It is important to realize that not all private therapists are trained or have enough case work to be considered specialists in serious mental illness. In fact, some universities only spend a few weeks on the subject. In a way, private practice therapists could be considered General Practitioners and we need Specialists. Santa Cruz County Mental Health has this expertise but only works with children who qualify for Medi-Cal. So if you don't qualify for Medi-Cal, how do you find a therapist who could be considered a Specialist? One way is to ask what training and experience s/he has specifically relating to your child's diagnosis. Ask if they are certified for the latest evidence based therapies like CBT. Click here for a description of training and more suggestions of what questions to ask.
I am very grateful that Santa Cruz County Mental Health and the Parent's Center have supplied a list of therapists who have worked or are still working for them but also have private practices. Also in this list are therapists recommended by parents in our NAMI Parent's group.
The Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center of Silicon Valley, http://cognitivebehaviortherapycenter.com
The Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center of Silicon Valley offers practical, goal-oriented therapy to help you and your loved ones make positive changes in your lives. We specialize in cognitive behavior therapy for adults, children and teenagers with anxiety, OCD and eating disorders. Our focus areas include cognitive behavior therapy for all of the various anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
Monterey Bay Psychological Association
Santa Cruz Chapter of California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Lorraine Cahn, LMFT 831.331-6417
Lorraine Cahn has worked for Santa Cruz County Children's Mental Health for over 20 years. Her extensive clinical work has primarily been with foster youth and Special Education students receiving Mental Health services. Lorraine has many years of experience providing play therapy as well as providing numerous trainings to County and Contract agency staff. She is trained in CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy), EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), HeartMath as well as Trauma-informed therapy. She enjoys working with children, adolescents and adults, individually and in family therapy.
Ellen Adams, LMFT 460-1160 - www.ellenadamsmft.com
Ellen Adams is a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) and is associated with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) as both a Family to Family Educator, and a Mental Health Provider Educator. She works in several modalities with individuals, couples and families using an eclectic mix of styles that incorporates body, mind and spirit.
Sandy Allen LMFT 454-9263
Sandy Allen has worked with severely emotionally disturbed youth through the Santa County Mental Health for 7 years. In her private practice, she works with children (4-13) using a variety of approaches, including play therapy.
Barbara Bailey-Porter, MA, LMFT 239-4084 - www.therapyandart.com
Barbara Bailey-Porter has worked in several different agencies in Santa Cruz County - Family Service Agency, Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance, Hospice of Santa Cruz County, and at the Stroke and Disabilities Center at Cabrillo College. She has taken the NAMI Provider class. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Art Therapist in Santa Cruz. In addition to Art Therapy she uses traditional psychotherapy conversations and explorations, internal parts work, art expression, play, and creative experiences. She is also trained in CBT.
Vivian Gratton 429-7899 - www.viviangratton.com
In addition to private therapy, Vivian offers a classes and support groups for parents and caregivers of children who have sensory challenges, difficulty managing energy, or difficulty with social connections. She also puts out a wonderful newsletter and has a website with a lot of resources. Her formal training includes:
- M.A., Counseling Psychology, Holistic Studies; at JFK University
- Licensed Marriage Family Therapist #50552
- Three years of training in Psychophysical Therapy, Somatic Resourcing, and Touch in Psychotherapy with Bill Bowen
- Training in the Re-Creation of the Self model with Jon Eisman
- Ongoing training in somatic approaches to working with trauma with a variety of teachers Ongoing training and consultation in working with learning differences and sensory processing issues.
- President of the Santa Cruz Chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, 2011.
- Volunteer facilitator for drop-in group for family and friends of those with severe mental illness through NAMI of Santa Cruz.
- Published article in Journal of Body Psychotherapy: Developing Sensitive Attunement: Contributions of Traditional Practices to Therapeutic Joining
Karen Holaday, MA LMFT - http://www.karenholaday.com
Karen Holaday has worked as a social worker and in private practice for over 20 years. She prefers home visits and has a lot of experience with crisis work. Her experience includes working as a social worker and clinical therapist with disturbed adolescents as well as crisis and family reunification. Most recently she has been working with mentally ill adults in crisis and establishing her practice.
Joy LeClair, LMFT 325-9835
Joy LeClair has been trained in CBT, DBT, and Sand Tray Therapy. She works with ages 4-17 and adults. She has done groups with Junior High Girls and is open to leading groups if parents want to arrange it. She prefers them to be one gender. Joy is a Triple P Provider. (Parenting Classes) In addition to her private practice, she works at the Parent Center which is a County program providing help for families with Medi-Cal.
Ryan Sisti, LMFT 588-1770 - www.ryansistilmft.com
Ryan has a ton of experience working with our kids. His website has a lot of information about his approach and specialties. Among other things, he specializes in mood challenges (depression, anxiety, fears, anger), post traumatic stress/abuse, parenting help, OCD, and school related issues.
- Baldwin-Wallace College: 1996 (Bachelor of Arts: Psychology)
- Santa Clara University: 2000 (Master of Arts: Marriage, Family and Child Counseling).
- Related Interests: Anything to do with the brain, neurofeedback, biofeedback, Gottman level 3 couples training, any book by Ross Greene Ph.D. (brilliant work!), mindfulness trainings, EMDR and play therapy.
Lida Strong, LCSW 423-7027 lidastronglcsw.com
Lida Strong has worked in the County Mental Health as well as a facility that provided transition age youth an alternative to hospitalization. In her private practice, she offers couples therapy and individual and family counseling and therapy. She also specializes in child therapy, including art and play therapy. She enjoys working with parents who are dealing with an impact of a child's diagnosis; helping them through grief, problem solving, limit setting and school issues.
Michael Strong LMFT 423-1209 michaelstronglmft.com
Michael Strong has a 40 year history working in County Mental Health as well as a private practice. He retired from the County in 2011 and now works exclusively in private practice. At the County, he specialized in Crisis Intervention and Individual and Group Therapy. He fully understands the trauma mental illness can bring to the individual and the family. Currently his work is with adults (17 and older) and he will coach parents with teens, helping them learn how to set limits and realistic goals, promoting self care and meaningful activities, and navigating medicine issues.
Marga Vaquer, LMFT 227-3431 http://www.margavaquer.com/
Marga Vaquer works mostly with adults. Her practice also includes children who have been sexually or emotionally abused. (Native Spanish Speaking)
Janet Borello Wellersdick, MFT #38295, 831 454-6225
Janet has worked with children from young toddlers through teen years and into young adult for several decades. She focuses on strengths and uses these tools to address concerns, using a variety of modalities. She is a member of CAMFT (California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and is well versed in trauma, substance abuse, anxiety, parenting and the severely emotionally disturbed population. She is trained in Triple P (positive parenting) and in Circle of Security (attachment issues). When needed and appropriate, I network with a local board certified child psychiatrist.