GAURI SAVLA, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist (California License Number: PSY 25907)
Who should seek Therapy?
Therapy is appropriate for anyone who is looking for the support and tools to cope with difficult emotions, and/or challenges related to navigating life circumstances, stage of psychic development, or existential self-questioning. Some people seeking therapy have a diagnosis of a mental illness, but many do not. Emotions such as anxiety or depression are not always "disordered"; indeed, in today's harum-scarum world, some of those responses may not only be normal, but also, appropriate. Therapy can facilitate a deeper understanding of your psychological processes, strategies and skills, and personal growth. Good therapy can help you understand and/or deepen the connections with yourself and others, and live a life you value.
What happens in Therapy?
Step I: Consultation
I provide a complimentary phone or brief in-person consultation to help determine whether my therapeutic style is a good fit for your personality and your goals from therapy.
Step II: Initial Interview
If we decide that we may be a good fit, I will invite you to come in for a 90-minute intake interview and evaluation. I will ask you about your personal, medical, and developmental history, but mostly, I am interested in knowing more about what you are seeking help with and what your expectations and goals are from therapy. You may decide to have a significant other (e.g., partner, parent, adult child) accompany you to this session, if you think that would contribute to the interview.
Step III: Therapy Planning
At the end of the intake interview, I will review your therapy goals with you, and we will mutually decide how to prioritize them. I will propose a plan for moving forward. On rare occasion, I have recommended a medical or medication evaluation if I think one is warranted and if you haven't had one recently.
Step IV: Beginning and Continuing Therapy
The therapeutic process is collaborative. Early sessions may be more directive or educational, but they quickly evolve to focusing on present moments and sensations, settling one's body to receive healing, and trust and relationship building. I am happy to offer tools and strategies as you need them for specific conditions so that you can start to move toward self-acceptance, growth, and finding fulfillment in your life in the here and now.
I encourage all my patients to begin with weekly sessions, but the frequency of sessions is ultimately based on your needs and goals. You will typically begin to see changes after 4-6 weeks of weekly therapy.
My therapeutic style draws on Contemporary Relational Gestalt Theory that emphasizes the therapist-patient relationship as a means to bring about awareness and appreciation of the patient as a whole being, rather than one defined by his or her emotional responses and/or psychiatric diagnosis. I incorporate many techniques from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which is an empirically supported treatment modality for most issues that my clients need help with.
To learn more about these theories and their components, please click on the links below:
An Overview of Relational Gestalt Therapy I
An Overview of Relational Gestalt Therapy II
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT; pronounced "act" like the verb)