Common Questions

Below are some common questions people often have about psychotherapy services:

1. How do I know if I could benefit from seeing you?

Simply call (210) 493-6554 and I’ll be happy to offer you a free phone consultation to see if my services are a good match for your current needs.  If not, I will try my best to refer you to another competent professional who may be a better fit.

2. My doctor has referred me to see you.  Does that mean my doctor thinks I’m crazy?

Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about what psychologists do.  Most of the clients seen by psychologists are every day people who have encountered some problem in their lives and want to become more effective in dealing with their difficulty.  A few of the common issues for which I see clients in psychotherapy include:

-Adjusting to life with a chronic illness or disability
-Coping with the emotional stress of fertility problems
-Overcoming depression, anxiety, or some other emotional difficulty
-Working through relationship problems
-Learning to live life more authentically

If your doctor has referred you to a psychologist, it is typically because he or she thinks if you talk to someone who is trained to listen and facilitate change, you might be able to get your life on track more easily.

3. What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?

Psychiatrists are physicians that specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.  They have completed an undergraduate degree, four years of medical school, and a four-year residency in psychiatry.  As M.D.’s, they are able to prescribe medication and admit people to the hospital if necessary.  A few psychiatrists are also trained to do some counseling and psychological testing.

Psychologists attend graduate school after college.  Most spend about five years doing graduate coursework and supervised clinical training.  Before getting a doctorate degree (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) and becoming licensed, they also complete two additional years of full-time supervised clinical training.   Psychologists are typically trained in a wide range of counseling techniques and are proficient with a variety of psychological tests (e.g., IQ and personality tests).  Psychologists utilize non-medical strategies to help you work through the issues for which you are needing assistance.  They work in any setting where people need help changing including corporations, schools, and hospitals.

It is not unusual for psychiatrists and psychologists to work together.  If I am seeing you for psychotherapy and we determine that you may benefit from an evaluation for medication, I will usually refer you to a psychiatrist for a consultation.  I will then help monitor your response to any psychiatric medication and typically provide feedback to your psychiatrist, so that your medication can be adjusted more accurately.

4. What is your style of counseling?

My style of counseling certainly varies based on your needs.  At times, I will sit back and listen closely.  At other times, I will be more directive, offering suggestions or asking you to consider taking certain actions.  I tend to be collaborative in my approach because I think your input and involvement in psychotherapy is key to success.  My goal is always to create a respectful, safe, and constructive environment where you can feel comfortable being yourself and taking risks.  I find that many people are nervous during their first session, but typically are surprised to find out that psychotherapy is not as scary as they imagined.

5. How is coaching different from psychotherapy?

Coaching is NOT psychotherapy. Psychotherapy focuses on treating diagnosable psychological disorders. Because of the vulnerability of individuals who come to psychotherapy, this is a special relationship in the eyes of the law, with specific rules and protections. Psychotherapy is about healing, while coaching is about facilitating your growth from a place of health. Coaching assumes that you are emotionally healthy and able to participate equally in creating the future you desire.  Please note that if you are a current psychotherapy client, we cannot start a coaching relationship and vice versa.

Anyone can be a cheerleader. A coach that has specific training in helping people change their behavior gives you the advantage of having a person in your corner who has the tools to help you achieve change faster. A licensed professional also adheres to strict professional ethics and standards and must be competent to deliver the services they offer. Information revealed within the coaching relationship is treated as confidential, as allowed by law.