Remembering Dr. Bart Rubin, psychologist from Berkeley who founded the Family Institute of Pinole


Bart Rubin. Courtesy of the Rubin family

Dr. Bart Rubin, 64, of Berkeley, died on September 23.

Rubin was a psychologist who practiced psychotherapy for 32 years in Pinole, Berkeley and San Rafael.

He was an extremely energetic, passionate, curious, creative and caring therapist, and a lifelong learner whose voracious appetite for new therapeutic techniques was well known in the community.

Barton Harris Rubin was born in 1957 to a working class Jewish family in Philadelphia. He graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 1980 with a major in psychology and then attended the Wright Institute where he obtained his doctorate.

Bart went on to found the Family Institute of Pinole, which at the time was the first family therapy training institute in the Bay Area, as well as the Center for Community and Family Violence in Richmond, which brought trainees into therapy. clinic directly in the homes of victims of crime and gang violence. During these years, Bart continued his private practice supervising and mentoring generations of students. Bart was a committed advocate for all of his clients, and particularly for under-represented groups suffering from discrimination or prejudice.

Bart also taught family therapy for 25 years as an adjunct professor at Alliant International University-CSPP, and was a past president and board member of the Association of Family Therapists of Northern California, the oldest family therapy organization in the world.

When not working, Bart was a frequent traveler. In his twenties, he spent a year backpacking the world – picking olives in a small mountain village in Crete, teaching English in Japan, living in a mosque in Morocco, caring for a bass in Amsterdam and work in a fishery in Alaska. In his later years, Bart passed on his love of adventure to his family – taking them to Bali, Costa Rica, Prague and Thailand – often with a suitcase of psychology books that he read for fun.

Bart has always continued to broaden his horizons – developing expertise in EMDR techniques and internal family systems and, over the past two years, working on plans to open the Berkeley Center for Psychedelic Research.

Bart is survived by his two sons, Josh Odsess-Rubin and Adam Odsess-Rubin; his two brothers, Larry Rubin and Robert Rubin; his mother, Sheila Rubin; and Carol Odsess, with whom he has been married for 35 years. His father, Stanley Rubin, predeceased him in January 2021. His passing is mourned not only by his beloved family, but also by hundreds of his colleagues, patients and former students.

A memorial service will be held in Berkeley on Saturday, December 4. You can email Josh Rubin at to receive the details.


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