How long does therapy usually last?
Treatment varies considerably depending upon such factors as the severity and duration of the problem, amount of support from others, and degree of ongoing stress. Someone with a severe problem of many years duration and minimal support from others will require more sessions than someone whose problem is recent, not too severe, and who has a good support network in place.
The skill level of the therapist is also important. Most therapists are capable of treating a wide variety of disorders. However, seeking a therapist who specializes in your areas of concern is wise.
At this office, about 15% of my clients have five or fewer sessions. Another 15% require thirty of more sessions. The rest receive between 6-20 sessions with the average being about twelve. Most clients are seen weekly or every other week at first but then schedule appointments less frequently as needed.
How long does each session last?
Sessions are 45 minutes.
How exactly does therapy work?
I practice directive therapy. I will ask a lot of questions and will suggest specific things you can do to help you overcome your difficulties. It isn’t just talking about your problems that helps; it’s learning to act and think differently.
Should I feel better after each session?
Not necessarily. You should feel hopeful that therapy can be of help but some sessions can stir up difficult emotions and be a bit unsettling. Ideally you will come away from each session with some benefit—a new perspective, a new technique, clearer goals, a boost in enthusiasm, less fear–something that will keep you on track toward recovery and emotional freedom.
What if therapy isn’t working for me?
That might happen. Research shows that therapy is more effective than no therapy but not everyone will benefit. Couples with relationship problems, for example, might enter therapy with a low commitment toward keeping the relationship alive. Some people with certain phobias may be reluctant to face certain fears. In those cases, progress may be limited.
If you think that therapy is not helping, first talk with the therapist. Is the therapist in agreement or are your expectations unrealistic? Next, be honest with yourself. Have you resisted treatment in any way? Is therapy a priority in your life? It’s very easy to get caught up in day to day responsibilities and have little time to follow treatment recommendations. People with the highest motivation are most likely to succeed.
What if I need medication?
I can advise you if your symptoms are severe enough to warrant a medication evaluation. I can then suggest several psychiatrists in this area. Most psychiatrists are willing to treat you with medication while you continue psychotherapy with me.
What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a highly researched and well-respected tool for the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and a variety of other problems where a client has disturbing memories that cannot be resolved. Dr. Francine Shapiro developed EMDR in the late 1980’s.
EMDR is a rapid treatment method, often involving only a handful of sessions. In addition to using it in the treatment of severe emotional trauma (abuse, accident victims, and so on) I use it to help people who have disturbing memories about their relationships (inability to get over a break-up or a partner’s infidelity, for example) and for people with prolonged and unresolved grief reactions. It can also be useful for some people with panic disorder or phobias.
Do you do telephone or video consultations?
Yes, if you are a current client who is unable to make it to my office on a particular day.
Occasionally people I haven’t met but who have read my books or seen me on television will contact me for advice over the phone. While I will consult with a person over the phone and give my impressions and suggestions on whatever problems I can realistically address, I do not conduct psychotherapy over the phone. That is, phone consultations are for educational purposes only and not a contract for treatment.
A phone consultation is more along the lines of friendly advice (much like you would get from reading an educational book) and is not reimbursed by insurance. This service is useful for those with minor concerns who might want a professional point of view or for those who are already in therapy who might want a second opinion. It is impossible to conduct a thorough assessment of a client without seeing that person in ongoing therapy. Consequently, any advice I provide is speculative. People with severe problems are advised to seek a qualified professional in their area.
Contact the office for fees and availability.
Do you address spiritual concerns?
I find it ironic that many, if not most, therapists will ask very detailed questions about the most intimate aspects of a client’s life but overlook religion and spirituality. One’s spiritual outlook is often a strength or resource that can be tapped into in order to help a client cope with life’s problems. Conversely, many clients are in despair because they feel let down by God or their religion when tragedy strikes. They should be able to discuss those spiritual concerns freely. Spiritual and religious factors play a big role in grief issues, especially. I feel very comfortable discussing spirituality and religion at whatever level a client prefers.
What are “intuitive consultations”?
As a psychologist I have conducted over 40,000 therapy sessions so far. I believe that most therapists are usually very intuitive to begin with and have entered a career where intuition plays an important role in helping people understand themselves better and deal effectively with their problems.
There is both a science and an art to psychotherapy. The science aspect includes technical expertise and know-how. The “art” aspect includes the therapist’s ability to make people feel comfortable so they can disclose very personal information. It also includes the therapist’s ability to sense, intuitively, what might be happening with a client when a client is not always able to express it. Some call it “reading between the lines” or “picking up on non-verbal behavior.” I prefer to call it a “sixth sense”. After 40,000 therapy sessions, I consider my intuitive abilities to be as important and as well developed as my technical expertise in helping clients overcome their difficulties.
Intuitive consultations are for people who either wish to nurture and develop their own intuitive abilities, or are for people who wish to gain a greater understanding of intuitive phenomena. The people who I find to be most interested in intuitive consultations are creative, often artistic, who wish to enhance their creative potential. Also, countless people over the years have reported to me their own personal psychic/intuitive experiences (especially during grief) and wish to understand them better or learn how to enhance them.