Debra Milinsky, MSW, LCSW

Every journey begins with a single step…

When you need to talk to someone, when anxiety depression, personal or work relationship concerns motivate you to call a therapist, I will listen and help you find your way through. Experienced,  licensed Couple and Family Psychotherapist with many years of experience acquired over 30+ years of general psychotherapy practice in Berkeley, San Francisco and Vallejo. 

Specializing in psychotherapy for personal, couple intimacy and communication problems, family relationships, child and teen challenges, and repair for mother-daughter conflict and relationships. I provide effective, therapeutic help to individuals, couples, and all kinds of families from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds and non-conforming sexual and gender identities.

Each person requires a specific therapeutic relationship that fits your unique needs and comfort level. My approach is compassionate, pragmatic and collaborative, listening empathically to learn from you what works best. Together we create a safe, confidential, nonjudgmental environment where we talk about and resolve your problems and concerns.

Proceeding at your pace, we explore your thoughts and feelings about what is going well and what is not. We listen to dreams and longings, mindful of obstacles and interference in the here and now from self-defeating habits, attitudes and past and present relationships. This opens the door for better choices, acceptance and balance in your life.

Special interests and expertise

My areas of specialization include: couple therapy, marriage and divorce counseling; help with parenting skills and family therapy; loss and separations or family divorce adjustments and transitions; family reunification therapy during separation and divorce; healing mother and daughter relationships; effects of substance abuse and co-dependency on self-esteem and family life; sexual abuse, trauma and PTSD; and individual (adults and adolescents), couple and family work with patients managing bi-polar depression and anxiety, and eating disorders.

In addition to my private psychotherapy practice, I have worked extensively with adults, adolescents and children in a variety of agency, hospital and community settings, providing a safe place for clients to explore responses to:

  • Anxiety, fear and stress
  • Depression and mood
  • Emotional, physical and sexual trauma
  • Loss, grief and remorse
  • Shame, guilt and self-esteem
  • Sexuality concerns
  • Anger management and assertiveness skills
  • Family reunification assessment and treatment during separation and divorce
  • Individual and family therapy for bi-polar disorder (BPD) 
  • Individual (adults, teens, children) and family therapy for eating disorders 

Professional activities and interests: Past-President of the Association of Family Therapists (1986-88); Childhood Matters (KISS-FM radio) guest expert answering listener questions about family violence and domestic abuse; Group psychotherapy and presentations to professional and community groups about parenting; couple communication; divorce and step-parenting, incest and sexual trauma.

Graduate degrees in: Clinical Social Work from the University of Michigan, MSW, 1975; and Clinical Psychology from the University of San Francisco, MA, 1978.  Clinical Social Work license in good standing  to practice psychotherapy in California, LCS7158, 1979.

Office hours by appointment in Berkeley and Vallejo.

                  My patients are always my best teachers.  Our work together is a vibrant gift that continually enriches and deepens my understanding and appreciation of our shared humanity.

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