When you come to see me for psychotherapy, we will usually meet once or twice a week for anything from a couple of months to several years depending on your needs. Sessions last around 50 minutes and most of the time we just talk.
Sometimes it takes a little while to get used to such an open-ended space for conversation that revolves primarily around you, and where the only rule, if any, is to try not to censor any thought or feeling that arises. However, people usually get the hang of it within just a few sessions.
Over time, themes and patterns will develop in our conversations that will help you to be more aware of how you operate in the world, understand what drives you, and give you the freedom to make better choices. You should find that your relationship to yourself and others improves, and that you are able to cope with life stressors more effectively.
"Reading makes a full man, meditation a profound man, discourse a clear man." -Benjamin Franklin
For some people, it’s about getting through a difficult time. For others it’s about making profound changes in their personalities and ultimately their lives, realizing potentials, or achieving dreams that once felt out of reach.
Apart from being a good way to deal with the crises and pain that can inevitably come up in any life (and are what motivate most people to start therapy) you might think of therapy as an investment you make in your whole future. In the same way that a college education can serve you throughout your life, what you learn in therapy will form a foundation for you on which to build your relationships, your career, and ultimately your life.
Without a strong, positive, durable, and yet flexible sense of identity it is difficult to function in this world. Without relative confidence in your ability to cope, understand your emotions, and connect meaningfully and authentically to others, it is difficult to find basic satisfaction, meaning, and fulfillment in living.
And because your relationship to yourself and others are so central to the work of psychotherapy, your relationship with the therapist you choose is of utmost importance.
"Of all the talk therapists I've been to, I recall you being the most effective. Despite the brief interval I was your patient, you seemed to get to the heart of the (matter) right away, and could point out the things I wasn't paying attention to." -former client
Psychotherapy & Neurofeedback in Santa Rosa, California | (510) 868-2802
So choose your therapist carefully. Many people don’t know they’re entitled to shop around. Many simply try to stick it out with the first therapist they meet. Sometimes that works out fine, but I encourage you to shop around. Think about the qualities that are important to you and prepare a couple of questions.
You can browse therapists’ websites online, interview a few over the phone, or even call their voicemail just to listen to the sound of their voice.
Listen to your gut. Most therapists are willing to spend a few minutes over the phone answering your questions. In fact, a good therapist should be sympathetic to your “shopping process”, and check in with you about how you are feeling in the first session, giving you room to make a choice about whether or not you will continue.
Silvia Costales, MFT, BCN
"We all hope our patients will finish with us and forget us, and that they will find living itself to be the therapy that makes sense." -D.W. Winnicott
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