Individual Psychotherapy
Encino Psychiatrists Karen L. Vause and Ramzi Kiriakos
Encino Psychiatrists
16550 Ventura Blvd.
Suite 212
Encino, CA 91436
Direct Contact Information
Karen Vause, MD (818) 995-0640
Ramzi Kiriakos, MD (818) 881-8208
Print  Print Page

Individual Therapy

Individual Psychotherapy is the process where a person meets one-on-one with the doctor to focus on their concerns. Individual therapy provides a safe place to share private thoughts, fears and concerns to a non-judgmental doctor trained to listen to you. These private thoughts cannot be easily shared with friends or relatives without embarrassment or causing family disruption. Many times people come to therapy because they are suffering from severe anxiety with panic attacks, severe depression which makes life unbearable or obsessive compulsive thoughts and behaviors when the person is consumed with an obsession or compulsions that make life miserable or very unproductive at what they are doing.   

Many times a patient may want to sort out how to negotiate a new relationship, a new career choice or a new occupation. Having a neutral party listen and help identify all the factors to consider in major decision making can be very beneficial.

Furthermore, a patient may seek therapy because they are having difficulties with an existing relationship in their personal life, at school or at work. Conflict with a boss or co-workers is a frequent occurrence.

Difficulties may arise as a result of the loss of a loved one. The loss of employment or the loss of a property can lead to a grief reaction and mourning.  With the help of individual therapy a good solution can be obtained and often prevents the appearance of mental illness.

Different kinds of therapy are applied depending on the condition of the patient, the skills of the therapist and the motivation of the patient. In many cases therapy alone will resolve the initial condition and issues that brought the patient to treatment. In some cases a combination of therapy and medications may accomplish the best results.

There are multiple forms of individual therapies that can be applied to different situations.

Supportive Therapy

Supportive therapy is a process where the therapist is helping a person through a temporary crisis. A common example of supportive treatment is for a loss of a relationship. The loss of an important person makes one feel empty, lost, restless and uncomfortable. The psychological work to be completed consists of accepting the loss of the person, accepting to live without this person and trying appropriately to replace them. Using supportive therapy, we are able to help you to examine the different components of the relationship that was lost. We help you to identify the positive and negative aspects of the lost person. We help you to learn to live without the lost person in your life. We explore options how to accomplish this goal and how you can change your life to make it possible to live with this loss. Also, through supportive therapy you will learn to replace the lost person and continue to live a contented existence. In supportive therapy, our objectivity helps you find your best solutions to your personal loss.

Read more about Supportive Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

A person with anxiety disorder and panic attacks can benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy. The therapy is focused on the symptoms not the inner feelings or the cause of the symptoms. Many forms of cognitive behavioral therapy can be applied. For example, you can be taught relaxation exercises to tighten and relax your muscles. The relaxation exercises if practiced under the coaching of the psychiatrist will lead to the reduction of the baseline anxiety.

Another technique will be the deep breathing and slow breathing, using the abdominal muscles. Again, with good medical supervision, you can be taught this breathing technique and use it independently two or three times a day. You can be trained how to become independent and overcome anxiety without the use of drugs.  A third common and helpful exercise would be guided imagery. You are taught to imagine a comforting serene location that you can mentally visit for several minutes three or four times a day. Again that will increase your independence and control the anxiety without the use of drugs.

Many times cognitive behavioral therapy will control the symptoms completely within 3 to 4 months  (12 to 16 sessions). In a few cases, a patient has severe anxiety and severe panic attacks that cannot be controlled with CBT alone. In those cases the use of medications cannot be avoided.

Read more about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Dynamic Psychotherapy

Dynamic psychotherapy is a type of therapy that helps you examine the deeper causes for behaviors, thoughts or feelings that on the surface are difficult to explain to oneself. In dynamic therapy, you focus your attention on repetitive patterns in your life that may undermine your self- esteem, goals, accomplishments or your relationships with other people. A common example of this is a person who is successful at their job, but repeatedly sabotages himself just as he is eligible for promotion. The same pattern repeats itself (creativity, hard work, accomplishments, self-sabotage and failure). In a case like this, supportive therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy cannot accomplish substantial progress. Dynamic psychotherapy will help the patient to discover the unconscious conflicts that arise with success and how they unconsciously lead to self-destructive behavior. It could be that an accomplished man has a father who has limited energy and ambition. The successful man may feel unconsciously guilty about surpassing his father.

Another example of the use of dynamic psychotherapy is for persons who are frustrated with a chaotic personal life and live with the feelings that they are not worthwhile deep inside. They may try to attract the attention of others by focusing on improving physical appeal or improving personality appeal. They may get attention through professional accomplishment. If it appears that someone does admire them, they will devalue the admirer or if they are rejected, they will overvalue the person who rejects them. These individuals may have a reasonable professional life, however, may have interpersonal problems or an internal sense of emptiness. Treatment directed to improve their sense of self will be more effective than supportive psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy.

Read more about Dynamic Psychotherapy

Return to Top