do you worry about how your child is doing in school, or how they feel about themselves as a learner? I provide detailed assessments, and individual, group and family therapy to help kids, families and adults build on their strengths. Together we will figure out how to help you, and/or your children, feel better, function better, and live a life with less friction and more fulfillment.
(808) 445-6369 View (808) 445-6369
Photo of Laura Frame, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Oakland, CA
Laura Frame
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LCSW, PhD
Verified
Oakland, CA 94607
I specialize in relationship difficulties, developmental concerns and life transitions, parenting, adoption, foster and kinship care, trauma, attachment-related challenges and disruptions, as well as emotional difficulties such as anxiety and depression.
Growth, change and transformation happen in the context of crucial relationships in our lives. We also experience pain, loss, absence, fear, shame, and more within those relationships – as children and as adults. Our life experiences, intertwined with our cultural background and unique neurobiology, lead us to become who we are, but may not lead us to become who we want to be. Psychotherapy offers an opportunity to create lives and relationships that are more satisfying and in which we feel more alive.
I specialize in relationship difficulties, developmental concerns and life transitions, parenting, adoption, foster and kinship care, trauma, attachment-related challenges and disruptions, as well as emotional difficulties such as anxiety and depression.
Growth, change and transformation happen in the context of crucial relationships in our lives. We also experience pain, loss, absence, fear, shame, and more within those relationships – as children and as adults. Our life experiences, intertwined with our cultural background and unique neurobiology, lead us to become who we are, but may not lead us to become who we want to be. Psychotherapy offers an opportunity to create lives and relationships that are more satisfying and in which we feel more alive.
(510) 399-2147 View (510) 399-2147
Photo of Patrick D. Chrisman, Psychologist in Oakland, CA
Patrick D. Chrisman
Psychologist, BA, MA, PsyD
Verified
4 Endorsed
Oakland, CA 94611
Areas I specialize in: Anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, parenting support, family relationships and communication, trauma/abuse, loss/grief, attachment, interpersonal difficulties, adoption and divorce and self-growth.
I believe that understanding and compassion are vital for building trust, mutual respect, and openness, all of which are essential in forming a therapeutic relationship that can encourage change. My style in therapy is a mix of person-centered, solution-focused, cognitive-behavioral, and psychodynamic theories. With children I utilize a variety of expressive therapies including play, art, narrative, sand tray and bibliotherapy. In working with children, adolescents and adults, I use a cognitive behavioral therapeutic approach.
Areas I specialize in: Anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, parenting support, family relationships and communication, trauma/abuse, loss/grief, attachment, interpersonal difficulties, adoption and divorce and self-growth.
I believe that understanding and compassion are vital for building trust, mutual respect, and openness, all of which are essential in forming a therapeutic relationship that can encourage change. My style in therapy is a mix of person-centered, solution-focused, cognitive-behavioral, and psychodynamic theories. With children I utilize a variety of expressive therapies including play, art, narrative, sand tray and bibliotherapy. In working with children, adolescents and adults, I use a cognitive behavioral therapeutic approach.
(415) 570-8936 View (415) 570-8936
Photo of Tim Tisdell, Psychologist in Oakland, CA
Tim Tisdell
Psychologist, PsyD
Verified
6 Endorsed
Oakland, CA 94618
My particular areas of focus include: individual child, adolescent and adult therapy, adoption, and working with LGBTQQIA2S youth, adults, and families.
I am well trained as a licensed Clinical Psychologist with more than 20 years of experience providing individual therapy to children, adolescents and adults. I strive to create a genuine relationship with my clients to allow for collaborative exploration of the areas in their lives that interfere with personal fulfillment. My approach also involves listening actively, building trust, being curious, providing empathy, and making direct comments to help my clients develop greater awareness about themselves and the patterns in their lives that cause emotional distress or relationship difficulties. This allows my clients to grow and to live more meaningful lives.
My particular areas of focus include: individual child, adolescent and adult therapy, adoption, and working with LGBTQQIA2S youth, adults, and families.
I am well trained as a licensed Clinical Psychologist with more than 20 years of experience providing individual therapy to children, adolescents and adults. I strive to create a genuine relationship with my clients to allow for collaborative exploration of the areas in their lives that interfere with personal fulfillment. My approach also involves listening actively, building trust, being curious, providing empathy, and making direct comments to help my clients develop greater awareness about themselves and the patterns in their lives that cause emotional distress or relationship difficulties. This allows my clients to grow and to live more meaningful lives.
(510) 358-4819 View (510) 358-4819
Photo of Kathryn Orfirer, Psychologist in Oakland, CA
Kathryn Orfirer
Psychologist, PhD
Verified
Oakland, CA 94610
