Bay Area – Therapy for Fathers

As a therapist for fathers, I did some backsliding after I had kids if my own. Before I had kids, I was better able to support parents to see the world through the eyes of their children. 

It took a few years to get jack into tune 🎶, using myself as an instrument for positive change.

Interns, trainees and social workers who I supervise toward licensure sometimes feel insecure when working with parents. “How can I support someone with parenting when I don’t have kids myself?” This is such a good question.

In Tokyo, Japan I led parenting classes for mothers and fathers from all over the world 🌍. We used the “STEP” curriculum. I learned more than I taught, and I must admit I felt a little guilty for taking their money, and lived with an “imposter complex.” I was double agent, secretly taking the side of their children.

The parents brought the experience of having children and actually being parents, and I brought the perspective of knowing what the world is like through the eyes of children, and healthy childhood development. In some ways, I had more freedom to make suggestions, because I was not a father myself.

Life goes in circles, and now I am fortunate to continue my small private practice in Oakland, supporting many men to be the father who they would like to be.

Ichi go Ichi e

Ichi-go ichi-e (一期一会) is a concept connected to Japanese Tea Ceremony. It expresses the ideal and impermanent way of tea. Some expressions are beyond translation, 一期 一会 roughly means “one encounter; one opportunity,” or as it was said to me when I lived in Tokyo, “one meeting; one chance.”

In Japanese tea ceremony we honor those with us in the garden and ancestors who have been here before us. We respect the moment because it can never be recreated. Like tea, spending time together may be familiar, but each encounter is unique.

And here we are, in this moment.

With love ♥️,

James Wogan, LCSW

Photos courtesy of google images. Let me know if they’re yours. + s/o to artist and Ink Slinger Marissa Walker

Love what you do

Yesterday, I had the chance to take a HOPE (aka formerly homeless) father grocery shopping.
My kids would call this “flexing” or a “humble brag,” but I have to say, this was the best part of my day. I really didn’t have the time or the bandwidth; but I created a carve out. Hunger is real. At the Berkeley Bowl grocery store, we loaded him UP.
He spoke openly his traumatic brain injury (TBI) that exacerbated his health issues and “learning to ask for help, or to accept it when it’s offered.” His son (10) also has special needs, autism. We met last school year when his anxiety and other mental health conditions were flaring up, and he found himself sleeping in a car near Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, CA. His extended family would take in his son, but on most nights, he slept in his minivan. Three (3) days ago, he moved in to stable housing in Oakland, CA. What a relief.

I appreciate the opportunity to help others. Giving back is good for my mental health and wellness. Dowhatyoulove photo courtesy of someone on google, let me know if it’s yours 🙂

Giving Back: Children helping other children

Would you like your children to know what it’s like to make a difference in the lives of two other children who live nearby? The two adorable kids (photos below) are the children of a local mother trying her best to make ends meet.

The Social Emotional Learning curriculum SELFY names giving back, generosity, and compassion as important aspects of emotional wellness. Helping others and giving back does more than raise awareness, it improves the emotional health of our children.

Some ideas : You might take kids, students, or your nephews and nieces shopping, write a card, and send gifts to children in need.

Young children can understand good fortune and why we reach out to help those less fortunate than we are. You can also sit together and order new items on, such as children’s clothes that fit, or a pair of shoes for school.



Begin forwarded message:

From: Wogan Date: July 2019 Re: Homeless Children & Foster Youth

This is from a Bay Area mother named Nakía, shared with permission.

Nakía grew up in foster care group homes in Concord, CA. We are trying to help her lift her family out of poverty.

“My boy Ta’noa is a 4t and a size 8 in shoes. My daughter Ah’nesty is a size 6, and 11 in shoes. Anything helps. Thank you so much. You’re a blessing.”

Shared with permission, photos of beautiful children. Nakía recently got a new job as a home health assistant for the elderly and people with disabilities. She loves her new job. She mentioned that having disabilities herself, and growing up in foster care, helps her to be patient and kind with her clients.

Nakía also mentioned that she needs clothes (shirt Women’s L) and sneakers sensible shoes 👞 (size 10) for work.

Second-hand items are not accepted.

Thank you.

You can PayPal:

Please remember that James is no longer affiliated with a nonprofit, these are children who my wife and I support privately. We don’t offer a receipt for tax purposes.

James Wogan, LCSW


Email from my dentist.

On Jul 24, 2019, at 9:08 PM, dentist wrote:

Hi James!!

So very nice to see you today.

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to me today about some possible ways that my family and I can help the community.

I am most sincere in my want to help – and my desire for my children to understand the importance of giving back and helping as well! For their souls and in service of others!

Truly if you have a list of items / clothes and food of some things that the children and families you work with I will do my best to help fulfill those needs. Several of my friends in my children’s school can also help.

Sincerely always,

Jennifer (your 🦷 dentist)

On Jul 24, 2019, at 3:31 PM, James Wogan <> wrote:

Hi Dr. T.

It was good to see you today.

Yours truly,


James Wogan, LCSW

Helllllla rewarding 💫 Foster Youth & Students Homeless – Graduation 🎓

Hellllllllla rewarding to hear names of #fosteryouth & students who r #homeless – names called out at graduation 🎓 🎶🎼🎶

– S/o to #caregivers #educators ♥️ oh yeah


#graduation #celebration Association of California School Administrators SSWAA School Social Work Assn of America


Parent Mental Health Q: What % percent?

What % of students have a parent or guardian with a mental health condition?

What % of parents and guardians will have a mental health condition at some point before children are in 12th grade?

Among high school students, answers vary, range 25% – 50%, depending on who you ask.

What % of students live with a parent or guardian who will have a health condition, need to see a doctor, at some point between the years Kindergarten – 12th grade?


Wow; 109% vs. 25%, there’s a big distinction between health and mental health in the United States.

Let’s work together to reduce stigma and increase understanding of social, emotional, and behavioral health, in children, youth and adults.

“I’m mad at you for not being healthy.”

It might not be rationale, but family and friends can get mad at a loved ones who have mental health conditions.

At the same time, people with mental health conditions can feel guilty for “bringing others down” and ashamed for not being healthy.

It can be hard to distinguish volitional behavior from behavior that is a “symptom.”

With support and education, friends and family members learn to separate the condition from the person. Along the lines of Narrative Therapy, the patient also learns to “externalize” the problem.

“Person-first” language helps. She’s not a depressed person, she’s a person who happens to have depression. The diagnosis doesn’t define her.

As is the case with physical health and life, vicissitudes are part of the mental health journey.

It gets better. You’re not alone.