What Is Psychotherapy? Psychotherapy is an interactive process that allows for the delivery of emotional help, guidance, insight, nurturence and clarity to life situations, crises and dilemmas. Psychotherapy can be thought of as a partnership between the therapist and the patient in which they search together for greater understanding and freedom from what may be causing hurt, fear, pain, depression, anxiety, loneliness, estrangement, hopelessness, frustration and/or the lack of meaning in ones life.
People often behave in ways without knowing why they do so and may be living or behaving in ways that they would like to understand better and change. The process of psychotherapy may help to bring insight and awareness to their unconscious feelings and behaviors and the connection between them and, consequently, allow the individual greater freedom in making choices, which may improve his or her life.

What Is My Orientation? I bring a wealth of life experience to my practice in addition to considerable psychological studies, training, and clinical experience. My therapeutic orientation can best be termed "eclectic"or an integration of therapeutic techniques drawn from several "schools" of psychotherapy. I am most closely aligned with the principles and theory of Existential-Humanism. Psychotherapists in this tradition believe that people have an innate capacity for positive growth, self-determination and self-actualization, tend to focus more on current behaviors, and view therapy as involving an authentic, collaborative, and egalitarian relationship between therapist and client. Therapy is centered on the existing person and oriented to the unique being or essence as it emerges, becomes, and unfolds. The therapist is a facilitator of change in the client's work. Existential-humanistic psychology draws from a romantic and philosophical lineage that emphasizes a person's subjective capacities for choice, will, insight, compassion, love and other qualities that give and bring meaning to our lives. Therapy focuses on the quest for meaning, purpose, faith and consciousness in the context of engaged living. Change and growth are essential elements in ones unfolding. Change and growth may involve what may be called the "existential crisis" which is to wait and tolerate the emptiness of not knowing who we are, to face the abyss of nothingness. In facing the abyss and the confusion of being lost, we can then discover our freedom. Healing from this perspective is to make whole or to repair the fragmentation that an individual may be experiencing. This can take considerable work and time.
Philosophically the lineage of my orientation to therapy stems from a lengthy list including Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Buddha, George Fox, Buber, Tillich, May, Laing, Skinner, Maslow, Rogers, Jung and Bugental.

Who is William G. Barton, Ph.D., M.F.C.C.? I am very experienced in providing psychotherapy to children, adolescents and adults. I became licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist in 1982. (Cal. Lic. # 16735). I am also a licensed Clinical Psychologist (Cal. Lic. # PSY 18464). My clinical work began in 1972, and I was initially trained at acute psychiatric facilities including The Walnut Creek Hospital and Gladman Memorial Hospital. I earned two masters degrees (an MBA from Columbia and a Masters in clinical psychology from Lone Mountain College, San Francisco) and received my doctorate in counseling psychology in 1990 from the Professional School of Psychology, San Francisco.
I am capable of doing both long term or "depth" therapy as well as more short term or crisis intervention therapy. I am trained in critical incident stress management and debriefing (disaster response training with Red Cross and other training) and am "level II" trained in the technique of EMDR.

In addition to my psychotherapy practice, I am an expert in the use of clinical biofeedback for wide arrays of stress related illnesses and have been using this tool since 1974. I am a Senior Fellow of the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America and am twice a past president of the Biofeedback Society of California. My work hours are divided fairly evenly among doing psychotherapy, counseling and clinical biofeedback. Some clients chose to receive all of these services from me.

I am a "world class" yachtsman and was captain of both my college basketball and lacrosse teams. I enjoy helping athletes, musicians and artists with peak performance issues.

Finally, I am a husband and a father, and I believe in the value and importance to maintaining vital mental health to commit to and regularly engage in work, relaxation, fun, good diet, exercise, and activities that feed ones soul, to the extent that is physically and emotionally possible.

Laws and Ethics in Psychotherapy: The Ethical Standards as put forth by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and those of the California Psychological Association, and the laws of the State of California govern my practice of psychotherapy. The principle of confidentiality applies to my work and states that what is communicated between patient and therapist is a privileged communication and cannot be revealed by the therapist to anyone with the exception of several clearly defined circumstances. The most salient exception is when a patient is threatening to harm others or him or herself. You will be asked to read and sign my comprehensive HIPAA form (federally mandated Health Information Privacy Access Act) before we begin therapy.

Length of Therapy and Progress in Therapy: Therapy is a joint effort, the result of which cannot be guaranteed. Progress depends on many factors, including motivation, effort and other life circumstances such as your interactions with family, friends, and other associates. Despite our best efforts, matters can get worse, as well as better. The time that is required for us to complete our work varies with the individual. Length of therapy and progress are proper subjects for periodic evaluation.

Session Fee and Missed Appointments: Your appointment time is your exclusive time. I generally expect payment at the time of each session, and require twenty-four hours notice on a cancellation (and in the case of Monday appointments, the cancellation needs to be in by the preceding Friday) in order not to incur a charge for a missed session. Managed care clients will be required to pay their co-pay for missed sessions. I am certainly not rigid about this, and I am usually understanding of emergencies that may have necessitated a late cancel. My fees are subject to change and are currently $140 per hour. I do adjust my fee for individuals needing special consideration.

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