What is individual therapy like?
When you come in I will ask you about what brings you here. And if you aren't sure, we can start with that. I try to make a safe place for you to talk about whatever is on your mind. The very act of talking openly is usually a good beginning and that, in and of itself, can be organizing. We will talk back and forth for 45 minutes with the focus being your feelings and what has happened to bring you to this point. This will include your current situation as well as your history. Over time, as you talk, I will ask questions and offer my point of view. Together we will find a way of making sense of your situation and seeing what can be changed. Talking like this helps change the way you relate to yourself and your life. Possibilities and a greater aliveness can now emerge.
How does change happen in therapy?
As you feel safe talking with me, trust develops. No course of therapy is the same since it is not by formula, but with trust will probably come the ability to expand what you can talk about to me. This will include not just the content of what has happened to you, but also all the feelings about what happened. Many of these feelings may have been disavowed or forgotten. Together we seek to develop your capacity to reflect on these and to handle the feelings that come up without avoiding or becoming emotionally overwhelmed. Several important psychological capacities can be developed this way—like your ability to self reflect, to self regulate, and to trust the validity of your own point of view. Additionally, your own narrative begins to emerge and hang together, a story of understanding different from that which you have internalized from others.
What kind of issues and problems do you deal with?
I have found that many, maybe most, issues and problems come from troubled relationships. So often the relational patterns from earlier life that were dysfunctional have become unconscious and get played out automatically in current situations. Since the patterns are put into play beyond your awareness you have little control and can become dismayed over the resultant troubles in your life. You may become depressed, overly anxious, or resort to extremes like eating disorders, sexual issues, severe avoidance, etc. Sorting out all the varied tangles that come from your feelings is what makes therapy lead to a better road in the future.
Can talking about my pain make me feel worse?
That might happen, but not always. Uncovering deeply painful, or shameful, feelings can be uncomfortable. Over time, as we understand more, those very feelings transform into sources of vitality because now you won't have to avoid them. As the past is woven more firmly and self-acceptingly into your sense of self, anxiety lessens and interest in the world is more possible. Uncovering and acceptance of previously buried feelings creates a stronger sense of self and a greater feeling of aliveness.
How is contemporary psychoanalysis different from psychotherapy?
For me, they are overlapping forms of treatment, differing primarily in terms of frequency of sessions. The reason I say "contemporary" psychoanalysis is to distinguish it from classical or Freudian psychoanalysis. Contemporary analytic work is done through meeting multiple times a week, allowing for more trust to build and deeper work to emerge. It puts the emphasis on present relationships, while simultaneously recognizing that old relational patterns have a huge shaping influence on one's current life. However, I must say that my training as a contemporary psychoanalyst is such an ingrained part of my therapeutic perspective that I work similarly with people whether in psychotherapy or in psychoanalysis.
What would my commitment be?
When you call or email me we will talk briefly to give me an idea of your concerns and then set up an appointment to meet. If we both feel that working together would be good, we'll set up a regular time to meet. Typically, sessions are 45 minutes long and once a week, unless we make other arrangements concerning frequency. If you have insurance, I will give you a monthly statement that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. At the first session we will discuss my fee and if you have financial constraints we can discuss the possibility of a fee adjustment.
Where are you located and how would I contact you?
My office is on the west side of Los Angeles between Westwood and Century City. In order to locate me, you can use the map link situated on the contact page. My phone number is 310-446-0064. I check my confidential message service regularly. You may leave me a message with your phone number and I will return your call promptly.