I grew up in an Indian family and going to therapy was just not a thing that you did. Or, if you did see a therapist, people took it to mean that something was seriously wrong.
✅ Fact check: That’s simply not true. Going to therapy is a form of self-care and doesn’t mean that anything is “wrong.” (And yes, even though I’m a psychiatrist, I also see a therapist.)
Now, that doesn’t mean that therapy always works.
Have you been in therapy before…and if so, did you ever feel like it wasn’t working?
Sometimes I’ll hear from patients something along the lines of, “I tried therapy but it didn’t work for me.”
I get it.
It’s disappointing when you’ve invested your time, energy, money, and work into therapy and didn’t find it helpful.
That doesn’t mean therapy will never work for you. It’s just a sign that it wasn’t the right timing, fit, or style. Like a pair of shoes, not all shoes will be the right fit or the right style for the occasion.
Here 5 reasons why therapy might have not have worked for you:
1️⃣ The therapist didn’t have the qualifications, experience, or provide the appropriate therapy method for your needs.
2️⃣ You weren’t in a place where you were ready to do the work or implement the skills you were learning in therapy.
3️⃣ The therapist wasn’t the right fit (expanding on point #1 above, you may be surprised to hear that research shows client-therapist fit can be more important than the actual treatment method)
4️⃣ Consistency was lacking – if you frequently miss sessions or your therapist is always canceling, therapy isn’t going to work very well.
5️⃣ Your therapist didn’t understand your background, needs, or values. Open communication with your therapist is key, and if that doesn’t help, it might be time to find someone new.
This is why we’re grateful to have Andrew Davis LMFT on our team.
Andrew’s specialty is working with people who haven’t benefited from therapy in the past. He’s skilled at getting to the root of the issues, creating a plan tailored to your specific needs, and helping people thrive in their personal and professional lives.
Therapy-curious? Check out the video below with Andrew to learn more. Or, schedule a free call with our team to see if Andrew’s services are a good fit for you.
To your wellbeing,
Dr. Bhopal & The Pacific Integrative Psychiatry Team
TRANSCRIPT OF “WHEN TO SEE A THERAPIST” VIDEO:
Nishi Bhopal MD: In today’s episode, we’re talking to Andrew Davis. He is a clinical psychotherapist at Pacific Integrative Psychiatry, and we’re going to be talking about why you should see a therapist. And if you want to learn more about how to improve your mental health, go ahead and subscribe to this channel. I’m Dr.
Nishi Bhopal MD: Nishi Bhopal. I’m a physician specializing in integrative psychiatry and sleep medicine, and I’m the founder of Pacific Integrative Psychiatry. And we see adults with anxiety, depression, and sleep issues. All across California. And we also provide nutrition services for mental health. And Andrew provides psychotherapy services for us.
Nishi Bhopal MD: So Andrew, I’m really excited to hear from you today about your approach to psychotherapy, but I’d love to start by learning more about why you became a therapist. What drew you to psychotherapy? Sure.
Andrew Davis LMFT: You know, first of all, excited to be here and along with the team and looking forward to, all the great stuff we can do here.
Andrew Davis LMFT: You know, the things that drew me to being a therapist are, are like a lot of people, you know, my life experiences, kind of shaping me to, not just be open to therapy. , so a lot of it has been my own work that I’ve done. A lot of my own personal experiences have led me to [00:01:00] seek this kind of but also, you know, really appreciating and valuing being able to support people on their journey on their process.
Andrew Davis LMFT: I had a brief detour as an elementary school teacher, and pretty quickly found that the part about the job that I really liked was the, you know, being on the our duty lunch and being able to kind of help the kids when they’re going through something challenging. And that was an important process to have me,
Andrew Davis LMFT: really, landing on a path that felt like it really resonated with me. Yeah.
Nishi Bhopal MD: And it’s so interesting how many of us. Maybe you don’t intend to go into mental health initially, but we kind of take these paths where we have these different experiences, maybe our own experiences, interacting with therapists or other mental health practitioners, uh, you know, our own anxiety, burnout and stress that many of us deal with.
