You have decided it’s time for you to seek the support of a therapist. You start by a search and you’re inundated with websites and directories. You start reading bios or websites and come across language like ‘modalities” or “treatment approach” and maybe wonder – what does that mean?
Time for a little vocabulary break:
Like most fields, psychotherapy has its own language. Therapists are fluent in it, but most others are not. Here are some tips to help you navigate searching for a therapist:
Gain a general idea of what you need from therapy
Are you experiencing anxiety? Having difficulty with a relationship? Are you experiencing a life transition such as job loss or a break up? Knowing what you’re having a hard time with and how it is effecting you will help you narrow down what you’re looking for.
How do you generally approach problems and does that work for you?
If you’re more of an analytical person and that approach works for you, then you will likely want to seek a therapist who uses behavioral modalities. This is just an example, not every modality or approach will work for every person. If you find your usual approach to problem solving isn’t working, it may be worth seeking a therapist with a different perspective than yourself and giving it a try.
Are there personal qualities about a therapist that would make you feel more comfortable or safe?
I don’t mean – are they an A’s fan or a Giant’s fan. Would you would prefer a therapist with a similar identity as yours? This could include race, gender, age or language.
I hope these quick tips on getting started looking for a therapist have cut through some of the jargon and confusion. At the end of this article are some online directories to help you get started. Best of luck and remember that each step you take towards your wellbeing is to be honored.
Online therapist directories:
Directories for Therapists of Color
Hypnotherapy and psychotherapy are often talked about as separate treatment approaches. But did you know that they are actually complementary?
Historically, hypnosis was used by psychiatrists in treatment. Hypnotherapy and hypnosis have now become part of a new wave of alternative approaches to healing in the last 20-30 years; increasingly popular in the main stream. It is practiced by licensed mental health professionals and non-licensed trained hypnotherapists or hypnotists.
Hypnotherapy can be an adjunctive modality used by therapists like EMDR or Somatic Experiencing. It is a specialty and requires additional training. The practitioner will evaluate the presenting issues and determine if hypnotherapy is indicated in treatment.
So what does that mean for the client?
In any psychotherapy it is always a great idea to ask questions! If you’re curious about hypnotherapy or not sure about what it is really is (check out my blog about common myths about hypnotherapy) – ask and your clinician should thoroughly answer your questions.
If you and your clinician determine that hypnotherapy is a good fit for you, then goals are discussed before beginning the process. Outside of specific goals that are set with your clinician, hypnotherapy can support building resilience, establishing a deeper connection with Self and decreasing the strength of the inner critic.
As a certified clinical hypnotherapist with 350+ hours of training and 3 years in practice, I have found hypnotherapy to greatly benefit the work that clients do in psychotherapy. It offers a strong tool outside of the therapy room and clients report feeling relaxed at the end of session, even when painful emotions have been experienced. Hypnotherapy can empower those who experience it as it provides a means to connect with one’s own inner wisdom and strength.
Before we get into the common misconceptions about hypnotherapy that I hear most often in my practice, let’s talk about what hypnotherapy is.
I find it helpful to talk about the three basic types of hypnosis/hypnotherapy.
The therapist and client interact together, much like in psychotherapy, while the client is in a relaxed state. It is a collaborative process of exploring the unconscious mind to heal old wounding, alter old, outdated beliefs and uncover and understand obstacles.
The therapist leads the client in a process while in a deep trance state. This allows the client to be open to shifts and suggestions that were agreed upon before the start of the session. Some common processes would be smoking cessation or sleep treatment.
This type of hypnosis is entirely for entertainment purposes. You might have seen advertisements in Las Vegas or on college campuses. Volunteers are put into a relaxed state through different techniques and the hypnotist suggests that they perform entertaining behaviors.
What is important in all of these forms is that you always have choice.
All hypnosis is self-hypnosis.
Now onto those misconceptions…
You will use a pocket watch to get me into trance.
This is something you might see in the media, but I don’t utilize pocket watches. I use forms of progressive relaxation to help my clients slowly enter a trance state – either deep or light depending on what the individual needs. It is similar to a body scan or guided meditation.
I will have no control over what I say or do.
The client is actually the one in control! The metaphor I like to use is that we are on a road trip together, you’re driving and I have the map. I can suggest that you turn right, but ultimately you decide which direction we turn. I work with the client to support the exploration to get the most out of what you experience.
