Frequently Asked Questions
When should a person seek help?
You may want to consider consulting with a psychologist if you are not satisfied with some aspect of your life. If your emotions or behaviors are interfering with your quality of life, relationships, or daily functioning you should seriously consider a consultation.
Can you help me with my problems?
Contact me and we can discuss if I am the right psychologist to help you. Sometimes I cannot learn everything I will need to know to answer this question over the phone. If so, we can set up a consultation appointment for you so that we can figure it out. If for some reason, I am not the right psychologist for you, I will do my best to recommend someone who might be.
What is Psychotherapy?
There are different ways of working in psychotherapy but typically clients are seen once or twice a week for approximately 45 minutes. I work to help you identify the underlying issues that are contributing to the problems that you have sought help for. After attaining an understanding of the emotional patterns contributing to difficulties in your life, we work together to change those patterns and replace them with new ways of interacting with yourself and others.
What can I expect in the first session?
We will meet for about 45-60 minutes during the first session. This initial meeting is a little different from the sessions to follow in that a lot of your history, including the history of what you are struggling with will be obtained. The primary purpose of the first session is to get to know you and to gain an understanding of the issues at hand. Sometimes this history gathering might extend into additional sessions before the actual therapy begins. We will determine how to proceed, the frequency of treatment and scheduling.
How important is the fit or match between therapist and client?
It is very important? Research (e.g. Horvath, 2001) has shown repeatedly that the alliance between therapist and client is a significant predictor in the success of therapy. I encourage potential clients to meet with more than one therapist when deciding to begin the process of psychotherapy, and to ask potential therapists any questions about therapy that they might have. For some, it may take time to feel comfortable with a therapist and it might take a few sessions before deciding whether or not you have found a therapist that you feel you can really trust.
Is what I discuss in therapy confidential?
Rest assured that everything you discuss in therapy is confidential and cannot be discussed with anyone else without your consent. The protection of your confidentiality is taken very seriously. There are three exceptions when I am required by law to break confidentiality. These exceptions are: in the case of suspected child or elder abuse, if a client threatens serious bodily harm to another person, or if a client threatens imminent harm to him or herself.
What are the differences between a psychologist, a psychiatrist, and a psychotherapist?
A psychologist has a Doctoral degree in psychology and can provide psychotherapy and psychological testing but does not prescribe medication. A psychiatrist has a Medical degree and primarily prescribes medication and at times psychotherapy. A psychotherapist is a general term used to describe a professional who provides psychotherapy and is usually used to describe a non-doctoral therapist, such as social workers or mental health professionals.
As a psychologist, I do not prescribe medication. Many people benefit greatly from therapy alone. However, if medication in addition to therapy is most appropriate for you, I can refer you to a psychiatrist whom we can collaborate with.