"IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING, YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU WANT." Moshe Feldenkrais
How can therapy help me?
Welcome. I look forward to helping you and your family find meaningful solutions to the challenges you face. Beginning the important work of therapy is often a difficult decision. Even after your initial appointment has been made, you and your family may feel both eager to begin as well as somewhat uncomfortable about coming in for your first meeting with your therapist. Many people find the thought of beginning therapy unsettling until they actually start the process. Then they feel more comfortable. Now that you’ve taken the first step toward working on some of the areas of concern in your life, try not to let some initial discomfort keep you and your family from pursuing what you know will be in your best interest. Before your first meeting, you might think about what you hope to gain from therapy and what is most important to you. Some clients have found that jotting down notes about what they want to discuss helps them feel more comfortable.
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, and help you achieve problem-solving skills and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
- Achieve and sustain a more balanced life
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough courage and self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be highly admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to overcome whatever challenges you face.
Sometimes a few sessions can help you tap into your own resources; you may be surprised by an increased efficienty and ease in daily life.
Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?
"WHEN WE ARE NO LONGER ABLE TO CHANGE A SITUATION, WE ARE CHALLENGED TO CHANGE OURSELVES." Victor Frankl
People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (empty nest, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide support and encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives. So ask yourself, Do I want support? Do I need support? Am I willing to try? Am I ready to get better?
What is therapy like?
Often times people don't know what to expect or they expect therapy to be pain and hard work, tears and life put on hold. Some are even concerned that they will break down if they start touching on their issues...While it is true that psychotherapy is not always pleasurable or comfortable people forget that they will not be all alone in this new undertaking. You will gain tremendous support from a person well trained to help you cope with your current challenges, and to learn how to deal with, and hopefully to prevent future issues. One can never overestimate such help.
What people don't expect is that there are also good times in therapy, with humor, laughter and joy. I hope you will experience such times in your therapy .
In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history related to that events, your challenges, associations between events, dreams and new developments or any new insight gained from one therapy session to the next. This is the psychodynamic psychotherapy that adresses primarily the mental realm, going from the mind to the body, looking at ways in which childhood events shaped the person you are today.Somatic therapy adresses primarily the body, going from the body to the mind; in the beginning you can expect to learn and use different breathing techniques (centering, grounding, releasing, relaxing, self-acceptance, etc). You will be invited and supported to use these techniques between sessions as inner coping tools. Then you will learn how to access, anchor and amplify resources (feeling-good-places in your body) related to specific issues. You will also want to use these somatic resources between sessions for enhancing the work you did in session or for coping with distress.
If you suffer from insomnia you will learn to fall and stay asleep by lowering the brain's arousal through guided natural breathing techniques and a variety of small movements, some for daytime relaxation and others for nighttime to induce sleep.
Art therapy, psychodrama and mindful movement are other ways of accessing the uncounscious and integrating the mind, the body and the spirit into a whole and healhy person.
Parents, you will expect your children to play with me. Children don't express themselves well in words, but they will show you and me all about their lives when they play. So, please, don't be alarmed and don't think you are wasting your money! Play is the best modality in which they learn and practice healthy skills and behaviors. Parents are most important in children's lives, therefore we will meet from time to time to discuss your child's or adolescent's progress and to implement changes for the best of the whole family.
It is most common to schedule regular sessions, usually weekly. If the reason for starting therapy is severe, such as, but not limited to rape, car accident, intractable pain, severe anxiety or depression, etc, you will benefit for more then one time a week for a period of time that we will determine together.
It is important to understand that you will get more results if you actively participate in the process of therapy. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Usually people seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.
What about medication vs. psychotherapy?
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.
I work within a network of healthcare practitioners and I can assist you in finding the most appropriate practitioner for your needs ( doctor, chiropractor, physical therapist, massage therapist, etc).
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
Yes. I currently take Blue Shield of CA, Beacon, Cigna and Molina. I am always an out-of-network provider for other insurances. Please don't forget to bring your insurance card at the time of your first appointment.
To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission. I will always discuss and inform you before I contact another person on your behalf.
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations in which a life is in danger:
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threated to harm another person.