SOME QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT HAVE ABOUT THERAPY
How do I know if I need therapy?
All kinds of feelings can be good reasons to go to therapy. You might
feel sad, or too often lonely, or have frequent attacks of low self
esteem, or not be in good enough control of yourself, or be helplessly
at the mercy of your feelings about a relationship, etc. Whatever your
situation is you have probably tried to correct it many times, and not
been able to, adding to your sense of futility or self blame. When
feelings or thoughts cannot be understood and used productively as
signals, but instead lead you into destructive action, even inaction or
inept action, then seeking therapy makes sense.
What is individual therapy like?
When you come in I will ask you about what brings you here. And if you
aren't sure, we can start with that. I try to make a safe place for you
to talk about whatever is on your mind. The very act of doing so is
usually a good beginning and that, in and of itself, can be organizing.
We will talk back and forth for 45 minutes with the focus being your
feelings and what has happened to bring you to this point. This will
include your current situation, as well as your history. Over time, as
you talk, I will ask questions and offer my point of view. Together we
will find a way of making sense of your situation. Doing so creates not
only self understanding, but a more solid sense of self.
Can talking about my pain make me feel worse?
That might happen, but not always. Uncovering deeply painful, or
shameful, feelings can be uncomfortable. Over time, as we understand
more, those very feelings transform into sources of vitality because now
you won't have to avoid them. As the past is woven more firmly and
self-acceptingly into your sense of self, anxiety lessens and interest
in the world is more possible.
How does change happen in therapy?
As you feel safe with me, trust will start to develop. No course of
therapy is the same since it is not by formula, but with trust will
probably come the ability to expand what you can talk about to me. This
will include not just the content of what has happened to you, but also,
all the feelings about what happened. Many of these feelings may have
been disavowed or forgotten by you. Together we seek to develop your
capacity to reflect on these and to bear the feelings that come up
without running away or becoming emotionally disorganized. Several
important psychological capacities can be developed this way—like your
ability to self reflect, to self regulate, and to trust the validity of
one's own feelings and point of view.
Additionally, one's own narrative begins to emerge and hang together, a
story of understanding different from that which you have
internalized from others.
What kind of issues and problems do you deal with?
I have found that many, maybe most, issues and problems come from
troubled relationships. So often the relational patterns from earlier
life that were dysfunctional have become unconscious and get transferred
automatically to current situations. Since the patterns are put into
play beyond your awareness you have little control and can become
dismayed over the resultant troubles in your life. You may become
depressed, overly anxious, or resort to extremes like eating disorders,
sexual issues, severe avoidance, etc. I find it gratifying to help sort
out all of the varied tangles that come from one's deepest feelings.
These would include depression, anxiety, trauma, stress, relational
issues, work issues, self esteem issues, grief or loss, etc.
How is contemporary psychoanalysis different from
For me, they are overlapping forms of treatment, differing primarily in
terms of frequency of sessions. The reason I say "contemporary"
psychoanalysis is to distinguish it from classical or Freudian
psychoanalysis. Contemporary analytic work is done through meeting
multiple times a week, allowing for more trust to build and deeper work
to emerge. It puts the emphasis on present relationships, while
simultaneously recognizing that old relational patterns have a huge
shaping influence on one's current life. However, I must say that my
training as a contemporary psychoanalyst is such an ingrained part of my
therapeutic perspective that I work similarly with people whether in
psychotherapy or in psychoanalysis.
What would my commitment be?
When you call or email me
we will talk briefly to give me an idea of
your concerns and then set up an appointment to meet. If we both feel
that working together would be good, we'll set up a regular time to
meet. Typically, sessions are 45 minutes long and once a week, unless we
make other arrangements concerning frequency. If you have insurance, I
will give you a monthly statement that you can submit to your insurance
company for reimbursement. At the first session we will discuss my fee
and if you have financial constraints we can discuss the possibility of
a fee adjustment.
Where are you located and how would I contact you?
My office is on the westside of Los Angeles between Westwood and Century
City. In order to locate me, you can use the map link situated on the
"Contact Me" page. My phone number is 310-446-0064. I check my
confidential message service regularly. You may leave me a message with
your phone number and I will return your call promptly.