Bobbie Paul, Ph.D., MFT.
(619) 723-1802

Why do people seek therapy?

People come into therapy for many reasons. Some people are responding to unexpected changes in their lives, some are motivated by pressure from others, and some seek self-exploration and personal growth. Coping skills can prove to be inadequate when people are overwhelmed by events such as partner conflict, parent-child conflict, separation, divorce, job loss, illness, death, or life transitions. Therapy can help by providing support, and problem solving skills for issues such as depression, anxiety, anger, guilt, unresolved childhood issues, relationship difficulties, bereavement, and spiritual conflicts. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions to enhance their functioning in all areas of their lives.  

 What can I expect in a therapy session?

During sessions you are expected to talk about the primary concerns and issues in your life. A session lasts appromixately 50 minutes. Longer sessions can be requested. Typically, when people enter therapy, weekly sessions are beneficial for the first month or two. Depending on the person's needs and desire, sessions can then be reduced to twice a month and finally to monthly sessions.  It is useful for people to use the time between sessions to think about what was discussed in therapy and how the information applies to your relationships or symptoms. For therapy to "work," you must be an active participant, both in and outside of the therapy sessions.

What benefits can I expect from working with a therapist?

A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Often it is helpful just to know that someone understands. Therapy can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. Many people find therapy to be a tremendous asset for improving interpersonal relationships, family concerns, and the hassles of daily life. The benefits obtained from therapy depend on how well the learning and awareness is put into practice. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:

  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself and defining or clarifying your personal goals and values
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships
  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
  • Learning effective ways to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Managing anger, hostility, guilt, crying, and other emotional reactions that interfere with relationships
  • Improving communications skills 
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems
  • Developing a more realistic view of yourself
What if I don't know what my goals are for therapy?

People often come to therapy to fix the "other" person (child or adult) or to fix themselves because they were told they are the problem. It is not unusual that initially a person seeks therapy to change someone else. Whatever the reason, in the course of therapy personal goals and personal responsibility become more clear.  As the therapy experience unfolds, people realize the responsibility for change is their own. By changing oneself, others will have a different response (reciprocity) and over time, the relationship is changed and symptoms are lessened. 

 Is therapy confidential?

In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a psychotherapist. Information is not disclosed without written permission. However, there are number of exceptions to this rule. Exceptions include:

  • Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s. The therapist must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in insuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, further measures may be taken without their permission in order to ensure their safety.