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

Rubin, 64, was a past president of the Association of Family Therapists of Northern California.

Bart Rubin. Courtesy of the Rubin family

Dr. Bart Rubin, 64, of Berkeley, passed away on Sept. 23.

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

He was a tremendously 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 later attended the Wright Institute where he earned his doctorate.  

Bart went on to found the Family Institute of Pinole, which in its time was the premiere family therapy training institute in the Bay Area, as well as the Center for Community and Family Violence in Richmond, which brought clinical therapy trainees directly into the homes of victims of crime and gang violence. During these years, Bart continued his private practice as he supervised and mentored generations of students. Bart was a committed advocate for all his clients, and particularly supportive of 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 an avid traveler. In his 20s, he spent a year backpacking around the world — picking olives in a tiny mountain village in Crete, teaching English in Japan, living at a mosque in Morocco, tending bar in Amsterdam and working at a fishery in Alaska. In his later years, Bart imparted his love of adventure to his family – taking them to the likes of Bali, Costa Rica, Prague, and Thailand – often with a suitcase of psychology books in tow, which he would read for pleasure.

Bart always continued expanding his horizons – developing expertise in EMDR and Internal Family Systems techniques and, in 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, to whom he was married for 35 years. He was predeceased by his father, Stanley Rubin, in January 2021. His passing is mourned not only by his adoring family but by hundreds of his colleagues, patients, and former students.

A memorial service will be held in Berkeley on Saturday, Dec. 4. You can email Josh Rubin at josh.odsess.rubin@gmail.com to receive details.