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Page Contents: What is Psychotherapy? / Psychological Change / Psychoanalysis / Psychodynamic Psychotherapy / Some Common Elements (General description; Psychotherapist Distance/neutrality; Therapeutic Relationship/alliance; Transference and Counter-transference; Free Association; Resistance) / Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (General description; Biofeedback; Relaxation Techniques; Systematic Desensitization; Hypnosis; Prayer)


AS used throughout this website, psychotherapy can be defined as follows:


An interaction between a professional and a client that leads to changes—from a less adaptive state to a more adaptive state—in the client’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.


On this website, the “professional” in the above definition will be assumed to be a psychologist, although other mental health practitioners may be licensed to conduct psychotherapy.

Psychotherapy, as defined here, has ethics which can be distinguished from the ethics of counseling that focus on helping a person solve “normal” problems.

Although medications may be used in conjunction with psychotherapy, for present purposes medication will not be considered the essence of psychotherapy, because psychotherapy really depends on the use of the client’s own mental experiences to bring about the desired changes.


Clearly, in the above definition, “adaptive” is a very subjective concept. My attitude toward the matter is this:



As long as you generally adhere to the law of the culture in which you live, and if you are satisfied with your life, then there is no psychological problem and no need for psychotherapy. At this point, the science of psychology reaches a limit and must stop.




There are many things, however, that are legal and socially acceptable and that nevertheless pose a grave danger not only to one’s mental health but also to one’s spiritual life. Thus there is a further spiritual dimension to adaptive life, but I won’t make this an issue in general psychotherapy unless a client has a specific desire to discuss it.


In general, if you get too far out of line, life will let you know it: first, by whispering in your ear (i.e., through dreams); next, by kicking you in the butt (i.e., through the repetition of unpleasant, unconscious conflicts); and finally, by pulling the rug out from under you (i.e., you end up in prison or hospital).


If your boat is tied to the dock, no matter how hard you row you still won’t go very far until you untie the rope. In a similar way, no matter how hard you try to improve your life, you will be obstructed with self-sabotage and failure if you haven’t resolved the unconscious conflicts from your childhood that tie you to frustration and resentment.


As you will learn from what follows, there are many theoretical approaches to the practice of psychotherapy.

Is a psychotherapist just a “paid friend” 
or an “emotional prostitute”?


A Key Principle About Psychological Change

QUESTION: How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?
ANSWER: Only one, but the bulb must really want to be changed.

This joke reflects a fundamental point about psychology. Any change that happens in your life must come from you and your own efforts. Although a psychologist can guide you, no one can do the work for you.


Thus it can be said that the only psychiatric disorder that cannot be cured with psychotherapy is the refusal to do psychotherapy.


As I say throughout this website, psychology is not about “getting rid” of symptoms. Unlike politics, and even unlike medicine, psychology is not about waging war or getting control of anything. Instead, it’s about making peace with—by listening to and understanding—your symptoms. And, curiously enough, once you listen to, rather than fear, your symptoms you might be enlightened by a profound wisdom that will become a great blessing to your life.

The light of truth—or insight, in psychological terms—however, is not sufficient in itself to bring about behavioral change. For psychological change to occur, a person must react to insight with shock. A hardened, blind heart must feel sorrow—sorrow for all the injury and pain that it has inflicted on others while stuck in its own blindness. It will no longer blame others for its own misery. Instead, it will see the ugliness of its own behavior for what it is. Shocked by the past, it will be motivated to change the present.

And so it can be said that the only basis for lasting psychological change is sorrow.



Sigmund FreudIn today’s world, psychoanalysis can take on a variety of forms, varying from practitioner to practitioner and from country to country. Thus you can find some practitioners who describe their treatment modality as a form of psychoanalysis when you can find other practitioners describing a similar treatment modality as psychodynamic psychotherapy (see below).

In its pure form (that is, as developed by Sigmund Freud at the early 1900s), however, psychoanalysis can be quite demanding and expensive.

It requires daily (yes, daily!) visits to the psychoanalyst.

You lie on a couch with the analyst sitting out of sight behind you.

You are required to say whatever comes into your mind, without holding back anything—this is technically called free association (see below).

