Julian Redwood, MFT
specializing in Individual & Couples Counseling

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Common Questions about Therapy

What is psychotherapy?
At difficult times in our lives, we may find ourselves needing some help. We can all benefit from understanding more about ourselves and how our minds and feelings work. In the same way that we rely on guides and teacher to help us learn and grow in our careers, hobbies or sports, therapy helps a person to live a more full life.

How do I know if I need therapy?
Therapy is helpful if you feel stuck and the assistance of friends and family, or your efforts at self-help are not working. It is best to get help as early as possible before the situation becomes a crisis and more complicated. Psychology Today has a number of tests that can help you determine if therapy would be helpful. Click here to be directed to these tests.
Speaking to a therapist can help determine if psychotherapy will be helpful for you. Although it is normal to wonder if a therapist is merely trying to sell their services, we are morally and ethically obliged by the California Board of Behavior Sciences and more importantly our consciences to never offer therapy to someone who does not need it. Our job is to help, not deplete your resources.

How do I find the right therapist for me?
Research has shown that the quality of the relationship with the therapist is crucial to the success of the therapy, so it is important to find someone that feels right to you. Take your time to try different therapists and see who feels right. The best way to assess your fit with a therapist is to meet them for an initial session or to at least speak by phone and see if you are drawn to working with them. You should feel comfortable and generally at ease with your new therapist. Feelings of anxiety and awkwardness are normal in a first session with a new therapist, but you should still be able to sense if the therapist seems like a good fit for you. To help keep your costs in finding the right therapist reasonable, I do not charge if you decide to work with someone else.

Call me to discuss what you are looking for and I can answer any questions you might have. We can then arrange a time to meet. If for some reason I do not feel like the right therapist for you, I am happy to refer you to someone who might be a better fit.

How long does therapy take?
The length of treatment depends on a wide range of factors that are difficult to assess in advance. Typically 10 to 20 sessions will help if we are working with a concrete issue. Deeper work on old feelings and recurrent behaviors can require long-term therapy. It is ideal to talk to a therapist to find what would be best for you.

How does therapy work?
Stated simply, we are extremely complicated organisms, yet we are taught very little about how our minds and emotions work. This can lead to all types of difficulties, particularly given how challenging life can be. In weekly or bi-weekly 50 minute sessions, the client becomes intellectually and emotionally aware of the underlying sources of his or her difficulties. Through this process, psychological blocks are released as new and more healthy behavior is allowed to arise. Fortunately research has shown that psychotherapy really does bring lasting change for the vast majority of people. It is not a quick fix, but it does help.

Is ambivalence normal?
Starting therapy can be exciting, but can also be a difficult decision and feel daunting. It is not unusual to feel embarrassed about wanting some help, especially given how much value our society places on self-reliance and the appearance of having it all together. Sharing your experience with someone you initially do not know is sometimes scary and can lead to ambivalence. Coming for a consultation session will help you determine if it is right for you and if I as a psychotherapist feel like a good fit for you. At times, it takes a few sessions to determine if therapy is what you need.

What is psychoanalytic psychotherapy?
In psychoanalytic psychotherapy, the client and therapist enter into a close relationship and a deep exploration of the clientís experience. This allows for the unfolding of a personís early conditioning within the psychotherapeutic relationship and supports a person to come into a new relationship with themselves and others. This typically involves three to five sessions per week. Financial assistance is available when necessary. Click here for an article on research showing the long-term benefits of this type of intesive therapy.

Is therapy confidential?
Except in a very few circumstances, what you say and even your participation in therapy is completely confidential under California State law. If it is clear that you are a serious physical danger to yourself or other, I am obligated by law to take action to prevent the danger.

 
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