What Is Psychotherapy?
How long do I need to be in therapy?
How is therapy different than talking to a good friend?
What is EMDR?
Is EMDR the right treatment for me?
How is EMDR therapy different from a “talk” therapy?
How often should I come to therapy?
How long are the sessions?
How do I get the most out of therapy?
Are the sessions confidential?
What if I am in a crisis or there is an emergency?
Psychotherapy, also known as counseling, is an intentional processes in which trained professional enters a relationship with a client to help understand and resolve his or her life issues. There are lots of theoretical approaches, and so psychotherapy can look very different, depending on the therapist’s approach. back
The length of therapy differs for each person and depends on many factors including the type and severity of the problem, as well as your interest, motivation and commitment. I work towards resolving your issues quickly. Sometimes brief interventions are very helpful. At other times, a longer period of therapy is needed for an in-depth exploration and healing.
Because a positive relationship between the client and therapist is crucial to helping you heal, I recommend coming for at least 5 sessions to see if a positive relationship has been created. Most clients are in treatment for three to six months, and often for longer periods of time.back
Therapists are trained to listen and focus in ways that are different from how a friend will hear you. A therapist’s intent is simply to understand what you are saying in comparison to a friend, whose motivations are often more complex and personal. The therapeutic relationship allows a deeper exploration of meaning and feelings without judgment. Therapist can use specific interventions and techniques effective for dealing with the presenting issue. Knowing a session has a time limit, that the conversation is held strictly confidential, and that the therapist’s first priority is to help you, allows for a safe and unique setting to explore your issues. back
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and started to be developed by psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro in 1987. EMDR can reduce the intensity of disturbing experiences by directly affecting the way the brain processes information.
Traumatic experiences often stay “frozen in time” and without treatment, present events can trigger those old (unprocessed) feelings, sensations, and behaviors and interfere with your life. With successful EMDR therapy, you no longer experience the strong emotional charge when the event is remembered, or triggered by circumstances.
EMDR is an effective treatment for Trauma and PTSD, but can also be used successfully to treat other issues. It can be helpful if you have negative thoughts about yourself and your life, if you suffer from nightmares, panic attacks, compulsive behaviors, or performance anxiety, and if there are things from the past, that make you anxious, afraid, or sad in a way that interferes with everyday life. back
EMDR therapy includes “talk” therapy and has the same setting and boundaries. The difference is that it follows EMDR protocol that is divided into eight phases.
First, I will ask you about the issue that brought you to therapy, your personal and family history, and we will create a treatment plan. In phase two, we are going to focus on your resources – ways that can help you to handle distressing thoughts, feelings and body sensations, and I will introduce the actual EMDR mechanics. Third phase is called the Assessment Phase, and we will identify the disturbing issue or event and your current thoughts and beliefs about it. Desensitization is the fourth phase in which you will hold in your mind the disturbing event and I will facilitate a bilateral stimulation of the brain. You will be only noticing and reporting whatever comes to mind. Sets of bilateral stimulation will be continued until the original memory will be less disturbing and will be associated with a positive belief about your self. In the fifth phase we will link the positive cognition with the residual of the disturbing event. The sixth phase is focused on bodily feelings and removing any negative body sensations that still might be present after reprocessing. The seventh phase is a formal closing of working on a specific issue, or of a session when the reprocessing was not completely finished. In the eighth phase we will re-evaluate our EMDR work and explore if there is other material we need to work on.
There are clients who come to me specifically for EMDR therapy, with some clients I use EMDR as an adjunctive to other type of treatment, and with some clients I never use EMDR.back
For maximum benefit you should come regularly once a week. In the time when you need greater support or want to focus on an issue more deeply, you can come twice or three times a week. When you are away from San Francisco, we can skip a session or have a session over the phone. back
The sessions are fifty to seventy five minutes long. back
Therapy is a good investment in your life, your family, and your future. Attending regular sessions and becoming an active participant will help you get the most out of therapy. I encourage you to talk about yourself, your feelings, and your life, ask questions, and reflect on your experience in therapy. The more I know you, and understand your needs, the better I can tailor therapy to address them. I may give you suggestions on what to focus on in between sessions, so that you get the most out of our time together. back
Yes, the sessions are confidential. I cannot tell anyone that you are my client, or the content of our sessions without your written consent.
There are some exceptions to confidentiality that we will discuss in our intake session. For example confidentiality will be broken as mandated by law if you let me know about a serious threat to another person, including yourself, if there is a suspicion or evidence of child or elderly abuse or neglect, or if I am mandated by court to produce a copy of your file.back
What if I am in a crisis or there is an emergency?
I check my voice mail regularly, but I may not able to respond immediately, therefore if you are in a crisis or there is a life-threatening emergency, immediately call 911.back
Other emergency and hotline numbers:
- S.F. General Psychiatric Emergency: 415-821-8125
- Woman against rape 24 hour LINE: 415-647-7273
- Suicide prevention and crisis hotline: 415-781-0500
- Talk Line for Kids: 415-441-5437
- Friendship Line for Elderly: 415-752-3400
- Youth Line: 1-800-943-5200
- Abortion Help Line: 1-866-439-4253
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment please call: 415-255-2553 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Veronika Gold, MA
California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist