In my private practice in Beverly Hills, or by Teletherapy during COVID-19, I offer both psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. If you’re new to my site or to psychological therapy in general, here are answers to some questions you might have.
I think I need psychological therapy but I’m not sure what kind to try. I don’t even know what’s wrong. Can you help me?
Yes, I’d be glad to help you. I understand how hard it is to know what kind of therapy you need. To explore whether I’m a good fit for you, the best thing to do is to set up a series of two or three consultations with me. Let’s talk first by secure Zoom for a complimentary 25-minute consultation to set up our appointments.
These initial meetings will give you a sense of how I work. You’ll have a chance to talk to me, tell me your symptoms and concerns, and go over some of your history. I’ll listen closely to what you tell me and give you my thoughts.
During these meetings, my goal is to say a number of things that make sense to you. I hope, with what I say, you will feel understood and that I can even offer you some relief. You will also have a chance to ask me any questions you have about the process of therapy.
If you decide to begin therapy with me, I will recommend a therapy structure to meet your specific and individual needs. This will include a suggestion about the frequency of sessions I think will be most helpful. I work in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis from one to five times a week. Frequency is a decision we will arrive at together, based on your symptoms and financial situation.
Once we discuss and agree upon a treatment plan, our work together begins.
Is the psychological therapy you practice just like any psychotherapy, or is it different?
Every therapist works in their own way, yet my thorough training informs the psychotherapy I offer. If you’d like to know more about what to look for in a therapist, click and read here.
Because I’m trained as a psychoanalyst and have had over 35 years of experience doing psychotherapy, your experience with me, if you’ve had psychotherapy before, might be unlike what you’ve had. My training and experience give me the skills to listen in a different way and to say things you may not have heard. This, I offer in each session.
Some psychotherapies attend only to everyday life; in other words, to what is on the surface. These therapies offer you skills or practical kinds of advice. The therapy I practice is insight-oriented, not advice-based. I use psychoanalysis techniques in all the work I do, psychotherapy or psychoanalysis.
- Attention to the unconscious source of your symptoms and difficulties.
- Work with dreams, if you remember them, but this is not a “have to.”
- Looking at how your early past is unconsciously lived in the present.
- Seeing how old feelings come alive in new relationships, even with me.
Yet, it is important to know that each psychotherapy or psychoanalysis is unique to you. There is no particular “rule,” or way, that therapy is “supposed to” unfold. It is your own.
What is a psychological therapy session like?
A psychotherapy session lasts for 50 minutes, but there is no “right or wrong” when it comes to what you bring in, say, feel, or want to tell me. The time we have together is a space for you to express whatever is on your mind.
For some of you, it may be a new experience to have a place where there are no “rules” about how to be. It might take time to relax into that idea. As you do and as we talk, I’ll tell you what I hear. What I say won’t always be obvious to you. I will give you my thoughts about what is going on underneath the surface of your symptoms and in the places where you are stuck.
Over time, themes will unfold that allow us to look at the problems you experience in the context of your early history. My job is to give detailed focus to what arises in each session. As therapy continues, we’ll work out the various stumbling blocks that the roots of your problems create in your life.
If your problems have gone on for a long time, you might consider psychoanalysis. The frequency of sessions and depth of the experience may offer you the best opportunity for lasting change.
Should I choose Psychotherapy or Psychoanalysis?
Psychotherapy is one option that allows for significant change. Psychoanalysis is another. You might be wondering: what’s the difference? What exactly is psychoanalysis? Isn’t it outdated? And, if not, what psychoanalysis techniques are different than those in psychotherapy?
Although I offer the same understanding and attention as I do in psychotherapy, psychoanalysis is a deeper process. With the frequency of 3-5 sessions per week, psychoanalysis is effective for persistent symptoms, traumatic histories that haunt you and thread through your life, or for deeper self-exploration and change.
Psychoanalysis has changed, but it is not outdated. If you’ve seen New Yorker cartoons with a silent analyst leaving you to do all the work, that is not the psychoanalysis I practice or offer. I’m active, I talk, and I’m engaged with you through the whole process.
But there are some important psychoanalysis techniques that have the chance to work more effectively with increased frequency. Those include: (1) finding the unconscious source of your symptoms; and (2) working closely with how your symptoms and problems unconsciously play out in all of your relationships – at work, in love, with yourself, and with me.
Choosing psychotherapy or psychoanalysis is a decision you and I will decide together in our initial consultations. Factors such as how long your symptoms have persisted, the severity of your distress, the amount of anxiety you feel when alone with your feelings are all important considerations.
What can I expect from psychoanalysis?
In psychoanalysis as in psychotherapy, I tend to the details of what you say to me, linking these to your history, and working out what’s getting in your way. But psychoanalysis allows for a deeper process, as well as a greater opportunity, to understand the unconscious reasons behind your difficulties.
