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
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.