What do you do in therapy?– I help children, adults and families to realize their goals. Psychotherapy can help you explore new possibilities for yourself, overcome internal obstacles and make the most of your strengths, and fulfill your potential in life. I work in a number of marital and relationship issues, including the following:

  • Divorce, separation and infidelity
  • Relationship enhancement
  • Intimacy and communication
  • Sexual dysfunctions, dissatisfaction and education
  • Emotional crises and loneliness
  • Destructive and sabotaging patterns
  • Sexuality, homosexuality and gender identity
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fears and phobias
  • Trauma resolution
  • Self esteem and self concept
  • Loss and grief
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Assertiveness and social skills training
  • Abuse (emotional, physical, sexual and neglect)
  • Attachment disorders
  • Stress and critical incident distress
  • Peak performance and self actualization
  • Performance anxiety
  • Physical disabilities

Although some of our emotional well being is contingent on hereditary, most of it is shaped by our life’s experiences from childhood to present. Each new task we accomplish or experience we gather creates neuronal networks. For example, when a baby learns to recognize mom, those brain cells begin to work in unison. We call that synapse. When the baby explores and recognizes new faces, some of the same network of brain cells are strengthened, just as street turns into a boulevard when there is more traffic and commerce demand. Therapy explores new ways of behaving and understanding ourselves which may forge healthier neuronal networks.

Can therapy help trauma? – Much of our problematic behavior stems from mild to severe trauma; from being embarrassed as a child in front of a class to something severe as rape, earthquake or war. Memories are stored and the neuronal pathways that were etched at the time of trauma stay with us, helping us (as an organism) adapt to the world. If a child is brought into the world into a home in which there is constant arguing and stress, that child will adapt to the environment and potentially seek out a partner later in life that will match that familiar lifestyle. There are different therapies to use for different kinds of persons and different kinds of traumas. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a very popular technique for trauma and I have used it with much success.

Do you always use EMDR or Biofeedback? – No, I use EMDR when it is the best treatment of choice and only in conjunction with therapy. EMDR is one of the most powerful and speedy processes to get through difficulties, blocks or healing. However, there will be times when this process may not be the best choice for a particular problem. Biofeedback is another type of treatment. Sometimes, we try differerent approaches to treating a patient.

Can you help me with my problem? – I hope so. I would need to meet with you before I could understand exactly how I might be able to help. I have experience working with a wide range of  problems, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress responses, bereavement, divorce and remarriage adjustment, work-related conflicts, addiction and recovery, serious medical illness, relationship challenges, difficulties related to a history of mistreatment during childhood, career dissatisfaction and career transition, loneliness, shyness, body image problems, and low self-esteem.

Some problems defy labels. Many people undertake therapy to heal feelings of differentness or isolation owing to their cultural, racial or religious background, a physical disability or chronic medical condition, their appearance, their sexual identity, or because of other difficult life experiences. People with exceptionally high intelligence and creativity also often struggle with feelings of loneliness and isolation, as well as with all of the challenges associated with making use of their gifts. Some people find therapy helpful while they navigate major life changes, such as leaving college and starting work, marriage, childbirth, important career advances or transitions, divorce, serious medical illness, and the death or disability of parents or other loved ones. In the aftermath of September 11th, many people have undertaken therapy because memories of past trauma has surfaced.

Whether or not you have a specific problem in living to solve (and most of us have more than one), perhaps the most important benefit to be gained from psychotherapy is long-term personal development and growth. Therapy can help you to understand yourself and others better, improve your interpersonal relationship skills and thinking processes, and enhance your feelings of well-being.

Individual Therapy: Through weekly meetings that address: (A) work, career and business issues, such as improving job performance, making career transitions, integrating work and family life, and finding solutions to work-related interpersonal problems; and (B) clearly defined personal projects, such as developing a more active social life, solving a personal relationship problem, or maintaining sobriety.

Marital and Couples Counseling: An intensive, growth-oriented program in which each partner is seen individually once a week. For couples with serious differences who are willing to make an equally serious commitment to their own and each other’s growth.

Are you one of those therapists who just sits there and doesn’t talk? – No, I’m not. My style is warm, interactive and emotionally present. I don’t hesitate to offer opinions or give advice if I feel it’s appropriate. My approach to therapy is practical and results-oriented, and it’s important to me that my patients gain meaningful benefits from our relationship.

How long does it usually take to get results from therapy? – That depends on both the nature of your problem and your goals for yourself. If your problem is longstanding and affects many dimensions of your life, and if you want to make significant changes in your personality and functioning, the therapy process may take several years. Some people find they want to continue in therapy indefinitely, and use it as part of their lifetime program of self-care. Others make use of therapy on an intermittent basis at times of crisis and change. Still others come to therapy looking for short-term relief of symptoms or isolated behavioral problems which, especially with the use of medication as an adjunctive treatment, can often take less than six months. In many instances, you can solve your problems in a few sessions. When we meet for the first time, I’ll ask you to consider what you want from therapy, and I’ll discuss with you how long I think the process will take. You’re always free to end or suspend the therapy relationship at any time. It’s important to understand at the outset, however, that therapy requires active participation, effort, and often considerable time to produce results. And much as I would like to, I can’t guarantee them.

Is there homework? – I will give you, or you and your partner homework to help reach your goals. For example, if you’re working on communication issues, I will give you specific communication exercises that progressively build your skills to a very intimate level. I also have exercises for anger management, sexual issues, and more.

What will therapy cost? – My standard fee is $125 in Newhall and $135 in West Los Angeles per 45 minute session, and I keep openings available at a reduced fee range for lower-income persons. If you want to work with me but believe you’ll have trouble affording it, please feel free to give me a call. If I can’t help you myself, I’ll do my best to help you find an agency that can help you. Most health plans cover psychotherapy and I am on most of the health plan panels — meaning I have agreed to taking a reduced rate for their referrals to me, and you only have to pay a co-payment.

A word about privacy. – Psychotherapists have always honored confidentiality by not disclosing information about thier patient’s therapy (with exception of cases of child abuse, elder abuse, suicide and homicide.. as required by law). However, when using a health plan, information about patient care is no longer totally private and is subject to posting to the MIB Database for all health plans to use in making decisions about future coverage should a patient decide to change plans or need other covered services. Its kinda complicated and seemingly contradicary to the HIPPA laws, but thats the law and its supposedly there to make sure that those applying for coverage are hionest in their application.  You can request a copy of your own record at MIB Group, Inc.  Many patients decide to pay for their own treatment and not use their health plan as a means of maintaining absolute privacy.

I am not a Fruedian…
But it all started here. And present-day brain research supports some of Freud’s work.

Contact Steven C. Kassel