Q: What are the differences between types of licensed psychotherapists?

The state of California licenses several types of psychotherapists:
  • Psychiatrists have earned an M.D. and have gone on to specialize in psychiatry. Because they are MDs, they can prescribe medication for various psychological problems such as depression and anxiety. Some, but not all, are trained in psychotherapeutic methodologies.
  • Clinical Psychologists are trained in clinical psychology and have earned a doctorate.
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) are trained in clinical psychology and have completed a Masters Degree and have passed written and oral exams for licensure.
  • Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) are Psychiatric Social Workers who are trained in clinical psychology, have completed a Masters Degree, and have passed written and oral exams for licensure.
  • Psychiatric Nurse (RN) are nurses who have obtained a nursing degree and who have specialized in psychiatry.

All licensed professionals adhere to and are bound by certain ethical and legal standards to safeguard the confidentiality and safety of their clients.

Q: Is all therapy conducted in the same way?

No. There are many approaches to to the practice of psychotherapy. Among the common forms are:
  • Cognitive-Behavioral (usually short term);
  • Transpersonal (emphasizing spiritual and transpersonal integration);
  • Psychodynamic (usually involves talking about things with an emphasis on early childhood development--what most people think of as therapy);
  • Existential (focuses on the here and now experience rather than talking "about" things);
  • Somatic (emphasis on here and now experience and uses the body as a resource).
The kind of approach a particular therapist uses largely depends upon his or her own individual style, education, and interests. Research shows that no one orientation is superior to any other. However, different types of people seem to respond differently to different types of therapies; hence a good match of therapist, approach, and client is recommended.

Q: So how do I go about choosing the right therapist?

The general rule of thumb I offer to new clients is threefold:
  • look for someone you feel comfortable with
  • look for someone who has training and expertise in the areas you want to work within (it’s OK to ask prospective therapists about their training)
  • look for someone who fits your style; e.g. do you want someone who listens alot or someone who is more interactive; are you interested in working short term or long term; are you wanting a more “here and now” approach or do you want to sort through childhood issues?

There is an article that I particularly like by Tom Moon about what to look for in choosing a therapist. To read it, click here.

Q: What is your approach?

I have been trained in a number of therapies including Psychoanalytic, Transpersonal, and Somatic. While I draw upon all of them in my work, my current approach is most influenced by the transpersonal approach of Psychosynthesis and the somatic approach of Hakomi Body-Oriented Psychotherapy.

Q: What is "body-oriented psychotherapy?"

Traditional psychotherapy pays attention almost exclusively to thoughts, emotions and behaviors. In body-oriented psychotherapy, we also pay attention to sensations, emotions and felt experiences in the body.

Hakomi Body-oriented psychotherapy is not in any sense massage. It may be as simple as bringing attention and awareness to a felt sensation, or it might entail “taking over” some internal holding or stress in order to explore what lies underneath. A central goal of therapy is to facilitate communication among parts and to bring attention to those parts that are lost, hidden or isolated.

Body-oriented psychotherapy can provide an added dimension to psychotherapy by opening you up to information that is often overlooked. With the cooperation of the conscious mind, it can often provide a deeper and more efficient channel to work directly with the unconscious mind thereby facilitating self-discovery and change.

Q: What is trauma?

Trauma occurs when someone is overwhelmed by a situation that is perceived to be life threatening and he or she is left feeling helpless and out of control. Afterwards, the individual may react as though the trauma is still occurring, even though the threat may be long past. Symptoms may include panic attacks, obsessive behaviors or thinking, anxiety, phobias, sleep disturbances, tremors, hypervigilance and dissociation.

In dealing with the effects of trauma, I work to help reprocess these automatic responses and bring a sense of empowerment and choice.

Q: How long does therapy take?

The length of therapy depends on a number of factors. Some issues can be quickly resolved in a few months. More deeply embedded problems and patterns can require a year or more.

Q: How long is each session?

Sessions generally last 50 minutes. Occasionally we may schedule a longer session if need arises.

Q: What are your fees?

I charge $160 per 50 minute session. I have a few places reserved for students or those who could benefit from a slight reduction in fees.

Q: Do you take insurance?

I do not take any insurance at this time. However, I can provide you with a statement of charges at the end of each month which you then submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.