Common Questions

Psychiatric Medications vs. Talk therapy?

It is my belief that, when psychiatric symptoms are severe enough to create problems in life, and effect the ability to function, psychiatric medications can be very helpful in returning people to their healthier self.  I also strongly believe that these medications work best when used in combination with psychotherapy.  Research has shown that for people who have depression or anxiety, for example, the most effective treatment plan is to take an appropriate medication, and be in psychotherapy with a qualified therapist.

Some psychiatric medications, like anti-depressants, can take several weeks to build up in your system & show their full benefit. So when you start or change a medication, you may not feel better right away, while the medication is working to help you. During this first stage in the treatment, you may need more support. If you are not already in psychotherapy, it can be helpful to meet with me more often &/or have longer sessions for the first few weeks of your treatment -  to track any differences you are feeling, to talk about managing the symptoms you still have in the meantime, and any other issues that may come up during that time.  This is different than psychotherapy.  You & I can discuss and decide together what sort of plan would work best for you.

In psychotherapy, you can work on changing long-standing behavior patterns or ways of negative thinking that may be holding you back from living to your true potential.  Again, research tells us that for depression & anxiety, the most effective treatment approach is psychiatric medication and psychotherapy together.  I will do my best to help you find a therapist that meets your preferences. Some people don't feel stable enough for psychotherapy when their symptoms are too severe, and will wait until they are feeling better after taking a medication for a while first, before starting or re-starting psychotherapy.


 Seeing a provider for psychiatric issues is a sensitive issue that I understand people are concerned or wary about.  I assure you that what is said in our sessions, and the treatment plan we design together, will be kep completely confidential.  The only situations in which I am required to release information without your explicit permission are emergencies, like: if you are at risk of harming yourself, if you are at risk of hurting someone else or have named someone you're planning to hurt, or if a child or elderly person is being abused. Otherwise, no one - not your family, your primary care or other provider, your employer, your insurance company, no one is released any information about our sessions, including whether or not I even see you as a patient - unless you give me permission. If you will be billing your insurance company for reimbursement, I may be asked to provide the insurer some information - usually a diagnosis code and how long our sessions last - but only if you request that I do this.  I will not provide information to anyone without you first signing a document granting me permission to do so.

Please call (510)599-9421 or email [email protected] for more information or to schedule an evaluation. Please note this page is still being developed.