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Frequently asked questions

If you have any questions not included here, please feel free to email or call me.

Frequently asked questions

How long does therapy take?

Some issues can be solved with a few sessions. Issues that are long standing and that have impacted many areas of your life will most likely take longer to resolve. My intention is to help you achieve relief as soon as possible.

Do I need therapy?

There are many reasons why someone could choose therapy. Often problems are interfering with work, home, or other important areas of life. Some issues I've helped people deal with are:

  • Relationship issues (communication, conflict resolution, power struggles, infidelity, negative patterns of relating)
  • Depression (diminished pleasure)
  • Anxiety (stress, phobias, panic attacks, fears, etc.)
  • Substance abuse, addictions and compulsions
  • Trauma
  • Childhood abuse
  • Codependency
  • Grief and loss
  • Life transitions (adolescence, pre-marital, new baby, divorce, empty nest, career change)

How do I know if I'm depressed?

You may find yourself over- or under-eating and sleeping. You feel like you're not getting as much pleasure out of life. There may be a loss of interest in normal activities. You could have difficulty concentrating. You may feel as though you are living in black and white, and not experiencing life's rainbow of colors. You may lack energy to get things done or have too much edgy energy. You may feel like you're just going through the motions and lack vitality. There may have been a recent loss, or previously unresolved losses. You could be feeling guilty and have low self-esteem. You may have thoughts of suicide or just not want to be around any more.

How do I know if anxiety is a problem?

You could have difficulty sleeping, waking throughout the night. You may have nightmares. Your digestion can be affected by anxiety. You could feel so stressed that your work or relationships are suffering. Fears and worries can seem to dominate your life. You may have fears that seem irrational. You may be having panic attacks.

How do I know if addiction/compulsions are a problem?

Have you tried to stop using? You may have tried to change or stop behaviors and been unsuccessful. You might tell yourself you'll stop after the next drink and then keep drinking. Some people find their compulsions affecting their health, their work, their relationships. Some people find themselves continuing to use despite negative consequences. Many have grown up in a family where addictions and compulsions were or are a problem. You may find yourself focusing on the others in your life, neglecting your own needs, desires and welfare (codependent). You may be filled with shame from time to time.

What is play therapy about?

Since play is the language of children, their issues are responded to in a playful manner. Anxiety, depression, loss, and behavior problems can be addressed through carefully selected play materials using play therapy techniques.

What about insurance?

The decision to use your insurance is a matter of personal discretion. I am on some insurance panels and you would need to verify with your plan what coverage is available. I am happy to assist you with the process.

How soon can I get in touch with you?

You can call (510) 303-9345 or email me at ellen.odza@gmail.com anytime. Please leave your name, phone number and a couple of good times to reach you. I'll respond as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours during the normal business week.

How much does it cost?

Please call for my usual session fee. I have a few sliding scale slots for people who would not be able to afford therapy otherwise.

What are your qualifications?

I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT). Since 2001, I have provided therapy to a diverse population covering a range of issues including anxiety, depression, trauma, substance abuse, eating disorders, severe mental illness, play therapy, dual diagnosis, and life transitions. I have worked since 2005 in a substance abuse treatment setting and over two years with pre-schoolers and their families. Beginning in 2003, I have worked in a private practice setting.

I have led groups in relapse prevention, PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) and substance abuse, conscious eating, grief and loss, and anxiety management.

Specialized Trainings: EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a technique that has helped an estimated two million people of all ages relieve many types of psychological distress including:

  • Panic Attacks
  • Complicated Grief
  • Addictions
  • Phobias
  • Disturbing Memories
  • Pain Disorders
  • Personality Disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Performance Anxiety
  • Stress Reduction
  • Sexual and/or Physical Abuse
  • Body Image Distortions
  • Dissociative Disorders

I am also trained in:

  • Play Therapy
  • Treating the Anxiety Spectrum
  • Trauma
  • Domestic Violence
  • Eating Disorders
  • Substance Abuse
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
  • Depression

Professional Affiliations:

  • American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
  • American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy � California Division
  • California Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
  • California Association for Marriage and Family Therapy � East Bay Chapter
  • EMDR International Association