Getting started

Finding a psychotherapist can be filled with both hope and fear – hope to find a therapist who understands and can help you, and fear of feeling judged or not finding relief. It can also feel overwhelming. Fortunately, you can take it one step at a time. Here is some of what you can expect.

Phone Consultation

When we first talk, I will be interested to hear about why you are considering therapy and what you are hoping to work on. I will let you know if I think psychotherapy can be helpful to you, and may offer suggestions for other treatment options if appropriate. If you want, I can answer any questions you have about me, about payment, and about how we might work together. If you feel I might be a good match for you, we will set up a time to meet.

The First Appointment

In our first meeting, we can discuss what’s going on for you and how I can help. I can also explain a bit more about office policies and confidentiality. I will ask you to fill out some forms following our first session.

Ongoing Meetings

Our first few sessions will involve an evaluation of your needs and the establishment of goals for our work together. The evaluation will involve getting to know you, your abilities and resources, and what you have tried so far to deal with whatever is troubling you. By the end of the evaluation (usually 2-4 sessions), I will be able to offer you some first impressions of what our work will include and we will develop a plan to meet your goals.

For psychotherapy to be effective, appointments need to be at least once a week. Often, people opt to come twice a week, and find more frequent meetings to be a much more powerful tool. We can discuss if more intensive work could be beneficial to you.


Having clear goals will help us know when it is time to finish meeting. Whenever you are thinking that you might be ready to stop coming, we can discuss how to end our work together in a way that will help you hold onto the progress you have made. And, of course, as new situations arise, you are always welcome to come back.

To get started, call me at (510) 548-7960 or send me an E-mail using my Contacts page. I look forward to talking with you.