Questions about Psychotherapy

What happens in Marriage Counseling?

san-diego-therapist-counselor I have been married for 40 years.  This is one of the most valuable assets I  provide as a marriage counselor. I am passionate about helping couples stay together.  I do everything in my power to change negative, destructive habits so you can stay together. Here is a brief list of what you can expect from couples counseling:  1. Learn to tolerate the differences between you and your partner with compassion, not disdain 2. Learn to express your feelings neutrally without hostility and listen without interrupting so you will both be heard. 3. Discuss your vision of marriage.  4. Learn to adjust your expectations.  It is also very important for me to learn about your parent’s marriages as this is how we learn to be in relationships.  It is also important to learn how you met, what attracted you to each other and what made you think this is the “right one.”  What is the reason you are seeking help now will be explored as well.  We will do communication exercises in the office and homework to facilitate the learning curve.

What is my style as a Psychotherapist?

I have been practicing as a therapist for over 35 years.  I believe this brings a level of clinical experience to the therapeutic relationship that is very valuable.  My approach is called Cognitive Behavioral which means I believe that our thoughts and ideas about people, situations and relationships effects our mood.  If we can learn to change our thinking and perspective to be more positive, we therefore feel better and have more control of our life.  Of course, nothing is quite that simple.  Developing a trusting relationship with your psychotherapist is paramount and necessary to promote change.  Understanding why you have chosen to seek therapy now as opposed to last year is equally important.  Learning about your childhood and relationships with others gives us a window into how you relate to others.  Detecting possible negative patterns and  high expectations for others reveals more about you so that together we can figure out how to make you feel more peace of mind.

What I need to know about a client in order to help them:

The first piece of information I want to learn is “why now?”  In other words, what event caused you to seek therapy at this time.  It is also invaluable to learn about all of your relationships to determine if there are any patterns causing you difficulty that we can uncover as a team.  Gaining knowledge about your childhood, parents and siblings is also critical as sometimes we  reenact scenes from our early years that we are not conscious of; frequently these scenes can be destructive and again we are not aware of this.  Having a caring professional to help you sort this all out can be very freeing and gives you more control of your life.

What I say to someone who has had a negative therapy experience:

It is most upsetting to have had a negative therapy experience.  I believe that a positive  experience is only as good as the “fit” between you and the counselor.  What does this mean?  After the first session you get a sense of the counselor’s personality and style.  Have they really heard your feelings and is their feedback consistent with what you have been sharing with them?  Some clients become very frustrated with a therapist who just sits and listens and gives no comments.  I believe in interacting with my clients and sharing comments about what I have heard.  Not all therapists do this and the result can be very frustrating to a person seeing a therapist for the first time.  The bottom line is this:   Not all therapists fit with all people.  If you are uncomfortable with how your life is going and the relationships in it YOU deserve another chance with a different counselor.  I recommend looking at websites and if something clicks call them and ask questions about their style and level of experience.  Hopefully the next experience will be better.

Does seeking Therapy mean you are weak or flawed?

Seeing a therapist (who is a virtual stranger initially) takes a great deal of courage.  It indicates that you are uncomfortable with your relationships or are dealing with a specific issue.  It also indicates that you are able to look into the mirror and see the role you may play in the problems you are experiencing as opposed to blaming others.  This is coming from a position of strength, not weakness.  Making a commitment to regular sessions costs time and money and reflects how motivated you are to change–how can this be a flaw or weakness?  Therapy can bring up feelings that you were unaware of and create options for you to consider which can be very freeing.

How long does therapy take and how frequently do you see clients?

It is difficult to determine how long therapy takes without talking and meeting with the client.  It is a very common question that so many people are curious about.  Some of the factors include:  1.  Are you in a crisis or is this a chronic problem that you are finally ready to address:  2.  Are you able to attend weekly sessions or do you need to spread them out for financial or scheduling reasons?  3.  Are you willing to read material that can facilitate change, do homework exercises or are you more comfortable just discussing your problems each session with me?  4.  All of the above questions become a bit more complicated when dealing with a couple  as your partner may have a different opinion than you.  That is, sometimes one partner wants to work harder than the other which becomes a therapeutic issue.  As the therapy unfolds and we become acquainted,  it becomes more clear how long the process will take.  Call me at 858-481-0425 for more information.

Copyright ©2012 Jan Rakoff. All Rights Reserved.

Comments are closed.