Welcome to West Coast Psychotherapy
John R. Edwards, L.C.S.W.
Certified Brainspotting Practitioner
Certified Gottman Method Couples' Therapist
A Private Counseling Practice
Anxiety | Depression | Addictions & Substance Abuse
Eating Disorders | Trauma | Relationship and Marriage Problems
Oakland | Berkeley | Alameda | San Francisco Bay Area | CA
License No. LCSW 20729
What is counseling or psychotherapy?
Traditionally, counseling has been viewed more as giving advice and solving problems in the here and now.
Psychotherapy has been viewed as a more in-depth emotional process where a person works on learning about herself or himself.
Today, counseling and psychotherapy are often used interchangeably along with the word therapy. I think of counseling and psychotherapy as one way a person chooses to address personal problems, challenges and difficulties in their life.
Counseling and psychotherapy works best when the client meets with the counselor or psychotherapist at regularly scheduled times.
Most people see a counselor or psychotherapist at least once per week.
How long will psychotherapy or counseling take?
This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions. There is a lot research available to indicate how many sessions it takes to treat a particular problem.
However, my experience has been that most clients do not fit into the research categories. For example, there are studies that indicate that anxiety should be treated in 12 to 16 sessions.
A large number of these studies or examples do not include people with multiple problems. For example a study on using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with children who are afraid to go to school generally does not include students who are afraid to go to school, who live in a "rough" neighborhood and whose parents are getting divorced and often verbally fight.
The approach I recommend is to discuss the expected length of time you will be in counseling or psychotherapy with your potential counselor or psychotherapist as many things go into determining how long you will be in counseling and psychotherapy. S/he will likely recommend a course of treatment that is appropriate for your goals.
Do you prescribe medications?
I do not prescribe medications. The only professionals that are able to prescribe medications are medical doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
Psychiatric medications are best managed by a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner.
Are you able to see people with really busy schedules?
I will do my best to accomodate your schedule but remember you're making a committment to yourself as well as to your counselor or psychotherapist.
It would be best to set aside the time for your appointments. Currently, I have a very limited number of appointments available.I only provide urgent appointments for current clients. I also offer Saturday morning appointments for couples.
I think a friend or relative may need counseling or psychotherapy. What should I do?
You can begin by talking with the person about your concerns and suggest counseling or psychotherapy as one of the methods that can be used to address the concerns that you have about the person.
The person should then be the one to actively explore counseling or psychotherapy options. If the person is not willing to actively do this then counseling or psychotherapy is most likely not a priority for her or him at this time.
I am still not sure that I need or want counseling or psychotherapy?
This decision is ultimately up to you. I can have a brief 10 minute phone conversation to help you determine if you would like to schedule an appointment with me.
If you decide to come in for an initial session we can further discuss your concerns and uncertainty. Hopefully, you will have a clearer idea if counseling or psychotherapy with me would be helpful by the end of the first session. Give it a try and see what happens.