Common Questions

Who Am I?

I am a licensed psychologist and have been in private practice for the past twenty years. I am originally from New York, earned my doctorate at New York University and have been practicing in San Francisco for the past 10 years. I work with individuals and couples, as well as conduct groups. In addition to my practice, I have been on the faculty of New York University, City University of New York, JFK University, City College of San Francisco and Golden Gate University, teaching both undergraduate as well as graduate courses in psychology, human sexuality and organizational behavior.

What is Psychotherapy?

While there are a variety of psychotherapeutic approaches, I will share with you the way in which I work. I believe psychotherapy is first and foremost a relationship. The nature of the psychotherapeutic relationship and the environment I help to provide will enable you to feel a sense of safety in exploring yourself, your relationships and your experiences.
Feedback I have received in regard to my style is that I bring warmth, compassion and acceptance into the therapeutic relationship. Within this environment, you will feel a sense of safety and emotional security, a place where you can be yourself and share your innermost thoughts and feelings without being feared of being judged. I am an active participant in your therapy and we will be working together, collaboratively and deeply focused. I also believe that who we are has been profoundly influenced by our early childhood experiences. Gaining a deeper understanding of your early relationships, how you have grown and developed over time, will enable you to have an increased sense of mastery over your current life. Through these insights, you will be better able to respond more effectively to your present day relationships, thoughts and feelings, and find a new level of satisfaction and well-being in your life.

How can therapy help me?
Some of the benefits available from therapy include:

  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships
  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
  • Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
  • Improving communications and listening skills
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence 

Do I really need therapy?  I can usually handle my problems on my own.  

Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you have faced, it takes great strength to seek out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they can benefit from support. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you are in your life and making a commitment to making important changes in your life by seeking therapy. Therapy can provide you with tools to become more responsive, rather than reactive, when encountering the challenges you meet in life.

Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?

People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy.  Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, moves, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well.  Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks.  Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with developing the skills to get through difficult periods.  Others may be at a point where they are ready to gain a deeper understanding of themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life.   In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make important changes that hopefully will lead to a greater sense of well-being. 

What is therapy like?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual.  In general, you can expect to discuss what is currently happening in your life, reflect upon your personal history to gain a greater understanding of the patterns you have developed, and integrate and share insights gained both within and outside of our sessions.  Therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development.  Sessions are held on a regular, weekly basis and this consistency serves as an important aspect of our work.
You will gain the most from our work if you actively participate in the process.  The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you develop new learnings about yourself and practice and integrate these awarenesses into your life.  Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, I may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a relevant book or article, keeping a journal, noting particular behaviors or feelings you might be experiencing.

Do you take insurance, and how does that work?

To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is contact them.  Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand your benefits.  Some helpful questions you can ask them:

  • What are my mental health benefits?
  • What is the coverage amount per therapy session, including copays/deductibles?
  • How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
  • Is approval required prior to my seeking therapy? 

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