SB therapist writes book to help first-time clients
Faith Freed has been practicing psychotherapy for more than 10 years, but she knows not everyone is accustomed to the therapist’s couch.
To help newcomers, she wrote “Starting Therapy: A Guide to Getting Ready, Feeling Informed, and Gaining the Most from your Sessions” (Apocryphile Press, 2020).
“Having been a therapist long enough, I realize that some people come in with a measure of trepidation and discomfort, like not knowing what to expect,” the Santa Barbara therapist told the News-Press. “And they’re just some really basic things that if they know going in, they can just feel more comfortable.”
She writes about the emotional side of therapy as well as the paperwork that new clients encounter.
She also hopes her book can encourage people to start therapy.
“I really want to normalize therapy,” Ms. Freed said. “Anybody who’s open to it can definitely benefit from therapy.”
She begins her book with a disclaimer that she uses the word “client” instead of “patient.”
Ms. Freed said the word “patient” implies an illness, but noted therapy doesn’t require one to have a mental illness.
A few of her new clients have read the book and appreciated her mythbusting.
“I think it was because they were coming from that old school train of thought like there’s some kind of stigma to therapy,” she said. “I think they just felt like it lays out all the basics.”
The 114-page book is a refreshing overview with dollops of humor and a laid back tone. It puts readers on the fast track to successful sessions.
“It can take a little bit of time to build a rapport and to feel like you can disarm yourself and disclose whatever is on your mind and in your heart,” Ms. Freed said.
For some clients, that trust comes naturally. Others are harder for Ms. Freed.
The personal investment is why she was heartbroken when she moved from the Bay Area to Santa Barbara a year and a half ago and had to rebuild her clientele.
“It takes a long time to build a practice and then when you have your clients, the relationships are very meaningful and deep and important,” she said.
The move wasn’t Ms. Freed’s first transition. She’s made many over the years.
She is a Midwest native and set out to Washington D.C. to attend The George Washington University. She received her first master’s degree at the University of Texas in Austin and began a career in the ad business in San Francisco.
“It was really exciting and stimulating and even a little bit glamorous, but it was not good for me in terms of my work/life balance,” she said.
Then she gave birth to her first son and realized she wanted to make a change.
“If I was going to pursue a career and be a mom, I needed to do something with more meaning,” she said. “And so I felt like, gosh, I could really help. I can help people be happier and have better lives.”
She went back to graduate school at The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto and opened up a practice in Burlingame in San Mateo County.
Ms. Freed kept her love for writing and composed “IS: Your Authentic Spirituality Unleashed” (Hay House, 2013), a guide to managing a spiritual life.
She decided to write “Starting Therapy” after chatting with its eventual publisher. He said there was a need for a guide to therapy, and she agreed.
Over about a year and a half, she chiseled away at the book sporadically.
It was published early in 2020, and her first book signings were scheduled for March. COVID-19 got in the way of many of her planned promotions.
She provides therapists with a free ebook to preview to clients.
Ms. Freed said she hopes it can become a useful resource, she said.
“I think a lot of hurt could be mitigated if it was more routine to add therapy to your self-care routine,” she said. “Nobody apologizes for taking care of their teeth or taking care of their bodies going to the doctor every year, whatever. Having someone to talk to tease things out psychologically, it rounds things out.”
Ms. Freed describes therapy as preventative care for the mind.
“I don’t want people to feel like because they go to therapy there, there’s something wrong with them. I feel like it’s more an indication of wellness to take care of yourself.”