Frequently Asked Questions
+ What can I expect from therapy with Dr. Koby Frances?
Therapy is a process that helps improve people’s quality of life in a meaningful, tangible and lasting way. When you meet Dr. Koby Frances, he will listen carefully, make a thoughtful assessment of your situation and give a lot of meaningful feedback. Your mental health history, family history, relationship patterns and methods of coping are some of the topics you will address.
+ What methods and approaches does Dr. Koby Frances use?
Dr. Koby Frances’ approach emphasizes empowerment, collaboration, resilience and hope. Dr. Koby Frances has training and experience in all modalities and uses the best combination of approaches to suit each person's unique needs. Sometimes a more structured, goal setting approach is used. At other times, the focus is on helping you get in touch with deeper thoughts or feelings. Dr. Koby Frances’ deep understanding of the mind and relationships is informed by the psychodynamic psychoanalytic perspective. He also draws from other modalities when needed such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), existential and mindfulness approaches.
+ How long until I start feeling better?
Research studies consistently demonstrate the efficacy of psychotherapy to help people in a relatively short period of time. For some that could be a few sessions. For others, a few weeks or months. In fact, studies show that most people who stay in therapy for at least a few weeks or months can make lasting improvements in their self-esteem, relationships, mental-health and ability to master challenges. That said, it is specifically the level of trust and openness between the therapist and patient that determines the outcome of therapy and the speed of progress. Its important therefore to find a therapist who you like and who you feel respect you.
+ What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist or social worker and the mental health counselor?
In terms of these professionals as practicing psychotherapists, it usually depends much more on the individual clinician rather than the degree that they have. That said, each of these degrees differs significantly in how much they teach psychotherapy.
Psychiatrist is a medical doctor (MD) whose training and experience is usually based on the medical model of diagnosis and treatment and who tends to specialize in psychopharmacology or in providing medications for different psychological disorders. Unless they receive additional training, they usually have only a minimal amount of background in providing psychotherapy.
Social workers (often referred to as LCSW or MSW) or mental health counselors (LMHC) often receive 2 to 3 years of training and may or may not get clinical experience during that time depending on the specific program. After they graduate, many Masters level therapists spend years training at a special postgraduate institute to hone their craft and learn in-depth psychotherapy.
Psychologists are professionals who have a doctorate degree in clinical psychology (PhD or PsyD) and a significant amount of rigorous training and experience in providing psychotherapy (5-7 years). Of all the mental health professions, Psychologists are specifically trained to identify, assess, study and treat the full gamut of emotional and psychological challenges and the wide spectrum of life-concerns that people struggle with.
+ What are the risks associated with psychotherapy?
There are very few risks associated with psychotherapy, however, as expected, most people will experience some emotional discomfort as they grow, try new strategies and learn to experience their emotions more fully. If a person is consistently feeling badly about themselves or is getting much worse after beginning psychotherapy, this can signal that they may need a different approach.
+ What can I do to get the most out of my therapy?
Three guidelines that can help facilitate the process significantly.
Be as honest and open as you possibly can including feedback about what is helpful or not helpful for the therapist to say and do
Start a journal or diary where are you can jot things down that you think of in between sessions that you want to bring up. This can include uncomfortable feelings, important interactions, fantasies you are having and night dreams
In addition to attending sessions regularly, there are a lot of things to do on our own to maintain and improve our mental health. Diet and exercise is key. Having close friends, meaningful relationships, hobbies and down-time can make a huge difference in our levels of stress. Having larger values and beliefs outside of our daily lives is also very important.
+ How will I know if the therapist is a good fit for me?
While there is no formula or guarantee, the best method is to use your gut and your best judgment. If you feel connected to the therapist and trust that they have your best interests in mind then it is probably worth continuing with them to see if things improve in your life. If, on the other hand, you are feeling judged and criticized or embarrassed to talk to them, you should tell them how you are feeling and then decide based on how they react.
+ What are some signs that a therapist is acting unethically or unprofessionally?
Here are some questionable behaviors that should make you think twice:
If the therapist is giving too much advice or disclosing too much personal information, or if they are taking everything that you're saying and relating it back to themselves.
If they are touching you in a way that feels inappropriate. If they are acting overly flirtatious or overtly sexual that’s a cause of concern.
If they are breaking confidentiality or not respecting your privacy enough.
If they are starting sessions late or ending early on a consistent basis.
If they are shaming you or making you feel like you are always in the wrong or speaking to you in a harsh way.
+ If someone I know needs help, what's the best way to refer them for psychological services?
When we know someone who needs help we have a responsibility to try and connect them to a professional. Based on their level of distress and their level of openness, here are some tried-and-true ways to help smoothen the process:
Soft: It sounds like you're under a lot of stress. Are you talking to anyone about this like a friend, mentor or Therapist? This situation can be so stressful, there’s no reason why you should have to go through it on your own.
Medium: I know from my friend or from my own personal experience that therapy can really help to clarify these types of issue. Do you want me to help you find someone good?
Direct: Give them a piece of paper or text/email them the number of a therapist you know is good and say "I heard this person is incredible. Give them a call when you are ready to reach out."
Very direct: I care about you a lot, and I'm always here for you, but I'm going to just be honest, that I think (you need/you would benefit from going) to see a professional right away. Here is the number of a good person or let’s find the right person for you. Or I can even come with you to your first appointment.