Is therapy right for me?
Seeking out therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. At times people have long-standing issues that affect their moods, anxiety level, or they may be adjusting to something that will be long-term such as significant pain. At other times, people may have an unexpected problem or challenge to face in their personal or work lives that they don't feel like they can fully manage on their own. It can be helpful to recognize that therapists too have known the sometimes difficult journey involved in their own personal exploration and growth. A skilled and knowledgable therapist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges or can be there to help someone get back on a path to a better life balance.
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. I believe that asking for help from a professional is an indication of someone's desire to make real changes and is a responsible step to take. Taking that first step into the therapist's office is a signal of accepting where you are in your life and that you are committed to learning how to change whatever your situation might be by asking for help from somebody who wants to help you. Psychotherapy has been proven to provide long-lasting benefits by helping people learn to use new tools, find coping strategies, understand their issues better, and often see that they are not alone in facing an emotional and personal struggle.
How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, and the ever-growing stresses of daily life. A good therapist will listen to fully understand and then can provide a fresh, more objective perspective on a difficult problem and then can help you to identify solutions that you feel comfortable using. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how much you believe in the process of psychotherapy, the relationship you develop with your therapist so that you can use her skills and knowledge, and how put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for enhancing relationships
- Resolving issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new coping strategies for stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Challenging unhelpful thinking patterns and replacing them with healthier ones
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence to face fears and excel
What is therapy like?
Every therapy session is unique because every therapist and every patient is different. My approach to therapy centers on each individual and/or family group and your specific goals. After we identify the issues I will work with you to develop a plan that will work for you and we will identify goals that will help you to know what it will look and feel like when you are resolving the issues you have identified for therapy. The first session is focused on gathering important information to understand you better and this intake session lasts about one hour. Following sessions may continue to provide additional assessment information as the therapy progresses and they are scheduled for 45-50 minutes. You and I will decide on the frequency and estimated length of the time we will work together. For therapy to be most effective you will find that you easily will become an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives. Here are some things you may expect out of therapy and a good psychotherapist:
- Compassion, respect and understanding
- Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
- Real strategies and/or resources for enacting positive change
- Full explanations from your therapist of what is happening and answers to your questions
- The possibility of a range of emotions on your part as you go through the process of discovery
- The most effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. By coordinating efforts with your medical doctor, you, and your psychologist we can determine what's best for you. It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems, and the pain they cause, cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of treating the symptom alone, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress, giving you tools to manage your future. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. There are times when it is wise for your therapist and doctor or psychiatrist to coordinate services to maximize your positive outcome.
Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?
To determine if you have mental health coverage with your psychologist, your first step is to contact your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- Is the therapist I am thinking about seeing an in-network therapist?
- If not, is there one you could recommend for me please?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider vs. an in-network provider?
- Do I need to pay a deductible amount before insurance begins to reimburse me for charges from the psychologist's fees?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician or the insurance company before I can be seen?
Is therapy confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.
There are just a few exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:
- If the therapist is aware of strong evidence of suspected child abuse or abuse of a dependent adult or an elderly person that you are responsible for. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a patient is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police and the intended victim.
- If a patient reveals to the therapist that he or she has a suicidal plan and/or intends to cause substantial bodily harm to oneself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken such as notifying the authorities and/or a family member in order to protect the individual.
- If there is a court order with a subpoena for records or you are involved in a lawsuit and request that your records be released to your attorney, with your written consent, the psychotherapist must release those records to the judge or attorney who is requesting them.