Frequently Asked Questions (Dan Goodkind)

What do psychologists do?

Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behaviour in a given context. Practicing psychologists have the professional training and clinical skills to help people learn to cope more effectively with life issues and mental health problems. After years of graduate school and supervised training, they can become licensed to provide a number of services, including diagnostic evaluations and psychotherapy.

What is psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is the careful, scientifically based application of a variety of techniques that help people change their behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and other personal characteristics in ways that can allow them to thrive and cope with the stresses of living.

Some people seek psychotherapy because they have felt depressed, anxious or angry for a long time. Others may want help for a chronic illness that is interfering with their emotional or physical wellbeing. Still others may have short-term problems they need help navigating. They may be going through a divorce, facing an empty nest, feeling overwhelmed by a new job or grieving a family member's death, for example.

Most people come to treatment hoping to relieve suffering as quickly as possible. Early treatment usually focuses on relief of the most troubling symptoms. As people begin to resolve the problem that brought them to psychotherapy, they learn new skills that help see themselves and the world differently. They will learn how to distinguish between situations they can change and those they can’t and how to focus on improving the things within their control. They will become aware of how lifelong relationship and personality issues affect their ability to experience intimacy and accept and appreciate themselves and others.

Why choose a psychologist for psychotherapy?

Psychologists who specialize in psychotherapy and other forms of psychological treatment are highly trained professionals with expertise in mental health assessment, treatment and behavior change. After completing a four-year undergraduate degree from the University of California, I spent seven years in graduate education to earn a doctoral degree from the University of Tennessee in 1997. This included a year-long internship at the ETSU Quillen College of Medicine Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Johnson City, TN. I've since completed hundreds of hours of continuing education and professional supervision.

American psychologists spend an average of seven years in graduate education and training to earn a doctoral degree after completing a four-year undergraduate degree. Training requirements in New Zealand are a bit different but the oversight of psychologists is equally stringent. Psychology is a regulated profession. Psychologists must adhere to a code of professional ethics, participate in continuing education and keep up with what’s happening in this fast-paced world throughout their careers.

Can your services benefit me or my child?

Signs that you could benefit from therapy include:

  • You feel an overwhelming, prolonged sense of helplessness and sadness.
  • Your problems don't seem to get better despite your efforts and help from family and friends.
  • You find it difficult to concentrate on work assignments or to carry out other everyday activities.
  • You worry excessively, expect the worst or are constantly on edge.
  • Your actions, such as drinking too much alcohol, using drugs or being aggressive, are harming you or others.

Child and family psychotherapy works with children and adolescents who experience difficulties in their emotional, social and behavioural development. The work of child psychotherapy occurs within the context of the family and the wider environment including the school environment. Attention to cognitive and academic development is an important part of this. Cognitive assessment can be very helpful. The aims of psychotherapy and assessment with children are to improve their capacity for growth and development by establishing more effective ways of coping and facilitating appropriate accommodations within their environment.

Is psychological treatment painful or difficult?

Psychological treatment is meant to lessen mental distress and suffering. The most difficult part of treatment is usually the courage it takes to get started. It’s normal to feel a little anxious prior to the first session. You don’t need to worry that you won't know what to do once the session actually begins. Psychologists have experience setting the tone and getting things started. We are trained to guide each session in effective ways to help you get closer to your goals. We are accustomed to helping people with the most difficult and sensitive of problems and we consider maintaining your privacy extremely important.

Is psychotherapy worth the cost?

Only you can answer this question. I am conscious of the cost of psychotherapy and the impact of this expense upon my customers. I will provide you with an honest appraisal of whether I can be of help to you and an estimate of the number of sessions required to achieve your goals at the end of the first session. I will tell you if I don’t think the potential benefits for you will justify the costs. I am happy to discuss these issues via telephone or email prior to scheduling.

My fees for private clients are nearly identical to what I am paid by the governmental agencies I work for. Because of this, and because there is a high demand for my services, I don't benefit financially from prolonging services. It is my goal to work myself out of a job by helping people achieve their goals.

Please contact Resolution Clinic for more information.