The analyst uses silence as a technique to encourage you to free associate and hardly ever says anything except to make an “interpretation” (i.e., the unconscious motives behind your actions or thoughts are pointed out to you).

There are no excuses for missing a session, and payment is required whether you attend the session or not.

. . . and this goes on for several years.

If you have the time and the money, psychoanalysis can be a helpful form of psychological treatment. Moreover, when I was a doctoral student, I was in Lacanian psychoanalysis (as a personal choice beyond what my school required for student psychotherapy), and I found it excellent training for psychotherapy in general.

But the truth of the matter is that there are today less expensive and less time-consuming ways to conduct psychotherapy. You should remember one thing from this discussion about psychoanalysis: it’s fine if you want it as a form of treatment, but because it is so intensive and expensive, never let psychoanalysis be imposed on you without explanation. You at least deserve to know what you are paying for. Please review the section on consumer rights if you haven’t yet done so.

Most psychoanalysts in the past were psychiatrists, but many analysts today are also psychologists. Only those who have graduated from a psychoanalytic training institute and who have completed a training analysis are qualified to conduct “psychoanalysis.” Most psychologists, however, including myself, don’t fit this description. Perhaps that’s why we have the next topic, psychodynamic psychotherapy.


Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Psychodynamic psychotherapy uses some of the same theories and principles of understanding the mind as does psychoanalysis, but it uses different technical procedures. (When psychodynamic psychotherapy uses techniques very similar to psychoanalysis without actually being as rigorous as psychoanalysis, it is often called psychoanalytic psychotherapy.)

Sessions are usually just once a week. (Highly motivated clients, or clients who are emotionally unstable and need extra support, may want to meet two or three times a week—if the cost is not prohibitive.)

The client and the psychotherapist sit face-to-face.

The psychotherapist usually talks quite a lot, compared to the “silence” of the psychoanalyst.

Treatment is an interactive process between the client and the psychotherapist.

Treatment generally pays quite a bit of attention to unconscious motivation and can rely heavily on free association and dream interpretation.

Treatment can also include such things as identifying unconscious connections with childhood emotional wounds; identifying unconscious motivation for dysfunctional behavior; recognizing emotional hurt; identifying dysfunctional thought patterns (especially those that began in childhood); changing dysfunctional thought patterns; teaching relaxation techniques, stress management, and anger management; and general support and encouragement.

Treatment length can range from 1 to 12 sessions (“brief” psychotherapy), to about 20 sessions (another definition of brief psychotherapy), to several years. There’s no real consensus here, so it’s a good idea to discuss treatment length with your psychologist.


But why does psychotherapy take so long?

There are essentially two reasons. In the practical sense, even 12 sessions of treatment might seem like a long time, especially when compared to a 15-minute office visit with a physician. Yet these 12 sessions are really about equivalent to a weekend workshop in which you learn a new skill. For that matter, a full year of weekly psychotherapy is about equivalent to an intensive 10-day seminar. So remember that whatever you are learning—whether it is to get an education, to acquire new job skills, or to overcome depression or anxiety—the process takes hard work, commitment, and a considerable investment of time and money.

In the psychological sense, many individuals have a reluctance to speak about their deep and private inner experiences. Most likely, some of your private thoughts—the most dark and ugly ones—are so shameful and frightening that you would not reveal them to anyone, not even your own psychotherapist. Is it any wonder, then, that psychotherapy can take a really, really long time?



 About Brief Psychodynamic Psychotherapy



Psychodynamic psychotherapy is what many persons mean when they mention “psychotherapy.” Actually, many variations on this theme exist, such as Client-Centered Therapy, Jungian Analytical Psychology, Existential psychotherapy, Gestalt psychotherapy, Group psychotherapy, and on and on. I will not discuss here the details of any of these theories of counseling or psychotherapy. See the Additional Resources below.


Some Common Elements
of Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Therapeutic Neutrality

The psychotherapist’s job is not to be a nanny or a friend; rather, the psychotherapist must help clients understand their unconscious motivation. Hence the psychotherapist must act with a certain therapeutic distance, or therapeutic neutrality, never acting from personal desire, and always keeping every word and action of the therapeutic relationship (also called the therapeutic alliance) deliberately focused on the clinical process of healing. 