I will share something with you that I’m not ready to.
Trance allows for a deeper connection to self without the outside noise and interference. The client will have the same ability to choose what they say and what they keep to themselves. It is beneficial to share what is being experienced, but it doesn’t mean that they need to share what does not feel right to share in that moment.
I won’t remember what we talked about or my experience.
Clients remember what they need to remember. Sometimes that is the entire experience and sometimes it is highlights. I do take notes of the session for future work, but have faith that you will get what you need out of the process.
Hypnotherapy will cure me instantly.
It is absolutely understandable that we all want relief from our suffering. Hypnotherapy can offer accelerated results or shifts, however, it is not an instant cure. Just like psychotherapy what is changing in your inner world takes time, consistent effort and patience to be reflected in your outer world. Hypnotherapy offers you the ability to do this inner work in a deeper, relaxed state by bypassing your conscious mind.
I hope this helped create transparency about what hypnotherapy is and how it may be helpful on the path to greater connection to Self, healing and exploration. Just like many therapeutic tools hypnotherapy can help create understanding, self-acceptance and build resilience.
It can be challenging to find the right therapist for yourself. I hope the below FAQs provide you with more insight into how I work and some logistics. If you have any additional questions, please do email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or schedule a complimentary consultation on any page of my website.
What is therapy?
How can therapy help me? Therapy can provide a safe space for you to work through obstacles, concerns and challenges you are experiencing in your life.
Will you give me advice? I will support you in accessing your own inner wisdom. Our relationship will be collaborative, so I will engage with you by asking you questions in order to support you.
Will you prescribe medication? No, I am not licensed or trained to prescribe medication. I can provide referrals to the appropriate medical professionals.
What is therapy like? Therapy is different for each and every person. Most may describe it as both a challenge and relief. It offers the ability to share the deepest parts of yourself with a safe person who will seek to understand you and offer support in building resilience and healing.
How long does therapy take? This depends case to case, there are a myriad of factors that contribute to determining the length of therapy. It could take a few months to several years. Often we come to therapy with one issue and by working on it, we discover others. This is something we will discuss in the beginning and throughout treatment.
How do I pay for therapy sessions?
Will my insurance cover our sessions? I do not accept any insurance plans. I would be happy to provide you with a superbill (monthly statement) for you to submit to your insurance for reimbursement.
What is your fee? My current fee is posted on my About page.
How frequently do I pay? Payment occurs after each session.
Do you offer a sliding scale? You can see if any spots are open on my About page, which I update regularly.
What if I cannot make it to a session (cancellation policy)? My cancellation policy is 24 hours. If you cancel within the window I will attempt to reschedule. If we are unable to find a time, you will be charged the full session fee.
How do I find a therapist?
How can I tell if a therapist is a good match for me? How do you feel when you talk to the therapist? Are they saying things that resonate with you? Aside from using your intuition, does this therapist have experience treating the issues you're seeking support for?
How will we measure success?
How will I know if therapy is working? You may notice that situations or emotions don't effect you in the same way or you start to react differently to old triggers and in relationships. You may notice you sleep better or feel more joy in your daily life. In our work we will identify how you would like to feel better and even having that in mind can help you notice when you are feeling relief/improvement.
Further fears or concerns
What are your qualifications? I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of California (121088) and a National Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist.
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential? Yes, with some exceptions that we will go over together and is in the paperwork you will receive if we work together.
Can I decide to see a different therapist? Absolutely! The right fit is so important and I want to support you in finding that person, even if it isn't me.
What if I don't want to talk about something? Then we will talk about what it might be like to talk about it. I'm not going to force you to talk about something you don't want to. Our time is an invitation to use it as you wish.
Will you think I'm "crazy"? Nope! Everyone struggles at some point in their lives and we do our best to get through them. Let's see if we can reframe the way you see yourself (if it's not accepting).
Will you get tired of hearing me talk about the same thing over and over again? No, I would be honored for you to share your inner world with me. Sometimes we need to talk through something to see it better for ourselves.
How can I get in touch with you?
Where are you located? In the San Francisco Bay Area. All sessions are being conducted online for the time being.
Can I give you a call? Yes, please do :)
Do you have weekend or evening availability? I have some evening availability. I currently do not offer weekend times.
How do I schedule my appointments? You can schedule a complimentary consultation by clicking the orange Request Appointment button on any page of this site. For regular appointments we will find a day and time each week to meet.