Nishi Bhopal MD: And then, um, seeing how we interact with other people. So, yes, it’s really interesting to hear you. You were a teacher at first. I didn’t realize
Andrew Davis LMFT: that. Mm hmm. Yeah. Yeah. I, you know, I think like anything, all those experiences, even the ones that [00:02:00] don’t work out in the way we want them to, right, are, are useful, and, and can teach us lessons that can be incorporated if we’re, if we’re willing to confront them.
Andrew Davis LMFT: Right. And it’s not always easy, but it definitely was essential in me, me getting here and, , has made me a better person and a better therapist, I think. Yeah.
Nishi Bhopal MD: And so for people who are listening, I know a lot of folks will say, well, I don’t really need to see a therapist. I can just talk to my family, talk to my friends, I have a good support system.
Nishi Bhopal MD: Why should I see a therapist? So what do you, what do you recommend to people? Like, why should they see a therapist? What’s their goal?
Andrew Davis LMFT: Yeah. I mean, I think there are a lot of ways that, it can be positive to be able to utilize our social support systems, whether that’s family or friends, you know, sometimes there are also some limitations to that, right?
Andrew Davis LMFT: Everyone. Even from just beginning of training, right? And education, right? People can be supportive of family members, but might not have the background to help out in a way that might be needed, right? People also might have a variety of their own biases, life experiences that might filter what kind of support [00:03:00] they’re able to give or willing to give, that might not necessarily match up with the kind of support that someone might need or want or benefit from.
Andrew Davis LMFT: The other part, too, is, you know, in my work with clients, I also make sure to, , if family and friends are able to support and willing to, and that’s something that client, benefits from and enjoys, I think that’s important to incorporate and not also throw out, it doesn’t have to be only a therapist or family and friend.
Andrew Davis LMFT: Lastly, too, only kind of relying on family and friends as a support might be difficult under certain circumstances if the particular person seeking help. Has any sort of, anxiety, trauma, or, or challenges relating to those people, right? So there might be times where those might not be the, the most appropriate people to go to in those situations if they’ve had some involvement in some of the reasons someone is seeking help.
Andrew Davis LMFT: So there are a lot of reasons why, therapy can be unique. One last thing I’ll say too is, there’s something unique about the therapist and client relationship. Part of it being, it isn’t totally two sided, right? , me [00:04:00] as a therapist, we’re holding space for you and supporting you. And that’s part of the reason it works, right?
Andrew Davis LMFT: So those are, kind of a variety of reasons why. Therapy can be helpful often in addition to any support you might get from friends, family, peers, colleagues.
Nishi Bhopal MD: Yeah, I think that’s a really helpful way to frame where frame it is that it’s not a replacement for talking to your family and friends, but it’s just a different kind of a support in a really unique space.
Nishi Bhopal MD: Like you said, like it’s just for you, just for the client. So what is therapy? Like, I think some people, who haven’t. seen a therapist before. Sometimes there’s an idea that as well as just talking to somebody, how is that really going to help me? So what exactly is psychotherapy? What might happen in a session?
Andrew Davis LMFT: Yeah, I think therapy can look different for a lot of different reasons, depending on the therapist, the client situation and the need. When working with me, therapy looks like a combination of the client talking, sharing their experience. A lot of me listening, I asked a lot of open ended questions, all right, kind of [00:05:00] aimed at, helping someone kind of make gains and insight or, or become aware of certain things.
Andrew Davis LMFT: , the amount of times client has been becoming aware of something by a question I asked and gone, Wow, how did I not see that before? Right? So there are these things that are really hard to put into words of how it works. It’s kind of a really unique experience that, it’s hard to really describe, right?
Andrew Davis LMFT: But in the end, I focus on doing therapy, in a way that that particular client would benefit from. You know, I don’t have a template that works for everyone, and I really pride myself in being flexible and, and really. Catering towards the needs of the client, right? Someone who has not been in therapy before might not need or want a little more structure, whether that’s, me leading the session a little more than them, they might want some kind of homework or tasks to do in between sessions.
