The Berkeley Group and Family Therapy Institute in Berkeley was co-created by Bill Roller and Vivian Nelson. They are recognized leaders in group, individual, couples and family therapy for over four decades. Bill is the current leader for all the institute’s groups & workshops.
“I have seen Dr. Bill Roller for several months, and have become much more self-aware and in tune with my emotions than I have in my entire life. He has helped me tremendously through difficult life experiences, as well as helped me develop my own sense of what is the best way not only to navigate them – but to grow with them and grow through them. Now more than ever I’m able to see certain experiences in my life as part of a bigger picture that make up parts of who I am, and that I am completely able and entitled to change them if I see fit.
My experiences with Dr. Roller have shown me that while he brings immense expertise and wisdom to the table, true change begins with each of us and often with the invaluable help of an excellent therapist. Dr. Roller’s compassion, understanding and guidance have led me to finding my own voice, for which I will always be thankful to him for.”
Armen F., San Francisco
The role of an expert is often misconstrued as one of perfection. In truth, the role of an expert means not just having a firm grasp of what is known in a particular field, it means knowing the gaps in knowledge and the directions of research that must be followed to fill those gaps. It means the discovery of new theories and methods of how these theories can be applied.
Our expertise in group therapy and group process lies precisely in this: Our research has specifically explored how groups develop, how a task leader and other leadership roles facilitate that development, and how a group leader must behave in order to confront aggressive scapegoating that will threaten the life of the group and its members. These are all cutting edge investigations in our field.
Bill and Vivian also conduct clinical research in group therapy and group process (see The Promise of Group Therapy) and currently collaborate in the experimental study of what conditions allow people to act courageously in the defense of ethical principles or people in need of protection (see Group Dynamics and the New Heroism.)
“Bill Roller is a kind, sympathetic, caring and highly skilled professional. He is very empathetic and has helped me through depression, physical illness, and the difficulties of ordinary living.”
Vivian Nelson is a former member of the Board of Directors of the International Human Learning Resources Network, established in 1969 by family therapy founder, Virginia Satir. Together with her co-therapist, Bill Roller, Vivian has published the Art of Co-therapy: How Therapists Work Together (Guilford Publications), a chapter in Kaplan & Sadock’s Comprehensive Group Psychotherapy (Williams and Wilkens) and produced the six hour video companion to his text, The Promise of Group Therapy (Jossey- Bass). They have presented for professional audiences internationally, most recently in Buenos Aires, Barcelona, London, Sao Paulo, New York City, and Matsue, Japan. They were featured speakers at the 2010 Annual Conference of the Mid-Atlantic Group Psychotherapy Society in Richmond, Virginia. Vivian retired as a clinician in 2016, yet she remains active on the board of directors of the Berkeley Group Therapy Education Foundation which she founded with Bill Roller.
Bill Roller is founder and president of the Berkeley Group Therapy Education Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the education of the public in the purpose and value of group therapy and the development of comprehensive programs and materials for the training of group psychotherapy professionals. He is a Life Fellow of the American Group Psychotherapy Association, Chairman of the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors of the International Association for Group Psychotherapy and Group Processes (2006-2012), and past Co-Chairman of the Group Therapy Symposium, Department of Psychiatry, University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco. He is author of more than 60 publications, including books, scientific articles, book chapters, videotapes, and a biography of Paul Shilder- a pioneer in group analysis and mentor to S.H. Foulkes.
Licensed marriage and family therapist #14245.
In addition to their clinical practice, Bill and Vivian direct the Berkeley Group Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization that serves the public interest and the common good by creating seminars and professional trainings, and producing educational videos for a wide range of audiences.
Most recently, the Berkeley Group Education Foundation has produced and sponsored national and international Symposia at clinical conferences and law schools in order to address the ethical issues that arise for both clinicians and lawyers as they confront and condemn the practice of torture as a policy of the state.
Most recently, Bill has interviewed Daniel Ellsberg about his reflections on being a former thermonuclear war planner and the dire consequences of current United States thermonuclear war strategy.