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 psychologists can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marital 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 communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving 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 want 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.
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.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. 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 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 for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual and the family. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. 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. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
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 in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can 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 ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.
Describe the different services offered?
Individual Therapy is the client working one-on-one with a therapist. Sometimes, the process involves exploratory work to identify the feelings, thoughts or behaviors to change. Sometimes, the process involves growth work where new behaviors and ways of thinking are learned, enhanced and strengthened. Other times, the work involves problem solving. Generally, this process begins by doing an assessment including the initial interview in which the client shares history and background information and treatment goals. In addition, the client may be asked to complete a biographical data questionnaire and do some personality testing. Usually, individuals work with a therapist once a week, every other week or once a month depending on the issues to be addressed. The length of therapy is measured by when and how the treatment goals are obtained. Some goals need one session. Other goals need several months. When a client has a positive relationship with the therapist, research has shown that the person's overall health, both psychological and physical, quality of life and relationships are enhanced. There is an increase in self esteem and inner tranquility.
Family Therapy is when more than one family member works with a therapist. This may involve the entire family of two or more generations, or of the nuclear family consisting of parents and children. The family works together to heal old wounds, solve problems, improve communication and enhance the quality of their relationship with one another. Family therapy can include both talking and play therapy. Not only can long term generational patterns of behavior be changed, but family therapy can result in a stronger bond and attachment among its members. Major life issues such as death, divorce, mental and physical illnesses, abuse, financial stress, children transitioning into adulthood, developmental lags, academic stress, ADHD/ADD, and other conflicts can often be dealt with in family therapy.
Couples Therapy is for a couple who are either married or in a significant relationship working to enhance their friendship and strengthen the bonds that originally brought them together. Couples therapy often deals with improving communication so that the couple are able to better listen and understand one another. The couple learns how to navigate through conflicts so they don't become gridlocked. They have the opportunity to explore ways of having more fun, relaxation and intimacy. Sometimes, couples therapy involves family of origin work and uncovering the barriers to having effective communication and problem solving skills, anger and stress management. From time to time, only one person in the relationship may be willing to pursue treatment because the other partner is unavailable for treatment. While it is always preferable for both persons to be involved in counseling, it doesn't mean that the partner who seeks therapy cannot work on the relationship and make changes by him/herself.
Divorce Counseling facilitates the healing process of the grief of the loss of a marriage. It helps to uncover the obstacles that resulted in the marriage not working. It assists parents in restructuring the family unit and their relationship with each other. This is time to explore when and how they are going to be with their children. Divorce counseling assists parents in making decisions about what is in the best interests of their children and each other. It can involve learning effective communication skills that lead to effective co-parenting. In addition, divorce counseling assists the individual in creating a different life. It is a place to get support for living alone, re-entering the work force, dating and evaluating one's values and life style.
Play Therapy is the treatment approach for children between the ages of two and ten. When children play, the therapist can understand their feelings and their worries. It is often easier for children to play out their feelings than to talk about them. It is through play, that the therapist is also able to help children to be aware and understand their feelings. Hence, it is by working with their feelings through playing, talking and drawing and having the therapist listen, understand and talk with the child, that wounds get healed, children feel better, relationships and functioning improve.
Psychological Testing and Evaluation involves the client answering questionnaires and completing tasks that are designed to provide information about a person's mood, personality, relationships, cognitions, and intellectual and academic functioning. Testing often saves time in identifying the various feelings, cognitions, and behaviors that create difficulties in a client's life. Testing is generally necessary in diagnosing various disorders such as attention deficit disorder. The results are also very useful in developing treatment recommendations.
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?
Out-of-network only. Many plans provide out-of-network benefits. Please check your coverage carefully by asking the following questions:
- Do I have mental health insurance coverage for out-of-network providers?
- What is my deductible and has it been met?
- How many sessions per year does my health insurance cover?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- Is approval 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. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist 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 past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threated to harm another person.