What is psychotherapy and how does it work?

We sometimes mistakenly think of psychotherapy as the metamorphosis: a painless process of birthing butterflies. It is not. Psychotherapy is a personal commitment we make towards ourselves in a safe space, witnessed by another, to honor the darkness, loneliness, and suffering inside the cocoon which allows the caterpillar to grow wings, learn new behaviors and transform into a new creature, flying safely.

Psychotherapy is not only a way for treating emotional and mental discomfort, it is rather a place or a space that is safe and contained where judgment and shame are minimized. That space allows us to introspect and commit to the life we want to live. Psychotherapy is an intimate professional relationship where clients can share about themselves and their vulnerabilities with their therapist, yet boundaries are maintained in and outside of therapy, and after closure of therapy. Please refer to Board of Behavioral Sciences Code of Ethics regulating mental health professionals in California: https://www.bbs.ca.gov/pdf/publications/lawsregs.pdf

Psychotherapy could help individuals, couples, families, groups, children and adults initiate and sustain behavior changes, and could follow a solution focused short term model (6-15 sessions) or long term model where deeper issues and challenges are accessed (6 months or more). Typically, you initially meet with your therapist once a week for 50 minutes for 6-15 sessions for assessments and to address issues of concern, then therapist and client would reassess if stepping down to every other week or once a month is clinically useful for clients for maintaining progress achieved in therapy. Psychotherapy is a commitment one makes towards themselves to help them be where they want to be. A good therapist wants you to develop the tools you need to live the life you want and not be in therapy unnecessarily for prolonged time.

Confidentiality and limitations:

Confidentiality is a fundamental promise in psychotherapy. Everything and anything we discuss in our therapy sessions is extremely confidential and notes are securely kept in a HIPPA compliant online portal. I do not keep paper charts. Notes about our sessions are kept minimally and securely inaccessible and would never be released except by a client’s written permission (release of information form) or because of a court order. I do have a legal obligation to share any technical (or otherwise) breach of confidentiality to my clients should it happen.

However, there are limits to confidentiality in the State of California. If you share with me any information that you are going to hurt yourself or another person, I do have a legal obligation to do further assessments and would break confidentiality if I have evidence or reasonable suspicion that someone may be harmed. My legal and ethical obligation ensures that my clients and the public are safe and protected from imminent danger. If you also share with me any information about child abuse or elder abuse, I do have a legal obligation to break confindeitlaity and report information to Child Protective Services or Adult Protective Services.

I honor children (especially above 12) to have the same rights of confidentiality and would not release any information pertaining to their treatment unless there is imminent danger or suspicion of harm, or by their written permission after discussing this with them. Collaboration with parents and teachers are of course honored for the  purposes of treatment and in the best interest of my child client. I have a no-secret policy when working with couples. Although I may meet with partners individually if deemed clinically relevant, I may or may not share with partners for purposes of couple therapy. If a client is an individual client, their information is never released to their partner except by written permission or by a court order.

Benefits and risks of psychotherapy:

I think of psychotherapy as a rite of passage for your own personal growth, a personal journey to dealing, and healing, with difficult issues that are affecting your life. It is an opportunity, and also a right, for learning about yourself, for discovering broad breadths and deep depths to your inner self(ves), sometimes in ways you have not thought of or experienced before. My role as a therapist will be to help you navigate these new scopes and dimensions which often promises new possibilities for living a more fulfilled and a more vibrant life but can also be very painful and/or extremely raw and aching. In our sessions, I am committed to your safety, comfort and I would like to earn you trust. I will create a safe space for you to explore your deeper inner true self and I feel privileged to be able to witness what you discover. Although past experiences shape who you are and are particularly relevant to whom you have become and in most therapeutic approaches can not and should not be ignored, my therapeutic approach is primarily, but not entirely, focused on you in the present moment, on how you feel your feelings now and what do you want to do with these feelings you are experiencing. You might feel skeptical or cautious or even nervous in the beginning of the process and that is generally normal. It is also important to note that there is no guarantee of success but if you stay in touch with your feelings during the process, the experience can be enlightening and eye opening and truly transformative.


According to the Board of Behavioral Sciences’ (BBS) Code of Ethics regulating mental health professionals in California, it is unethical for therapists to solicit or post clients’ testimonials. The Department of Consumer Affairs Board of Psychology receives and responds to any complaints regarding the practice of  psychotherapy.

If you have questions or complaints, you may contact the Board at
Website: www.psychology.ca.gov
email: bopmail.dca.ca.gov
Phone: 1866-503-3221
Mail: 1625 North Market Blvd, Suite N-215, Sacramento, CA 95834

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