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  • Yes, I’m unhappy, but what good is it to just complain about it? I have friends and family. How can talking to a stranger help?

Therapy and talking to an empathetic, professional who listens without judgement does help. Talk therapy has been shown to have significant and long term results. Forbes has a good article on 11 intriguing reasons to give talk therapy a try. One of the most compelling reasons it lists is the most exciting for me. Talk therapy can rewire the brain. This effect can also be seen with mindful meditation. If you are feeling like you are just complaining about your problems, consider bringing those into therapy and give yourself the chance to get out of that rut!

  • Isn’t therapy just for people who have a mental illness? I don’t think I’m mentally ill. Do I need a diagnosis to be in therapy? Isn’t my therapist going to analyze me and find things that are wrong with me?

There is a large portion of the mental health field that views mental health from a deficit model. This model relies on symptoms and diagnosing people with illness in order for the field to be more accepted into a medical model of western medicine. Historically this model has focused more on symptomology and contributed to the stigma of mental illness; this has prevented people who suffer from seeking help.

Although I have training and experience in assessing and diagnosing for mental illness, this is not necessarily how I view my clients in therapy. In fact, a diagnosis can sometimes be discouraging and shameful to a client seeking help. We can work in therapy to address concerns that you have without having to give you a label of mental illness if you don’t have one. If you’ve been previously diagnosed, I help you reframe your challenges and reduce the stigma of mental illness.

  • My health insurance plan won’t approve me for therapy. Can I still see you?

Yes! Health insurance plans work from a medical model of mental health. In that model a patient of mental health would need to have a diagnosis for them to approve therapy. Some plans will only cover a limited number of sessions per year. I can work with you without a diagnosis on a regular basis. (See the answer above for information on diagnosis.)

The ability to see clients on a regular basis for as long as clinically appropriate is one of the reasons why I do not take any health insurance plans yet. In addition to this, I work from a strength based model that inspires and empowers clients to make positive changes. Labeling a client with a mental illness doesn’t fit well into that model.

  • We are thinking of getting divorced. What good would therapy do?

If both partners are on board with attempting couple’s therapy, there are some good reasons for attending therapy. It is a myth that divorce needs to be soul stripping and destructive. Therapy may help you tell your relationship story is a way that helps you both start a relationship recovery experience. Forgiveness is a challenging process. To begin this together may help you move out of the negative relationship patterns and into acceptance of things the way they are. This can be very helpful for any relationships you get into in the future. In addition, if you have children together, you will have some kind of relationship with your partner for the rest of your lives. Especially when children are involved, coming to some kind of ability to deal with each other in respectful and responsive ways increases your child’s resiliency for this life transition. There are definitely challenges to co-parenting after a divorce, but working together, you can make a difference in your child’s life.

  • Wedding plans are really stressful, but everyone goes through this, right?

Your marriage will be a unique combination of each partner’s family culture melding into a complex union that revolves around the two of you. The wedding is often a tradition that magnifies how complex and unique it really is! Layer on top of this the expectations, financial stressors, mixtures of personalities, high hopes and pressures of a “once in a lifetime” event. This is a great recipe for stress and anxiety.

Individual or couple’s therapy can help manage expectations, allow you to focus on your priorities and support you in the next step of your relationship. Pre-marital counseling can help you lay the foundation for a marriage that is based on effective ways to create and maintain respect, deepen your connection, and set a course for success in the future.

  • My problems aren’t as bad as others. Therapy should be reserved for people who are really bad off, right?

Many of us were raised in families that dismissed, disregarded or denied our feelings. Often we were taught that there are “good” feelings and “bad” feelings. This impacts our ability to recognize and manage emotions. Instead we find that our emotions get acted out in ways that cause us more stress and suffering. Some of us will end up self-medicating our emotions with food, alcohol, gambling, drugs, excess work or compulsive exercise. Therapy can help us recognize our reactions (feelings) and responses (actions). We can create space between our reactions and responses and learn to manage our lives in ways that promote health in ourselves, our relationships and our communities.

You deserve to live a healthy life. Your friends, family, children, co-workers and community will benefit from your health.

  • Won’t I have to talk about the past? I’m over it. I don’t want to do that.

You can recover from trauma and repair ruptured relationships from the past. Your culture, education and experiences are launching points for changes you’re ready to make. Honoring your past as seeing it from your strengths and resilience might not be anything you’ve ever done before. By doing this, you can appreciate it for what is was and live more fully in the present. Adversity in our past doesn’t need to define us. A lot of people find important lessons of resilience in adversity and will often find substantial growth through it.

Call to set up an appointment to discuss these or any other questions you may have:

Natasha Morisawa, LMFT   

(626) 321-5869










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