Dr Melinda Ginne
Dr Ginne

"The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated."
— Plato, Charmides, 380 BC



Dr. Melinda Ginne grew up in Los Angeles in the 1950's. In 1972, she earned a BA degree in Sociology at California State University at San Diego (CSUSD). She moved to the Bay Area in 1973 where she started a 10 year study of body-based therapy and clinical psychology. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology in 1993. She has been a Behavioral Medicine Specialist since 1980 and a Gero-Psychologist (Geriatric Specialist) since 1990.

In 2001 after a 15 year absence from Kaiser, I returned to Kaiser Medical Group as a Behavioral Medicine Specialist with a focus on Geriatrics. As a Behavioral Medicine Specialist, I treat patients who have both a medical and psychological concern. For example, diabetes and depression, heart disease and anxiety, or migraine headache and stress. I consult with the department of Neurology, co-leading Dr Ginnemedical groups for patients with a variety of neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, traumatic brain injury, and migraine headache.

As a geriatric specialist I see patients referred by the geriatric medical clinic and I specialize in diagnosing and treating geriatric mental health concerns including: late-life depression, anxiety, post-stroke syndrome, vascular dementia, and Alzheimer's disease. I have been active in the Alameda County Psychological Association (ACPA) since 2004, serving as President in 2007. I am a member of the Health Psychology Committee for the California Psychological Association and I have presented lectures at several conferences. For many years I have taught at UC Berkeley Extension on topics related to aging and behavioral medicine. In addition to creating and promoting, IN MY OWN WORDS (TM), a video advance directive service, I have a private practice in which I see patients and their family members. I occasionally offer one of these three groups (1) for persons with a medical illness; (2) Healthy Aging; (3) Caregiver support group. You can see descriptions of these groups elsewhere on this website. In my off hours I enjoy playing with my cats, going to the movies, traveling to Canada and Mexico, and growing orchids, roses, azaleas, gardenias and herbs.

I grew up in Los Angeles, California, during the post-war economic boom of the 1950's. I was the middle of 3 daughters born to my parents who were also raised in Los Angeles.

Undergraduate Degree
In 1972, I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from California State University at San Diego (CSUSD). The chair of the Sociology Department, was also the Director at the Center for the Studies of the Person (CSP). Carl Rogers, Ph.D., a fellow at CSP, is known for development of Client Centered Therapy and was one of the most noted psychotherapists of the 20th century. During my college years, I spent many nights and weekends in encounter groups with Dr. Rogers and his colleagues. In my junior and senior years of college, I became involved with a community of psychotherapists in San Diego that used Gestalt Therapy to staff the telephone crisis line at the YMCA. Two to four times per week we participated in personal-growth Gestalt therapy groups, and we honed our clinical skills in training and supervision groups.

Gestalt Therapy Training
When I graduated from college I moved to the Gestalt Institute of Canada. Fritz Perls, MD, the creator of Gestalt therapy had founded a community of Gestalt practitioners on Vancouver Island in British Colombia. They lived at Lake Cowichan, a compound of cabins built in 1926 as a lakeside retreat. Ms Barry Stevens wrote about her experiences at Lake Cowichan in her book, Don't Push the River: it flows by itself.

I spent the Fall and Winter living at the Gestalt Institute of Canada's College House program for people 21 years of age and under. We lived in bunk-house bedrooms on a working farm in Duncan, BC. Each morning we would rise with the winter sun to prepare breakfast and do our farm chores. The farm owners, Jack and Molly, were in their late 50's, but had gotten used to the crush of young adults that had been drawn to their farm by an interest in personal growth. After breakfast, we held the first of 2 daily Gestalt sessions. During the day we fed chickens, goats and lambs, milked cows, rode horses through fern strewn forests, and cultivated organic gardens and orchards. After supper, we again focused on expressing our deepest inner feelings. I spent another year and a half living in Vancouver, BC before moving back to the United States in the early 1970's.

I was working at a coffee house on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley when I became a trainee at the Gestalt Institute in San Francisco (1973-76). This 3-year program involved rigorous theoretical training as well as experiential therapy groups. This was the height of the personal growth movement and the Institute was a beehive of activity with approximately a hundred students and dozens of trainers. When I graduated from the Institute I went directly into a clinical psychology master's degree program. I completed this degree in 1978 and became licensed as a marriage and family therapist (MFT). At approximately this same time I was offered a staff position at Devta Center for Body Awareness in Larkspur, California. The center offered treatment and training in a variety of therapeutic massage styles. Esalen massage, Rolfing, and Polarity Therapy were the mainstays of the center. For the next three years I absorbed all that I could about therapeutic massage technique.

