4333 California St., San Francisco, CA 94118
 (415) 831-4339

Russian, Hebrew Speaking Psychologist 
                   in San Francisco 

What is Psychotherapy?  

Freud has defined the aim of psychotherapy as:
"... transforming neurotic misery into common unhappiness."

Not a particularly optimistic outcome. Why would I choose this quote, you may ask, to recommend psychotherapy as a choice of treatment?

It is my belief that the outcome of treatment aims to reduce suffering, by understanding oneself and coming to terms with one's past, which, in turn, gives one the option to pursue happiness.

Psychic and emotional suffering is far too common.  It may be acute and urgent, or vague and difficult to pinpoint.  It may have been triggered by a recent event, such as loss or trauma, or may have lingered and festered for years. 

It comes in various shapes and forms - a defused, undefined discontent, loneliness, emptiness... It may be a relationship, which is in turmoil, or is falling apart; or an inability to form and sustain relationships.  It may be a destructive behavior or addiction that is thwarting one's life, and is impossible to give up, despite endless efforts.  It may be disabling bouts of anxiety, which leave you incapacitated, or bouts of depression that make life seem worthless, or worse yet, unbearable.

Why would psychotherapy be the best choice of treatment?


There are rather convincing arguments against it - it is expensive, it takes "forever", and it is really difficult to understand how exactly it works.  How is talking to someone for an hour, week in and week out, going to change your life?

It is difficult to understand because the agent of change is abstract and intangible.  The "afflicted" organ - one's psyche, is not one that can be X-rayed or monitored by lab tests.  The "interventions" are invisible and obscure - there is no scalpel, medication or exercises.


How, on earth, does it work than? 

Patients commonly refer to their experience in therapy as "magical" or "witch-like".  They feel the change, they see the change, but it is quite a mystery as to what brings it about.

As strange as it may sound, psychotherapy is a "talking cure".  It is based on the premise that one's symptoms and suffering are the consequence of psychic patterns - blueprints of sorts, that are formed in one's early relationships, and endure through life. 


Since relationships are sustained, to a large extent, through talking to one another, it is talking that we use to identify and repair those parts of the blue print that are in need of mending. 

It is a "talking journey” into one's psyche - a vast, largely unfamiliar terrain, which is fascinating yet can be bewildering or even treacherous. It is similar to a journey to a far away exotic land.  It is a quest to rediscover one's true self, so that (as Lacan puts it) one can relinquish one's history, to author and pursue one's destiny.

Your therapist embarks on this journey with you, as your guide.  The journey is as much an enigma to the therapist, as it is to you, but the therapist is well acquainted with the terrain - speaks the native language - that of the unconscious, and is well acquainted with the native ways.

Such a journey, while immeasurably fruitful, is also challenging, and can be difficult and painful at times.  It requires a capacity for curiosity, honesty, perseverance, and above all, commitment.  It is these qualities that I bring to my work with my patients.


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