1. What is therapy and how does it work?

In general, psychotherapy is a type of treatment of psychological concerns that involves the strategies of talking and nonverbal communication, in addition to some other techniques. The goal of therapy is to relieve or change emotional, behavioral, or cognitive factors that may stand in the way of living a happier, and a more meaningful life. Another goal of psychotherapy could be self-exploration – to learn more about yourself. There are many unique aspects of therapy that can be helpful to different people, but in general, one of the most important aspects is creating a relationship in which the client can be open and honest without feeling judged or afraid. In addition, sharing and exploring concerns with an objective person can foster insight and help the client see and approach the problem from a different perspective.

2. What is your approach to treatment?

My theoretical orientation is psychodynamic (insight-oriented). However, I have also been trained in other approaches, such as cognitive behavioral (skills-based), dialectical behavior (skills-based), and mindfulness (present moment awareness without judgement). I use these methods according to the needs of the clients. I believe that every theory has something important to add to the bigger picture, and that the unique situation of each client should direct the approach that is used.

3. What are the differences among a clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, licensed clinical social worker, and a marriage and family therapist?

A clinical psychologist has a doctorate degree in clinical psychology, which is the study of various psychological concerns that people might experience. The degree is either a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. The difference between these is that a person who possesses a Ph.D. has research-oriented training, in addition to clinical training, whereas a clinical psychologist who possesses a Psy.D. has more clinically-oriented training, and some research training. Clinical psychologists cannot prescribe medication in the state of California.

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who generally treats patients with medications. Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals often work together to provide a well-rounded treatment to the patients.

A licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) has a master’s degree in social work, and is trained to treat a wide variety of psychological concerns.

A marriage and family therapist (MFT) may possess a doctorate or a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy or a similar field. This clinician is also trained to work with a wide variety of concerns.

4. Is therapy for me?

Most people can benefit from therapy, but you will not know until you try it. It is important to have a good client-therapist fit where you feel comfortable and trust your therapist. Motivation and openness to treatment are important factors as well.

5. How will I know that therapy is working?

You will know based on the changes in your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Even though it is important to keep your ultimate goal in mind, it is also important to look at the small changes you are making along the way, and to reward yourself for your hard work.

6.How long does treatment last?

It depends on the nature and the factors surrounding your concern. Therapy can generally last anywhere from three sessions to several years.

7. How will I know that it’s time to stop?

We will create treatment goals together, and will reassess them along the way. It will be a natural time to terminate treatment when your goals are met. Other reasons for termination might include changing life’s circumstances such as relocation or seeking alternative therapies.