Frequently Asked Questions
1. What kind of problems do you treat? It is critical to understand the connection between an individual and his or her symptoms. Such symptoms may include anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, obsessive or compulsive behaviors, feelings of inadequacy, marital discord, appetite and sleep difficulties, and loss of sexual desire or zest for life. I see patients who are 18 years of age or older.
2. How are you different than any of the other therapists in the New York area? I have spent decades learning and teaching others how to do this work. Competing theories of mind and technique have fostered a public consensus that ‘anything goes’ or ‘anything works.’ Neither is true. A famous psychoanalyst, Otto Fenichel, once said, “The data of psychoanalysis is irrational; not the method.” Good treatment results in lasting change and cure.
3. What can I expect in my first session? A good initial consultation, like psychoanalytic treatment itself, requires tact and interest. We will meet in my New York office and you will be invited to discuss your concerns. Normally, I will summarize my understanding of the central areas of conflict by the end of that hour. I will likely want to see you in the following few days to reinforce a reflective process that has already begun and to get a better grasp of your life story. Emergent situations will never be tabled.
4. I worry that I will be trapped into seeing you. If I feel uncomfortable, will I feel free to go elsewhere? Almost everyone who begins treatment has significant and important fears. If I sense uncertainty or reluctance I will address it and invite you to voice your concerns fully. A therapy, as is true of any relationship founded in significant mistrust, is likely destined to failure and, for that reason, is to be avoided.
5. You indicate that you prescribe medicine and therapy. Why is this important? My experience using antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications and sleep preparations allows me to address the whole potential clinical problem. It also allows me to offer immediate relief, while evaluating and discussing the ongoing need for such medicine as the treatment unfolds.
6. How long is each session? Sessions are typically 45 minutes in length. On occasion I will schedule double sessions for patients who, for example, travel great distances to see me in my New York office.
7. How are fees handled and do you take insurance? I normally bill patients at the end of each month. I do not take insurance, but will work with clients to obtain full available reimbursement. Fees are discussed early in consultation. Individual circumstances and needs are taken into account. Intensive psychoanalytic psychotherapy or psychoanalysis, with multiple sessions per week, can be financially difficult and every effort is made to help with that reality. If preferred, I accept most major credit cards.
8. You mention the need for twice-a-week treatment, at a minimum. Why is this necessary? The once-a-week hour is largely filled with “catching up.” There is little opportunity to link current matters to longer life trends, or to understand and demonstrate the painful repetitions that reemerge in the relationship between patient and analyst. Once-a-week treatment is, in my opinion, something to be avoided because it has the potential of wasting time and money while providing the illusion of care.