Peter Cohen, M.D.

Clinical Staff Member


Welcome to my Berkeley Therapy Institute web page.  Below, I have written a brief bio about me and how I practice Psychiatry.  I hope it will help you decide which psychiatrist is best for you to see.

I attended Cornell University as an undergraduate, where I majored in English Literature and completed my pre-medical requirements.  I thought it was crucial to my future vocation as a doctor to be as broadly educated as possible in both the arts and sciences. After college, I attended medical school at the University of Chicago.  Then, I completed my psychiatric residency at the University of California, San Francisco.

After completing my psychiatric training in 1982, I had a solo private practice for ten years.  During that decade, psychiatric practice changed dramatically.  New medications came on the market with miraculous benefits.  Also, HMO’s entered the scene and transformed how health care was organized and delivered.  I decided to leave private practice and join Kaiser Permanente, where I spent the next 22 years of my career.  Ten of those years at Kaiser were as Chief of Psychiatry, first at Kaiser Pleasanton, and then at Kaiser Oakland.  Now, as the concluding third act of my career, I decided to retire from Kaiser and return to private practice at BTI.

I have been practicing Psychiatry for 32 years.  For me, Psychiatry has combined many passionate interests of mine: a life of service devoted to the care of others; a deep curiosity about the workings of the human mind; and a love of science and its progress.  As a fellow pilgrim in the human predicament, I have had my own trials and tribulations and know the importance of a listening ear in times of need.  I also know how devastating it can be to feel misunderstood, overlooked, or discounted by someone in a position of expertise.

I am old enough that I received my psychiatric training before most of the current psychiatric medications were available.  I learned the art of psychotherapy long before I learned the science of psychopharmacology.   Too often these days psychiatrists only learn the latter. If you come to see me, every session with me will include consideration of your mind as well as your brain, the way your past has shaped your character and is contributing to your symptoms, your present life circumstances and lifestyle habits, and your spiritual needs and pursuits. I will never simply take out my prescription pad and write you a prescription.  I will never let note-taking or typing on a laptop have a higher priority than the quality of my presence with you in the office.

There is no greater privilege than taking care of you.  I assume this responsibility   with gravity and humility, and I will give you my most attentive, compassionate effort.

And we will also have some fun!  It doesn’t always have to be grim and serious. I like to laugh, and I love my work.

Peter Cohen, M.D.

Berkeley Therapy Institute