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Lost and Found - The Author


Thank you for visiting my website! I'm Jan Elise Sells, M.Ed., M.A., L.M.F.T., a licensed psychotherapist (#27505) in Berkeley, California. In 1986 I developed a unique counseling program consisting of individual and group counseling, crisis intervention and conflict resolution, as well as a Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA) in one of the three inner-city public middle schools in Berkeley: Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School.

After two years volunteering as a counselor at King, the school administrators found local grant money to fund me; I expanded the counseling program there over a period of two decades, funded through generous grants written by the school principal.

In July of 1990, I received my Marriage/Family Therapy license. Two years later, with the demand for counseling too high to handle myself,  I hired and supervised trainees from graduate counseling programs, as well as M.F.T. Interns from the community. I trained community volunteers to be mentors and mediators.

King students considered it "cool" to have a counselor and self-referred constantly; King's counseling program was so successful, the model was brought to the two other middle schools in Berkeley, where personal counseling, crisis intervention, conflict resolution and a GSA are integral parts of the Berkeley middle school culture today.

Each year, to commemorate National Women's History Month, the Commission on the Status of Women recognizes and honors the efforts of extraordinary women who have done outstanding work in the Berkeley community. In 2006, upon my retirement from King, I was honored as Outstanding Woman for my "dedication to Berkeley’s families and children.” My book, LOST and FOUND: HEALING TROUBLED TEENS IN TROUBLED TIMES, published in Nov  2012, recounts my experiences with youth during the two decades I spent working at King.

For the past seven years, I have been on the faculty of the Graduate Counseling Program at Saint Mary's College in Moraga.
Meanwhile, I have also taught off and on at U.C. Berkeley Extension; in 1996 I began teaching "Effective Interventions with Adolescents in Crisis," which became a popular course in the UC Extension Adolescents program. I also give talks and offer workshops on Crisis Intervention with Youth to other school districts and agencies in the Bay area and beyond.

I've been interviewed on National Public Radio's "Weekend Edition" and in the journal of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, The Turning Wheel, as well as by local newspapers such as The Berkeley Voice and the San Francisco Chronicle.

I'm still supervising M.F.T. Interns including some who work with students at King Middle School, where LOST and FOUND takes place, as well as at Berkeley High. I'm available for consultation, demonstrations, and workshops.

Upcoming Appearances and Events


During the months of January, February, and March of this year, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to return to King Middle School (where LOST and FOUND takes place) to do counseling and crisis intervention for 8th grade students while the 8th grade counselor took off for Maternity Leave. I'm presently working on an article re. King Middle School: Ten Years Later.

Sat and Sun, June 4 & 5: I'll be selling my book, LOST and FOUND, at the second annual Bay Area Book Festival, in downtown Berkeley. Find me in "Teen Town" @ Milvia St. between Kittredge and Allston Way!

June 6-9: I'll be in New York City where I'll be setting up future readings. (Stay tuned.)

June 14-20: I'll be at Camp Winnarainbow in Laytonville, CA, where I'll be reading from LOST and FOUND.

September 30-October 7 I'll be attending a Writers' Retreat at Le Moulin de la Tuilerie in Gif-sur-Yvette, France


Saturday, December 21, "La Pena Holiday Craft Fair" 3105 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley--Book Sale & SIGNING--
Come join me, along with other talented writers, artists, and crafts people--Buy your HOLIDAY GIFTS TODAY!

Thursday, Jan. 22, "Composing Together", a project created by violist Katrina Wreede. Musicians performed their original compositions for and interacted with youth incarcerated at the San Francisco Juvenal Hall. It was a blessing to be invited to take part in this event.

Four Monday mornings in January and February, I'm delighted to be working in Richmond, CA with the Foster/Kinship Care Education Program: "What is Working with Youth in Crisis? A Brief Grief-Therapy Approach"

Alternate Mondays beginning Feb 2, 2015, 11 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Spring Semester begins at Saint Mary's College, Moraga, CA, where I supervise graduate counseling students who are completing M.F.T. coursework and bringing tapes of their counseling sessions with clients in their field placements.

