What Is It and How Does it Work?

Who can practice psychotherapy?

It's easy to get confused about the various titles and licenses of practicing mental health professionals. Clinicians who are legally certified and licensed to practice psychotherapy, include:

  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT)
  • Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW)
  • Licensed Psychologists (PhD or PsyD)
  • Psychiatrists (MD's specializing in mental health).
  • Psychiatric Registered Nurses
  • In some states there are other titles for Master's level therapists, such as Licensed Psychological Counselor (LPC).

All of these licenses require at least a Master's degree and many hours of supervised, post-graduate clinical work with clients.

Each type of license differs slightly in the emphasis and nature of the work. A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California is required to complete 3,000 hours of supervised work, and pass an oral and written licensing exam. They are qualified to work with clients in any area that involves relationships. Since we are all constantly dealing with relationships in nearly every aspect of life, this covers a vast array of issues.

Note that the many Psychiatrists (MD's) are not interested in doing talk therapy and mainly evaluate patients and prescribe psychiatric medications, requiring only occasional return visits. Of course there are some exceptions.

What is Psychotherapy and How can it help?

This would be a complex answer if I attempted to cover all the different types of therapy, theories of personality and techniques or orientations to psychotherapy. So I'll stick to what I do as a therapist.

Psychotherapy is the contract, between a therapist and client, to spend a period of time exploring particular problems that are causing the client distress or dissatisfaction in their life.

Psychotherapy is sometimes referred to as "talk therapy" or "interpersonal therapy."

I used to say that psychotherapy is rarely a "quick fix." But since embracing the practice of Energy Psychology - particularly EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), my belief in quick fixes have been radically altered. What I once misjudged as inauthentic pseudo-healing methods, I now regard as real-life miracles in healing. And I'm blessed to witness them every day!

Regardless of the techniques used in therapy, having a good, trusting relationship with your therapist is essential. It can be very rewarding and incredibly profound when the client and therapist are a good match, and they are committed to working together. If they are a poor match, or if the client is unsure or ambivalent about showing up and doing the work, it can prove ineffective and unsatisfying.

Therapy involves a real relationship between two people. Therapy is not a normal conversation, like you would have with your friend or co-worker. It is the one hour per week where you can be free to say or express anything you want, where you can drop all pretenses and conformities, and be in the moment with another human being.

We spend a great deal of our time, trying to be what we think others expect us to be, or trying to be liked, or accepted. We keep much of ourselves hidden from most people, and often hidden from ourselves as well. When we live our lives not being "authentic," not being our genuine selves, we become unhappy, and often depressed. We forget how to be intimate, open, honest and true to ourselves. We forget what we want. We forget who we are. We lose our voice, and we become more fearful.

Psychotherapy is the peeling away of the layers of the "false" self, not by force, but by patient, compassionate, mindful inquiry and attention. And now, with the powerful techniques of energy psychology, we have a precise method of eliminating traumas, unconscious negative beliefs, crippling and distorted self-images, and chronic and painful emotional states that keep us blind to our true potential.

These methods, combined with a compassionate, empathic guide, provide the atmosphere for transformation. There is tremendous healing in being witnessed and seen for who you really are, without any judgment or criticism for your thoughts and feelings.

What is eventually gained is greater Self-awareness. Feeling more alive, energized, peaceful and awake. Being more Mindful, more compassionate and tolerant of one's humanity and of others. Forgiveness. Letting go of deeply rooted guilt and shame. Self Acceptance. Greater confidence and clarity about wants and needs. More intimacy and connection with others. A clearer vision of what life is about, and what your goals are, to name just a few of the benefits. There are many more.

What is Transpersonal Psychotherapy?

"Transpersonal Psychotherapy" is a therapy approach in which the therapist recognizes that the ultimate truth of existence is not something that can be neatly packaged, figured out, analyzed, or grasped at all by the thinking mind. Therefor it explores what is unseen and unfelt, and unknown. The therapy is experiential - that is it's not just rehearsal for the outside "reality," but transformative in the moment. Whatever other psychotherapeutic techniques are used, the fundamental premise of healing and transformation, is that what is True and Eternal within you, is Present and available NOW, if you choose to open to it's existence.

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)

EFT Tapping is a powerful and fast acting energy healing technique, similar to acupuncture, but without needles, and applicable to a vast array of issues from psychological to physical. Watch the video below to learn more about the benefits of EFT as an approach to therapy and coaching.

To schedule an appointment for Psychotherapy or EFT in the Sonoma County area, or to arrange for a Phone Counseling session, call Santa Rosa Psychotherapist -

Ben Schwarcz, MA, MFT
(707) 326-5566

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