It is common, and even expected, for the client to experience feelings for the psychotherapist that are called a transference reaction; these feelings Jacques Lacan are really no different than common “love” or hate. The psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan taught that this common “love” is a belief in another; [1] that is, it is a belief that the other person has some personal qualities that are necessary for your personal fulfillment. (Hate, being the reciprocal of love, means that your belief in the other person has, for some reason, dissolved.) And in this transference the client’s intense belief in the psychotherapist can cause some difficult problems that must be resolved within the psychotherapeutic work.

For example, your feelings can resemble the mixed feelings (i.e., love and hate) you had in childhood for your parents, and you can begin to treat your psychotherapist according to these feelings, all out of proportion to what is actually happening in the psychotherapy. In such a case, it is important to realize that the psychotherapist is only doing his or her job of bringing these feelings to light; it’s your feelings, not the person of the psychotherapist, that are important. 

Also, you can come to believe that your psychotherapist has the personal ability to redeem your sense of inner worthlessness, and so you can desire to be special to the psychotherapist. Hence you might desire the psychotherapist to be your friend, or you could become sexually attracted to him or her. The therapeutic cure, however, must come from facing—not seducing—your inner emptiness.


 Read more about Erotic Transference



So if transference isn’t handled carefully it will lead to disaster. For example, many clients have had their lives ruined by sexual affairs with their psychotherapists, all because the psychotherapist took the client’s erotic feelings personally and failed to help the client understand the clinical meaning of those feelings. 

Transference can also frighten you into terminating psychotherapy prematurely, rather than working through the feelings—especially the angry feelings—within the treatment. For example, during the therapeutic process you will experience many emotions that are similar to the intense and confusing emotions you felt as a child. Disappointment. Anger. Confusion. Feeling misunderstood. Feeling devalued. Feeling abandoned. Many different events—some of them chance occurrences during psychotherapy, and some of them deliberate therapeutic interventions by the psychotherapist—will trigger these emotions. (Experiencing these negative reactions to the psychotherapy process itself is called a negative transference.[2] ) Just remember that when you feel an emotion in psychotherapy, the therapeutic task will be to name it as an emotion and speak about it with the psychotherapist—not get caught in it as if it were your helpless destiny. For if you get caught in it, you will feel victimized and will blame the psychotherapist for your pain, and the entire therapeutic process will feel like judgment and criticism. And then, in deep bitterness, you will want to “get away” from the psychotherapy just as you wanted to get away from the original emotions as a child.


Counter-transference can be considered the reverse of transference; that is, the term describes the psychotherapist’s unconsciously activated reactions to the client. Note carefully that this is not in itself good or bad; everything depends on how well the psychotherapist understands and deals with what is occurring. If the psychotherapist fails in his or her personal scrutiny, he or she could become angry, abusive, spiteful, indifferent, or even seductive. If the counter-transference gets too intense the psychotherapist might have to end the treatment and refer the client to someone else, for the client’s own protection.


Counter-transference, however, should be distinguished from the psychotherapist’s in-the-moment feelings about the psychotherapeutic situation, because these feelings can be used clinically. For example, if your psychotherapist begins to feel bored in speaking with you, it could be an indication that you are unconsciously avoiding an important issue. Accordingly, your psychotherapist could point this out to you so that you could examine, and ultimately resolve to change, your behavior.

Therefore, the psychotherapist’s emotional reactions to the treatment are neither “right” nor “wrong.” The real issue is whether these feelings are used clinically, for therapeutic benefit.


Free Association

In the technical language of psychoanalysis,  free association is a mental process by which one word or image spontaneously brings to mind other words or images. In both psychoanalysis and psychodynamic psychotherapy it can be very important for you to just say what comes to your mind, without censoring yourself, because this process allows your psychotherapist to make interpretations about your psychological defenses. For example, as you identify a thought or mental image that occurs along with a feeling, you can focus your attention on that thought or image and ask yourself what other thoughts or images come to mind. Following the “tracks” of a string of associations can lead you to the original experience that engendered the feeling in the first place.


