How do I know if I really need therapy?
It’s a little different for everyone. Some signs that you might need some help from a professional are when the way you feel begins to negatively impact your sleep, your job, appetite, relationships with friends and loved ones, or your decision-making abilities. If you find that you feel “blue” a lot, or that things just aren’t getting better or even that things seem hopeless – these are also pretty strong indicators that it’s time to seek out a trained professional to help.
Why shouldn’t I try to just work through this on my own?
It’s easy to put off seeking out help for something that’s negatively impacting the way we feel. In fact, the decision to get help can actually be extremely difficult for many people. Often times we dismiss feelings of anxiety, emotional pain, relationship stress, or depression as “just life” – even to the point of encountering real difficulty in normal day-to-day functioning. Deciding to take responsibility for your mental wellbeing and is an empowering first step. It takes courage, but it puts you back in control of your feelings and wellbeing. Even this small action step of reaching out can have a surprisingly positive effect on your outlook!
What does professional therapy provide?
Professional counseling gives you an opportunity to share, but also to gain new understanding and perspective. Life can be hard at times, and difficult circumstances are sometimes beyond our control, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Therapy helps you set achievable goals, and begin to make lasting changes to help you reach them. Through getting to the root of the issues and learning techniques for changing your unhealthy behaviors, you’re equipped to both regain control and practice healthy patterns for long-lasting improvement.
What happens in a therapy session?
Since the needs and goals of every client are different, therapy sessions vary in format and approach. Sometimes clients come with an agenda or specific things they’d like to talk about. Other times, people have a success story, an emotion that’s bothering them, or just a vague feeling or thought they can’t shake. Sessions progress based on the needs of the client at the time, but active participation and collaboration is important. In addition to in-session discussion and activities, we might encourage an outside activity or assignment that we discuss later (like reading a book, or keeping a journal). Ultimately, the goal is to identify the areas where change or help is needed, set realistic objectives, and to equip you with resources and strategies for both near-term and long-term success.
Do I have to share things I don’t want to?
Certain topics or stories can be difficult to share, and that’s normal and OK. You don’t have to share anything you don’t want to, or that makes you uncomfortable. It’s important to build a trusting relationship between therapist and client, but our sessions always progress at a pace that you feel ready for.
How long does it take?
Because therapy is tailored to a specific person, and the goals and challenges that person is facing, there’s no pre-defined period of time for on-going therapy sessions. Sometimes incredible progress is made in mere minutes, but it’s not uncommon for therapy to span several sessions over a period of weeks or months. Individual sessions are generally about 40-50 minutes in length.
Is this covered by my insurance?
Coverage varies greatly, but my services may be covered in part or in full by your insurance provider. Please contact your HMO or health insurance plan to learn more about what your plan covers. Below are some questions that are helpful to ask:
- Do my insurance benefits include mental health services?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- Will I be required to pay a copay?
- Is there a limit to the number of sessions per year my plan covers?
- What is my deductible?
- Do I need to get approval from my primary care physician?
What if I need to cancel my appointment?
If you need to cancel your appointment, please contact us at least 24 hours in advance of your session. Sessions canceled with less than 24 hours notice will not be refunded.
Are therapy sessions confidential?
Yes. Your privacy is important to us, and you can trust that our sessions, as well as any of your personal information, is always held in the strictest of confidence. Additionally, anything you transmit over our website is highly secure, and stored data is HIPAA-compliant.
Confidential information disclosed in private therapy sessions is legally protected. However, there are some exceptions to this, including instances of suspected child or elder abuse, or when a client presents a serious danger of violence toward himself or herself or another person. If you’d like to learn more about our ethical standards and privileged communication exceptions, our office can provide additional information.
I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?
Not at all. People who ask for help know when they need it and have the courage to reach out. Everyone needs help now and then. In our work together, I’ll help you explore and identify your strengths and how to implement them to reduce the influence of the problems you are facing.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
The difference is between someone who can do something, and someone who has the training and experience to do that same thing professionally. A mental health professional can help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Furthermore, counseling is completely confidential. You won’t have to worry about others “knowing my business.” Lastly, if your situation provokes a great deal of negative emotion, and you’ve been confiding in a friend or family member, there is the risk that once you are feeling better you could start avoiding that person so you aren’t reminded of this difficult time in your life.
Why shouldn’t I just take medication?
Medication can be effective but it alone cannot solve all issues. Sometimes medication is needed in conjunction with counseling. Our work together is designed to explore and unpack the problems you are experiencing and expand on your strengths that can help you accomplish your personal goals.
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Because each person has different issues and goals for counseling, it will be different depending on the individual. I tailor my therapeutic approach to your specific needs.
How long will it take?
Unfortunately, this is not possible to say in a general FAQs page. Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time counseling can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek counseling in the first place.
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
I am so glad you are dedicated to getting the most out of your sessions. Your active participation and dedication will be crucial to your success.