Andrew Davis LMFT: So, I, I really make a point to ask the client and really kind of frequently check in to see how they’re feeling about the work about the style and being willing to make any adjustments necessary, whether that’s things that are [00:06:00] they recommend or things that I might notice. And really working collaboratively with the client to do so.
Nishi Bhopal MD: Yeah, and I think that’s that’s really helpful for people to to recognize because the research even shows that, not one type of therapy that’s better than another. It’s really the relationship you have with. You’re a therapist. That matters. And, yeah. And it’s just about that personalized approach.
Nishi Bhopal MD: Some, some people want more of a structured cognitive behavioral therapy, CBT approach. Some people want more of an open ended, back and forth conversation. Yeah. And they’re tailoring it to the client is, is really what matters. Yeah.
Andrew Davis LMFT: Absolutely.
Nishi Bhopal MD: So what do you say to people who might complain that, you know what, I’ve, I’ve done therapy before.
Nishi Bhopal MD: I’ve been in therapy for years. I’ve seen tons of therapists. It hasn’t really worked for me. Yeah. What would you say to somebody like that?
Andrew Davis LMFT: Sure. Yeah. I have current clients or past clients that have had similar experiences and I, I happen to actually enjoy and have found a lot of success working with those kinds of clients.
Andrew Davis LMFT: You know, what [00:07:00] I say is I first make sure to recognize and validate that experience and how. Disappointing and frustrating that might be to have put in a lot of work, time, energy, money, and not feeling like someone has gotten the kind of benefit out of it that they would have hoped, right? Um, I also tell people there are a lot of reasons why that happens.
Andrew Davis LMFT: Uh, the, the therapist and their qualification, their client and where they’re at in their life and their willingness or ability to do the work. And also the match, right? Sometimes, um, it might be a great therapist, but it’s a great therapist for that person five years down the line or five years beforehand.
Andrew Davis LMFT: So there are a lot of factors that influence that and. Sometimes it does taking, take trying a couple of different therapists, a couple of different styles, a couple of different points in someone’s life to really find that match. And I also know that can be, that process can be pretty frustrating and discouraging sometimes.
Andrew Davis LMFT: So, you know, I really make sure to kind of hold space and validate that, and be transparent with the client that, you know, We’re going to work together. I’m going to do all I can to support you and [00:08:00] making sure that we’re giving the kind of support that you need. And in my experience as a therapist, that’s often been helpful.
Andrew Davis LMFT: And I’ve had clients who have had really kind of at their last, pretty much getting ready to be done with therapy and feeling pretty hopeless about it. And who have really felt good about the work they’ve been able to do in our dynamic. And I really appreciated that. So, to anyone who’s a little unsure or who has had some not great experiences, you know, as frustrating or challenging as, as it might be, I really encourage you to see what it’s like to consider giving it another shot and maybe even thinking about, are there any of those factors that may have contributed to and not working out in the way that you would have hoped?
Andrew Davis LMFT: And what are some reasons why this might be different or this could be different?
Nishi Bhopal MD: That’s really helpful. And I really like how you put that, that Maybe, you know, like at different points of your time and, at different points in time of your life, you might need a different approach and, and working with a different person can be really helpful just to get a new perspective and, just a different way of looking at things.[00:09:00]
Nishi Bhopal MD: So what are some, some tips that you might recommend generally for people who, Maybe they’re not struggling necessarily with any severe symptoms, but I mean, we all have mental health to take care of. Right. And many people, many of us are stressed out or anxious or burned out or a little bit depressed.
Nishi Bhopal MD: And I think the pandemic really highlighted a lot of that. So what are some mental health tips that you might recommend to anyone who’s listening today?
Andrew Davis LMFT: Sure. I mean, I think that’s a great point you made too, before I get to answering your question directly. That, therapy isn’t just for people who are.
