Is Jungian analysis right for me?
There are many reasons why people come to Jungian analysis or psychotherapy. Sometimes it's to deal with long-standing psychological issues or troubling experiences of anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life, such as a death of a family member, a divorce, the emergence of a life threatening illness, a creative block, work transition, or a crisis in faith. Even seemingly "good" things can "shake us to the core." For some, a spiritual or psychological crisis 'drags them backwards" into therapy. Others seek guidance as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. The analytic process can provide counsel, insight, and address a wide range of concerns including depression, anxiety, conflict, grief, stress management, relationship troubles, body-image issues, and life transitions of all sorts. Analysis and Jungian psychotherapy are for anyone interested in expanding self-awareness and addressing problems that stand in the way of attaining sustained peace of mind and a sense of purpose in a balanced meaningful life.
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
Everyone goes through troubling situations in life. This is the human condition. And while we may have successfully navigated through other difficulties we've faced, there can be times when we require an "other" to see our struggle and help us find the thread that leads us out of the labyrinth. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, alter damaging patterns, and overcome future challenges you will face.
How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from psychotherapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, trauma, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem and guide you in the direction of a new solution. Their services can be helpful in:
- 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 relationship
- Improving your self-esteem
- Becoming more psychologically supple
- Opening more ways to understand the meaning of your particular suffering as well as your strengths
What is therapy like?
Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule weekly sessions-- each session lasting fifty minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. Some people come for multiple sessions during the week. Therapy is usually conducted face to face although some clients also make use of an optional "analytic" couch in order to quietly deepen their work. Jungian analytic work is an extension of psychotherapy and is often more consciously focused on the process of individuation. Dreams are a welcome aspect of depth work.
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Working with you, your medical doctor, or a consulting psychiatrist, we can team together to find the right fit for you if medication is part of your ongoing treatment and support. It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems, and the suffering they cause, cannot be solved solely by medication. Medication can help relieve many symptoms and combined with therapy, can aid in addressing the cause of distress while addressing behavior patterns that inhibit progress.
Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?
I accept payment at the time of treatment and am always glad to give you a statement to submit to your insurance company. To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Does my work offer a flex spending account that covers therapy?
How do I find the right therapist for me?
Choosing the right therapist can be one of the most important things you ever do. Your therapist will have an impact on how you see yourself, your problems and your way of understanding the world. That is of course what you want. We need an "other" to help us see a fully rounded picture of ourselves, especially those things that are our vulnerabilities, problematic behavior and strengths that we cannot see adequately ourselves. Begin by asking friends who they have seen or who they recommend. Usually therapists will not see you while they are seeing your close friends as this could compromise your capacity to feel that the therapeutic space is yours alone. In addition, most responsible therapists will not see you if they are seeing your partner. It is advised that you never see a therapist who is your relative or friend. The therapeutic relationship is like no other- it has the possibility of being intensely intimate yet it should also be absolutely safe and contained in order to serve your needs as a client. You may be able to ask your friend's current therapist or your partner's therapist for referrals. It is not generally a good idea to shop for a therapist simply by location or fee. If you do not have names of a good therapist via friends you can sometimes locate names of licensed and trained therapists through professional organizations and training institutes. There are a number of licensed therapeutic disciplines in California and each have licensing boards and professional organizations. Licensing means that the therapist has passed training, supervision and testing to practice with clients, and that they agree to uphold stringent ethical standards for the benefit of their patients. It is always a good idea to check out a potential therapist's licensing status, years in practice and professional standing. This can simply be done through an internet search related to their licensing board. The internet can be a good second or third choice for finding a therapist- but as in all such situations check out the claims made on the therapist's website, find out if their license is current and if they are in good standing with their regulating board. It is both reasonable and wise to check out therapist's credentials, training claims, and educational background.
Why are fees so high?
Therapists in private practice are self-employed and must carry their own training costs, malpractice and health insurance, as well as the general overhead of running a small business. Therapists must also bear the stresses of life and death situations they may encounter in their work. Good therapists also seek their own therapy and consultation on their clinical work to be able to see their own work with their clients through "objective eyes." Most experienced therapists work only a certain number of hours a week seeing patients while also spending considerable time writing up notes, participating in their own ongoing training/education, seeking consultation and their own therapy in order to do the best job possible with their patients. Therapy is hard work for both the patient and the therapist. Many experienced therapists have some lower fee spots or offer some sliding scale options. If an experienced therapist cannot accommodate your financial need they will no doubt know competent junior colleagues who have a lower fee or a well run clinic in your area where you may be able to see a supervised intern. It is important to note that beginning therapists, including interns can be excellent and dedicated therapists. This is how we all began. Remember, therapy relationships- like all relationships- are unique to each therapeutic "couple." Not everyone clicks. Sometimes we need a certain kind of therapist to work through certain issues at certain times in our lives and a different sort of therapist when our circumstances or interior life has shifted. No one size fits all.
So how do I decide who is the right therapist for me?
Call the therapist and set up an appointment. Most therapists will not want to have a long phone conversation initially. Therapists usually meet for the standard 50 minutes and they usually charge for this- as some professions, such as my own (psychologists), consider that offering free sessions may influence the patient to come to therapy out of a sense of obligation for having gotten a free session. Other professional licenses do not share this view- it's important to ask. You may have a few simple questions to ask on the phone that may help you decide if the therapist has experience with the particular issue you are bringing in- but generally it is better to wait until you can talk face to face. Sometimes you may be able to tell if the therapy feels right to you by the end of the first hour or you may not know until later, or even after several more sessions. You and the therapist can discuss what the next step might be. A good therapist will not pressure you to decide to immediately to begin therapy with them. You may want to see one or more therapists before you decide who might work best for you at this particular time. If the therapist thinks they can't help you they may be able to offer referrals to other more appropriate therapists. Good therapists are ethical in all their dealings with you including with insurance companies or other third parties that are involved in your treatment.