Leonard Schwartzburd, Ph.D.
Please allow me to introduce myself. I am a clinical psychologist. Below is a recitation of how I think about and conduct my practice, my credentials and some of my experience, but perhaps the most important thing I want to convey is my deep dedication to and love for my psychotherapeutic work and my gratitude for the opportunity to see those I work with grow and thrive. It is in the context of a special relationship between two people that therapy lives.
Psychotherapy is an approach to getting help with problems in living. Many people feel troubled, confused, afraid, or experience hurt and painful emotions for which they properly seek help. Often people seek help because they have a vague sense that something important is missing in their lives, or because they feel that they are not in control of and are dissatisfied with the basic direction of their lives.
Some people come to recognize that they have established a pattern of living or “lifestyle” which is harming them or those they care about. These people often seek help in developing more healthful patterns.
With the exception of those very disturbed individuals who are of danger to themselves or others, my approach is not to ask if one needs help, but rather whether one wants help. Many people who seek out the services of a psychotherapist are intact and functioning individuals who want to change something about their lives.
The goals in my practice of psychotherapy are to assist my patients to clarify their life situation, to identify the choices which might be open to them, to be able to feel free to act upon those choices, and finally, for me to be present and supportive if discomfort emerges as a necessary part of progress.
The basic values from which my therapeutic approach is derived are: that it is better to live in freedom than in fear; that it is better to be conscious of our choices and to feel responsible for ourselves than to feel the victim of forces which are beyond our understanding or control.
My sense of the principles which govern psychotherapy are really quite simple. People often behave in certain ways without knowing why they do so. Sometimes we behave in ways of which we are unaware. The process of psychotherapy is to help people to become aware of feelings and behaviors they have a limited awareness of and the connection between them. When this is done, the individual can be capable of making choices which may improve his or her life. Thus, psychotherapy is a partnership between the therapist and patient in which they search together for an understanding of the patient as a unique and valuable individual.
The code of Ethics of the American Psychological Association and the laws of the States of California and Georgia inform my practice of psychotherapy. The principle of “confidentiality” is applied to my work. Simply put, this principle states that what passes between patient and psychotherapist is a “privileged communication” and cannot be revealed by the therapist to anyone with the exception of several clearly defined circumstances. The principle exception involves circumstances in which a patient is threatening to physically harm others or themself.
In some situations, it may be advantageous for me to provide information to some third party on a patient’s behalf. Written permission is necessary before I can provide such information.
If you have any questions about confidentiality, feel free to discuss them with me. If you wish, I will be happy to provide you with a copy of the California law governing this subject.
The time required for us to complete the work we are able to do together varies with the individual. Time and progress are proper subjects for periodic re-evaluation as an accurate pre-determination of time and outcome cannot be made with confidence.
My Professional History
I started to practice individual and group psychotherapy in 1966 while a student in the American Psychological Association accredited University of Oklahoma clinical psychology program where I was trained. I went to Oklahoma because it was the only one of the 48 accredited programs in the US frankly committed to training clinicians. I went with strong reservations about living in Oklahoma only to find that it was a wonderful experience among fine and down to earth people. I was awarded my Master of Science degree in 1968 and my Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1971. During my final year I was the Coordinator of Volunteer Services for a court program for juveniles that was shown as a model to visitors from foreign nations brought to us by the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare. While in school I had a grant from the State of Illinois in return for which I worked for the State Department of Mental Health in Chicago for three years. During most of that time I was the Director of a community based program for at risk children and adolescents, a program that became a state wide model. I then lived abroad for a year, finally returning to my home state and settling in Berkeley where I received my California license and began private practice in 1976. I am also licensed in Georgia.
In addition to my primary practice of individual psychotherapy with adults, I work with couples and families. I have deep experience in helping with the literally life saving behavioral/life style changes for people who have heart disease or are prone to developing it. I am a co-author of the chapter on treating time pathologies in the book Heart and Mind published by the American Psychological association. I have also worked extensively with people suffering with alcohol problems. I have been qualified as an expert witness by the Superior Court in Alameda County and Contra Costa County. I am a Qualified Medical Examiner in the Department of Industrial relations.
My principal professional associations are The American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Psychotherapists, where I am most active. I am a past president of the Western Region of the Academy. I have led and co-led various workshops on professional ethics and subjects of a purely clinical nature. I have contributed articles to the Academy’s Journal, VOICES: The Art and Science of Psychotherapy. I am currently the founder and Chairman of the American Academy of Psychotherapists Research and Advancement of Psychotherapy Committee. I have contributed to the Jesuit Journal Human Development and other publications and have worked in a consultative capacity with programs of the Arch Diocese of San Francisco, the with the Diocese of Santa Rosa and other religious bodies.
Dr. Schwartzburd Offers Services To:
Dr. Schwartzburd provides services to Berkeley, Oakland, Albany, El Cerrito, Piedmont, Emeryville, Orinda, Alameda, San Leandro, Hayward, Walnut Creek, Richmond, El Sobrante, San Pablo, LaFayette, San Rafael, San Francisco, Tiburon, Sausalito and surrounding areas. There are people from additional communities we serve in Northern California within our office in person. We also provide services to people via electronic media. Skype seems to be best but phone and IM’ing can also be effective. It is best to have had contact in person at the beginning of services and where possible a mixture of in person and face to face treatment via modern communication technology. We can work effectively with many individuals anywhere that people are served by the internet. Such services are supported by a growing number of studies, state laws and professional organization guidelines.