Online Trauma, EMDR and IFS Therapy in San Francisco  |  Beyond Words Psychotherapy  |  44 Tehama St, San Francisco, CA 94105  |  Tel: 510-735-8868

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?

Not at all. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. It’s part of what makes us human.

Perhaps the problem you’re currently struggling with simply feels too overwhelming for you to draw on the strength you already possess. Perhaps one of your strengths is part of the problem.

Regardless, even the strongest of us needs help from time to time. And it takes self-awareness and strength to reach out and ask for help when you need it. In our work together, I’ll help you identify your strengths and how you can put them to work to resolve the issues you’re currently facing.

What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or closest relative?

The difference is between someone who can listen and possibly offer some helpful advice, and someone who not only can listen but also has the experience and training to help you learn to solve your own problems.

A mental health professional can help you approach your situation in a new way – teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and perhaps most importantly of all… help you listen to yourself.

Additionally, most relationships are “two-way streets.” It’s the give-and-take that makes most relationships flourish and grow.

But the relationship you build with your therapist is intentionally all about you, so you can focus and concentrate solely on resolving the issues you’re struggling with and create the positive, lasting changes you’re looking to create.

Furthermore, therapy is completely confidential. You won’t have to worry about anything you say in therapy “slipping out.”

Lastly, if your situation provokes a lot of negative emotions, there is the risk of damaging the relationship with the friend or family member you’re confiding in, especially if once you feel better you start avoiding that person so you aren’t reminded of this difficult time in your life.

For all of these reasons, while friends and family members may be able to help you work through any number of issues, there are times when only the client-therapist relationship can provide the confidential, safe, and contained space you need to create the true healing and growth necessary for you to get back on track and realize your full potential.

Why shouldn’t I just take medication?

While we’ve been conditioned by our society to look for the “quick fixes” that are often promised by prescription medications, medication alone cannot help us create true healing and growth. What medication does is treat the symptoms.

Don’t get me wrong, medications can definitely help people cope with the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental and emotional distress. But coping doesn’t equal curing … You’ll need more than medication to create positive, lasting change.

The counseling and therapy work we do together is designed to help you explore and understand your beliefs, behaviors, and the underlying causes of the problems you’re facing, so you can learn the tools and skills you need to create new beliefs and behaviors that will help make sure you can achieve your personal and/or relational goals.

How do counseling and therapy work? What do I have to do in sessions?

Because each person comes to therapy with different challenges and goals, the work we do together – in general and in any given session – will be uniquely tailored to your specific needs.

That being said, since counseling and therapy are all about exploring and better understanding your self and changing the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors that are keeping you from moving forward and creating the relationships and life you desire, it’s important that you approach therapy with an open and inquisitive mind.

How long will therapy take?

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question.

Just as everyone’s circumstances and goals are unique, the length of time therapy can take to help you achieve your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek therapy in the first place.

That being said, while the length of time therapy requires can vary widely, many of my clients begin to see significant improvements in their abilities to cope and function within just 8-10 sessions.

I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?

I am so glad you are dedicated to getting the most out of your sessions! Your active participation and dedication are crucial to your success.

I will always do my best to provide tools, techniques, and other “homework” exercises that you can work on and practice in between sessions. After all, we’ll typically only see each other for one session a week … So, it’s the work you do in between and outside of our sessions that will really help you experience personal growth and development.

I am having relationship problems. Should I do individual counseling or bring the person(s) I am in conflict with?

If you’re concerned about your relationship, I recommend we schedule a free, 20-minute, initial phone consultation so I can better understand what type of relationship issues you’re experiencing.

When it comes to relationship work, I initially work with individuals. Then, depending on the individual client, I may bring in the other people in the relationship during future sessions.

Because each relationship is unique, we will work together to determine the best course of action to help you work through and resolve the issues you’re having.

I hope this helps answer some of the questions you may have, but please don’t hesitate to contact me today at 510-735-8868 or email me at scott@beyondwordspsychotherapy.com with any other questions or to schedule an initial consultation. I look forward to speaking with you and helping you create a life you truly love living!

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