I am a clinical and developmental psychologist with over 35 years experience. I currently have limited availability for 1) caregivers seeking parenting support; 2) people anticipating or during pregnancy, adoption, fostering or otherwise transitioning to parenthood and early parenting; and, 3) for consultation and supervision for professionals and students.
I am a clinical and developmental psychologist with over 35 years experience. I currently have limited availability for 1) caregivers seeking parenting support; 2) people anticipating or during pregnancy, adoption, fostering or otherwise transitioning to parenthood and early parenting; and, 3) for consultation and supervision for professionals and students.
(510) 692-9736 View (510) 692-9736
Photo of Psychological Testing & Evaluations - Dr. Dean, Psychologist in Oakland, CA
Psychological Testing & Evaluations - Dr. Dean
Psychologist, PsyD, QME, Author
Verified
Oakland, CA 94607
I'm Dr. Dean Leav, licensed psychologist and qualified medical evaluator (QME). I've been featured on ABC, NBC, KCAL, and other programs as an expert psychologist. I provide Evaluation Services, including (and not limited to): diagnostics (ADHD, Autism, Learning Dis.), cognitive/neuropsychological evaluations, workers' compensation (QME/AME), immigration-related evaluations, pre-adoption psychological evaluations, parenting/bonding assessments, drug & alcohol evaluations, pre-employment evaluations, and legal/forensics/criminal evaluations. These evaluations may be used to meet eligibility for certain services or accommodations.
I'm Dr. Dean Leav, licensed psychologist and qualified medical evaluator (QME). I've been featured on ABC, NBC, KCAL, and other programs as an expert psychologist. I provide Evaluation Services, including (and not limited to): diagnostics (ADHD, Autism, Learning Dis.), cognitive/neuropsychological evaluations, workers' compensation (QME/AME), immigration-related evaluations, pre-adoption psychological evaluations, parenting/bonding assessments, drug & alcohol evaluations, pre-employment evaluations, and legal/forensics/criminal evaluations. These evaluations may be used to meet eligibility for certain services or accommodations.
(510) 319-0360 View (510) 319-0360
Photo of Westley Rutter, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Oakland, CA
Westley Rutter
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LCSW
Verified
1 Endorsed
Oakland, CA 94611
I view therapy as a collaborative relationship, seeking to form a partnership to explore your struggles, moving towards growth and healing. I am experienced in working with anxiety, depression, substance issues, grief/loss, relationship difficulties, trauma, oppression, chronic medical conditions, sexuality, eating disorders, and adoption issues. In addition to individual therapy, I work with couples, and relationships of all configurations. I am especially interested in clients who would like to incorporate Somatic Experiencing into their therapy.
I view therapy as a collaborative relationship, seeking to form a partnership to explore your struggles, moving towards growth and healing. I am experienced in working with anxiety, depression, substance issues, grief/loss, relationship difficulties, trauma, oppression, chronic medical conditions, sexuality, eating disorders, and adoption issues. In addition to individual therapy, I work with couples, and relationships of all configurations. I am especially interested in clients who would like to incorporate Somatic Experiencing into their therapy.
(415) 737-6154 View (415) 737-6154
Photo of Sarah McCartney, Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA
Sarah McCartney
Marriage & Family Therapist, MS, LMFT
Verified
Oakland, CA 94611
Are you a lesbian couple in the process of deciding to become parents? Are you an individual seeking support while you and your partner are thinking about beginning a family? There are unique decisions that you may be currently facing such as, pregnancy or adoption, which partner will become pregnant, and how will both partners feel involved as parents. It is important for you to have a safe space to explore these questions. There are feelings that accompany the decisions that you are making, and partners may feel differently. This sometimes challenges the connection between you.
Are you a lesbian couple in the process of deciding to become parents? Are you an individual seeking support while you and your partner are thinking about beginning a family? There are unique decisions that you may be currently facing such as, pregnancy or adoption, which partner will become pregnant, and how will both partners feel involved as parents. It is important for you to have a safe space to explore these questions. There are feelings that accompany the decisions that you are making, and partners may feel differently. This sometimes challenges the connection between you.
(510) 246-3475 View (510) 246-3475
Photo of Dr. Meghan Tunson, Psychologist in Oakland, CA
Dr. Meghan Tunson
Psychologist, PsyD
Verified
1 Endorsed
Oakland, CA 94612
My specialties include: *Trauma *Adoption *Anxiety *Depression *Parenting *Learning Disorders *Relationship issues *ADHD *Autism spectrum disorder *Sensory Processing Disorder *Psychological Assessments.
People are often hesitant to try therapy because they feel it won't work or believe they should be able to handle difficult things on their own. If you're willing to try personal trainers, babysitters, house cleaners, and other services to better your life, doesn't your emotional happiness or the happiness of your family deserve the same focus? I believe that it absolutely does.
My specialties include: *Trauma *Adoption *Anxiety *Depression *Parenting *Learning Disorders *Relationship issues *ADHD *Autism spectrum disorder *Sensory Processing Disorder *Psychological Assessments.
