Dora Futterman, Psy.D.

Does it seem like life is harder than it needs to be? Adults sometimes experience:


These are the things that haunt human beings. Emotional pain can be so bad that it is crippling. It can leave you stuck, unable to see the way out in a life that just isn’t what you thought it should be.

Maybe you are wondering if you have made a string of mistakes. Making decisions that are not best for you is a trap. People can fall into that trap when they are carrying emotional baggage that they have never unpacked. Have you messed up your health? your closest relationships? your career path? Are you spending a lot of time escaping from problems you should be dealing with?

Or maybe it’s not as bad as that. You may be functioning well, even succeeding. But you are not happy. You don’t feel good about the direction your life is going. The people closest to you may be urging you to get help.

If you think about who you are in relationship to other people: your loved ones, your children, your family, your co-workers and the people you work for and who work for you – is the give-and-take in those relationships in balance? Do other people take advantage of you? Or do you get angry at others too much? Do you think you are good at giving and receiving love and friendship? Or do you find yourself feeling alone, even when there are other people around you?


It helps to Talk

Talk therapy has been validated in study after study. In general terms, it is as effective as medication. Although it can take longer to work, the benefits will stay with you. What it really does is to teach you new mental habits and new ways of seeing yourself. It helps you to understand your personal history, so that you can see where you are going and make better choices for yourself in the present and future. It can help you to put unresolved bad memories into perspective and drain them of their destructive power.

Working with a psychotherapist provides you with a safe place to talk and a healing relationship. Again, the research shows that a therapeutic relationship can help you to become stronger and more resilient emotionally. You will internalize what you learn in therapy, and that will steady you and help you to conduct your life more thoughtfully, more constructively, and in a way that will better nurture yourself and the people around you.

It is tempting to avoid issues that have to do with feelings and relationships. It seems easier, and maybe it is easier in the short-run. But if you want a better life, you have to do some work to make that happen. How much more of your life are you going to spend this way? The sooner you deal with the hurt and ugliness inside you, the sooner you get to live a happier life.

Medications for depression or anxiety can be very helpful, but if you are taking such medications, you should be working on the issues that have led you to need them. Often, medications stop working when you stop taking them. When you are on anti-depressants or other psychotropic medications, you should take the opportunity to make changes in your thinking and emotional habits, so that, over time, you will live a happier, more productive life.

Do not underestimate the effect of emotional pain on your physical health. Anger, stress, depression, and the use of alcohol, drugs, and isolating yourself have all been associated with decreased physical health, increased pain, increased disability, and even a shorter lifespan. Take care of yourself. You deserve it. And your loved ones deserve it.


How I Work

Psychotherapy may seem daunting, but that is why I come with you every step of the way. We will work together to develop a pace that you can manage. The goal will be to challenge you only to the degree that is helpful to you. Working together, we can set you up for success.

I adapt my way of working to every client I see. I take a client-centered, individualized approach. I will use a mix of techniques from cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychodynamic approaches, and family systems theory to provide you with the therapeutic treatment that is best suited to your individual goals, situation, and needs.

To find out more about how we would work together, please contact me. We can begin by speaking on the phone at 925-640-8078. You will get a sense of what I am like and how we could work together. In our first in-person consultation, we can explore your options and I can help you to see a way forward. I invite you to take the first step.