If you feel like the prospect of starting therapy is frightening and challenging, you are not alone.  The idea of revealing very personal and perhaps embarrassing information to a stranger might not seem appealing.  When you think of therapy, you might conjure up images of lying on a couch and talking about your childhood or your mother while a stuffy doctor nods and writes notes on a pad.

Therapy has evolved considerably and looks very different from these common ideas or even how it is often depicted in the media.  Today, there are a number of evidence-based (based on research that supports their effectiveness) psychotherapies that are available.

I use evidence-based psychotherapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, behavior modification, interpersonal therapy, mindfulness-based therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy when treating my clients.  Are all therapies evidence-based?  No.  Many forms of psychotherapy have arisen out of tradition, or the theories of charismatic figures, but they may not have been tested by research.  The effectiveness of evidence-based therapies has been established by a foundation of solid research.

Regardless of what therapy is used, therapists have their own unique styles of how they offer treatment.  What sets me apart from other psychologists who offer evidence-based therapies is that I developed my style of conducting these therapies from research into “common factors,” factors that make therapy effective regardless of the type of treatment used.

Common factors goes against some strongly held beliefs in psychology.  Traditionally, you see a therapist and are given a diagnosis from the current version of a diagnosis manual, the DSM.  Insurance companies refer to you as a patient, and doctors are reimbursed for a number of sessions based on your diagnosis.  Research does not support this medically-oriented view of psychotherapy.  Diagnosis does not predict therapy outcome, and therapy is more effective if your therapist sees you as a valuable and equal contributor to therapy rather than just a patient who passively receives treatment.

Common factors research has shown that therapy is most effective when the therapist and client have a strong relationship built on understanding and empathy, when treatment is goal-oriented, and when the relationship is collaborative instead of hierarchical.

My first priority is to understand you and empathize with your personal struggles.  Treatment will be individually tailored to you, and we will build on your unique strengths.

Second, I view you as a valuable partner in therapy.  We will work together to set up achievable, measurable treatment goals and work toward them.  You will always have a clear indication of what we are striving towards.  Together we will create a plan, and the steps in that plan will be clear and straightforward.

Finally, I believe that our relationship should be collaborative.  Good psychotherapy is a partnership.  While I contribute my expertise, your input is also valuable and essential.  This also means that you will be expected to work toward your goals, not just be a passive recipient of treatment.  You will be asked to help come up with solutions.  You will likely be asked to complete “homework” assignments outside of the therapy sessions.  Like anything else, success often depends on hard work, and treatment success might require some work during the six days and 23 hours not spent in therapy each week.

I’ve helped many people, and if you are willing to put in the time and the effort, it is likely that together we can find a way to overcome your life’s difficulties.  It is my goal that in the process, you will grow, your life circumstances will transform, and you will become equipped with skills you can use to reach your true potential, overcome any current difficulties, and transcend future struggles as well.

Please contact me at 818-971-9392, and we can get started right away.