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Getting the Most Out of Psychotherapy

Working Within One’s Scope of Practice

In most states, a person cannot be a psychologist without completing an accredited doctoral program, doing years of supervised internship and training, and sitting for licensing exams that require long and dedicated study. But not all psychologists are therapists. Some specialize in research, others teach or provide expert witness testimony and other legal services, such as divorce mediation, some do organizational consulting, and others specialize in psychological testing.

Within these general areas are specialties. Psychologists are ethically bound to practice only within their areas of sufficient training and education. This boundary is called working within one’s scope of practice.


[1] For more information about what makes therapy work, see Talking Cure.

[2] Jung, C. G. (1961). Memories, dreams, reflections. Jaffe, A. (ed.) R. and C. Winston (trans.). New York: Vintage Books Edition, 1989.

[3] Michael Hoyt, Ph.D., personal communication, 2001.

[4] Ann Bernhardt, Ph.D., personal communication, 2002.

[5] I provide long-term, depth psychotherapy for clients, as needed. I am also informed by psychoanalytic theory. However, I do not do psychoanalysis, which requires years of specialized training and certification.

[6] Bion, Wilfred (1967). “Notes on memory and desire.” Reprinted with permission in Classics in psychoanalytic technique. Revised edition, 1991. Robert Langs, Ed. Northvale, New Jersey: Jason Aronson Inc. Original work published in Psychoanalytic Forum 2:271-280. 1967, ed. J. Lindon. A similar attitude is suggested by Carl Jung. Jung, C.G. (1946/1966) “The Psychology of the Transference.” In Jung, C.G. (1966). The practice of psychotherapy: Essays on the psychology of the transference and other subjects. 2nd ed. (R. F. C. Hull, Trans.) Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, p. 329.

[7] On this website, you can access the publication, Professional Therapy Never Includes Sex to understand the therapist’s obligations and your rights in such matters. Therapists who are discovered to have been sexually involved with their clients usually lose their licenses to practice.

* All initial appointments are arranged through a brief phone call so I can get a general sense of the issues you’re addressing. I also ask questions to make sure that your needs are likely to fit within my scope of practice (areas of training and expertise). If those issues are outside my scope of practice, instead of meeting, I try to offer referrals to therapists or community resources with the appropriate specialization. 24-hour notice is required to reschedule the no-charge visit once only.

Getting the Most Out of Psychotherapy

Gary Seeman, Ph.D

Gary Seeman, Ph.D. is a psychologist in private practice in Corte Madera and San Francisco, CA. He works with adult individuals and couples, specializing in addictions, bereavement, creativity, life transitions, personal fulfillment, relationships and spirituality. He maintains a website at

APA Reference
Seeman, G. (2020). Getting the Most Out of Psychotherapy. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 25, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 17 May 2020 (Originally: 17 May 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 17 May 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.