What Is Therapy?

"If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be."
— Maya Angelou


Psychotherapy is a process of personal growth, a process of trust and open communication that develops in a safe and confidential space. It can produce profound changes in one's personal life and is a way to experience that change is possible. It can provide a fresh perspective on your individual situation, and help you find new directions to pursue. It is important to find a therapist whose background, skills, and style match your needs. For therapy to be effective, you need to feel understood, safe, and comfortable with the therapist you choose. Finding a therapist that you trust is key to express your complete self, even the parts that you may have judged or kept hidden. In therapy you can reflect on new and different attitudes, and feelings, learn new skills, and increase your self-esteem.


Your motivation to change is the first step in finding a professional whom you are comfortable with, both of which are important factors in determining if therapy will help you. If your life isn't what you'd like it to be, if you are burdened by feelings of unhappiness, or if you are just not happy, then therapy can help you to feel more supported and better understood. It can help almost anyone, especially when life presents challenges such as relationship problems, loss of a partner, a spouse, a parent, a job, or when life's daily stresses become overwhelming and your mood is dominated by feelings of sadness, indecision, fear, loneliness, isolation, or hopelessness. Therapy can also be helpful in dealing with problems related to substance use, chronic medical conditions, or mental health issues.


  • Fully experience the present moment
  • Each and every person is connected to all things
  • Empowerment through self-discovery
  • Focus on becoming aware of ourselves, our emotions and feelings
  • Focus on the "How" of our behavior rather then the "Why"
  • Taking responsibility for our actions, which results in the freedom of personal choice
  • Implementing change is your choice not something you are told to do
  • Understanding our internal self is the key to understanding our actions, reactions, and behaviors
  • Knowing that the answers to our problems lie within helps us become more accepting of ourselves and others. This wisdom then carries over into our communications, our decisions, and our relationships


Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) are relationship specialists who treat persons involved in interpersonal relationships. They are trained to assess, diagnose and treat individuals, couples, families and groups to achieve more adequate, satisfying and productive marriage, family and social adjustment. The practice also includes premarital counseling, child counseling, divorce or separation counseling and other relationship counseling. Marriage and Family Therapists are psychotherapists and healing arts practitioners licensed by the State of California. Requirements for licensure include a related doctoral or two-year master's degree, passage of two comprehensive written examinations and at least 3,000 hours of supervised experience.

Psychotherapy services of licensed marriage and family therapists are, in many instances, eligible for insurance reimbursement. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists are providers under the TRICARE program, and many are participating providers with Blue Shield of California as well as many other preferred provider organizations. Usually a medical referral from your treating physician is necessary.

The terms "marriage, family and child counselors" (MFCCs) and "marriage and family therapists" are used interchangeably. All states that regulate the profession use the title, "marriage and family therapist."