The greatest hindrance to free association—and to the progress of psychotherapy itself—is the childhood experience of having to guard the things you say and do so as to avoid getting criticized by a demanding parent. When this defense continues into adulthood, it not only obstructs your capacity for honest and intimate interpersonal communication, but it also causes you to feel afraid of saying anything spontaneously in psychotherapy. Not knowing what is hidden in your unconscious, you will feel terrified that anything you say might be more revealing of the truth than you would like.

The simple, but hard, solution to this dilemma is to commit yourself to getting to the truth of your life, no matter how painful it may be. In all reality, the truth won’t kill you; on the contrary, the truth will set you free from your slavery to unconscious fear.   



One final therapeutic concept to consider is resistance. Freud defined resistance as “whatever interrupts the progress of analytic work,” [3] such as being late, Sigmund Freud missing a session, “holding back” your thoughts in the moment (i.e., refusing to speak about them) or avoiding a particular issue. In its most simple and practical sense, resistance results from fear, often the fear of having to face and relinquish one’s victim anger. In other words, the task of treatment is the complex and frightening task of being able to recognize and overcome the tendency to lie to yourself.

Nevertheless, Lacan warned us not to confuse resistance with defense [4] and formulated the famous statement that “there is no other resistance to analysis than that of the analyst himself.” [5] In other words, if the psychotherapist makes interpretations or interventions that are clinically inaccurate, the client will get defensive, and that will interrupt the therapeutic work. In plain English, this means that a client will only explore therapeutic material so far as is comfortable in the moment; the psychotherapist, therefore, must always be aware of just how far the client is willing to go and not “push” the client beyond these temporary limits. Imprudent attempts to push a client can end up pushing the client right out of psychotherapy.


Lacan’s statement about resistance applies specifically to the process of psychoanalysis, but can be applied as well to psychotherapy in general. There is, however, a resistance to life itself that can be encountered in the psychotherapy as a fear of being healed. Many people come to psychotherapy with some part of their inner lives—a dark part usually steeped in feelings of resentment for being mistreated in childhood—that has been kept as an unspoken secret in their hearts and that they would not dare to reveal to anyone, not even their own psychotherapists. This resistance, therefore, derives not from the psychotherapist but from the client’s unconscious belief that he or she “doesn’t matter” or is “bad.” Any attempts to change this belief will feel dangerous because such a change would threaten the client’s unconscious identity. Uncovering and resolving this hidden resistance to change, therefore, is a core element of psychodynamic psychotherapy.


Clinical questions about the psychotherapy process can be found
on the Questions and Answers About Psychotherapy page.


Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

There are actually several kinds of Cognitive-Behavioral therapies (spelled behavioural in British English), and they all employ the same general premise: in contrast to the psychodynamic emphasis on insight into unconscious motivation, the cognitive-behavioral therapies emphasize the ability of people to make changes in their lives without having to understand why the change occurs. As such, these therapeutic techniques usually take much less time and are therefore less costly than psychodynamic psychotherapy.

As a trade-off to the cost, though, the client usually must do considerable work, such as homework writing assignments and practice of techniques learned in the office. Failure to complete tasks as assigned is taken as a lack of motivation and an unwillingness to change behaviors.

Aaron BeckThe more-or-less pure cognitive therapies—such as Aaron Beck’s Cognitive Therapy, focus on changing certain thought patterns. The premise, in Beck’s words, is that “the way we perceive situations influences how we feel emotionally,” and so by changing thoughts, then behaviors will also change. The pure behavioral therapies, such as classical conditioning or operant conditioning, focus on changing behaviors. And some forms of treatment such as Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)—developed by Albert Ellis Albert Ellis—mix cognitive and behavioral elements. REBT used to be called Rational Emotive Therapy (RET); the name change reflects the understanding that rational beliefs, emotions, and behaviors are all interdependent and that psychotherapy should work on all these levels. In this regard, it’s interesting to note that the psychodynamic forms of psychotherapy focus on understanding experiences, and, as a “side effect,” thought processes and behaviors are changed as well.

