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How Can Therapy Help Me?

Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.

A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:

  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships
  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
  • Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
  • Improving communications and listening skills
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence

People who are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives will find therapy to be the most useful. Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:

  • Compassion, respect and understanding
  • Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
  • Real strategies for enacting positive change
  • Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance

Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around fifty minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. It is important to process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions.

When To Choose A Younger Therapist

In my experience, teenage clients often feel most comfortable working with a younger therapist. The therapist’s gender does not seem to matter as much as finding someone your teen can identify with.

Teenage issues could manifest as blowing off curfew, not doing chores, not doing homework, lying, spending most or all of their free time with peers or girlfriend/boyfriends, ditching school, eating disorders, getting caught with drugs, or the suspicion of drug use, underage drinking … and then graduating to teen pregnancy, trouble with the law (i.e. D.U.I’s etc.) and dropping out of school altogether and so on.

Without a doubt, these are all extremely serious issues that often alarm parents into seeking treatment for their son or daughter. If it was easy to sit down your child, and problem solve ways to correct these acting out behaviors, parents would figure it out. The problem that most parents face is their teen Does not believe and Cannot be convinced that You as the parent can relate.

Think strategically! It is hard enough to get a teenager to open up about what is happening in their lives. Rather than having your teen view their new therapist as an extension of you as the parent, find someone younger (in their 20’s or 30’s) to treat your child. First, they will most likely have more common ground with your teenager, which can help when building rapport. And second, just their appearance alone can help to disarm your teen of their most ingrained defenses.

Therapists can serve as a wonderful bridge between you and your troubled teen. They can help to re-open the lines of communication and get you both talking again.

5 Easy Steps to Finding The Right Therapist For You

A new client can easily feel overwhelmed, when beginning the process to find a therapist. Whether you are searching on google or using a therapist locator site to search by city or zip code, all of a sudden there are 50 to 100 professionals to choose from.

First, I encourage people to think about location, location, location! Look for professionals who are local so you won’t have to sit in freeway traffic or travel a long distance for appointments. Your therapist should be close by in case you need to reschedule for a different time, or if a pressing issue or emergency arises and you need to come in on short notice. You’ll be glad that you chose someone nearby.

Second, think strategically. If you have always felt more comfortable speaking with women, choose a female therapist and vice versa. Most therapists are well-trained and capable to treat the issues you need help with, but, keep in mind that therapy will be far less effective if you aren’t comfortable sharing with your therapist from the beginning of treatment.

Third, you may want to shop around a little. It’s okay to say to a new therapist “I’m trying out different therapists to see who is a good fit.” If you find you are not feeling heard of understood by your therapist after the second session (or even the first), don’t hesitate to try out someone else in your area. Therapy is an investment of your most valuable asset – TIME. Don’t waste your time with a therapist who does not provide a comfortable, safe, relaxed setting AND who you don’t feel understands your goals for treatment.

Fourth, is the price right for you? Professionals in private practice do tend to charge a hundred dollars or more per session depending on their experience level. If you cannot afford to pay this fee or you want to use your insurance, your best bet will be to look into counseling agencies in your area. The only downside to agencies will be the level of experience your therapist will likely possess. Agencies typically employ interns rather than licensed professionals who have much more clinical experience to draw from. Some clients in my practice have come from counseling agencies and found that they either could not be seen as frequently as they would like, or, they discovered that they needed someone who had more clinical and life experience to offer them. Clients who choose to see a professional in private practice often find that they truly receive quality treatment tailored to their specific needs after paying more.

Fifth, challenge can be a good thing. A good therapist will be caring and compassionate while also able to challenge you in the areas that need change or improvement. If you find that your therapist rarely speaks or provides you with feedback, this may not be the best treatment for your money. Therapy works best when it is interactive and collaborative rather than passive and directionless. Discuss your goals for treatment and look for a therapist that will keep you on track while also giving issues the time they deserve. Remember, therapy is an investment of your time and money – choose someone who feels right for you!

Hello and welcome! My name is Melissa Pedersen and I am a child and adult therapist in the San Pedro/SouthBay area and I am excited to meet all new and prospective clients! I work with people dealing with trauma, grief and loss, depression, anxiety, PTSD, pre-marital, marital issues, parenting issues and much more.

For more detailed information, check out my website at! Or call me for a free phone consultation @ 310-801-8152.