How Therapy Works
Therapy is a thoughtful, mature, open dialogue between you and me. The intent of therapy is to enhance your life, to provide you with greater clarity, to arm you with the skills to face challenges — to open the doors to possibility.
Studies show that regular therapy sessions, either combined with medication or alone, greatly improve your mental health and your ability to identify and cope with life’s toughest situations and experiences.
Your journey in therapy may likely be filled with joy, frustration, anger, success, sadness, and just about any emotion possible. It is not easy, but the outcome of self-acceptance and greater happiness is worth the emotional experiences.
I am confident that therapy can help:
- Increase your confidence
- Provide a sense of peace and well-being
- Improve how you manage stress and anxiety
And, our conversations are always confidential.
The First Therapy Session
The first time we meet—our first therapy session, or consultation—will take place in my office and last 50 minutes. After completing a short, basic form where you will provide your name and contact information we will then discuss the events that led you to seek therapy.
Throughout our discussion, I will ask you a variety of questions that will help me to know more about you and what you are wanting to explore in therapy. Through this discussion, I will share some initial observations and thoughts about the potential for self-discovery and healing.
Our discussion is organic and each discussion with each client is unique. Because of this, your treatment will be as unique as you, your goals, and your situation.
Before the hour ends, we will come up with a beginning game plan for our future therapy sessions and I will then briefly discuss my office policies, cancellation policies and the fees.
Choosing a Therapist
The relationship with your therapist is unique to any other you may have. Feelings of trust and comfort are paramount; and like most interactions between two humans, much of your choice will come down to “feeling right.”
If, after our first session, you feel good about our discussion, interaction, and our time together, I recommend an additional four to five sessions to see how our relationship continues.
Do I Lie Down?
My office includes a variety of seating options, from chairs to sofas. You do not, contrary to what you may have seen on television or in the movies, have to lie down during our sessions.
Sometimes the benefits of therapy are augmented by the prescription of medication to help manage anxiety, depression or other mood issues. The decision to include medication as part of treatment is a joint one between you, me and your psychiatrist. (To understand the difference between a psychotherapist, a psychiatrist, and a social worker, see my blog entry on the subject.) Sometimes medication is prescribed for a short period of time, and other times it is part of a long-term solution. Every situation is unique and the inclusion and duration of medication in your treatment will be considered individually.
Duration of Therapy
Each person’s length of time in therapy is different. Some people work on issues for a shorter period of time and cease coming, and others find that one circumstance uncovers another situation and choose to do deeper and longer work. There is no one right answer.
The First Step
You have made a brave decision to even consider seeking therapy. Take the first step and either contact me, Susan Berlin, or call my Washington, DC office (202-333-1787) to make an initial appointment.
Susan is a bright and compassionate woman who sees the best in people and genuinely wants to help them get to a place where they are living a joy filled life!
Susan Berlin is an excellent psychotherapist and a person of high integrity.
Susan Berlin is an expert clinician specializing in substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders. I have known Susan personally and professionally for many years and she is always a top referral for clients I have in need of individual, couples, or family therapy in the DC area. Her ability to establish a beneficial relationship with clients, and the skill to motivate, empower and support growth are the keystones of Susan's top-notch ability to help those suffering. Susan comes with my highest recommendation.
I have known Susan Berlin for over a decade. When I was running the evening program for the Kolmac Clinic in Washington, DC, an Intensive Outpatient Program for individuals seeking treatment for alcohol and or substance abuse issues, I referred heavily to Susan when our patients were completing our program and looking for continued support in their recovery, or to continue working on deeper issues needing psychotherapy. The results were always outstanding and the feedback from the patients wonderful. When I left Kolmac and entered into private practice, Susan was instrumental in my success and mentored me in the transition from an institutional to a private practice environment and I continue to have the honor and privilege of doing co-facilitated couples work with her. To be an outstanding psychotherapist one must possesses vast knowledge, compassion, insight, and empathy. To practice addiction work one must possesses great passion, grit, experience and determination. Few therapist posses either, Susan Berlin possesses both and her knowledge of the addiction field is second to none, which is paramount in a time when once privately operated addiction programs are being acquired by large profit-driven conglomerates. I am proud to consider Susan a college and friend and do not hesitate to refer patients of mine to her when I believe she is more appropriate to their circumstance.
I was exceptionally lucky to be introduced to Susan in the early days of my work in the field of addiction and trauma. She is an incredible therapist, whose work demonstrates the highest level of integrity, skill and empathy. Susan is the cornerstone of a large network of therapists, all of whom have benefitted from both Susan's core knowledge of addiction work as well as a connection to skilled treatment providers nearby and across the country. She is generous, and warm, and uses a variety of techniques to help move her clients to grow and change . I count Susan one of the gems in our field and I feel grateful to know her as a colleague and a friend.
To prepare for your visit, patient forms can be downloaded and completed before your appointment.