This leads to a simple moral: If you want to get into a house, it doesn’t matter whether you get in through the front door or the back door. Which form of psychotherapy you choose depends only on personal preference, time, and money. Some therapies that work wonders with one person are a complete flop with another person. You should pay attention to this fact, especially if you are using Managed Care to provide your treatment.



What is the difference between Cognitive-Behavioral therapy and Psychodynamic psychotherapy?

Behavioral therapy, in its pure form—such as conditioning—is really not much different from animal training. You can teach an animal to respond to behavioral or verbal commands, but the animal doesn’t have to understand a thing about it’s own behavior; it responds simply to reinforcement or fear of punishment.

But most Cognitive-Behavioral therapies are a blend of behavioral techniques and cognitive techniques—hence the name Cognitive-Behavioral—and so they do involve some amount of thoughtful awareness. Still, this sort of awareness does not need to be extensive. You could compare it to learning to drive a car and stopping at a stop sign simply because you tell yourself that if you don’t stop you run the risk of being pursued by the police and fined. There’s some philosophical processing going on here, but it’s not necessarily very sophisticated. And so, in the same way, learning to take deep breaths when angry, for example, is relaxing, but it’s a relatively simple process.

In contrast, and using the example of driving, psychodynamic psychotherapy is a bit like learning to drive by developing the understanding of the reason for stopping at stop signs (that is, the need to be cautious when entering any intersection lest you collide with something) and also you extend this basic reason to other behavior (that is, you learn to look beyond “simple” behavior into its motives and consequences—for example, you come to understand the need to begin a trip by planning the route and checking the gas and oil, rather than just turning the key and going). And so you learn, when feeling upset and starting to get angry, for example, to track the emotional hurt back into similar earlier experiences and feelings, many of them previously unconscious; thus you come to understand the components of your current feelings, and you are enabled to take actions with full awareness of the origins and consequences of your motives.

Many people want nothing more than to “turn the key and go,” and to watch out for police along the way. It’s your choice.


I do not intend to give a description here of all the variations of Cognitive-Behavioral treatment, but I will mention the modalities with which I have experience, primarily in regard to pain management, “stress” management, and performance enhancement:

Biofeedback uses electronic devices to measure physiological processes such as breathing rate; heart rate; skin temperature; skin conductance (which varies with perspiration); and muscle tension, which is measured by a process called surface electromyography (EMG). A biofeedback unit processes the electronic signals and “feeds back” the information to the user in the form of sounds, or graphs on a computer screen. There is no magic here; simply by practice a client can learn to alter these various physiological processes. The goal usually is to change them from a state of nervous arousal to a state of deep relaxation.

Biofeedback equipment is usually quite expensive, and any professional who uses it clinically must receive considerable technical training, usually from biofeedback training organizations (see Additional Resources, below). Some companies, however, make simple biofeedback devices for self-treatment at home. These devices can be helpful for those persons who have difficulty with the more imaginative relaxation techniques.

Relaxation techniques strive for the same goal as biofeedback, but with these techniques there is no need for any machines. You just learn to recognize the feeling of tension in your body and then you learn to release the tension. It’s a simple process, but it takes practice. I teach three kinds of relaxation: Progressive Muscle Relaxation (in which you tense and relax various muscles, progressively, throughout your body), Guided Imagery (in which you visualize relaxing images and situations), and Autogenics (in which you learn to create a feeling of warmth and heaviness throughout your body).

Click on these links for short courses in self-administered progressive muscle relaxation and autogenics training.

Systematic Desensitization, used primarily to treat phobias related to one particular issue, is also a simple process whose effectiveness depends on practice. Essentially you create an anxiety hierarchy (a graded list of anxiety-provoking items) and then proceed to pair each item with the feeling of being deeply relaxed. Eventually this training process allows you to remain relaxed even when thinking about the anxiety-provoking situation. Finally, you learn to confront the real situation while remaining calm and relaxed. Click on the link for a short course in self-administered systematic desensitization.

Hypnosis has been often misunderstood and sometimes almost diabolic properties have been imputed to it. The facts are much less dramatic, though the therapeutic results of hypnosis can be spectacular. Hypnosis is primarily a state of deep relaxation, the same as can be achieved by any other relaxation technique. Once you achieve this state of relaxation, you can be given “suggestions” about new ways to experience your life. That’s it.

