Frequently Asked Questions About Therapy
Is therapy right for me?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions about therapy. We all go through challenging situations in life, and we often find the tools and support we need to move through them and get on with being happy. Sometimes though, we need additional help. This can be true when dealing with long-standing psychological issues, problems with anxiety or depression, and unexpected changes in one’s life such as a divorce or work transition, or addiction. Working with me can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges.
We see some clients who aren’t certain what the issue or problem is but do know they aren’t feeling and functioning as well as they would like. My first job in these cases is to help the client identify exactly what is going on and what relief would look like. Occasionally a client presents a problem that one of my colleagues specializes in dealing with. In these cases I will make sure you have a proper referral to professionals and resources I feel will most likely help you get a good outcome.
In general, therapy can help address many types of issues including depression, anxiety, conflict, grief, stress management, body-image issues, and general life transitions. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards change in their lives.
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. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you’re at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
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, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and 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 improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communication and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
What is therapy like?
We work with adolescent and adult clients in individual, couples and family therapy formats. The type of therapy we do is grounded in attachment, but is not entirely standardized. In fact, it’s highly individualized. However, there are some common factors and things you can expect out of our work together:
- Respect, caring, and compassion
- Clarification of what is going on
- My understanding of what relief would look like for you
- Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
- Real strategies for enacting positive change
- Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance
Finally, it is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions of approximately one-hour each. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth.
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
This is an issue of considerable recent discussion. Therefore, it is one of the most asked questions about therapy. In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Working with your medical doctor you 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 just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.
Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?
We are contracted with some and are not an “in-network” provider for others. What this means is that some insurers will pay for the majority of our session (you may have a co-pay) and others ma pay a limited portion of the fee. I think there are benefits and drawback to each case and will be happy to discuss these with you.
To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- 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?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
Is therapy confidential?
Your confidentiality and privacy are of the utmost importance to us. My view is that you are the “keeper” of the information you share with me and 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.
However, there are some exceptions required by law and these include:
Suspected Child abuse or Dependent adult or Elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police.
If a client intends to harm himself or herself. 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.