What is psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a broad term used to define several different approaches to improving a person’s mental and emotional health.  Although there are several different theoretical and technical schools of psychotherapy, generally they have a few things in common. 

  • Psychotherapy aims to improve the client’s well being, as he or she defines it.
  • Psychotherapy involves “talk sessions” in which the client and psychotherapist converse about the topics relevant to the client’s goals.
  • Psychotherapy may or may not involve direct advice on how to deal with challenges in your life.  Different therapists have different philosophies regarding this; however, they will all focus on helpging you explore different options and discover solutions that are best for you.
  • Psychotherapy does not involve medication.  Psychotherapists do not hold MDs and cannot prescribe medication.   Should it be needed, a psychologist can refer the client to a psychiatrist who will be able to prescribe any needed medication.

Although there are many several different approaches to psychotherpy (e.g., psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, etc.), scientific literature has consistently demonstrated that the most important factor contrinuting to succeessful outcome is the match between the client and the psychotherapist.  This means that you should focus your efforts in finding a provider that not only has expertise in your particular area of concern, but that is also someone who you feel comfortable and at ease with. 

What concerns does psychotherapy address?

Psychotherapy can target an extremely broad range of concerns or difficulties, ranging from common daily struggles, to more specific concerns. Some examples include:

  • Helping a person navigate and adjust to changes in their life. For example graduating, getting married, moving, having children, getting divorced, or changing careers.
  • Helping a person improve their relationships, be it with a family member, a partner, a colleague or boss, or address broader relationship concerns or patterns.
  • Psychotherapy can help to alleviate mood symptoms, such as symptom of depression and anxiety. 
  • Psychotherapy can also help a person deal with and move past traumatic incidents in their life and teach them how to use coping strategies so they can better manage troubling memories of traumatic events.
  • Psychotherapy can target specific behaviors, such as insomnia, smoking, substance abuse, eating disorders, gambling, and other potentially problematic behaviors.
  • Psychotherapy can also be a broad process of self-discovery.  It can give a person the room and opportunity to learn about themselves in a deep and meaningful way and can be a commitment to a life-long journey of self-exploration and actualization.

Who benefits from psychotherapy?

Almost anyone can benefit from psychotherapy.  People who are currently struggling through a difficult time in their lives, as well as those who aren’t, both can benefit from a supportive and objective sounding board that can help them analyze current ways of thinking and behaving, as well as possibly explore new, and more effective ones.

The key to a successful experience with psychotherapy rests not only on the professional's expertise and training, but just as importantly, on the connection, or rapport, between the client and the therapist.  It is important the client feels comfortable and understood so that he or she can openly and honestly discuss the challenges they are experiencing and feel receptive to the therapist’s input.   

How do I chose a therapist?

Picking the right person to work with is a difficult and important decision.  Much of the scientific literature shows that more important than particular approach and/or techniques, the most importnat predictor of effective treatment is the match between client and therapist. With this in mind, it is important that you find someone you connect with, and with whom you can be honest and open about your life and concerns. I approach my work form a collaborative perspective, meaning that we balance my expertise in the field of psychology and mental health with your expertise in the are of you.  My goal is to bring these two worlds together so we can bring new perspective, insight, and change into your life.

What should I expect from our first meetings? 

Our first meeting will serve several purposes, amongst them obtaining information on what brings you to therapy, addressing any questions or concerns you may have about the process of psychotherapy, and also providing you with information regarding privacy and confidentiality.  We will also discuss fees and frequency of sessions.  Should we decide to work together, the next few sessions will be dedicated to clarifying your areas of concern and developing treatment goals and a plan to reach them.  This will be a collaborative process in which your input is essential so that we may develop a plan that will not only be effective, but one that you will be comfortable with. 

What happens if you are not a good match for me?

If you or we determine that I am not a good match for you, or if your concern is outside of my area of expertise, I will do my best to refer you to an appropriate colleague. My goal in therapy is to help you on your path of empowerment and this mission starts with our first meeting and includes helping you find the best therapist for your needs and goals.  

How much does therapy cost and do you accept insurance? 

During our first meeting we will discuss an appropriate fee. I also offer some sliding-scale fee slots. Currently, I do not accept insurance, but can provide you with a receipt for services to that you can submit this to your insurance company and obtain reimbursement.  If you are interested in this option, please let me know and I will email you a list of questions you should ask your insurance provider.