Tues, Feb 3, 2015, 6:30 p.m. A discussion with the P.T.A. on "Self-Harming Behavior Among Youth" taking place in the Multipurpose Room at Pleasanton Middle School, 5001 Case Ave, Pleasanton, CA. Free of charge; open to the public.

Sat, Feb 7, 2015, 8 4:15 p.m. @ College Park H.S., 201 Viking Rd, Pleasant Hill, CA. Creating Peaceful Schools Conference; this year's theme: Pursuing Equity and Access. My presentation: Creating Peace thru Empathy--Introduction to Peer Counseling; Everyone welcome! For details, see website

Sun, Mar. 8, A fifteen-minute segment between 7:30 and 9 p.m. on KPFA Radio, 94.1 f.m., guest of Veronica Faisant, "The Week Starts Here" (I'll upload the interview to this website. Tune in &/or Stay tuned here!

Sun, Mar. 15, 2-4 p.m. I'll be READING from LOST and FOUND @ The Dream Institute, 1672 University Ave, Berkeley, CA.  Refreshments; Q & A; Everyone welcome!

Thurs, May 14 - Sun, May 17, 2015 at the San Francisco Airport Marriott, Burlingame, CA.
I'll present "Brief Grief Therapy: Helping to Heal Traumatized Teens"
at the California Association of Marriage/Family Therapists’ 51st Annual Conference: “Bridging the Art and Science of Healing”. 

Sat and Sun, June 6 & 7: Exhibitor selling my book, LOST and FOUND, at the first annual Bay Area Book Festival, in downtown Berkeley. Find me on "Teen Street" @ Milvia and Allston Way!

Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Woodacre, Date TBA, Daylong workshop for parents, teachers--anyone working with youth--entitled "Mindfulness Matters: Effective Interventions with Troubled T(w)eens". This will be offered in the new building presently under construction. Stay tuned for details!

Previous Appearances and Events


Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, 6:30-7:30  Author Talk: Youth Poetry, Talk, Reading, Q & A
Berkeley Public Library, Claremont Branch, 2940 Benvenue Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705 tel (510) 981-6280
Refreshments served--Free and open to the public  PLEASE JOIN US

Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year's theme, "The Multicultural Classroom"
at the 3rd Annual Peaceful Schools Conference of Mount Diablo's Peace & Justice Center
The Seven Hills School, 975 North San Carlos Drive Walnut Creek, CA 94598 tel (925) 933-0666
Jan will present "The Albatrossian Greeting Ceremony": a cross-cultural simulation
$45 for full day conference, includes workshops and lunch.

Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014 7-9:30 p.m. Author Event: Mindful Matters--Helping Youth in Crisis
at the home of Lyn Fein, 3130 Claremont Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705  cost: by donation
Talk and reading by Jan; Sharing by all participants.
A frangrance-free, alcohol-free dessert pot-luck (You're welcome to bring a dessert to share!)

Wednesday, Mar 19, 7-9 pm "A Bright Red Obsession: Cutting"  Lecture, Reading, Q & A
Hart Middle School, 4433 Willow Road, Pleasanton, CA 94588
Free and open to the public  PLEASE JOIN US!

Sunday, Mar 30, 7:30 pm KPFA 94.1 fm, "The Week Starts Here" w/ Veronica Faisant
Tune in to hear Jan interviewed about publishing her book, LOST and FOUND; call in to ask Jan questions!

Thursday, April 3, noon-2 pm "Understanding the Armor of Adolescent Anger & How to Help"
Workshop, Reading, Q&A
  1.5 CEU's for LCSW's and MFT's; $20 for non-FRC Staff; free for FRC Staff
Fremont Family Resource Center, 39155 Liberty St, Suite A110, Fremont, CA 94539   Ph: (510) 574-2006
Open to all mental health professionals! Bring your lunch!