Of course, the suggestions that are given to you should be suggestions about things you already know “unconsciously.” That is, the hypnotist helps you to fulfill potential that’s already there and to utilize skills you already possess. The ability to understand your needs properly is what separates outstanding practitioners from the rest, and this is why the best hypnotists are experienced, licensed clinicians with diverse training.

Some people are concerned that a hypnotist’s suggestions can cause them to do improper things. That’s a wise concern. You should find a hypnotist who is licensed by your state, and it would be preferable that the hypnotist also be a psychologist with clinical training. Nevertheless, research has shown that people are remarkably resistant to following hypnotic suggestions that are against their sense of morality. Persons who act like chickens for a stage hypnotist are likely the same sort of persons who wear lamp shades when they get drunk.

Milton EricksonTruly therapeutic hypnosis employs suggestions for newer, healthier ways to get on in the world and utilizes the fact that most people really want to get better. Click on this link for information that I have provided about what I call “negative hypnosis.” For more information about hypnosis in general, visit the website of the Milton H. Erickson Foundation. Dr. Erickson was an absolute master of treatment with hypnosis.

Prayer, although not much understood in the field of psychology, is an extraordinary—and I mean that literally: extra-ordinary, beyond the ordinary—form of cognitive-behavioral treatment. It can free you from all neurotic anxiety if you pray out of pure love, with all your mind and all your heart and all your strength as a renunciation of your social-psychological identity and pride.

In short, mastery of any of these techniques allows you to stay calm and relaxed in any situation, and that is a crucial element in making your life satisfying and healthy.


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1. Jacques Lacan, “Seminar of 21 January 1975.” In Mitchell, J. & Rose, J. (Eds.), Feminine Sexuality: Jacques Lacan and the école freudienne (New York: W. W. Norton [paperback], 1985). See p. 169.
    Note that in the traditional Freudian concept of transference the feelings transferred onto the psychotherapist are considered to be unrealistic; in Lacan’s terms, transference is simply a fact of life, both in and out of the psychotherapy office. For more about the transference, see Lacan’s “The Transference and the Drive” and “The Field of the Other and Back to the Transference,” in The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, (New York: W. W. Norton, 1981).
2. More specifically, Freud used the term negative transference to refer to the resistance engendered in the patient by the threat of the uncovering process of psychoanalysis.
3. Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams (Second Part), in Vol. V, The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (London: Hogarth Press, 1953). See p. 517.
4. Jacques Lacan, “The Freudian thing, or the meaning of the return to Freud in psychoanalysis.” In Écrits: A selection, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: W. W. Norton, 1977). See p. 129.
5. Jacques Lacan, “The direction of the treatment and the principles of its power.” In Écrits: A selection, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: W. W. Norton, 1977). See p. 235.

Additional Resources

Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback  provides extensive information about biofeedback.
Biofeedback Institute of San Francisco  provides information and treatment in San Francisco.

Client-Centered Therapy:
Matthew Ryan’s index of papers on Client-Centered Therapy

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy:
Albert Ellis Institute  provides information about Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy: self-help, psychotherapist referrals, workshops, lectures, training, and publications.
Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research  provides information about Cognitive Therapy: workshops, lectures, training, and publications.
The National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists  provides current information concerning cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy, including a searchable National Referral Database of certified cognitive-behavioral therapists.
REBT FAQ  — Questions and Answers about Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy from the Albert Ellis Institute.
Questions & Answers  about Cognitive Therapy from the Beck Institute.

Crisis Counseling:
Crisis Counseling - Non-Profit Information, Guidance and Referral Assistance
Crisis Counseling  from the Center for Mental Health Services.

Family Systems Theory:
Allyn & Bacon Family Therapy Website  provides an overview of important family systems therapists and historical concepts.
Family Systems Theory & Concepts  provides a slide presentation of basic family systems concepts.

Group Psychotherapy:
Group Psychotherapy Homepage  provides an introduction to group psychotherapy for the layman.

