"Rebecca Woolis has produced a handbook that is both practical and accessible, eminently useful for anyone who has a family member with a serious mental illness" — E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., author of Surviving Schizophrenia


This book is an outstanding overview for extended family members and others involved in the care/support of a person who has bipolar disorder aka manic depression. Has proven very helpful in our situation. — Anonymous reader
   Home      Bio - Rebecca Woolis MFT

     M.A., Clinical Psychology, 1973, J.F.Kennedy University, CA

     B.A., Psychology, 1969, The City College of New York

     Licensed Marriage, Family & Child Counselor, 1978; License # MFC12440

     CAMFT Certified Supervisor, 2001




Since 1981 I have maintained a part-time psychotherapy practice in Berkeley, California, working with individuals, couples, and families.  I have also provided trainings, presentations and consultation to mental health programs, counties and family groups in the USA and Canada.   



I have more than 30 years of experience in leadership positions in community mental health programs.  I have been the Program Director of several Bonita House Inc. programs since 1997 including the dual diagnosis residential treatment program, supported housing programs and currently the Berkeley Creative Living Center, a clubhouse model day program for adults recovering from psychiatric disabilities.  Prior to that I have had leadership roles at the Momentum for Mental Health (formerly Community Companions), in San Jose, California where I worked with case managers, began a family support program and led family groups for various communities including African Americans, Vietnamese, Cambodians  and Hispanic families. Between 1997 and 1990 I worked at Buckelew Houses in Marin, CA in various positions including Program Director of a 15 bed residential treatment program and of a Family Support Program which I developed for the agency.

Other experiences includes being a program director of an inpatient adolescent chemical dependency recovery hospital, working at Woodside Women's Hospital a psychiatric hospital which specialized in the treatment of chemical dependence, major depression, eating disorders and dissociative disorders, and being an Assistant Psychologist at the Child and Youth Project at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City.



WHEN SOMEONE YOU LOVE HAS A MENTAL ILLNESS: A HANDBOOK FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS AND CAREGIVERS, by Rebecca Woolis, Tarcher/Putnam Books 1992, Revised/expanded edition, 2003.  Translated into Russian, Dutch, Japanese, Korean and Spanish

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD, 1988 National Alliance on Mental Illness, Marin

MENTAL HEALTH ACHIEVEMENT AWARD, 2002 Mental Health Association of Alameda County

       October 2013 – Indiana State NAMI Conference, Indianapolis Indiana                   Keynote Presentation: Stages of Change; What’s Helpful to Know

         2010-2012 in association with Alameda County Family Education and                  Resource Center.    Understanding and Working with Families. 
         Numerous day long trainings for county health care providers.
 October 2010 - Rockford Illinois Health Council Engaging and Working with Families in Behavioral   Health. Day long workshop for health care providers.  Families Recovering from Mental Illness.  Evening workshop geared towards families.
S    September 2002: County of Santa Cruz Mental Health and Substance Abuse 
      Services: Working with Families of People with a Dual Diagnosis of Serious Mental         Illness and Substance Abuse:  Day long staff training.

May 2000: Northern California Dual Diagnosis Task Force:  Working with Families of People with a Dual Diagnosis of Serious Mental Illness and Substance Abuse.  Day long training for staff working in several counties.

2000-2005: Rubicon Programs: Working with Families of People with Serious Mental Illness: Training for staff and interns.

April 1997: Friends for Mental Health, West Island, Montreal Quebec.  “What Do I Do Now? Dealing with the Day-to-Day Challenges of Mental Illness”; a conference for families and helping professionals February 1996 Arizona Alliance for the Mentally Ill Annual Conference.  Keynote address: “Coping with Mental Illness in Your Family” Pre conference training for mental health professionals and families: “How to Work with Families of Persons with Serious Mental Illness”.

August 1995: Schizophrenia Society of Canada Annual Convention.  Keynote address: “Strengthening the Role and Skills of Families”. The Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia.  Workshop for families and professionals: “Providing Practical Coping Skills for Families and Caregivers”.

May 1995, California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists Annual Convention. “The Tragedy of Serious Mental Illness: For Individuals, Families, Therapists”.

September 1995 Child Abuse Counsel of Alameda County.
“When Someone in the Family Has a Major Mental Illness”.

November, 1994  Gladman Memorial Psychiatric Health Facility.  Staff training: “Handling Holidays/Preventing Relapse”.

October 1993  American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Annual Convention.  Workshop: "Working with Families with Serious Mental Illness".

1993-1994  University of California, Berkeley, Extension.  Guest Lecturer. Chemical Dependency course: "Working with People with a Dual Diagnosis".

November 1992  California Alliance for the Mentally Ill. Annual Conference. Workshops for family members: "Back to Basics - Coping with a Relative with Mental Illness".

October 1992  East Bay Hospital. In-service training for professionals: "Working With Families of People with Serious Mental Illness".

June 1992  University of California, Berkeley, CARE Health Services: "When Someone You Love Has A Mental Illness".

May 1992  International Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation Services Annual Convention.  Workshop: "Families and Providers: Roles, Relationships, Responsibilities".

April 1992  McAuley's Neuropsychiatric  Institute.  Staff in-service training:  "Working with Families of People with Serious Mental Illness".

1985 - 1995   Alliance for the Mentally Ill/ American Schizophrenia Society (Alameda County) and Buckelew Houses (Marin County): Taught numerous sessions of a 12-16 hour educational series entitled: "When Someone You Love Has a Mental Illness".

1982 - 1992  California Association of Social Rehabilitation Agencies and  various community mental health agencies: Provided numerous trainings on topics including: “Working with the Borderline Client”, “Leading Groups”, “Working with Families of People with Major Mental Illness”, “Major Mental Illness, Symptoms, and Relapse Prevention”.

1992 – Present    National Alliance on Mental Illness: All San Francisco Bay Area local chapters, frequent guest speaker on many topics including: “Handling the Holidays”, “Coping with Serious Mental Illness”, “Realistic Goals and Expectations”, “Motivation”, “Preventing Relapse”, “Stages of Change”, “Integrated Dual Diagnosis Treatment”.

Rebecca Woolis, MFT
925 The Alameda
Berkeley, CA 94707
Phone: (510)525-3153