Frequently Asked Questions
I have worked with many people for whom getting started with psychotherapy is especially difficult because of cultural beliefs, therapy stereotypes, mental illness stigma, or other factors. This page addresses some concerns/conflicts you may have about psychotherapy, and how you can get the help you need (click on questions to expand)
Why psychotherapy? Shouldn’t I be able to solve my problems on my own or with the help of my family or community?
When it comes to mental well-being, it can be beneficial to have as much support and resources as you can get. Also, people who feel supported by others and by their communities tend to do better, mental health-wise.
However, if you have tried talking to loved ones or reading self-help books and educational forums and do not feel better about your problems, it is probably time to talk to a professional. With the abundance of self-help and educational materials, it can be tempting to self-diagnose and attempt at healing your problems on your own. Still, some things that cannot be dealt with alone or without professional help.
It can be very difficult to seek appropriate services, especially when a person feels that coming for help is “personal failure” of some sort. Actually, seeking a professional for mental health and relationship wellness can be as crucial as seeking a dentist when you have a toothache.
Try to remember that therapy is a confidential space; nobody has to know that you are in therapy, and no one will find out what was shared during this confidential time. Remember, you don’t have to go through all of this alone!
Is psychotherapy only for people who are seriously mentally ill?
Absolutely not! Professional psychotherapy can be an excellent, and often – the most appropriate – resource for people looking to grow, solve problems, feel better and have fulfilling relationships, gain new perspectives and way of thinking and feeling, etc. Many people who seek therapy/counseling do not have any diagnosable mental health difficulties.
Mental illness stigma/prejudice, sadly, is very prevalent. It can be so shaming and silencing when you are struggling, and people (often – the ones closest to you), call you “sick” or tell you to be strong or “get over it.” Even though San Francisco/Bay Area is a mecca for growth and self-development, research shows that mental illness stigma continues to be pervasive and is often unconscious—it is outside of awareness. Historically and in the present moment, psychotherapy and counseling have largely been reserved for “mentally ill people” or those with “severe issues,” especially in certain cultures. For a person that is influenced by mental illness stigma, it becomes especially difficult to get the needed help.
What do I need to know about starting therapy?
I recognize and appreciate that the decision to start therapy is unique for every person, and is likely accompanied by a range of feelings and varying motivation and readiness levels. Some people have been in therapy in or since their childhoods; others have come to therapy in the past or on-and-off during some life periods. Yet others have never been in therapy. Regardless of your experience with psychotherapy, coming in to see a new psychotherapist for the first time is usually anxiety-provoking, for all people. My therapeutic style is to work with you to create a warm, supportive, and confidential environment, in which I hope to ease the anxiety right away.
How can I get started with you?
We can start with an initial confidential consultation, at no charge. Please contact
me by phone or email to set that up.
I also believe it is highly important to choose a therapist you connect with and feel most comfortable working with, so I am open to having one or more sessions to help you determine if we could be a good fit each other.