As a Licensed Psychologist and psychotherapist, I endeavor to dispel the “myth” that persons who engage in psychotherapy are abnormal. On the contrary, the vast majority of my patients are very “normal” people who are trying to learn more about themselves or their family members and are trying to make positive changes in their emotional and behavioral health.
The focus of psychotherapy may be one or more conditions such as anxiety problems, mood problems, grief, crisis, relationship problems, ADHD, academic or career under-achievement, to name a few.
While I use many different methods in working with my patients, the type of psychotherapy I primarily employ is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This means analyzing patterns of thinking and feeling and identifying the behaviors that seem tied to those patterns. Once patterns are identified and made known to patients, together we work toward gradual and positive changes that ultimately lead to improved well-being and behavioral changes. In addition to CBT, I draw on various other psychological approaches according to the problem that is being treated and according to my assessment of what will best benefit the patient. These approaches include behavioral, psychodynamic, system/family, developmental (adult, child, family), or psycho-educational.
As a Licensed Psychologist, I am well-trained in analyzing human behavior and in guiding patients toward productive change according to the best practices known to the field of psychology. While successful psychotherapy involves establishing a trusting, impartial, and non-judgemental rapport with patients, the relationship is collaborative and assumes responsibility and effort belong to both Psychologist and patient. Behavioral and emotional change resulting from psychotherapy will sometimes be easy and swift, but often it will be slow and even frustrating. There is no guarantee that psychotherapy will yield positive or intended results. However, results of psychotherapy are highly correlated with the patient’s own intent and goals and with the amount of time and energy committed. The usual course of therapy involves weekly appointments initially and less frequent sessions after a few weeks or months. There is no obligation to commit to any preset number of sessions although I will advise you on the best course of therapy for your needs. Termination of therapy is a mutual decision between the patient (or parent of the minor patient) and the Psychologist.
Often it is a crisis of some proportion that propels a person to seek therapy. I remind patients that an emotional or behavioral crisis, while disturbing and often very painful, is a sign that it is time to make significant changes in one’s life. In that respect, when a person feels very upset, that is an opportune time to engage in therapy. Seeking an initial appointment for therapy takes courage and resolve and is, in itself, a sign of mental health. The relative intensity of the problem presented is actually irrelevant. What matters is that the patient is concerned enough to seek professional help.
As a Licensed Psychologist I also conduct psychological evaluations. A psychological evaluation is a formal process involving use of standardized psychological tests which measure a person’s cognitive, behavioral, and emotional states. The process of a psychological evaluation is comprehensive and an evaluation is conducted for a variety of reasons. Often formal documentation of a disorder or disability is required for educational or disability purposes. Psychological evaluations are also conducted to help verify a mental health condition and guide treatment. Psychologists are well trained in assessment of mental health and they employ a variety of “tests” to better understand their patients.