Psychotherapy FAQs

What services do you offer?
I provide individual and couples therapy to adults of all ages – including young adults and Seniors.
What is psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is a process during which a client works in close collaboration with a mental health practitioner to reduce distressing emotional experiences such as depression or anxiety; to change behaviors such as procrastination or angry outbursts; and to improve relationships, work, and other life activities. How psychotherapy is structured varies according to the approach of the therapist, and the particular difficulty being treated. Please see About Dr. Abarbanel for more about my treatment approach.
What happens once I email or call you?
I will return your email or call and try to arrange a phone conversation as soon as possible. We will talk about your concerns, and I will answer what questions I can. We can discuss fees and payment on the phone. If you decide to go forward, we will arrange an appointment in my office.
What can I do to get ready for therapy?
An important first step is to set goals. Ask yourself, “How would I like to be different by the end of therapy?” Think specifically about changes you’d like to make at work, at home, in your relationships with family, friends, co-workers, and others. Think about what symptoms have been bothering you and which you’d like to decrease or eliminate. I will help you evaluate and refine these goals and help you decide which goals you can tackle on your own and which goals you might want to work on in therapy.
What should I expect in the first session?
It is quite normal to feel nervous before your first therapy session. I find that clients quickly begin to feel more relaxed and comfortable once we have met and begin to discuss their concerns. During the first session, I typically ask you to describe the reasons for which you are seeking psychotherapy, and we discuss your goals. We also begin to develop a mutual understanding of the causes of your distress, and we determine if we are well-matched to work together.
How long does therapy last?
The length of treatment varies significantly depending on your goals and the nature of your psychological issue. Some problems can be treated in a relatively brief time period (i.e., 8-12 sessions), while others take more time to accomplish. During our initial meetings, I will offer my impressions of your treatment needs and anticipated length of therapy. It’s important to discuss any financial or time considerations you have as we develop and agree upon a treatment plan.
How do I know if therapy is working?
A comfortable rapport and a sense of a shared effort indicate a positive start to therapy. Patients often experience a wide range of emotions during psychotherapy. This is to be expected. In fact, expressing these upsetting feelings and thoughts may mean you are getting directly to the heart of the matter. If you don’t think you are making progress with your therapy, I encourage you to discuss it with me. Of course, reaching your primary goals is the main sign of success, and will help you decide when to end treatment.
Do you prescribe medication?
Psychologists in California do not currently prescribe medications, but I work closely with psychiatrists who can prescribe medications when they are indicated. Many patients are treated without medications, but some disorders respond better to a combination of medication and cognitive therapy. We can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of medication during therapy, and I will offer my impressions on the value of medication to treat your unique psychological issue.

I welcome any of your questions about therapy and how I work.
For a free phone consultation please email: or complete my Contact Form.