Friday, June 20, 5:30 pm KTDE fm radio, Gualala, CA, 100.5 Fun! Fun! Fun! Interview with Frogman Joel

Tune in to hear Jan interviewed about Lost and Found in preparation for Jan's Reading the following day.

Saturday, June 21, 4 pm, Reading from LOST and FOUND at Four-Eyed Frog Books, Cypress Village, Gualala, CA  Everyone welcome! Free of charge!

Friday, August 15, 7 - 9 pm, "Third Friday Reading" at Expressions Gallery, 2035 Ashby Avenue (near Adeline--close to Ashby BART) Berkeley, CA. Jan will be reading poetry and prose from LOST and FOUND from 7-7:30. Raffi del Bourgo will read poetry and prose from 7:30-8. Refreshments @ break. Then, 8:15-9, Open mic.
Free and open to all. Please join us!


Sunday, Oct 28, 2012, Jan Elise Sells Interviewed by Veronica Faisant on KPFA f.m.

Saturday, Nov 3, 2012, See videos on the home page about the big Book Launch Party for LOST and FOUND @ King Middle School

Thursday, February 21, 2013, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. (+ 15 minutes for Q&A)
Free TELECONFERENCE on Healing Grieving Teens with Jan and Dr. Michelle Peticolas, Grief Transformation Specialist and filmmaker, Secrets of Life and Death
For more info:
Sign up here:

Monday, March 4, 2013, 12-1:30 p.m. SafePlace Community Room, Austin, TX, for more information click here. I've been invited to give a talk to the Healthy Youth Partnership and its members at the George Washington Carver Community Center Library, Austin, Texas.

Saturday, March 9, 2013, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., UC Berkeley Extension course: "Healing Troubled Teens in Troubled Times" 6 hours CE credit: BRN, LCSW/MFT and psychologists Berkeley, Room 211, 1995 University Avenue $195 EDP 446641

Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 6-9 p.m., (tentative date) Friendly Favors presents a talk by Jan @ Mt.Diablo Peace Center, 55 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek, CA - Click on "Events" at for confirmation and details.

Friday, April 26, 2013, 7-8:30 p.m., Reading + Q & A at the beautiful Claremont Hotel in Berkeley (Park in hotel parking lot. Ask at front desk for room assignment.)

Wednesday, May 1, 7 p.m., Reading, Book Signing, Q & A (FREE) for PTA & the public,Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School (where the stories in LOST and FOUND take place!)  1781 Rose Street, Berkeley 94703  Enter on Grant Street; a sign will tell you the location.

Friday, May 10, 11:45 a.m, Noon Luncheon at the Berkeley City Commons Club, which meets on the 2nd floor of the beautiful City Club building designed by architect Julia Morgan, 2315 Durant Ave, Berkeley < Reading and Q & A begin at 12:30 p.m. Free and open to the public. Delicious lunch, $18 (advanced reservations advised—phone Jane Barrett, 510-845-8055) or just coffee, if you wish, $1.

Wednesday, June 26, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Bay Area Writing Project’s Monthly Reading Series, Expressions Gallery, 2035 Ashby Avenue (near Adeline--close to Ashby BART) Reading + Q & A (light refreshments served) FREE!

Friday and Saturday, November 8 & 9, Jan had a booth for LOST and FOUND at the Fall Seminar of the California Association of Marriage/Family Therapists (CAMFT, of which she's a member) in Anaheim, CA.

See the newest review of LOST and FOUND in the Nov/Dec issue of CAMFT's journal, The Therapist. It appears at the bottom of THE BOOKS page on this site. Check out the great ad, page 49, and review, page 73.

Vimeo of my presentation at the Peace Center in Walnut Creek on March 19, 2013:

2013-03-19 FF Jan Elise Sells from Sergio Lub on Vimeo.

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