How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. 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 help in healing from trauma, learning & trying out new coping skills, managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and difficulties in daily life. Therapists can help you see a situation from a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. 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 communications 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
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 are 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.
Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?
People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, trauma, death of a loved one, etc.) or are struggling to handle stressful circumstances. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues, such as depression, anxiety, addiction, relationship problems, intrusive thoughts or obsessions, overthinking or rumination, spiritual conflicts, and creative blocks. Therapy can help people gain insight into their situation, learn new skills, and provide some much needed encouragement to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.
What is therapy like?
Because each person has different issues and goals, therapy will be different depending on the individual. Typically, in the first session you share your personal history and events leading up to your decision to start therapy. We discuss your therapeutic goals and a schedule for sessions. Most often, I recommend that you start with weekly sessions, if possible. As you make progress toward your treatment goals, we may decrease to every other week, monthly, or sessions as needed. In subsequent sessions, I use a variety of therapeutic approaches to help you work toward your goals. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development.
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn and the insight you gain in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, I may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process. Working on these things can be difficult, and we will process and work through any barriers you experience. Not all strategies work for everyone, so your feedback and input is crucial to the process.
What about medication vs. psychotherapy?
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. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is check your policy information on the internet, through your HR department, or call or email your insurance provider. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask include:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- Do I have a deductible remaining and how much is my copay or coinsurance per therapy session?
- Is there a limit to the number of therapy sessions my plan covers?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is approval or referral required from my primary care physician?
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office. Prior to your starting therapy, I will share with you my privacy and confidentiality policies. With limited exceptions mandated by law, you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. I am a solo practitioner, meaning I do not have anyone who works with me or who works for me. Sometimes, however, you may want me to share information or give an update to someone in your support system or a professional with whom you are working (your Physician, Specialist, Attorney). By law, I cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
* Suspected abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.