People are often hesitant to try therapy because they feel it won't work or believe they should be able to handle difficult things on their own. If you're willing to try personal trainers, babysitters, house cleaners, and other services to better your life, doesn't your emotional happiness or the happiness of your family deserve the same focus? I believe that it absolutely does.
(510) 269-2639 View (510) 269-2639
Photo of Tim Smyth, Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA
Tim Smyth
Marriage & Family Therapist, LMFT
Verified
Oakland, CA 94611
I actively address thinking errors such as cognitive distortions and work towards the adoption of more adaptive ways of thinking and behaving with the belief that this can also result in changes in feelings.
I am Tim Smyth. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist and I hold a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. I am a seasoned practitioner of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with 35 years of experience working with adults, couples, children, adolescents, and their families across various mental health and community settings. I specialize in the treatment of anxiety disorders. I work with nearly all ages; primarily between ages 10 and 80. I typically work with people from a variety of backgrounds and socioeconomic strata. I have been under a wide range of conditions but tend to avoid dealing with court referrals.
I actively address thinking errors such as cognitive distortions and work towards the adoption of more adaptive ways of thinking and behaving with the belief that this can also result in changes in feelings.
I am Tim Smyth. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist and I hold a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. I am a seasoned practitioner of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with 35 years of experience working with adults, couples, children, adolescents, and their families across various mental health and community settings. I specialize in the treatment of anxiety disorders. I work with nearly all ages; primarily between ages 10 and 80. I typically work with people from a variety of backgrounds and socioeconomic strata. I have been under a wide range of conditions but tend to avoid dealing with court referrals.
(951) 357-0550 View (951) 357-0550
Photo of Caitlin Finnell, Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA
Caitlin Finnell
Marriage & Family Therapist, MA, MFT
Verified
7 Endorsed
Oakland, CA 94606  (Online Only)
Gender related issues, family therapy, children and youth, trauma, anxiety, depression, self esteem, ADD, emotional distress from learning and physical disabilities, adoption and foster youth, and self care.
While I work with a diversity of people, I specialize in working with LGBTQ individuals, couples and youth. As a Marriage and Family psychotherapist, I seek to help my clients find their way through the hardships that life can bring. I believe in the healing power of the therapeutic relationship as well as each individual having the power to heal themselves. I believe in a strength based, solution focused approach to therapy and work with my clients to not only overcome their current circumstances but to also develop tools and strategies that they can use moving forward in their lives.
Gender related issues, family therapy, children and youth, trauma, anxiety, depression, self esteem, ADD, emotional distress from learning and physical disabilities, adoption and foster youth, and self care.
While I work with a diversity of people, I specialize in working with LGBTQ individuals, couples and youth. As a Marriage and Family psychotherapist, I seek to help my clients find their way through the hardships that life can bring. I believe in the healing power of the therapeutic relationship as well as each individual having the power to heal themselves. I believe in a strength based, solution focused approach to therapy and work with my clients to not only overcome their current circumstances but to also develop tools and strategies that they can use moving forward in their lives.
(415) 630-6595 View (415) 630-6595
Photo of Cara Frankel, Psychologist in Oakland, CA
Cara Frankel
Psychologist, PsyD
Verified
2 Endorsed
Oakland, CA 94611
I have experience with children who are facing a variety of challenges (school adjustment difficulties, divorce, death, adoption, anxiety, depression, selective mutism) and have specialized training and experience in working with young children ages 0 - 5 and children/adolescents/young adults with autistic spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities.
I am a clinical psychologist and have been working clinically with children, adolescents and families for 15 years. I am passionate about my work with children and adolescents. I believe that childhood is both a wonderful and an extremely challenging time. Through play, talk and family therapy I help children and families reach their potential for happy, productive and successful lives.
I have experience with children who are facing a variety of challenges (school adjustment difficulties, divorce, death, adoption, anxiety, depression, selective mutism) and have specialized training and experience in working with young children ages 0 - 5 and children/adolescents/young adults with autistic spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities.
I am a clinical psychologist and have been working clinically with children, adolescents and families for 15 years. I am passionate about my work with children and adolescents. I believe that childhood is both a wonderful and an extremely challenging time. Through play, talk and family therapy I help children and families reach their potential for happy, productive and successful lives.
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Adoption Therapists

