Talk therapy has been proven to be helpful for a wide variety of people with a wide variety of psychological diagnoses. The kinds of individuals and problems that can be helped by therapy are too vast to be listed here, but one’s motivation to understand themselves and openness to the process are important for each client who strives to be helped by therapy. Also of crucial importance is the therapist’s ability to be consistent, empathic and trustworthy. When these client and therapist characteristics are achieved in a therapeutic relationship, positive results can be expected.
Why is therapy different from talking to a friend?
When therapy is conducted by a trained and experienced professional, it can be transformative as well as cathartic. A therapist has the ability to help each client understand themselves more deeply by forming a supportive alliance within which one’s unconscious struggles and conflicts can be interpreted and resolved leading to a greater sense of self acceptance and personal satisfaction.
How long should I be in therapy?
The length of one’s personal therapy is not pre-determined, rather it is linked to each client’s own personal goals and the degree to which certain psychological symptoms are interfering with their quality of life. The length of therapy is thus tailored specifically for each client.
Dr. Maloff offers 50 minute sessions for individuals. Couples sessions can either be conducted in 50 minute sessions, or 75 minute increments if necessary.
Dr. Maloff conducts sessions with clients at least one time per week in order to maximize positive results and maintain the therapeutic relationship. Many clients attend therapy more than one time per week in order to deepen one’s self work and enhance understanding of their psychological dynamics. Frequency of sessions occurring more than one time per week are agreed upon by both Dr. Maloff and the client.
What is a psychological assessment, and why are they important?
Diagnosing psychiatric disorders can at times be tricky even for mental health professionals.
The reason for this is twofold:
1. Disorders of the mind cannot be measured the way biological disorders can. There is no “emotional thermometer”, no blood test that can definitively identify dysfunction. Rather we measure what are known as “constructs”. A construct is a method of classifying something concepts, like depression, anxiety, psychosis. Mental health professionals are trained to look for symptoms that can be tell tale signs of a specific “construct” or diagnosis. This brings up the second way that diagnosing can be tricky…
2. Many psychiatric disorders that are actually very different, share some similar symptoms. So being able to differentiate one diagnosis from another becomes extremely important. Sometimes the diagnosis can be easily identified. Other times in more complex cases psychological testing can be utilized in order to definitively pinpoint a specific diagnosis.
Accuracy in diagnosis is logically extremely important, but there are some situations where precision is even more crucial.
Within the legal system there are situations where being diagnosed with a particular disorder can make the difference between a legal victory or loss, or even guilt or innocence. In these cases, both lawyers and their clients should be aware of this fact, and only visit a mental health professional skilled in testing and assessment as well as report writing in the realm of forensics.
Another situation where psychological testing is absolutely crucial is in diagnosing learning disorders. Often there are small differences between performance in certain cognitive and academic areas that may indicate the presence of a learning disability. These details CANNOT be detected during an interview or even a classroom observation. Only certain tests can detect for instance, a discrepancy between visual and auditory processing.
When a situation such as the examples above call for diagnostic accuracy and precision psychological assessments can be extremely valuable. Be sure to contact a mental health professional with expertise in this area however, because an incorrect diagnosis or poorly written report will only further exacerbate the presenting problem.
Dr. Maloff is an expert in diagnosis, testing and assessment for both academic and legal issues. He conducts these types of testing batteries regularly and is available for consultation at (310) 712-5480.