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Common Questions

Why should I see a psychologist for my medical problems. I am experiencing "real" pain.

One of the most common myths regarding pain and other physical diseases is to distinquish "real" from "just in the head." Research has shown that chronic pain as well as many other chronic medical conditions are experienced both within the body as well as within the brain itself. Specialized psychotherapy that aimes toward treating cognitive and emotional problems sometimes fully treats the chronic health condition and at other times drastically reduces the suffering associated with that specific health problem.

Is therapy right for me?

Seeking out  psychotherapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to psychotherapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a divorce or work transition. Many seek the advice of a psychologist as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Working with a psychologist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Psychotherapy can help address many types of issues including depression, anxiety, conflict, grief, stress management, body-image issues, and general life transitions. Psychotherapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards change in their lives.

What is this kind of therapy like? What is it like to be there?

I use advanced techniques of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)  named T.E.A.M therapy in my practice. Basic concepts of CBT have now been known to clinicians for several years. the T.E.A.M approach is geared to find specifically what is the core of the problem. Armed with that knowlege, we will explore the costs and benefits of getting rid of that core problem. Once it becomes quite convincing that the costs of maintaining a problem out weigh the benefits, we will explore concrete therapy homeworks and personalize behavioral or cognitive training  in between sessions. Such intensive and specialized style of psychotherapy is rather new and in my opinion it is on its way to revolutionize the field of psychotherapy. To learn more about T.E.A.M therapy, visit www.feelinggood.com.

How long does each session last and how long should I be coming to therapy?

Traditionally, clinicians have provided psychotherapy in 50-minute sessions, once a week. I have learned that this dose of therapy does not always deliver the best outcome.  Often, by the time you get going beyond the initial warm up period of the session,  the 50-minute hour is up. Then you must wait a whole week to come back and even then it is often hard to pick up where you left off. In my practice, I often offer double sessions (100 minutes).  During that time we get a chance to not only fully hear your concerns, there will be time left for us to offer you treatments,  some type of resolution you can put your mind on. Doing longer sessions often leads to a shorter duration for the entire treatment becasue you get what you came in for in a concentrated manner and your work does not have to be spread over a long period of time. 

What if my problem does not get resolved in a double session of therapy, or what if I don't live in the area and can't commute every week?

One of the most revolutionary factors that is offered in my practice is the cocept of "Intensives."  For persons who wish to spend a longer period of time to resolve the presenitng issue we can set up day long or sometimes week long therapy sessions. This method is also quite attractive for persons who do not live close by and travel from other parts of the region to receive intensive cognitive behavioral therapy, or T.E.A.M therapy. 
Do I really need therapy?  I can usually handle my problems.

Everyone goes through challenging situations in life. Sometimes, the same personal rules and assumptions that might have served you in the past can get in the way of resolving a current issue. In other words, while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, you might be benefiting from acquiring new and fresh coping skills that will ultimately lead to a more satisfying life.  In fact, psychotherapy is most useful for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking psychotherapy. Psychotherapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.

How can therapy help me?

A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Most Psychologists, specifically Dr. Dashtban, are trained as scientists and clinicians.  Psycholgists are informed and skilled in various aspects of human behavior and functions of the brain.  They have a thorough understanding of how beliefs and assumptions can support negative or postive behavior.  Through providing critical psychotherapy interventions, psychologist can help improve the brain functions which will ultimately lead to improvements on problem-solving skills,  enhance coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, interpersonal conflicts, and poor coping with chronic health conditions.  Many people also find that psychologists can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth and promoting psychospiritual growth . Psychologists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from psychotherapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from psychotherapy include:

  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships
  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
  • Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
  • Improving communications and listening skills
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence

What is therapy like? 

Every psychotherapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard for psychologist to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during psychotherapy sessions. Psychotherapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. In any case you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. It is important to process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives. Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:

  • Compassion, respect and understanding
  • Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
  • Real strategies for enacting positive change
  • Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance

Is medication a substitute for therapy?

In some cases a combination of medication and psychotherapy is the right course of action. At Medical Psychology Services, we aim to work with your physician, physical therapist, accupuncturist, pharmacist and other appropriate health care providers to determine what's best for you. It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, psychotherapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.