We have found that many members of the triad are interested in pursuing professional counseling as part of their healing process. One of the challenges faced by those who seek professional help is finding an adoption-competent therapist who is sensitive to the the unique issues experienced by those in the adoption triad.
We have compiled a list of professionals who we feel are aligned with our mission and values regarding the adoption experience. The professionals listed have self-identified as specialists in adoption. PACER provides this list as a courtesy and does not endorse any particular individual or practice. Our current list of therapists hold a valid license in the state of California, are in good standing with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. They specialize in adoption issues. Some are members of the triad themselves, though we don’t believe such a role is instrumental to one’s success in therapy. The most important thing is that you and your therapist have a good alliance with each other and that you and/or your family are in a safe space to begin or continue a therapeutic experience.
Catherine Eliaser, MFT
Leslie Foge, MFT
Linda Franklin, LCSW
Melissa Holub, MFT
Virginia Keeler-Wolf, MFT
Susan Love, MFT
Jane Peal, MFT
Andrea Pinkerton, Psy.D
Susan Theobold, LCSW
Brenda Vaccaro, Psy.D
Nancy Verrier, MFT
Some additional resources…
We recommend doing research on any therapist you are considering seeing. Given the uniqueness of the adoption experience, we believe there are additional things to consider as you make your next choice so we have provided some more resources below, including a sample questionnaire you can print and use as a guide for your first conversation with a potential provider.
- When Does Adoption Therapy Help? by Dawn Friedman
- 10 Questions to Ask When Searching for an Adoption Competent Therapist by Christine Koubek (An Interview with Leslie Pate McKinnon, LCSW)
- Choosing an Adoption Therapist by MN Adopt
- Selecting and Working with a Therapist Skilled in Adoption by Child Information Gateway
- Questions for Adoptive Parents to Ask When Interviewing a Prospective Mental Health Professional by Oregon Post Adoption Resource Center
A special note to adult adoptees:
It’s no surprise given the nature of the adoption experience that by the time adoptees become adults, they may pursue therapy to help with bettering their relationships. Many want to and don’t know where to start. Others have started treatment but struggle with not knowing what to expect and how to measure their progress. Because each person’s therapy is deeply personal to them, it’s impossible to manage anyone’s expectations about how their experience should or will take place. Much of it has to do with the cadence and connection you have with your therapist. That said, we have found the additional research around the 5 phases of adoption reconstruction to be an interesting high-level perspective of how adoptees may compartmentalize their complex lives and their therapeutic journeys. The research was first conducted by Judith Penny, L. DiAnne Borders, and Francie Portnoy for the Journal of Counseling & Development. We recommend reading the entire PDF which is available for $6.00 here: Reconstruction of Adoption Issues: Delineation of Five Phases Among Adult Adoptees. In the meantime, here is a quick reference to the basic concepts: