Therapy might sound intimidating, and it can be difficult, but I do my best to work at a pace you are comfortable with. We will work together to define your goals and decide the best methods for meeting them. Because therapy is not "one-size-fits-all," I use an evidence-based, integrative approach that is adapted for each individual's unique needs.
Learn more about specific approaches to improving anxiety & OCD and working through trauma.
What to expect
Psychotherapy is not easily described in general statements. It varies depending on the personalities of the psychologist and client, and the particular problems you hope to address.
Our first few sessions will involve an evaluation of your needs. By the end of the evaluation, I will be able to offer you some first impressions of what our work will include and a treatment plan to follow. This period of time also allows us a chance to get to know each other, and for you to consider whether you feel comfortable working with me. Although there are specific strategies we can use to help you meet your goals, research has shown that one of the most components of therapy is the relationship between you and your therapist, including your level of comfort, connection, and trust. At the end of the evaluation, I will also notify you if I believe that I am the right therapist for you and and your needs. If not, I will give you referrals to other practitioners whom I believe may be better suited to help you.
During therapy sessions we will work to identify the patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that serve to maintain your issues, and then guide you in learning and implementing strategies to change these cycles. We can explore the reasons why these issues developed, to gain a deeper understanding of yourself and help you live a more fulfilling life. We may also decide to bring significant others into sessions when that could be helpful.
How many sessions will it take?
To start, we will usually schedule one 45-minute session per week. Especially in the beginning, I suggest weekly sessions for at least the first few weeks in order to help us get to know each other and gain momentum in our work. At some points we may decide that longer or more frequent sessions would be more beneficial for your treatment goals. We may also decide to see each other for fewer sessions if necessary. For example, you may want to meet every other week once you start to feel better. Additionally, even if a client has made significant progress and is feeling better, there may be life situations that still need to be managed before ending therapy.
How long will it take me to feel better?
This is kind of like asking "How long will it take me to run a 5k?" The answer depends on several factors - the extent and severity of your symptoms, the approach to therapy, and clients themselves.
However, research can help us get a sense of what to expect. Evidence suggests that "therapy is highly efficient for a large minority of clients, perhaps 30% of whom attain a lasting benefit after only three sessions." In terms of "reliable improvement ... it appears 50% of patients respond by the 8th session and 75% are predicted to need at least 14 sessions to experience this degree of relief" (Lambert, 2013).
Yet, some kinds of problems may require more treatment sessions than others, depending on the extent of symptoms, the intensity of these symptoms, how long the problem has been going on for, and how resistant it has proved to previous attempts at therapy. Also important to consider is your overall quality of the client's life; treatment may be shorter for people with greater strengths & resources in other areas of their life. For clients with more severe issues, "50% can be expected to achieve ... recovery after about 20 sessions of psychotherapy. More than 50 sessions are needed for 75% of patients to meet this criterion" (Lambert, 2013).
As in most areas of our lives, commitment and hard work greatly impact progress in therapy. I often encourage clients to actively work on relevant challenges between therapy sessions. Those who practice strategies outside of sessions are likely to achieve greater and faster benefits than those who don't.