The Therapy Relationship

Some people seek psychotherapy because they feel lonely and isolated– they need someone to talk to. Others may have the well-meaning support of friends and family, but recognize that therapy isn’t the same as talking with the people in their lives. With friends and family, you may find yourself wondering if you can really tell them that embarrassing secret, or share your deepest fears. You may worry about being judged, talked about behind your back, rejected or misunderstood when you share something close to your heart.

Therapy is different in part because it’s confidential (with rare exceptions). Also, because I am not part of your personal life outside of my office, I have a more neutral perspective on you and your life. I’m not personally invested in whether you stay with or leave your partner, nor do I take it upon myself to judge your choices and tell you how to live, though I do care about your well-being. Instead, I have the space to be genuinely curious about you and your life, and the outside perspective to help you see things that may be too close for you to recognize on your own.

As a clinical psychologist with over 20 years of experience and training, I also have unique access to a wealth of information about mental health and emotional concerns. This allows me to offer suggestions and viewpoints that others might not be aware of, helping you choose how best to approach your circumstances and make needed changes.

While therapy is a mutually respectful relationship, you don’t have to tiptoe around my opinions or take care of my needs the way you might with friends or family. My focus is really on you: helping you understand yourself, your patterns and relationships, uncovering and mobilizing your strengths, and developing new ways of coping and communicating that serve you better.

Just because therapy is not the same as a friendship– we won’t meet for coffee or hang out at a party together– doesn’t mean that I don’t care about my clients, or show them that I’m human– I do! Nonetheless, the focus on you during therapy may feel awkward, especially at first. At the same time, having a time and place that is just for you, with me there to support you and help you explore, is part of what makes therapy work.

Whether with me or with someone else, I encourage you to take advantage of the uniqueness of the therapy relationship– its confidentiality, neutrality, and focus on your particular desires, needs and feelings– to help create the life you truly want.

Call or email for a free 20 minute consultation: 415-828-2942 or laura@drlaurawald.com