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Seeking Child Counselor Recommendations

An urbanMama recently emailed:

We have a situation with our 7.5 year old boy. He is consistently negative and it is starting to effect family life. He approaches most things like he is not going to like it, and surprise, he usually doesn’t. Since one of our marriage tenets is “it’s not getting what you want, it’s wanting what you have” his attitude of disdain for all is really pushing too many buttons for both of us. In typical sibling fashion, the younger brother has found the opposite role of “overly optimistic” to be open, so he has filled it. The contrast between the two is just adding to a icky mess and horrible family dinners. Bottom line: time for some family therapy.

In 2010 you had a great post about when people should seek child/family therapists. I think we’ve met those criteria, so now I’m looking for some suggestions. We are on the outer west side of Portland.  So: downtown Portland, NW, Beaverton, all of those would work. Why do you think the person was good, what did they do that worked (or that you heard worked)? It’s taken my husband and a while to figure out that we need to pull in an expert and now I want to jump ahead!


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I don't have any recommendations, but I do want to say that I sympathize with your family and I applaud you for taking this step while your son is still young. My father had that same sort of attitude all of my life (and I'm assuming before I was around) and my ex-husband was much like that as well. I know how hard that is to live with and be around, and I know what it can do to a family. Hang in there, mama!

I heartily recommend Jean Wright. She is on Barnes Road and is in the white pages for her telephone number. She was an amazing help for us when our son was young and has helped many many parents in my preschool with their children. One of the best things about her is she doesn't really believe in long term therapy. She will meet with you and your husband, then meet with your child a few times. She gives great feedback, hints, strategies to parents and helps the child to understand him/herself. She has amazing insight. Colleen Strohm

While you're thinking about it, any recommendations for in/around NoPo? Great topic!

Our son was having some behavioral troubles at school which led to my research for a child psychologist/counselor. We found Howard Hiton through a recommendation from a friend and though we just met with him once, it was a very good experience. He was easy going and accessible. My husband was extremely averse to seeking professional help, so we went in to the meeting with perhaps a lot more anxiety and discomfort that is normal. The three of us left feeling happy that we reached out for the help. http://www.hitonassociates.net/site/

I recommend Tamara Pederson. She's just on the east side of the Morrison Bridge and was helpful with our son of the same age and similar issues, among others. We've had family sessions and some with just parents and some with just him. She takes all sorts of insurance, too. Good luck! I know it can be difficult. One session is definitely not going to solve everything right away, unfortunately, but I found that Tamara also didn't push us to come in when we didn't need to, which I appreciated.

I highly recommend Dr. Char Eickholt. My daughter has been seeing her for about 9 months. She's at NE 21st and Broadway--I know that's not ideal for the OP or the family in NoPo, but just wanted to toss in her name in case there are any other readers in similar circs.

When my husband and I were dithering about what to do with our daughter, my sister, a pediatrician, told us that young kids are very good at learning coping skills and even if our daughter's problems didn't merit a serious diagnosis, she'd benefit from some help. So now I tend to pass that on to other families who are wondering if seeking professional help is a good idea.

p.s. when kids are filling opposite roles, my family calls it "Good Bear, Bad Bear" after the A. A. Milne poem "Twice Times."

you can read it here: http://allpoetry.com/poem/8518971-Twice_Times-by-A.A._Milne

Dr. Jay Johnson at Western Psychological and Couseling Services has been a godsend to my husband and our family. He actually counseled my husband as a child through his parents divorce and now us as we come to grips with a serious illness. He is gentle yet very focused on our goal. He's not the kind of therapist you see for years without results - after each visit I feel progress is made. Link: http://www.westernpsych.com/directory/practitioner_detail.php?id=34

Dr. Jay is located on BH Hwy near Jesuit

Our family has done a lot of work with Kathy Marchant who is a Compassionate Communication trainer. CC can shift family dynamics and personal thought patterns, it has been an amazing tool for us. I took a 12 week course with her and she is also available for family sessions.

an outline family uses of CC also called NVC are here: http://www.nonviolentcommunication.com/aboutnvc/parenting.htm

Kathy's # is 503.768.9008, she is in Hillsdale.

I'd love to see more recommendations for NVC-focused therapists on both sides of the river! I love my son's PMHNP -- Kurt Kemmerer at Broadway Medical Clinic (he's fantastic if any of you are in the Hollywood neighborhood) -- but I can't really get e. to talk to him.

and on a related note, I just happened to come across this book on a Seattle friend's web site. it sounds like a great one: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0967050707/?tag=befriended-20. and I'm sorry you're dealing with your son's emotional issues. it's never easy.

I would highly recommend Rick Johnson. He is a professor at PSU's Counseling program (and the head of the program) which is how I know him-as a former student, but he also has a private practice on the west side. He is very experienced and skilled, and I know that family therapy is his passion. I have referred other friends to him and always heard great things back from them about him and his approach. Here is his website: http://www.rickjohnsonphd.com/

I am also looking for a recommendation for a therapist/counsel who is great with elementary school age kids and parents of that age kids. I live in the SW PDX/Lake O area.

We are in NoPo and were seeing Joe Cereghino on NE Broadway... it's only about 15 mins away. He only works afternoons/evenings with kids and only 3 days a week. He connected well with my son and let him jump and climb around the office during sessions. OTOH< there's another lady who shares his office who we talked to first that was his polar opposite sylistically... so you have to be sure you like the person and that they 'get' you. Negatively was part of our issues.. though not the #1 reason we went in. Our son just beneifited from having another adult to chat with and who he then respected the opinoins of.

I highly recommend the Children's Program, in Multnomah Village (SW). My son saw Jeff Sosne there and he was superb - pegged him just right, and within just a few sessions we had such an understanding of how to work best with him. Good luck whatever you decide! I applaud your willingness to seek that support.

In LO/Tigard.SW, I'd recommend Kathleen Zumpano. www.oregonfamilytherapy.com

I know this is an older thread but we are in the same situation as the original poster and need to find someone to help us. The whole family needs some skills.

We're in outer SE and would prefer to stay on the east side. Mostly what we need is someone who can bill insurance. Cost has prevented us from finding help in the past. Thanks for any help anyone has!

I highly recommend Karen Pomerantz for anyone looking for a therapist for their teenage son or daughter. She has been working with our teenage daughter for the past year and I feel my daughter is in very good hands!

I'm the original poster and I thought I would report back in. We ended up seeing Jean Wright off of Barnes and have been very pleased. Nothing is instantaneous especially with this personality type, but there have been great strides made. She is no nonsense, straight forward, and a great match for our situation. I also like that she has given him and us incredibly CONCRETE suggestions - not psycho babble.

We are now monthly visitors (at our son's request, she was fine with us stopping) and I recommend her highly.

She will not deal with insurance though - just gives you the proper paperwork and leaves it up to you.

We have the same situation- but worry more about the grumpiness being a step in the direction of depression. Our son is OVERLY hard on himself (therefore overly hard on his younger brother) and cannot handle any sort of dissapointment. So for us, along with the moodiness and crabby attitude, we also need someone to help how to deal with the Eyore complex we've got going- the glass cannot always be half empty!!

Anon, does Jean Wright handle depression issues too?

I would highly recommend Karen Pomerantz. She is located on 12th and Oak in SE Portland. She has been working with our teenage son for the past 6 months, and while he is still struggling with depression at times, he has come a long way. She works individually with your child, which at first I was apprehensive about (because I wanted to be included in sessions), but I realized that he needed his own space to work through things. She is also just a really warm person and very experienced with adolescents. I've recommended her to other parents/friends and have heard positive things from them as well.

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