Frequently Asked Questions

stanley-wipfli-psychotherapist-berkeley-faq

What is Co-occurring/Dual Diagnoses?

An individual with dual diagnoses, also known as co-occurring disorders, has both mental illness and substance abuse disorder simultaneously. Either of these conditions can become apparent first. People with mental illness frequently turn to substances in an effort to self-medicate. Those who experiment with or misuse substances may worsen underlying mental illnesses.  When a person has a dual diagnosis, both conditions need to be treated. If only one of these conditions is treated, there’s a good chance the other will get worse.

What is Self-Medication?

The Self-Medication theory maintains that suffering (not pleasure seeking) is at the heart of addictive disorders, such that:

  1. Additive drugs have an appeal because during the short term they relieve painful feelings and psychological distress.
  2. There is a considerable degree of preference in a person’s drug of choice, but it isn’t as though a person “chooses” a drug; rather while experimenting with various drugs, he or she discovers that the effect of a particular drug is experienced as welcome because it changes or relieves feeling states that are especially painful or unwanted for reasons special to that person.

What is therapeutic alliance?

The therapeutic alliance might be the most important part of beginning a psychotherapy. In fact, many studies indicate that the therapeutic alliance is the best predictor of treatment outcome.   It is the trust between you and your therapist that allows you to work together effectively.

Person-centered

Treating people with dignity and respect by being aware of and supporting personal perspectives, values, beliefs and preferences.

Strength-based

Strength-based approach concentrates on inherent strengths of individuals and families, deploying personal strengths to aid in recovery and empowerment.  In essence, to focus on health and well-being is to embrace an asset-based approach where the goal is to promote the positive.