Community Clinic: Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start therapy?

If you are interested in starting therapy at The Psychotherapy Institute’s clinic, please call our 24-hour line at 510-548-2250, press 1 and leave a message expressing your interest. Usually within two business days a therapist will return your call to hear about your needs, gather some information and answer any questions you may have about starting therapy. Please see the section called How to Start Therapy for more details.

What is psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a general term for therapeutic approaches that help people get a better understanding of their feelings, experiences, and behaviors. Psychotherapy is used to help individuals better deal with their emotional suffering and problems which might include depression, anxiety, relationship problems, phobias, trauma, and eating disorders.

There are different approaches and modalities of psychotherapy treatment. At The Psychotherapy Institute’s Community Clinic, we offer psychodynamic psychotherapy for individual adults and couples. Psychodynamic psychotherapy involves meeting with a therapist on a regular basis--typically a minimum of once a week for 50 minutes--to explore one’s internal feelings and experiences in life and to help alleviate difficulties. Within the safe and confidential relationship that clients develop with a therapist, discussion about concerns in life can be explored. Through this exploration, patterns of thinking and feeling that contribute to the problems in life can begin to reveal themselves. It is this growing awareness that gradually opens the possibility for change, which can lead to increased satisfaction and a greater sense of authority in one’s own life.

Who will my therapist be?

All our staff therapists have completed a graduate degree program in psychology, marriage and family therapy, or clinical social work and have at least one year of clinical experience. They are part of TPI's Psychotherapy Training Program and are supervised by senior therapists.

How much does it cost?

Therapy sessions at the clinic are assessed on a sliding fee scale, which is based on family size and income. You and your therapist will work together to set the appropriate fee.

How long will I be in therapy?

This can vary quite a lot. While psychotherapy at TPI is open-ended, its duration depends on the individual needs of the person seeking therapy.

Do I get to choose my therapist?

You will have an opportunity to tell us what you’re looking for in a therapist at the time of intake. We will do our best to find a good fit based on your request(s).

How often do I meet with my therapist?

Therapists typically work with clients on a weekly basis or twice-weekly basis. Frequency of weekly sessions is a decision that will be made in collaboration with your therapist.

Do you take insurance?

The clinic does not bill medical insurance companies directly. However, it is recommended that you check with your health insurance provider, because therapy might be an expense that is covered by your particular plan and your provider might reimburse you.

What if I can’t afford to pay?

TPI is committed to providing affordable, high quality psychotherapy through our Community Clinic, so we offer a sliding fee scale. If we cannot make therapy affordable for you, we can refer you to other low-fee community resources.

Can I drop in for therapy?

The Community Clinic does not offer drop-in services. If you would like to begin therapy, please call our 24-hour line at 510-548-2250 and leave a message expressing your interest. For more information, see the Starting Therapy page.

Do you offer group therapy?

Although TPI does not offer group therapy sessions, you can visit this list of local therapy groups for more information.