Andrew Davis LMFT: Immensely struggling or who have a previous diagnosis or, you know, therapy can be for people who just feel stuck, feel frustrated or disconnected or, you know, so, being aware to that someone doesn’t have to be really in the pits in the deepest, you know, whole. To consider or even want to seek out therapy, right?
Andrew Davis LMFT: To answer your question though, some things that I really kind of focus on in my work, but also just suggesting to people when they ask, right? [00:10:00] Really focusing on self compassion, which can be hard for a lot of people. You know, being kind to yourself. Sometimes being kind to yourself means being a little more gentler, giving yourself a break.
Andrew Davis LMFT: Sometimes being kind to yourself means like giving yourself a little nudge to get going, right? Being kind doesn’t mean letting yourself off the hook. So that can look really different. So, you know, balancing that accountability, but also being kind to yourself, knowing when to ask for help and in what ways and to who, right.
Andrew Davis LMFT: Um, sometimes it is helpful to practice and learn to do things on your own. Sometimes it’s actually maybe more, helpful to, to seek out support. But also being mindful of. Who in your life is able to support you in the way that you’re seeking, right? Someone might go to their best friend for something, their mom for someone else, a mentor, a professor, right?
Andrew Davis LMFT: And, some of that is their role that might impact that. But also, if someone knows this friend is really good at listening, and this friend is really good at giving advice, being mindful of what is the kind of support that I’m seeking, and what’s the best chance of me getting that from someone in my life.
Andrew Davis LMFT: And lastly, you know, working on creating [00:11:00] balance, and that can mean a lot of things, you know, balance between physical health and emotional health, time with yourself and time with friends, work, life, you know, this idea of balance and having balance in a lot of areas of our life, a lot of times people seeking therapy, maybe have some aspects of their life or a lot of aspects that are out of balance or out of sync.
Andrew Davis LMFT: So, considering that as a, as a factor in someone’s kind of wellness or just overall enjoyment and connection to life.
Nishi Bhopal MD: So many great points there. And just to kind of emphasize again, what you were saying is that you don’t have to be in a, in, you know, in dire straits to go seek therapy and to benefit from it.
Nishi Bhopal MD: Yeah. You know, there are lots of benefits that someone can experience from therapy, especially when you’re doing well. It’s also a way to help maintain and optimize
Andrew Davis LMFT: your mental health. Right. Yeah. And, you know, everyone uses therapy differently and needs it differently, you know. You know, for some people it is like…
Andrew Davis LMFT: Some people go to doctor every, you know, year for an annual physical. Some people [00:12:00] like going to therapy every week to kind of maintain their progress or that, you know, some people need more concrete skills or tools or insight. And, as a therapist, my job is to be sensitive to your specific situation and help you as a person, right?
Andrew Davis LMFT: As a whole person, not as a diagnosis or symptom, and, and treating you as a person with, with the experiences that you’ve had.
Nishi Bhopal MD: And I also really like how you, how you shared about, figuring out what your needs are. And if you have a friend who gives like, do you need someone to listen to you? Do you want advice?
Nishi Bhopal MD: The way that I sometimes frame it to people is thinking about your own personal board of advisors. Who do you want on your board of advisors? What kind of therapy support would you want
Andrew Davis LMFT: to include in that? Yeah, absolutely. What are
Nishi Bhopal MD: some things, I’m just curious, what are some things that you do for yourself to support your own mental health?
Andrew Davis LMFT: Yeah. You know, well, you know, in full transparency, I do my own therapy. It’s pretty important to me, as a person, as something that’s led me [00:13:00] to this path and also to continue being a functioning person and, who can, you know. Thrive and enjoy life and also be a good therapist for other people.
Andrew Davis LMFT: So that’s a big factor for me. I really enjoy and appreciate, you know, regular exercise, you know, do my best to eat balanced nutrition, right? So that doesn’t mean I’m the healthiest eater ever, but I put the balance right? Allow myself to have a cookie, right? Or more than one cookie, but also, you know, getting a glass of water that those kind of thing.
