Psychotherapy is a general term that is used to describe the process of treating psychological disorders and mental distress. During this process, Dr. Richman helps the client tackle a specific or general problem such as a particular mental illness or a source of life stress. Appropriate combinations of various techniques are used within an appropriate inter-personal relationship between client and qualified practitioner to assist the client with dealing with emotional issues, performance issues and other life and career problems.
Psychotherapy includes interactive processes between a person or group and a qualified mental health professional such as Dr. Melissa Richman, Psy.D, LCSW. Its purpose is the exploration of thoughts, feelings and behavior for the purpose of problem solving or achieving higher levels of functioning. Psychotherapy aims to increase the individual’s sense of his/her own well-being. Psychotherapists like Dr. Richman employ a range of techniques based on experiential relationship building, dialogue, communication and behavior change that are designed to improve the mental health of a client or patient, or to improve group relationships (such as in a family).
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapeutic treatment that helps patients understand the thoughts and feelings that influence behaviors through a number of goal-oriented, explicit systematic procedures. The name refers to behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, and to therapy based upon a combination of basic behavioral and cognitive principles and research. When working with patients dealing with anxiety and depression, Dr. Richman often uses a blend of cognitive and behavioral therapy.
Cognitive behavior therapy is generally short-term and focused on helping clients deal with a very specific problem. During the course of treatment, people learn how to identify and change destructive or disturbing thought patterns that have a negative influence on behavior. CBT is thought to be effective for the treatment of a variety of conditions, including mood, anxiety, personality, eating, substance abuse, tic, and psychotic disorders.
Cognitive behavior therapy is often best-suited for clients who are comfortable with introspection. In order for CBT to be effective, the individual must be ready and willing to spend time and effort analyzing his or her thoughts and feelings. Such self-analysis can be difficult, but it is a great way to learn more about how internal states impact outward behavior.
Couples therapy is about seemingly intractable problems with a relationship history, where emotions are the target and the agent of change. If your relationship is faltering or needing support, it makes sense to work with a therapist who specializes in couples therapy and really understands how to help couples in your situation. Dr. Melissa Richman is a relationship expert, with extensive specialized training in how to help couples in distress find their way back to friendship and back to a loving connection.
Divorce counseling is often a useful means of ending the marriage peacefully and is often encouraged when one of the parties, typically the non-initiator of the divorce, requests marriage counseling.
In divorce counseling the initiator is provided with a safe setting to tell the other spouse why his or her decision is irrevocable. And the spouse gets a safe place to tell the initiator his or her feelings about the divorce and the relationship. A skillful counselor like Dr. Melissa Richman can help to keep the discussion off guilt and blaming and help the couple reach a conclusion that the marriage, however disappointing, is over.
Dr. Richman can be called upon to be an expret witness. An expert witness is a person who is permitted to testify at a trial because of special knowledge or proficiency in a particular field that is relevant to the case. The judge may consider the witness’s specialized (scientific, technical or other) opinion about evidence or about facts before the court within the expert’s area of expertise, referred to as an “expert opinion”. Expert witnesses may also deliver “expert evidence” within the area of their expertise. Their testimony may be rebutted by testimony from other experts or by other evidence or facts.
Expert psychotherapists might be a better choice as witnesses than a treating therapist, and using them could avoid many potential conflicts and issues around credibility. Expert psychotherapists can say what they want and are not bound to a therapeutic alliance with the patient. They are in a position to consider all the data and give it proportional weight. They usually have access to more corroborating information and, by virtue of their experience, should be asking for complete records and background data which provide a more complete understanding of the patient’s history. When properly trained and certified as Dr. Richman is, an expert psychotherapist is more knowledgeable in courtroom procedure, rules of evidence, the legal standards to which their opinions are being applied, and the limitations of psychological testimony.
Dr. Richman is available to do consultations. The value of consultation in good medical practice is equally relevant in the practice of psychiatry including psychotherapy. It is one important example of the need for collaboration in medicine, in clinical, educational, and administrative spheres. Excessive protection of the patient’s privacy and the psychotherapist’s autonomy can lead to lost opportunity for both participants. Appropriate introduction of the opinion of a respected colleague can have facilitating and creative effects upon the psychotherapy. Difficulty in ongoing psychotherapy often occurs when imbalance develops, and consultation can lead to restoration of an appropriate balance. Long-standing respectful professional association between consulting colleagues can make consultation more comfortable and profitable. It is our opinion that increased readiness to seek appropriate consultations in psychotherapy can be of considerable benefit to psychotherapists, to their patients, and to the consultants with whom they share their concerns.
Family therapy, also referred to as couple and family therapy, marriage and family therapy, family systems therapy, and family counseling, is a branch of psychotherapy that works with families to nurture change and development. It tends to view change in terms of the systems of interaction between family members. It emphasizes family relationships as an important factor in psychological health.
Family therapy is based on the belief that the family is a unique social system with its own structure and patterns of communication. These patterns are determined by many factors, including the parents’ beliefs and values, the personalities of all family members, and the influence of the extended family (grandparents, aunts, and uncles). As a result of these variables, each family develops its own unique personality, which is powerful and affects all of its members.
During therapy sessions with Dr. Richman, the family’s strengths are used to help them handle their problems. All members take responsibility for problems. Some family members may need to change their behavior more than others.
Family therapy is a very active type of therapy, and family members are often given assignments. For example, parents may be asked to delegate more responsibilities to their children. The number of sessions required varies, depending on the severity of the problems and the willingness of the members to participate in therapy. The family and Dr. Richman set mutual goals and discuss the length of time expected to achieve the goals.
Teletherapy involves the ability to receive psychotherapy services via videoconferencing or telephone instead of an appointment in the office. Benefits to teletherapy include the following:
- Convenience: Teletherapy allows you to receive specialized behavioral health treatment from the comfort of your own surroundings.
- Increased access: Teletherapy may allow you to overcome barriers to psychotherapy care such as distance and availability.
- Quality of care: Teletherapy may allow for greater continuity of care and access to an increased range of mental health services and expertise.
- Privacy: Dr. Richman uses a teletherapy video platform which is encrypted and HIPAA-protected.
- Simplicity of use: To get started, simply download an application on a computer or tablet with a webcam, or alternatively download the application to a smartphone. Another option is using the telephone itself.
In order to qualify for teletherapy with Dr. Richman, you must be located out of Southern California at the time of the appointment. Dr. Richman recommends That although teletherapy is an option it does not replace live face to face psychotherapy if you are local and able to make an appointment live in the office.