How do I know if I need therapy?
Often people wonder if they “need” therapy but don’t ask the same about exercising or eating a healthful diet. Your emotional and mental health are just as important as your physical health. Even if you don’t “need” to work out, feed your body nutritious foods, or go to therapy, all can be extremely beneficial to your well-being. If you’re reading my website, there may be a part of you that is seeking and desiring help. Please feel free to contact me, as this decision could get you in the best emotional and mental shape of your life.
I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?
On the contrary. People who ask for help have good self-awareness and have the ability to reach out. It takes courage to embark on the psychotherapy journey. We all need help at some point. You already have some strengths that you’ve used before, that for whatever reason aren’t working at this time. Maybe a problem feels overwhelming and you’ve lost touch with your strengths. I can help you to identify your strengths and how to use them in your life, possibly in different and more effective ways than you’ve done in the past. Also, I can help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. My ultimate goal is to help get you in touch with your inner wisdom, which we all have, even if it’s just been obscured or ignored for a long while.
What can I expect during the first appointment?
During the first session, I’ll ask questions related to your most pressing issue along with other issues that may be bothering you. We’ll discuss your goals and how treatment can be tailored to your specific needs. We’ll decide upon a plan of action, to be reviewed from time to time as therapy proceeds, and to be adjusted as need be.
How long is the session?
A typical individual, couple, or family session lasts 50 minutes. On occasion, such sessions can be scheduled for 90 minutes, or for two consecutive 50-minute sessions, to address time-sensitive situations. Group sessions typically last 90 minutes.
Why shouldn’t I just take medication?
Not all issues require medication, nor can medication alone solve all issues. While medication can be a crucial component of treatment, it treats symptoms. Our work together is designed to explore the root of the issue, dig deep into your behavior, and teach you strategies that can help you accomplish your personal and/or relational goals. In some cases, medication is necessary, and in those cases I collaborate with psychiatrists to ensure the best treatment for clients. Research shows that treatment of mental health issues is most effective when it includes medication and therapy rather than just medication.
Also, if you have experienced or are currently dealing with a major or chronic health condition, therapy can help you develop a resilient attitude, stress management techniques, and effective communication skills with your family, friends, and medical professionals, all of which can bolster your resistance to disease.
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. I tailor my therapeutic approach to your specific needs.
How long does therapy last?
There is no universal length of therapy that is appropriate for all people. It usually takes time to make long-lasting changes in your life, although people often begin to notice changes within a few months of therapy, sometimes even sooner. The length of time therapy can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek therapy in the first place. Let’s sort out together what kind of change you are looking for and how I can help.
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
I am so glad you are dedicated to getting the most out of your sessions. Your active participation and dedication is crucial to your success. After all, we only see each other for one or possibly two sessions a week. The work you do outside of our sessions will really help you with your personal growth and development. I have seen the best success working with highly motivated clients who are committed and invested in the work involved with their own personal growth.
My partner and I are having problems. Should we be in individual counseling or come together?
If you are concerned about your relationship, and you would both like to work with me, I would initially work with both of you together. After this work, if one of you would like to continue in individual sessions, I could work with only one of you. It is not helpful to move from individual into couples work with the same therapist because of potential trust issues.
Sometimes one person in the relationship wants to work on relationship issues, but his or her partner does not. It is possible for the person who desires therapy to come in for sessions on his or her own and gain some tools that may help in the relationship.
I feel like I’ve lost myself. How can you help me get my life back?
Whether it’s the loss of a relationship, a recent move, or a gradual shift into becoming someone we don’t like, we can all go through times during which we feel hopeless and frustrated. I love helping people explore who they want to be now and in the future. Life becomes a lot more fulfilling when we have a greater sense of purpose and self-worth. I believe that in time you can reconnect (or possibly connect for the first time) with your inner wisdom and highest self, which can then guide, sustain, and comfort you at all times.
What types of clients do you see?
I work with individuals, couples, and groups in a safe, inviting and confidential setting in Santa Monica. I see many individuals dealing with emotional eating, weight issues, and low self-esteem, who want to make peace with food, their body, and their weight. I also specialize in cognitive-behavioral therapy, self-compassion, and mindfulness. In addition, I see individuals with chronic or major health issues, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Lyme disease, autoimmune conditions, gastrointestinal problems, and obesity. Looking at and modifying one’s attitude, behaviors, and sense of purpose can be quite beneficial in improving one’s resilience on all levels, including one’s physical health.
In addition, my license as a Marriage and Family Therapist qualifies me to work with anyone who wants to improve their relationships, be it with their romantic partner, friend, parent, child, or business associates. After all, the state of our relationships has a powerful influence on our emotional and physical well-being, ability to work, and our general level of happiness. On the flip side, our taking care of ourselves, developing constructive habits, overcoming compulsive behaviors, and managing our moods all affect our relationships in major ways.