Andrew Davis LMFT: I do my best to get to get some quality sleep. Yeah. And then also playing music is a big tool for me and, having an outlet for both creativity and emotion, but just taking a break, playing with my dog and spending time with my wife and family are all really important aspects that allow me to be the most functional and optimal version of myself.
Nishi Bhopal MD: And I think that that’s really great to hear because, you know, as health practitioners, and I often say this to other health care practitioners too, is that it’s important that we practice what we preach, right? Yeah, [00:14:00] we walk the, walk the talk, and absolutely, yeah, and I can echo a lot of the, the things that you just shared, just for me personally, I also see a therapist, I went back to therapy.
Nishi Bhopal MD: Need to, you know, just for extra support. And, I think it’s something that everyone can benefit from. And I’m also emphasizing sleep and exercise movement, fresh air, sunshine, hydration, all of these things do have a big
Andrew Davis LMFT: impact. Yeah. One last thing that I forgot to mention that is not just often a part of my work with clients, but my own personal work is mindfulness.
Andrew Davis LMFT: That can sometimes be in the form of sitting down to do a mindfulness meditation, but also it could be, you know, doing some stretching mindfully, going on a walk mindfully, listening to a song or eating a meal mindfully, having those moments. And again, doesn’t have to be for long chunks of time, a couple of minutes here and there.
Andrew Davis LMFT: Of really actively, practicing being in the present moment, accepting the present moment without judgment can be really helpful and, you know. That can mean my present emotional or internal state that can mean that the [00:15:00] circumstances of the larger world and global and political issues. It could be the weather, right?
Andrew Davis LMFT: This real practice of accepting of what is, has been really helpful in my, my connection to myself and the world around me.
Nishi Bhopal MD: So what kinds of patients do you work with? I mean, there’s a lot, a lot of tools and skills and support that you can offer people. So what kinds of patients do you work with at Pacific Integrative Psychiatry?
Nishi Bhopal MD: Yeah, I
Andrew Davis LMFT: work with, adults who are, you know, dealing with issues relating to, anxiety, depression, trauma. Also, issues related to codependency, boundaries, people who maybe, feel like they’re, people pleasers is the term that people use sometimes, or having trouble, putting yourself first.
Andrew Davis LMFT: You may be kind of chronically finding yourself in a position of feeling like your needs aren’t getting met, you know, so helping, I really enjoy helping clients kind of identify some patterns and developing tools to start, feeling more empowered to put themselves first, right? In a way that feels uncomfortable at times.
Andrew Davis LMFT: So, I also, like I mentioned earlier, really liked working with clients who have really struggled to [00:16:00] find, some therapy in the past that has really kind of helped them in the way that they’re seeking. And at times I also like working with people who are creatives, whether that’s people who are in the creative industries as far as work or just hobbies.
Andrew Davis LMFT: And kind of that, that kind of person is someone that I am familiar with. And I, as a creative person, I really value that. And that it can often be used as a part of someone’s resilience or practices and helping them, you know, become the person they want to be.
Nishi Bhopal MD: So if people are interested in working with you or learning more about how they can work with you, what’s the next step?
Nishi Bhopal MD: Thank you.
Andrew Davis LMFT: Sure. Yeah, I’m available to take on clients here at Pacific Integrative Psychiatry. You can contact us on the website. But, that’s where you can find me
Nishi Bhopal MD: fantastic. And we see patients by telemedicine all across California. So wherever people are located in the state. As long as you’re in California, we can work with you.
Nishi Bhopal MD: And as Andrew said, you can schedule A call via our website. You can schedule a free call with our [00:17:00] team and they can help you figure out if if we’re the right fit for your needs. Um, and you can also email us, but check out our website Pacific integrative site dot com. So thanks, Andrew. This is really informative, really helpful.
Nishi Bhopal MD: So thanks for taking the time today.
Andrew Davis LMFT: Absolutely. Thank you.
Nishi Bhopal MD: Great. Okay, so I’m going to do a clap now just to signal. Perfect. And I’m going to stop recording. Should
Andrew Davis LMFT: I stop on my end too?