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Michael Y. Simon - Practical Help for Parents. San Francisco Bay Area, CA, US

Michael Y. Simon

Psychotherapist, Author and Parent Educator | Practical Help for Parents

San Francisco Bay Area, CA, UNITED STATES

Psychotherapist, Author, Educator and Public Speaker



Michael Y. Simon, LMFT is a psychotherapist in private practice, independent school counselor, public speaker/parent educator and author of The Approximate Parent: Discovering the Strategies That Work with Your Teenager. Michael has been delivering engaging, informative and humorous workshops, keynotes and other invited talks since 1998 (a sample of which are listed below).

Michael's adult life has been enlivened by creating and maintaining public-private endeavors to help discover, promote and respect the potentials and abilities of children, youth and family. He is widely considered an expert on adolescents and adolescent development and is the founder of Practical Help for Parents, a support organization for those parents, educators, mental health professionals and policymakers who work daily with teens.

Michael has both an intensive and broad background in clinical psychology, adolescent development, religious studies and philosophy, teaching at both the university- and high-school level. He has worked as a school counselor at Bay Area independent schools (Bentley and Marin Academy), as a parent educator (at Parents' Place in Marin), co-director of The Marina Counseling Center in San Francisco and long-time Executive Director of the San Francisco Psychotherapy Research Group. He has been in private practice for close to 17 years and specializes in working with adolescents and their families, although he also sees adult individuals, couples, families and children.

In 2012 he completed work on The Approximate Parent: Discovering the Strategies That Work with Your Teenager (Fine Optics Press, 2012). Thomas De Zengotita, award-winning author of Mediated: How the Media Shapes Our World and the Way We Live in It, called Michael's work "a brilliant synthesis of theory and practice, of research and application that aims directly at how teenagers actually live in this mediated world.”

Industry Expertise (3)

Program Development


Mental Health Care

Areas of Expertise (3)

Teens and Digital Media


Drugs and Parties: New Ways for Understanding

Education (3)

Temple University: M.A., Religious Studies/Philosophy 1991

San Francisco State University: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Clinical Psychology 1987

San Francisco State University: M.S., Clinical Psychology 1996

Affiliations (2)

  • Clinical Member; California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT); Learning Disabilities Association of America; Learning Disabilities Association of California; CHADD of Northern California (Children and Adults with ADHD); International C
  • American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy

Testimonials (3)

Michael Riera, Ph.D., Head of School | Brentwood School

'Michael has the gift of explaining, in straightforward language, seemingly impenetrable adolescent behaviors to both parents and teachers alike."

Joshua Coleman, Ph.D., Co-Chair | Council on Contemporary Families

"Michael Simon knows more about teenagers than anyone I know. For years, he has been helping parents all over the United States in his popular speaking series on parenting adolescents. "

Thomas De Zengotita, Ph.D., Anthropologist, educator | New York University / The Dalton School

“If you are the parent of a teenager and you are paying any attention at all, you know that, besides dealing with the classic adolescent issues, your child is negotiating an environment that has been radically redefined by the new media—the Internet, iPhone, Facebook world. If you are at all self-aware, you probably realize that you don’t understand that environment very well. There are plenty of media experts out there and plenty of parenting experts too – maybe too many - but, in Michael Simon, you have someone whose life’s work has been in media theory and adolescent development. He has mastered the literature in both fields and has been putting it all to work as a high school counselor and therapist for almost 20 years.

Event Appearances (17)

Teens, Drugs and Parties

YPO (Young Presidents' Organization) Conference on "The Hidden Logic of Teens"  Half Moon Bay, California (Ritz Carlton)


Beyond Parental Control(s): How Digital Media are Changing The Ways Your Teens Think and Feel

Invited Talk  College Preparatory School, Oakland, California


Responding to School Crisis: An Approach to Managing Traumatic Events in the School

Invited Talk  Marin Academy, San Rafael, CA


Understanding the Adolescent Mind

Invited Talk  Maui Prep Academy, Maui, HI


Rebel Without A Cause: Is Adolescent "Rebellion" Really Necessary?

Wellness Center Workshop for Faculty and Staff  University of California, Berkeley


A Practical Guide to High School: A Year-by-Year Guide for Parents on What To Expect

Keynote Talk  Acalanes High School, Lafayette


Does My Teen Have Good Mental Health?

Bay Area Parents' Coalition Keynote  French-American International School


Alcohol, Drugs and Parties: Approximating Good Interventions

Parent Education Evening  Jewish Community High School of the Bay


Understanding Your Middle-School Child

Workshop for The Creek Youth Center  The Seven Hills School


What Good is Failing? Or…How to Help When Your Teen Feels That ‘Life Sucks!'

Parent Education Evening  Sonoma Academy, Santa Rosa, CA


There is More Than One Way of Being Successful at Life

Keynote Address: Senior Graduation  Miramonte High School, Walnut Creek, California


Research-Based Best Practices on Parenting Teens

Invited Workshop  University of California, Berkeley


Boundaries and Confidentiality for Educators

Faculty In-Service Training  Redwood Day School


Adolescent Development: A Meaningful Primer for Educators

Faculty In-Service Training  Redwood Day School


When Teens See Only One Way to Stop the Pain: Responding to Adolescent Suicidality

Half-Day Conference on Suicidality  The Bay School, San Francisco


Relationships, "Hook-Ups" and the Sexual Culture

Conference on Teens and Sexuality  San Rafael, California


The Approximate Parent: Discovering the Strategies That Work with Your Teenager

Book Launch for The Approximate Parent  Books Inc., Berkeley, California


Sample Talks (1)

Teens, Alcohol, Drugs, and Parties: A New Way of Understanding

It’s a rare day that parents of teens don’t wonder about drugs and parties. Most parents want to know specific information about what they should tell their adolescents in order not to have them do certain things (e.g., go to a party, smoke too much, get drunk, not have unsafe sex or not have sex at all). This workshop will let you know just what is at stake in dealing with the issues of parties and drugs--and give you a new, helpful framework for understanding adolescent risk-taking.



  • Keynote
  • Moderator
  • Panelist
  • Workshop Leader
  • Author Appearance


500 to 3500 *Will consider certain engagements for no fee