You're probably here because you're thinking about going into therapy. If you've been in therapy before, you know that it can be a life-changing process. If you haven't, you may not be sure what to look for. Either way, you may not know what questions to ask of a prospective therapist.
Psychotherapy is about making changes. Letting go of beliefs about how life and relationships work that aren't bringing you happiness – in fact, may be making you miserable. Often before people enter therapy, they've tried just about everything else to make changes in their lives. But nothing has worked – at least not for very long. And then the mental/emotional discomfort can become anguish and people ask themselves, "Why not try therapy? I have to do something to stop the pain."
However, when humans are hurting a lot, we typically don't think clearly. And it's hard to know what to ask of someone you are "interviewing" as a prospective therapist. So, here are a few ideas:
- Which age groups do you work with?
- What issues do you work with?
- What kind of education and training have you had?
- How many years have you been practicing?
- Have you been in therapy yourself?
- How much do you charge?
- How long is the session?
- How do you work with clients to help them heal?
- Do you belong to a professional organization?
- Do you update your education and training?
- Where are you located?
You needn't ask all of these – especially in a first session when you need a lot of time to talk yourself. But do ask some of them. And trust your sense of safety with the therapist in the first session. If you don't feel comfortable, safe, it will be nearly impossible to do the deep honest work necessary to heal and grow.
By the way, here are my responses:
- I work with all adults of all ages.
- My specialty is working with adults who were abused as children – emotionally, sexually, or physically. I also work with couples, who either want to try and save their relationship, and/or make it the best one possible. Other areas: financial/abundance issues, ACAs and adult children of narcissistic parents, grief and loss, spirituality, and mood disorders, such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and bipolar disorder. I truly love the work that I do.
- I have a master's degree in clinical psychology and have received training in agencies, but now I am solely in private practice. I've had special training in working with survivors of sexual abuse.
- I've been licensed for 22 years, and I also saw patients for three years while in training.
- Yes, I have. I can't imagine doing this work without having been in therapy myself. It would be like trying to teach someone a language that I don't speak.
- $165 is my fee for sessions with individuals; $175/session for couples or families.
- Each session is 50 minutes.
- I explore a client's belief system that is resulting in behavior that is counterproductive for him or her. We look at the behavior's origin, explore any unexpressed feelings or ideas that keep that old belief in place, and then look at what other options a client has that would work better to bring personal and relationship happiness.
- Yes, I'm a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and am active in the local Santa Clara Valley chapter.
- Additional training and education are required to maintain an MFT license, and thus workshops, seminars, courses, etc. are part of the profession. But no one has to talk me into attending them. I love the learning. I have been fascinated by the research coming out of academia re cognitive neuroscience, particularly about how the brain changes. For 5 years, I traveled once/month to Los Angeles to study Interpersonal Neurobiology with Dr. Dan Siegel, and incorporated what I learned into my work. I'm also combining this information with the work on attachment theory (how you and I form relationships) done by Mary Main and others. All of this helps me to identify what mental health is, and to help my clients achieve it as quickly as possible.
- My office is in Campbell, California, adjacent to San Jose. The address is: 901 Campisi Way, Suite 350, Campbell, CA 95008. Phone: 408-486-9202. (Click Here for Directions)
If you would like to make an appointment, or have additional questions, please call me at that number.
Whomever you decide to do your healing work with, I admire your courage for taking that step. The person you are about to really meet isn't me – it's you.