In 1973, my best friend from Devta, who had also been at the Gestalt Institute of Canada, introduced me to Marion Rosen Coath (now known as Marion Rosen). At 59 years of age, Marion had developed her impactful technique, but had not been 'discovered.' She worked in the basement of a building across the street from Lake Merritt in Oakland. Trained as a physical therapist she received referrals from orthopedic physicians for patients who needed traction to align their necks or range of motion exercises to regain mobility.

I spent six years training with Marion (1973-1979). During this time I went to her basement office three times per week. Once for my own session with her, once to observe her working on someone, and one session in which I would work on someone with Marion's hands placed on mine to guide and teach me.

German-born Marion Rosen had been influenced by the work of Berlin-based physio-therapist, Elsa Gindler. In the 1920's German women who aspired to a career in health care trained as physio-therapists in institutes that paralleled medical school training. Gindler directed such an institute from 1910-1928.

During this time she trained many young women in rehabilitative techniques that focused on the breath as a conduit for health and healing. Gindler's hands-on and movement techniques encouraged students to develop insight and awareness of their psychological and kinesthetic processes. Her work has been written about by Carolla Speads and Charlotte Selver. Marion was one of several Bay Area practitioners who had been influenced by Gindler: Magda Proskauer, used breathing techniques, Doris Breyer practiced energy healing and movement therapy, Charlotte Selver was the originator of Sensory Awareness.

During my 4th year of study with Marion I began training with Doris Breyer. She had developed a very sophisticated movement curriculum and she held movement groups in her studio in Twin Peaks, a district in San Francisco. Her theory of health and healing focused on energy flow. She used a hands-on technique to release energy blocks and re-balance the physical system. I trained with Doris from 1976 until her death in 1981.

During the 1970's as I made my living as a body therapist and completed a 3-year training program at the Gestalt Institute in San Francisco, I earned a master's degree in psychology from Antioch College in San Francisco. I was building the foundation for my life-long interest in the relationship between the mind and the body.

In 1981 an opportunity arose to take a position as a Health Educator at Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center in Hayward. I developed treatment programs for weight management, stress reduction, and smoking cessation. Most importantly I developed the professional skills necessary to provide clinical services in a medical setting.

Within a year of starting my career at Kaiser, Harvard-trained psychologist, Steve Tulkin, Ph.D. developed Kaiser's first Behavioral Medicine team in the Psychiatry department. Steve included the programs I had developed in Health Education and I joined his Behavioral Medicine team. I worked at Kaiser (for the first time) from 1980-1986, during which time I enrolled in a doctoral program.

In the third and fourth years of clinical psychology graduate school I completed a year-long internship at the VA in Livermore in Geriatric neuropsychology. The next year I was a pre-doctoral fellow in the psychiatry crisis unit at Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco. At this time crisis services were divided geographically with San Francisco General serving one half of the city and Mt Zion serving the other half. After I completed my doctoral coursework I began work on my dissertation. Since I had completed my internships I once again had enough time to re-enter the work force. I took a job as a medical social worker at the Emeryville Visiting Nurse Association (VNA). I saw patients during the day and rushed home to write my dissertation at night.

My dissertation examined the role of ethnicity in the doctor-patient relationship. There were over 400 physician subjects in the study and my dissertation was sponsored by the California Medical Association.

I worked at the VNA for over 5 years and spent several more years after that working in geriatric settings. I worked at the geriatric psychiatry Intensive Out-Patient program at Herrick Hospital in Berkeley, and the Geriatric Psychiatry In-Patient program at Alameda Hospital, in Alameda. In 1995 I became the director of the psychology and social services department at Mercy Retirement and Care Center in Oakland. Run by the sisters of Mercy, this residential facility housed more than 200 residents in multiple levels of care: independent living, assisted living, dementia care and skilled nursing

Dr Ginne


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Dr. Melinda Ginne
P.O. Box 11117, Oakland, California 94611


~ Dr. Melinda Ginne
P.O. Box 11117, Oakland, CA 94611