If you’re thinking about starting therapy, you probably have a lot of “therapy questions.” This page will answer some of the most common questions and I’ll try to cover as much territory as I can. But if you have anything else you’d like to discuss, please feel free to call me at (310) 273-4827 or email me at email@example.com. And, you can set up your complimentary 25-minute Zoom consultation now.
What problems do you treat?
This is probably one of the most important therapy questions you have. I’ve worked over 40 years practicing psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. In that time, I’ve developed expertise in treating a number of psychological problems. A partial list follows. Please contact me by phone or email if you have questions about any symptoms you’re experiencing.
- Childhood Trauma
- Panic Attacks
- Sexual abuse
- Persistent depression
- Bipolar disorders
- Cutting and self-injury
- Eating Disorders
- Borderline Personality
- Creative blocks
- Inability to move on after a loss
- Problems with love
- Failed previous therapies
Do you do supportive psychotherapy?
All psychotherapy is (and should be) supportive psychotherapy. To feel that you’re in a safe space for getting to the heart of what’s causing your symptoms, support and caring must be the foundation of any psychotherapeutic relationship. Yet, in my experience, support is not enough. When I work with you, I also provide in-depth attention to the roots and causes of your symptoms. Plus, in either psychotherapy or psychoanalysis with me, I will give you the individualized help you need to work these out over time.
Is Teletherapy available and how does it work?
I offer teletherapy by secure HIPAA compliant Zoom or by phone. I am licensed in the state of California and can work with you from any city you live in. Teletherapy works for all psychological challenges, especially necessary in this time of COVID-19. We can work together in either psychotherapy or psychoanalysis, one time a week or more. You and I will determine the best treatment plan for you after our initial consultation.
If you choose Zoom, you’ll experience face-to-face contact with me and we’ll be able to meet me in as personal way as possible. However, if you opt for telephone sessions, I will listen to you closely and the phone is effective too. The important thing is that we do the best we can with teletherapy modalities to give you the help you need. Call or email for a consultation. I offer a complimentary 25-minute call. You can ask the questions you have about how teletherapy can work for you.
Are psychoanalysis and psychotherapy different?
Psychoanalysis and psychotherapy are different in a number of basic and essential ways. Yet, all the psychotherapy or psychoanalysis I practice is psychoanalytic therapy. Your current problems will be understood in light of your unique history, your particular vulnerabilities, as well as how your “child mind” interpreted your early experiences.
Psychoanalysis, by virtue of the usual 3, 4, or 5 sessions per week, allows a deeper and more active structure for working out your symptoms and problems. The benefit of working together often is that each session is soon followed by another session. In this way, we have the chance to deepen the understanding we achieve in any given session.
Psychotherapy, with fewer weekly sessions, may not go to the same depth as psychoanalysis. The thoroughness of psychoanalysis generally offers a chance for more lasting change. Yet, change depends on many personal factors, including motivation for change and a capacity for insight. Plus, anyone I work with, at whatever frequency, will be given the benefit of my psychoanalytic training and understanding.
Most importantly, I’m respectful of your financial limitations as well as your desire to engage or not to engage in the frequency of psychoanalysis. I believe in the effectiveness of psychoanalysis, but I also work very actively in each and every psychotherapy session to help you achieve the results and change you need.
How long will I need to come for psychotherapy?
Therapy is about change and change takes time and trust. Building a trusting relationship with me doesn’t happen overnight; and the importance of trust can’t be underestimated. Effective psychotherapy is an emotional, not a cognitive, process.
Of course, everyone wants solutions; but there are no quick answers. For therapy to be successful we must honor whatever pace you need to get to the feelings and experiences that we must understand. Trust is a “holding place” for this feeling work to be done.
Lasting solutions come out of closely understanding all the feelings you had to find ways (for good reasons) to avoid. These feelings have deep roots and, for real change to occur, it’s necessary to take the time needed to link those feelings to your current symptoms, your difficulties in relationships, and with the ways you feel about yourself.
Because of this, I can’t give you a set time frame for any given therapy. Each therapy unfolds in its own way. As we work together, we will find what you personally need.
Will I see results quickly?
From the beginning of our work together, I’ll actively focus on the specific details of your symptoms and their links to your history. If you feel understood in a new way, maybe even in a way your problems haven’t been understood before, it is very likely that you’ll feel some relief of your most urgent symptoms fairly quickly. Real, lasting change takes time, though, and is much more than symptom relief.
We’ll establish a regular schedule for our work together. I’ll respect whatever you want and can manage. Yet, if you have a lot going on in your mind and in your life, once-a-week therapy might make you feel you only have enough time to “catch-me-up” on what’s happened during the week. If you are able to work with me at least twice a week, therapy will unfold with less pressure and you’ll see results more quickly.
Do you prescribe or recommend medication?
I’m a psychologist with a Ph.D., not an M.D., so I don’t prescribe medication. If medication is something you wish to try, are already on, or need for immediate relief of depression, anxiety, or panic attacks, I work with several psychiatrists. I will give you a referral for a medication consultation and the over-seeing of your medication needs.
Many of the patients I work with don’t want to take medication and find they don’t need to. If we meet frequently enough to provide the necessary supportive psychotherapy and understanding for your acute symptoms, you may not need medication either.
Medication, in any psychological situation, is not a substitute for therapy. Although medication can be useful, it only serves to offer temporary symptomatic relief. Resolution of persistent depression, anxiety of any form, or panic attacks comes from in-depth understanding and working out of the root causes of your symptoms.
What are your fees?
This is another one of those very important therapy questions, of course. But I like to discuss fees personally, either in our initial telephone conversation or, preferably, in our complimentary 25-minute Zoom consultation. If I’m not able to meet your financial needs, I will do my best to recommend a therapist or clinic that can offer you the help you’re looking for.
Do you accept insurance?
I’m not a member of any insurance company panel and, therefore, am an out-of-network provider. I do not bill insurance companies or accept payment from them.
I ask for direct payment of your therapy bill at the end of each month. Yet, what I will do is provide an insurance superbill along with your monthly statement. This will allow you to bill your own insurance company by attaching the superbill to your claim form. Your insurance benefits will be directly reimbursed to you.
If you have an HMO, they will not reimburse you for sessions with a provider who is out of their network, except under very rare circumstances. However, if you have a PPO, you can call your insurance company and inquire about your mental health benefits. They will tell you what they allow per session for an out-of-network provider. If you do have benefits, your company should pay some portion of your monthly therapy bill.
Therapy Questions Answered?
I hope I’ve answered your therapy questions. Remember, if I haven’t, or if you have other questions to ask, I am available at either (310) 273-4827 or firstname.lastname@example.org to answer more. And, anytime you’re ready, feel free to schedule a 25-minute complimentary Zoom consultation to see if we’re a good fit. Therapy can be a big help, especially after the past year of COVID-19 isolation that has stirred up old symptoms for many.