Therapy for Individuals Couples, & Families

Welcome to our website! We are Ron and Pat Potter-Efron and we live near Eau Claire, WI (in Western Wisconsin, 85 miles east of St.Paul, MN). 
Here's a quick introduction to each of us.

Ron Potter-Efron, M.SW, Ph.D. 
     I'm probably best known as the author or co-author (with Pat) of twenty books, some for professional counselors and most for the general public. The best known are
Healing the Angry Brain;
Angry All The Time;
Letting Go of Anger;
Letting Go of Shame
     Please go to the pages labelled Ron and Pat's Publications and Books for Professionals in Mental Health on this site for a description of each of my books. My single greatest professional interest the last several years has been in the angry brain -- what happens inside our brains when we become angry and how to help very angry people gain better control over their emotions and actions. I've also been involved with treating individuals who have committed acts of domestic violence. Pat and I have developed and facilitated a 52 session brain-change based treatment program for domestic offenders.
     I also lead training seminars for professional psychologists, counselors and people in related fields. The two seminars I've been doing are:
"Healing the Angry Brain";
"Effective Treatment for Angry Individuals, Couples and Families."
     Please see our Seminar Page for a complete description of these seminars. 
     I am associated with the National Anger Management Association (NAMA) and co-facilitate (with Pat) their Domestic Violence Treatment Specialist Certification Program. If interested please go to the NAMA website for more details.
     Being semi-retired, I no longer see individual clients. However, Pat Potter-Efron still does see clients at our therapy center, First Things First Counseling and Consulting in Altoona, WI.
     Personal information: I'm 71 years old. I grew up in a "nice Jewish home" in St. Paul, MN. Like everybody I know I've had my share of misfortunes. Most importantly, my mother died when I was 9 years old and my father when I was 18. I believe those events created my sense that people need to feel safe before they can change. My safety net of caring people centers on my identical twin brother Don, my two older brothers Brad and Art, and most importantly upon my wife of over 50 years Patricia and our three children (Cindy, Jenny and Josh) and our four grandchildren.
     Education: B.A. Macalester College, Sociology; Ph.D, Purdue University, sociology; MSW, U. of Michigan. 

Pat Potter-Efron, M.S., Licensed Independent Social Worker, CSAC
     I'm also semi-retired but I do see people Tuesday throughThursday  at First Things First Counseling and Consulting Center, 2519 N. Hillcrest Parkway, #201, in Altoona, WI. I see all kinds of people with all kinds of concerns but I'm perhaps best known for treating angry and violent men and women, depressed clients, and persons who want to feel better about themselves and  take better care of themselves.
    I really like working with clients of all ages, differing kinds of people with differing preferences, and those engaged in changing their lives in a significant way.  My clients know I really do care about them as whole human beings and that my caring doesn't end the moment they leave the office. I see individuals, families, couples, teenagers, children and occasionaly small children.  
    I'm also a writer and I've co-authored (with Ron) several books, including the well-known Letting Go of Anger and Letting Go of Shame. Many of our books have been published in different languages and in different parts of the world. I am a member of the Lions Club in Eleva-Strum. 
    Personal Information: I grew up in MN on the banks of the St.Croix River across from Hudson, WI., with my parents, Stan and Norma Potter, a live-in caretaker called Auntie Anna, my brother, Kevin, and dogs, cats, rabbits, and a sheep each summer. My father taught me great respect for those who have handicaps--he had one himself. He headed Minnesota Services for the Blind, and helped to change the way in which the world treated those who are blind or handicapped in some other ways. My mom was a social worer in the heart of St. Paul, and later an adoption worker and Red Cross volunteer.  I raised bees, ran around the hills and had few others to play with, since we lived in the country. I read as if books were going out of style--and sometimes still do. I am blessed with a husband and three children I love and respect.
I am now 71, still learning, and love rock-collecting and shell finding, and helping write with Ron when I can. Occasionally I travel with Ron.  
    Education: B.A., Macalester College, Literature; M.S., University of Wisconsin-Stout, Master's of Guidance and Counseling.
Licensure and Certifications: Wis Independent Social Worker; Professional Counselor; Counselor in Alcohol and Drug Studies. Also I am a Diplomate of the National Anger Management Association.
    If you're considering allowing me the honor of being your counselor please e-mail me at I'll get back to you asap.