Psychotherapy Basics

What is psychotherapy?

Therapy is intended as a space for people to engage in the process of change, healing, and growth with a trained professional. The therapeutic relationship is founded upon trust, clear boundaries and expectations, and empathy. This relationship serves as an important element to support your process of change and healing.  

What to expect in psychotherapy?

In therapy, people typically discuss their thoughts, feelings, reactions, and life experiences. A psychologist listens, asks questions to deepen the conversation, and may teach you new skills and strategies to engage in life in a more fulfilling manner. A typical individual therapy session lasts between 45 - 60 minutes and typically occurs once per week or once every other week. You and the psychologist typically establish goals, expectations for addressing specific concerns, and the duration and frequency of meeting.  

Who is a psychologist?

Psychologists have undergone rigorous training (4-7 years) and supervised direct service experience (2 years). They are able to evaluate, diagnose, and treat people’s mental health concerns. Similar to other helping professionals, psychologists support the health and well-being of individuals, families, couples, and groups. Typically, psychologists have earned a doctorate of philosophy (Ph.D.) degree, doctorate of psychology (Psy.D.) degree, or a doctorate of education (Ed.D) degree. To practice as a psychologist in the State of California, a person needs to be licensed by the California State Board of Psychology.