Does my adopted child need therapy?

Not every adopted child needs therapy. However, many can benefit from seeing an adoption-informed therapist, especially if they were victims of abuse or neglect, appear withdrawn or disconnected, have behavioral or developmental issues (which may or may not be related to their adoption), are struggling with feelings of grief or loss surrounding their birth parents, or find it difficult to establish an identity, a challenge that often becomes most apparent during adolescence.

When should adoptive parents seek therapy?

Prospective parents can benefit from therapy even before an adoption—for example, to voice worries and fears; to reconcile infertility struggles, if relevant; or simply to prepare themselves for parenthood. After the adoption, parents who are struggling to bond with their child; are unsure how to talk about adoption or related issues, such as race; or whose child is dealing with developmental, behavioral, or psychiatric concerns can address these and other issues with the help of an adoption-competent therapist.

Is family therapy appropriate for adoptive families?

Family therapy can be invaluable for strengthening the bond between adoptive parents and children, helping the latter feel more secure in their place in the family. Family therapy can also help adoptive families navigate complex communication issues—for example, parents who feel uncomfortable discussing race with their child, who in turn feels invalidated by their silence, or a child who has questions about his birth parents but avoids asking them out of fear of hurting his adoptive parents’ feelings.

What therapy is not appropriate for adoption issues?

A discredited therapy known as “attachment therapy” (sometimes called “holding therapy” or “rebirthing therapy”) should not be used to treat adopted and foster children, though it was largely designed for this population. Attachment therapy involves restraining, coercing, and punishing the child in order for them to “release” negative emotions and attach to their new caregivers—techniques that are abusive and dangerous and have even proven fatal in some cases.