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 issues, grief, stress management, body image issues, and negative self-talk and belief systems. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to help manage personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the stressors of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or assist you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on consistency in the therapeutic relationship, and 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 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
- Accepting and embracing the value of positive change when needed
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 help when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need some supportive assistance and an outside perspective, 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. The goal of therapy is to equip you with long-lasting benefits and support, by 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, etc.), and/or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, mood issues, addictions, relationship problems, and possibly spiritual conflicts. Therapy can help provide some much-needed encouragement and help with skills 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 typically ready to meet the challenges in their lives and are ready to make the changes necessary for them to lead happier and more productive lives.
What is therapy like?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be a different experience for each individual. In the initial intake/interview session, we will discuss the current events and challenges that are happening in your life, review your personal history relevant to your issue(s), and discuss the goals that you would like to achieve. Depending on the situation, there may also be some brief surveys that I will ask you to complete. In subsequent therapy sessions, we will discuss interventions and report progress (or any new insights gained) since the previous therapy session. As you progress through the therapeutic process and therapy sessions, we may modify or tweak your goals and/or interventions. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult issues or because of your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly in the beginning).
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process regularly. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things for you to do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors, or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are usually ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and interventions for change, and take responsibility for initiating change in their daily lives.
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. Should medication be considered or needed, you can work with your medical doctor to determine what's best for you, and in some cases, a combination of medication and therapy provides 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 call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them are:
- 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?
I am an out-of-network provider and do not file insurance claims. I take cash, Bank Debit Cards (with VISA or M/C logo), VISA, MasterCard, and Discover for all therapy services, assessments, and consultations. Payment for counseling services may also be processed through your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and/or Health Savings Account (HSA). I will provide you with a receipt for your payment and/or a Super Bill, upon request, that you can turn in to your insurance company for reimbursement.
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and a psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with the highly sensitive subject matter, that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office. You will be provided a written copy of my confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in the session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. In some situations, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your physician, school nurse/official for students), but under the HIPAA laws, your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission. There are some legal exceptions, and some of those are listed below and will be discussed again before treatment.
State law and professional ethics require therapists and other health professionals to maintain confidentiality, except for the following situations:
- Suspected past or present child abuse or neglect of children must be reported to CPS and Police authorities, based on information provided by the client and/or collateral sources;
- Adult and elder abuse must also be reported to the authorities, including Adult Protective Services and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client and/or collateral sources;
- If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself; or
- The client has threatened to harm another person.