Many of you spend your lives living out unconscious fantasies that interfere with having the life you want; fantasies that don’t seem like fantasies at all: “I’m a complete failure.” “No one loves me.” “I’m doomed to be alone forever.” “I’ll never get what I want, so why should I try?”
When you believe those kinds of things, you find “proof” everywhere. Psychoanalysis makes it possible to unveil these convictions for what they are, where they came from, and for the purposes they serve. You have a chance to see yourself and your beliefs differently and to get to the other side.
I’ve had patients come to me after working in various types of therapies still tormented by obsessive thoughts, depression; poor self-esteem, and childhood histories that continue to live on inside their symptoms. This shouldn’t happen in a therapy that is effective.
I practice psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, and psychoanalysis techniques because these processes don’t give you only cognitive skills (like behavioral techniques do). Just practicing these skills risks bypassing the roots of your symptoms or how you are actually feeling. Knowing your feelings is critical for access to understanding yourself, the roots of your symptoms, and for lasting change.
Why do I need to come 3-5 times per week for psychoanalysis?
That’s an important question. Believe it or not, I’ve heard many times: “Three to five times a week? Isn’t that only for crazy people? Once a week must be enough. Do you really think my problems are that serious?”
The real benefit of coming frequently is that this provides an opportunity to work out problems that “won’t leave you alone” and have persisted for too many years. And, if you’re quite anxious or depressed, frequency helps you not to feel so alone or overwhelmed between sessions. Taking that deeper look requires courage. I’ll be there with you every step of the way.
Plus, psychoanalysis offers much more than “skills.” It also offers more than less-frequent psychological therapy. Psychoanalysis reaches deeply into ways you’re struggling and gives you knowledge about yourself you didn’t have before. Psychoanalysis also brings you into contact with the feelings you’ve had to block, rationalize, or tell yourself to “get over.”
Feelings are human. Having access to blocked feelings and parts of yourself are the real keys to overcoming your problems. You might even call them a different kind of “skill.” The frequency of psychoanalysis gives you space, with me as your analyst, to allow those feelings to safely be felt and known.
Will I have to come in and lie on a couch?
I do have an analytic couch in my office. But no, you don’t have to come in and lie down on it. It’s there to use if you want to and find it helpful. The couch is a tool, not a must. Whether, how, and when it is used is a choice for you to make.
Yet, there are benefits to using the couch. Sometimes it’s hard to look at me, especially if you have a tendency to gauge people’s reactions, try to give them what you think they want or might imagine my gaze as a demand. That doesn’t leave you free to express your own thoughts.
Many people think of the couch as “the Freud Couch,” since its use as a psychoanalysis technique began with Freud offering it as a tool for “free association.” Much has changed since Freud, but his instruction not to censor what comes into your mind is still important. And, when it’s hard to be open with your thoughts, lying on the “Freud Couch” encourages something close to dreaming, giving you access to what is below the surface in your mind.
Yet, for others, the couch can feel too lonely. If you’ve had a traumatic childhood, abandonment, neglect, abuse, or failure of love, trust is likely difficult. You may understandably have concerns about who I am, what I’m thinking, or if you can count on me to help you. Seeing me might be the only evidence that I am here. Or, not a “judge.” Keeping me in your close visual range is, then, what builds trust in my availability and presence.
The most important thing about psychoanalysis (and any psychological therapy too) is that the process must become yours alone. Besides our commitment to scheduled times and an agreed fee, there are no “rules.”
Are therapy sessions held in person or online?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I am solely using HIPAA-compliant Zoom or the telephone for therapy or psychoanalysis sessions. Once it is safe to return to my office, we will meet in person.
However, if you are not in the general Los Angeles area, and live in other cities in California, I will continue to offer Zoom or telephone teletherapy sessions for your convenience.
How long does it take for psychological therapy & psychoanalysis to work? When will I start to feel better?
Most people begin to feel better very soon, even after the first few sessions. Talking and being understood does help. Plus, the very fact that you’ve decided to get help is a big step – and that’s always quite relieving.
My suggestion is to meet with me by Zoom for several initial consultations so that you can see if you feel we’re a good fit. We can discuss your concerns about the process and the time in our first few meetings.
I know that uncertainty can make anyone anxious. But I find that once therapy is underway and a relationship between us is developing, it’s much easier to settle in and allow the process to do its work. Talking to me about your feelings and concerns as we go along – about anything – including any impatience you feel, is welcome, necessary, and a key part of any successful therapy.
I want to learn more about these psychological therapy options. How do I get in touch?
Call me at (310) 273-4827 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Unless you contact me late in the evening or at night, I will respond the same day. We can set up a complimentary 25-minute Zoom or telephone consultation to answer your questions. I look forward to hearing from you.