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As soon as I heard his voice on the phone I could feel the anxiety and fear that prompted him to make the call, asking me for an appointment. I thought back and imagined how I felt when I had to turn to another for help, hoping I would not be judged, and that I would be believed. In my first response I would need to meet him right where he is emotionally in this moment.

 “Come in for a session,” I said. “You can tell me what is happening in your life: what is troubling you, getting in your way. Let’s look at it together. Let’s look at your history, make sense of your life, to understand what it is like to be you.”

“Okay,” he replied, “but how long will therapy take and how often will we need to meet? I’ve never done this before. My friends say it can take years.”

“That is not necessarily true. Take one step at a time. Just see how you feel talking with me,” I answered. “If you are comfortable, and if we have the right chemistry, we can decide to set up more sessions. No need to decide in advance how long therapy will be. You have the ultimate say in determining that. But before deciding to work with me, you should make sure that you feel understood by me; that you feel accepted as you are; that you leave the session with a renewed sense of hope. Our rapport will be one of your strongest tools for healing.”

When I start therapy with a client I use my empathy like an instrument to help me understand him; at the same time I establish a healing alliance that moves our work forward. The relationship is the foundation and the empathy is the instrument that promotes emotional healing.

Jed Rosen, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.


So you decided to go see a specific psychotherapist, but you are not quite sure of what to expect. Of course, you will be nervous but that is where I, as your potential therapist, come in.

It is my responsibility to help you begin to “talk” in the room. It is my job to help you feel safe and comfortable enough to speak. Some first-timers worry about showing too much emotion like crying a lot, or getting really angry in front of someone that he/she doesn’t really know. It’s okay if you “lose” it and it’s just as okay if you don’t. It’s on me and the atmosphere I create to help you transform “talk” into “disclose” and slowly over time, “disclose” into “reveal.” Within a short period of time my client and I have developed a platform of “trust.”

Every word, smile, gesture, tear and moment is kept confidential. As a licensed professional and personally, I know there is no therapy without complete confidentiality.

So let me put you at ease and let you know that whatever the issue or personal problem you have, there are solutions. There is hope. I would be privileged to guide you through the confusion of the issue at hand. I will do so with compassion, understanding and a deep empathic reassuring heart. The goal of psychotherapy is to get you “unstuck” and help you move your life forward.

Patricia L. Saul, Ph.D.