• FAQs

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    What is the difference between a psychologist, and psychiatrist, and a psychotherapist?

    A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who completed a residency in psychiatry and is able to prescribe medication to treat mental health issues. A psychologist (at least in California) is a mental health professional who has earned a doctorate (either a PhD or a PsyD) in clinical psychology and has completed thousands of hours of training in the use talk therapy to treat mental health problems. Generally, a psychiatrist focuses on assessing, prescribing and monitoring patients who are taking psychotropic medications. A psychologist provides assessment and psychotherapy and typically meets with the patient on a more frequent basis.  The word “psychotherapist” is an umbrella term that applies to psychologists as well as to masters-level therapists (in California known as MFTs or Marriage and Family Therapists and LCSWs or Licensed Clinical Social Workers).    

    What’s the difference between talking to you and talking to a close friend or family member?

    While a friend or family member might well be a great listener, I add to the mix my expertise, developed from over 25 years of clinical experience, in helping clients to more effectively navigate difficult mental health situations, such as anxiety and depression. As a licensed psychologist, I can help you approach your situation in a new way, using evidence-based treatment methods. I will listen to you without judgment or expectations, teach you skills for coping with difficult situations, and help you gain a new perspective. Also, therapy is confidential. You won’t have to worry about others close to you finding out about personal details, thoughts and feelings that you’d rather keep to yourself. 

    Why shouldn’t I just take medication?

    Medication can be helpful for certain chronic mental health problems. Often, however, psychotherapy can be an important complement to taking medication. It is through therapy that you will have an opportunity to learn new tools and strategies for managing difficult interpersonal or emotional situations. In some situations, such as with anxiety disorders, cognitive behavioral therapy, which includes learning to respond to anxiety in a different way, has been shown to be a highly effective component of treatment. Therapy can help you identify and gain insight into patterns of behavior that might actually be contributing to your problems and help you make changes to enable you to feel better and move closer to achieving your goals.

    How long will treatment take?

    Unfortunately, this is not possible to say in a general FAQs page. Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time therapy can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to start therapy in the first place.