Please Note: Due to the current situation with COVID-19, I am offering Telehealth video therapy sessions via a HIPAA-compliant videoconferencing service. If interested, please let me know or click here for more information.
“You have more resources than you realize and the most important one is yourself! I am available to help you access your inner strengths, uncover the answers to your questions, and find solutions so you may overcome the obstacles that stand between you and living the life you desire.”
Pamela M. Levy, MA
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
Welcome! My name is Pamela Levy, and I appreciate you taking the time to visit the website for my private psychotherapy practice in San Mateo, California.
Since you’ve found my website, it’s likely you’ve either been searching the Internet for a therapist, or someone mentioned my name and you’re here to check me out and try to decide if I can help you.
You may be searching for:
- Relief from anxiety or depression,
- A lessening of fear,
- A greater ability to understand and control your emotions,
- Better relationships with your partner, your children, other family members, friends, or co-workers, or
- An ability to laugh off criticism more easily and achieve some peace of mind.
If you’ve been in therapy before, you know that therapy can not only successfully address these problems and offer relief and healing, but also can be a life-changing experience. If you haven’t been in therapy before, you may not be sure what to look for in a therapist.
What You Should Know When Choosing a Therapist
It is not uncommon for people to try just about everything they can think of to create change in their lives before deciding to try therapy. But, when nothing works – or at least doesn’t work for very long – and the mental/emotional discomfort leads to anguish and pain, people often ask themselves, “Why not try therapy? I have to do something to stop the pain!”
When we’re hurting a lot, we typically don’t think clearly. And even when we’re thinking clearly, it can be difficult to know what to ask when you’re “interviewing” a prospective therapist.
Even if you’ve received referrals from friends, family members, or other professionals, just because one person had a very good experience with a particular therapist doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll benefit from therapy with that practitioner. No matter what referrals you receive, finding the “right” therapist is a very individualized process. Ultimately, it is up to you to choose a psychotherapist who fits your unique personality and needs.
However, there are several qualities that seem to be shared by therapists who consistently make a positive and lasting impact upon the lives of their clients, and the following traits can be used when looking for someone to work with:
- Compassionate Honesty – Look for a therapist who is not afraid to call it as he or she sees it – not critically, but with compassion and empathy.
- Full Disclosure – While this dovetails with honesty, it is important enough to separate. A good therapist will honestly and openly discuss with you any diagnosis, treatment notes, specific plans or goals and what you can expect out of therapy. You should feel confident that your therapist respects you and will answer your questions.
- Flexibility in Treatment – A competent therapist will recognize that not all theories of human behavior fit all humans. A great therapist is also sensitive to and respectful of a wide range of belief systems and cultures.
- Awareness of Limitations – No therapist can effectively treat anything and everything. If you’re looking at therapists in the San Mateo area, ask for an example of an issue that is beyond the scope of their practice, or that they are insufficiently trained to treat. If they can’t or won’t answer, you’ve just eliminated a possibility.
- Focused on Solutions for You – Solution-focused counseling, even in the context of depth work, is more likely to have desired outcomes. The best therapists aren’t going to analyze what is already working for you, or insist you need their services when you don’t.
You don’t have to ask all of these questions, or even most of them – especially in a first session when you need a lot of time to talk about yourself. But do ask some of them, and “interview” at least several prospective therapists before deciding whom to work with.
When you’re looking for a therapist, there is much more to consider than just experience and training. The relationship and trust that is built between a therapist and client is one of the most – if not the most – important contributors to successful therapy. Therefore it is of the utmost importance to find a therapist who feels like a good fit for both your unique personality and needs.
To find out more about the services I offer, I encourage you to review this website using the links to the left, or you may navigate to a particular topic of interest on the following list:
Is Therapy Right For You?
Whether or not psychotherapy is right for you is a question of what you value, want, and expect out of life.
In a world of quick fixes and glib explanations for human behavior, psychotherapy is a commitment to a deeper understanding. Therapy is about making changes. It’s about letting go of beliefs and behaviors that aren’t bringing you happiness, and learning new ways to effect the change you’re seeking in your life.
This is the life we get and it’s up to us to make the most of it. Pain and heartache are a natural part of life, and they don’t have to be avoided. If they can be faced with honesty and courage, discomfort and pain can be turned into opportunities for learning, growth, and personal enrichment.
If you feel stuck, discouraged, or defeated, you need to know that optimism, confidence, and happiness can be yours, as can pain management and making the most of change. If you’re willing to do the work, therapy can be one of the most positive, life-changing, and rewarding experiences you ever have.
Regardless of whom you decide to work with on your healing, I extend my respect and congratulations to you for taking the first brave step of seeking help. Now the next courageous step is to schedule that first appointment. Please feel free to contact me at 650-634-9821 or at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, to request referrals, or to schedule a free initial consultation. I look forward to speaking with you.
I provide my services to the highest ethical standards and my relationships with my clients are strictly confidential. As such, I must inform you that the information provided in this website is offered for informational purposes only; it is not offered as and does not constitute professional advice. Replies to e-mail messages will be general in nature and will not form a therapist-client relationship. Be aware that the confidentiality of information sent over the Internet, including e-mail, may not be legally or otherwise protected or secure.