About Psychotherapy | Kai MacDonald, MD | Located in San Diego

Psychotherapy, as a broad term, describes a variety of different ways of working in a professional relationship to help decrease certain mental health symptoms; address problems; and facilitate stability, trust, healing, and change. Psychotherapy can occur in a group setting, with a partnered couple and a therapist, or one-on-one with a therapist and patient (aka “individual therapy”). 

There are in fact dozens of different forms of individual psychotherapy that have very different approaches, aims, and underlying philosophies about illness and paths to healing. For example—to choose just a few from a very long list—there is trauma-focused therapy, cognitive therapy for depression (focusing on thoughts and behaviors), ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, and motivational therapy for substance use disorders.

Importantly, psychotherapy works. There is good evidence that for many different mental health conditions and concerns, psychotherapy is effective and can change the brain. 

Not all psychiatric doctors (“psychiatrists”) in San Diego actively practice psychotherapy, but I have chosen to since my practice opened in 2003. 

As an active advocate of psychotherapy in San Diego, I am involved in ongoing psychotherapy teaching, and training. Though my approach is flexible based on your needs, I lean toward an emotion-focused, attachment-based, relational form of therapy. Many patients tell me my approach is significantly more intensive—and effective—than others they have experienced in the past.  

At times, I will combine ketamine treatment with psychotherapy; research indicates there may be a synergy between learning experiences like therapy and ketamine. That is, ketamine may enhance the flexibility and openness of the mind and brain to new options and alternatives in a way that is truly novel among medications.

For internet-based information about the type of psychotherapy I practice, you may go to the following websites: