Nahed Sammani Stefany, MS-LMFT
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

How Does Therapy Help

When you initially contact me, I will spend about 15 minutes with you to see if we could make a good fit. We will discuss my specialties, briefly talk about the stress you are experiencing and determine how many session it might possibly take to help alleviate your stress and how do I work with your particular issue.

Children, ages 5-12, the parents are complately involved in their sessions. Work with children of that age is through play. Fortunately my office is equipped with a great play room including a sandtray that usually helps children express their issues through play.

Teens 12-18, legally have a priviledge to confidentiality. I am known to build a quick rapport with teens and they become comfortable in my presence. I could relate to them and reach them to hear their stresses whether its school, parents, divorce, drugs, identity issues, grief or simply a hearing ear.

Adults sessions are typically 50 mintues of talk therapy that could include help with anxiety through teaching breathing techniques, process through guided imagery or meditation, or just a support system for life’s stresses.

I usually discuss your financial situation and whether or not I accept your insurance plan. I am on the panel for the two big insurance companies Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Cigna and Blue Shield of CA. I also work on a sliding scale that I am willing to discuss with you where I could help you and get paid at the same time. I do accept credit cards, checks, cash and super bill your insurance company if I am not on their panel.

Talk Therapy: Off the Couch and into the Lab

Researchers gather evidence that talk therapy works -- and keeps on working

By Raymond A. Levy and J. Stuart Ablon  | February 23, 2010

A remarkably important event has just occurred in the world of psychology:  A leading, peer-reviewed journal has published the strongest evidence yet that psychodynamic psychotherapy -- “talk therapy” -- works. In fact, it not only works, it keeps working long after the sessions stop.

Full disclosure: We report this not as disinterested observers, but as psychotherapists and researchers on the process and efficacy of therapy. Our book, “Handbook of Evidence-Based Psychodynamic Psychotherapy,” summarized the body of research through last year and another will follow late this year. Still, we can state as fact: The movement to establish an evidence base for psychodynamic therapy has taken a giant new step forward. This new academic paper reports positive findings about the form of therapy that began with Sigmund Freud and has historically been utilized more than any other psychotherapy treatment. What does modern psychodynamic psychotherapy look like? Its distinctive features include several basic building blocks: A focus on emotion and relationships; identification of recurring themes and patterns; discussion of past experiences; a focus on the therapy relationship; exploration of attempts to avoid distressing thoughts and feelings; and exploration of fantasy life.

Overall, the paper found, psychodynamic psychotherapy demonstrates efficacy at least equivalent to other psychotherapy treatments commonly labeled as “empirically supported” and “evidence based.” And in fact, it notes, psychodynamic therapy's "active ingredients" are shared by many other forms of therapy as well.

Do You Need Talk Therapy, Medication, or Both?

Drugs work faster, but not better

Medication often works faster than talk therapy. On the other hand, talk therapy promises something pills can't: the life skills for managing inappropriate emotions, countering negative thought patterns, and forging closer, more productive relationships. These tools can also help prevent subsequent episodes of depression.

"Therapy is a commitment of time and money, and it's not a quick fix," says Jayne Bloch, a certified psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City. "It puts you in a position of vulnerability—seeking help and opening yourself up to self-discovery. But the rewards are great. Getting to understand yourself and learning to experience the range of one's emotions helps to create more options in your life." Talk therapy isn't self-indulgent chatter or a placebo. It works, especially if the patient is in the hands of a skilled and compassionate therapist.

Studies show that people with personality disorders (a classification that covers many of the most common mental health problems) recover seven times faster with the help of therapy than they would without treatment.

When therapy works best.

Therapy is particularly effective against anxiety disorders, social phobias, and posttraumatic stress disorder, though medication is critical for treating other mental health conditions, such as panic disorder and schizophrenia.

Research suggests that talk therapy even causes changes in brain function similar to those produced by medication.

"Treatment saved my family"

Therapy with medication

Certain types of talk therapy, namely cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy, are as effective—but not more effective—than medication for mild or moderate depressions. People with severe depression require medication as well.

"The ideal treatment in most cases is a combination of medication and therapy," says Kenneth Robbins, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a adviser.

In one study of depressed patients taking medication, 70% of the patients who also received intensive interpersonal psychotherapy experienced a significant reduction in symptoms after five weeks, compared to just 51% of the patients who received only 20-minute support sessions.

Twelve months later nearly all of the patients who initially responded to therapy continued to have reduced symptoms, and the disparity between the two groups was even more dramatic. The researchers noted that interpersonal psychotherapy was "significantly more effective in increasing social functioning."

Espanol العربية Depression Anxiety Acculturation Grief