What is a psychologist?
A psychologist has received extensive education at the doctorate level in one or a variety of psychotherapeutic techniques. Most psychologists will eventually develop a specialization in one or another area of training. Psychologists are also known for engaging in research, assessment, academic, and organizational activities.
Other psychotherapists that are licensed with a Masters level education are MFTs, who are licensed to deal with relational problems of children and families, and LCSWs, who are trained in social work related approaches to psychotherapy. Psychiatrists are not the same as psychologists; they are MDs who receive psychotherapeutic education and training in the biological management of mental disease, often with the use of medications. Ultimately, in terms of psychotherapeutic services, the type of license is secondary to the goodness of fit. You are the ultimate judge of who might be your best helper.
I am a licensed psychologist; my California license number is PSY20961. My primary training is in Jungian and Transpersonal approaches, which honor the depth and breadth of the human experience. I combine this with significant awareness of the practical side of people’s issues. I also rely on mindfulness approaches as well as social skills and parenting skills training. I believe the best possible healing one can access is by using practical solutions in combination with depth and perspective.
What is play therapy?
Though play therapy may sound like bringing your child to a childcare program, Play Therapists are trained in highly effective means of communicating with children through play. It is through play that a child learns to negotiate the social and behavioral ways of the world. It is also a means for them to express their thoughts and feelings, since they are still developing the skills to express these feelings verbally. By accessing the child’s anxieties and fantasies through play, I can help deal with the antecedents to behavioral, emotional, and psychological issues at the forefront.
In my therapy with teenagers, I sometimes use what’s commonly known as sandplay, a well-researched and highly effective modality that helps children quickly access deeper aspects of themselves. In my office, you will notice the presence of a sand tray and a multitude of miniatures that are part of this approach. During a session, miniatures are placed in the sand tray, creating a story or anecdote that helps the therapist investigate the child’s concerns. Sandplay is most commonly used with younger children up to pre-teen years, though teens and adults have also benefited from this modality as a way to break through areas of frustration and confusion.
What are Jungian and Transpersonal Psychology?
Carl Gustav Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist from the early and mid 20th century whose ideas have been greatly developed and are widely used under the terms Jungian or Analytical psychology. You might know about some of Jung’s basic concepts, such as archetypes, collective unconscious, or the popular typology system called the Myers-Briggs, which indicates whether someone is introverted or extroverted, thinking or feeling, etc. Jung’s ideas were similar in some ways to his predecessor, Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis and an early mentor of Jung’s. They nonetheless identified fundamental differences in their ideas. Unlike Freud, Jung was not as focused on the sexual motives of human nature and the fundamental flaws that hid in the unconscious. He believed the unconscious could be a source of incredible creativity and that humans are insatiably drawn to the experience of wholeness. Jung also extended his understanding of the unconscious to include the collective unconscious, through which all humans share similar psychological patterns, called archetypes.
Though these ideas may seem to have little meaning in our daily lives, they provide a foundation for the understanding of human suffering and the transformational potential within each individual, whatever the condition. This capacity of human beings to explore their potential beyond basic existence is also a fundamental concept of Transpersonal psychology. In fact, Jung is one of the first persons to promote the notion of a Transpersonal Psychology, which refers to the “trans-personal” (that is, beyond the personal) aspect of the human psyche. Transpersonal psychology draws on Jungian theory as well as a number of other somatic (body-oriented), psychological, and spiritual approaches to understanding human nature. The basic tenet is that these different aspects of our existence are part of a unified whole, and that disease in one area affects other areas. I therefore approach healing from a more holistic perspective, paying attention to all aspects of health as interrelated.
See more about Jungian Psychology here.
What will it cost?
The cost of psychotherapy varies among providers depending on their skills, experience and expertise, therapeutic orientation, and license. Many psychotherapists are able to offer sliding scale rates based on income. I understand the cost of psychotherapy can seem prohibitive, and economic concerns are realities we all share. I am also a true believer that mental health and well-being are priceless. Rest assured that I am dedicated to work with you to find available solutions to your financial concerns.
I am able to work with some insurance companies. Please contact me so we can discuss your needs.
What about taking medication instead?
The popularity of medication to address psychological issues has increased exponentially in the last few decades, as has the variety of available medications. Pharmacology is not a cure for mental illness; it is formulated to help manage the symptoms of an identified disease, to help reduce the peaks and valleys associated with a psychological condition. A combination of medication and psychotherapy is sometimes useful for the proper management of certain conditions. In some cases, medication may be difficult to avoid. In all cases, the potential for healing exists, since it is inherent in the human condition. I have witnessed, both personally and with many of my clients, the ability of the human psyche to bring forth healing without the use of medication. I recommend that people seek guidance in this process. The greatest healing comes with great interest in and dedication to the healing process. See also this page.