Sushma S Trivedi, MFT
License # 47584


1. What is Psychotherapy?

I Googled “what is psychotherapy?” and the search came back with millions of hits.  There is a lot of good information on the internet about psychotherapy.  You may like to look at the following link to a short article titled “What is Psychotherapy? What are the Benefits of Psychotherapy?” on Medical News Today website: .

I quote from this article:

“According to Medilexicon's medical dictionary, psychotherapy is "Treatment of emotional, behavioral, personality, and psychiatric disorders based primarily on verbal or nonverbal communication and interventions with the patient, in contrast to treatments using chemical and physical measures." Simply put, psychotherapy aims to alleviate psychological distress through talking, rather than drugs.”

A psychotherapist uses psychological models and techniques to help the clients explore and identify the sources of their current distress and develop coping mechanisms to resolve that distress.

In some ways, psychotherapy is for the mind what physical therapy is for the body.  Sometimes people need physical therapy to heal and strengthen the body hurt as a result of sudden trauma such as a fall, or persistent low grade stress such as typing or using uncomfortable furniture.  Psychological stress can arise as a result of trauma or persistent repetitive stress such as ongoing physical and/or emotional abuse or neglect.  Rape or assault is clearly an extremely traumatic situation. However, a number of other situations, such as breakup of a relationship, moving to a different country - especially one with a different culture, change in employment or job loss, change of school, diagnosis of a serious illness, living in a high crime neighborhood, fearing for one’s personal safety, etc. can also be very traumatic.   Such stress or trauma, if left unresolved, can manifest in unproductive and hurtful ways such as inappropriate emotional outbursts, depression, lack of motivation, problems in inter-personal relationships, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, substance use and abuse, etc.  Psychotherapy helps in resolving such trauma and regaining the balance.

Psychotherapy can also help to strengthen the psyche through developing self-awareness, development of effective coping mechanisms, understanding the inter-personal dynamics, developing effective communication skills, and skills such as assertiveness and self-control.

2.  How long does it take?

The length of time required for the therapy process to complete depends on the particular problem.  It may take weeks or several months.  We should be able to estimate the required time after the first few sessions.

3. Is psychotherapy confidential?

I am NOT allowed to disclose anything about you – including if you are my client – to anybody.  Any information disclosed to me by yourself or any member of your therapeutic unit is confidential. It will not be released to anyone without your signed written consent except as mandated by law, i.e., when there is reasonable suspicion of child, elder or dependent adult abuse, or there is reasonable suspicion that you pose a danger to yourself or others.

If I have reason to think that some of my clients might know each other, I try to schedule the appointments such that they do not run into each other in the waiting room.

Case information may be discussed in peer supervision for improvement in quality of service; or for research and educational purposes.  In such cases your identifying information will be disguised so that confidentiality is not compromised.  Please talk to me if you have any specific questions.

4. What are some of the approaches to psychotherapy?

There are several approaches to psychotherapy.  Prominent among them are the behavioral, cognitive-behavioral, psycho-dynamic, and humanistic-existential approaches. All of these approaches have certain assumptions, methods of assessment, indicators and counter-indicators, and sets of interventions associated with them.  Furthermore, each approach has several variations.  There is also the so-called post-modern psychotherapeutic approach, which includes therapeutic methods such as the narrative therapy.  Also popular are the experiential-communication model of Satir, transactional analysis, and structural family therapy.

Psychotherapy can be done with individuals, couples, families, or groups of unrelated individuals with similar concerns. 

5. What is your approach to psychotherapy?

I use a combination of approaches in my therapeutic work.  I find psycho-dynamic and humanistic-existential approaches to be particularly attractive.  I also use rational emotive therapy, narrative therapy, and psycho-education in my work.

I strongly believe that all clients have the resources within them to resolve the emotional and social challenges they are presented with in life.  My responsibility is to assist them in identifying the real issues and becoming aware of their own strengths and resources.  I am interested in how the past events and relationships impact our current life situations.  I pay close attention to my client's belief systems, patterns of relationships, and thinking style. I try to understand how these are related to their prior life events and current circumstances.  My counseling approach is directed towards helping the clients more realistically appraise their current life situation, thinking, and belief systems. I encourage them to take personal responsibility for effecting a change in the problematic aspects of their life. The specific methods I employ depend on their particular needs and goals.

The successful outcome of counseling depends on many things including the clients’ actions and commitment to change.

6. Is Psychotherapy expensive?

Yes, psychotherapy can be quite expensive.  Paying for each session can quickly add up to a substantial amount.  However, the cost of not getting therapy can be much more.  Inter-personal problems can ruin your relationships and come in the way of your professional success; not to mention your personal happiness and sense of well-being.

I do have a sliding scale fees available should you need it.  Please look under the Client Agreement tab.

7.  What are the risks of psychotherapy?

Therapy has potential emotional risks.  Approaching feelings or thoughts that you have tried not to think about for a long time can be very painful. Making changes in your beliefs or behavior can be scary and, sometime, disruptive to your current relationships.

8. How is psychotherapy different from giving advice?

In a nutshell, psychotherapy is about NOT giving advice, and letting the client arrive at his/her own solution to the problem.  The interventions are designed to help in the exploration and understanding of inter - and intra - personal conflicts, discharge of emotions that cloud judgment, healing the hurt,  developing effective coping mechanisms, and strengthening the psyche of the client. 

Before people come for psychotherapy, they try to solve their problems themselves.  The solutions people try may include talking with their family and trusted friends.  The advice received from friends and/or family may help to alleviate the distress. If it does that's great.  However, due to emotional involvement and ongoing social relationship, such interaction often makes matters worse.