Humanistic “Therapies”:
(Many practitioners in some of these “ways of life” are not licensed, so be careful.)
Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy  provides information about Gestalt therapy.
Existential Psychology, Logotherapy, & the Will to Meaning  provides an introduction to Existential therapy.
International Transactional Analysis Association  provides resources and information about Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis (TA).
Meaning-Centered Family Therapy and Resistance  provides an introduction to Existential therapy in the context of family therapy.
The William Glasser Institute  provides information and training in Glasser’s Reality Therapy.

American Society of Clinical Hypnosis —“Founded by Milton H. Erickson, MD in 1957, ASCH promotes greater acceptance of hypnosis as a clinical tool with broad applications.”
Milton H. Erickson Foundation  provides information and training in the style of hypnosis used by Dr. Erickson, who was a master at healing unconscious conflicts using unusual and paradoxical techniques.
Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis  —“Founded in 1949, The Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis (SCEH) is an international organization ... dedicated to the highest level of scientific inquiry and the conscientious application of hypnosis in the clinical setting.”
Society of Psychological Hypnosis —APA “Division 30 brings together psychologists and other professionals interested in scientific and applied hypnosis. Our mission is to educate the profession and the public, to develop new and innovative clinical interventions and research methods, and to evaluate current treatment approaches.”

Jungian Analytical Psychology:
C. G. Jung Home Page  provides information about Jungian training and treatment.

Academy for the Study of the Psychoanalytic Arts  —“To advance the study of psychoanalytic epistemology, theory, practice, ethics, and education within a psychological framework consisting of philosophy, the arts, and the anthropic sciences as opposed to biology, medicine, and the natural sciences.”
The American Psychoanalytic Association  represents all member psychoanalysts.
The Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis  in the San Francisco Bay area, offers training in Lacanian psychoanalysis.
Psychoanalysis  by Wolfgang Albrecht, in Berlin; provides links to pages with information related to Psychoanalysis.
The Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California  offers psychoanalytic training.
The San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute  is a psychoanalytic training institute in San Francisco.
The San Francisco Society for Lacanian Studies  provides lectures and information about Lacanian psychoanalysis.
Lacan Related Papers  provides links to numerous Lacan-related papers.
Lacanian Links  provides links to Lacanian sites and is an extensive resource for Lacanian articles and papers.

Strategic Therapy:
Strategic Therapy —from Jay Haley on Therapy.

Related pages within A Guide to Psychology and its Practice:
Choosing a Psychologist
Consumer Rights and Office Policies
Diagnosis in Clinical Psychology
Dream Interpretation
Family Therapy
How To Become a Psychologist
The Limits of Psychology
Other Applications of Psychology
Psychology: Clinical or Counseling or ...?
Psychology and Psychiatry
Questions and Answers about Psychotherapy
Reasons to Consult a Psychologist
Spiritual Healing
Termination of Psychotherapy
The Unconscious
Treatment Philosophy
INDEX of all subjects on this website
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Psychology is a complex subject, and many issues are interrelated. And so, even though you may find a topic of interest on one particular page, an exploration of the other pages will deepen your understanding of the human mind and heart.

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Throughout this website, my goal is simply to help you realize that although life can be painful, unfair, and brutal, it doesn’t have to be misery.
The practice of good clinical psychology involves something—call it comfort—which does not mean sympathy or soothing, and it certainly doesn’t mean to have your pain “taken away.” It really means to be urged on to take up the cup of your destiny, with courage and honesty.








his is a FREEWILL WEBSITE with NO ADVERTISING. If you find this page to be informative and helpful, please send a donation to this website in appreciation, as a “down-payment” on the success of your hopes!


his is a FREEWILL WEBSITE with NO ADVERTISING. If you find this page to be informative and helpful, please send a donation in appreciation, even if it’s only a few dollars, to help offset my costs in making this website available, without charge or advertising, to you and to all.


his is a FREEWILL WEBSITE with NO ADVERTISING. If you find this page to be informative and helpful, please send a donation to this website in gratitude, as a “down-payment” on the success of your hopes!



A Guide to Psychology and its Practice



Copyright © 1997-2022 Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D. All rights reserved.
San Francisco


All material on this website is copyrighted. You may copy or print selections for your private, personal use only.
Any other reproduction or distribution without my permission is prohibited.



No advertising and no sponsor—just the simple truth.