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How To Find Therapy In Berkeley

Updated: May 28, 2019

You find yourself needing help. You've tried talking with your friends, but you don't want to burden them anymore. You find yourself having difficulty controlling the tears when you're at work, and you don't know what to do. Maybe you tried exercise and yoga, but you just don't feel like doing those things anymore or they aren't helping you like they used to. Your friends tell you that you should see someone. But how to find a therapist?

The problem is that there are so many therapists in Berkeley, and you're not sure how to choose. You decide that you just need somebody to talk to, and you get a list from your insurance. None of them answer the phone. Or the few that do only reply saying that they don't take that insurance anymore. You look on Psychology Today and try calling some therapists, but they charge $250 per session and say that you have to come in every week. Even though they sound really nice on the phone, you just can't afford that kind of money!

How can you tell a good therapist? You might feel the therapist really "gets you," but that isn't enough. You leave feeling that you have a plan, that you're working together with your therapist. It's a plan that you can afford, in time and money and emotional investment, in terms of how long it will take you to feel better and how to get there.

Maybe you start out thinking you only want to come in every other week, but the therapist explains that you won't gain as much that way. Like with practicing yoga or a musical instrument, some things you have to do often enough to begin with, depending on your circumstances. Your therapist is open to feedback and checks in with you to make sure you're on the same page.

Therapy is a big commitment. A lot of people don't come back after the first session. Personally, as a therapist, almost all my clients return for a second session and more. But I've read that the peak number of times a person sees a therapist is once. I think there are many reasons for this, including it not being a good fit between the particular client and the particular therapist. But I'm sure there are times when somebody feels they got everything they needed just from that one session. It's hard to open up, especially to a stranger, and sometimes you just don't want to see that person again! Or you feel so relieved that you got all your troubles off your chest that you feel done.

When I worked at a Junior College psychological service center, we offered drop-in hours and many students came for one-off brief crisis counseling sessions. I think the students got a lot out of it, and not everybody needed to come back for ongoing therapy.

Why commit to ongoing therapy? Maybe you just need that support, to stop the tears at work, until you get back to your exercise routine and start feeling good about yourself again. Maybe you want to change something in yourself, overcome some past trauma, so that this doesn't happen again. A lot of us need help finding the courage to be who we truly want to be in the world, whether that means getting a better or different job, finding a good relationship or improving the ones we have, making new friends, or making the world a better place.

When I first started seeing a therapist, I was a neuroscientist at UC Berkeley. I cycled past the famous Campanile in the picture above every morning on my way to work. (Yes, therapists see therapists too!) It took me awhile to realize, with the help of therapy, that there were a lot of things I wanted to change about my life. I think I was so unhappy that I didn't even know how unhappy I was until I made those changes. One of the things I changed was going back to school to become a therapist, in order to help people.

Want help deciding if therapy is right for you? You can give me a call and schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation. No, I don't take insurance (but I can provide you a bill to send your insurance if you have out of network benefits). My fees are very affordable, and because I want to make weekly therapy accessible I can offer you a reduction if you come in every week.

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