Choosing a Therapist

Many therapist referrals come from personal recommendation so it is often useful to ask around to see who has had good experiences with a particular therapist. Beyond that, key considerations are cost, personal chemistry, and therapist orientation. For my policy on fees please see below. As to personal chemistry, not all therapists are suitable for all patients, so you need to have a trial meeting with one or more therapists to see if the person is a good match for you or for your child. This is often something you pretty much can determine at the first consultation, and you may even have a sense of it from a brief telephone conversation.

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Therapist orientation refers to the training and way of working of a particular therapist. There are many training modalities and you should be sure to discuss this with any prospective therapist to see if what they offer matches your needs. I am trained as a psychoanalyst and my orientation to therapy is psychoanalytic or psychodynamic. Persons with my training typically see patients with a wide range of psychological issues and we are trained to get to the root causes. People experience symptoms [e.g., anger issues, depression, panic attacks, anxiety, relationship difficulties, psychosis etc.] and we see our mission as not just reducing the symptoms, but unearthing the underlying causes so that the person can shift to a better life path. Medication for psychological issues, as well as some therapies, focus only on symptom relief and do not necessarily address underlying causes. While all therapists are concerned with alleviating immediate suffering, I am concerned with assisting people in understanding where their difficulties originate so that they can work out new and more productive paths through life if they choose.

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My approach to therapy is non-directive and built around a respect for the agency of each human being to work out the best paths to living a productive life. Books that I have found helpful to my own thinking in this regard are Viktor Frankl’s Man’s search for meaning, Mark Epstein’s Thoughts without a thinker, Boris Cyrulnik’s The whispering of ghosts,  Arthur Frank’s The wounded storyteller: Body, illness, ethics and Christopher Bollas’s Catch them before they fall: The psychoanalysis of breakdown. Please click on the links for book details.

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