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Common Questions

Is therapy right for me?

Seeking out therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a divorce or work transition. Many seek the advice of a therapist to pursue personal exploration and growth. Working with a therapist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Therapy can help address issues including depression, anxiety, conflict, grief, stress management, abuse and trauma, career stress and decisions, and general life transitions. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of life by creating greater self-awareness, taking responsibility, and working towards change in one's life.

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, it can be very helpful to get past present blocks and negative situations and issues that aren't changing on their own by seeking out the support of a therapist who can have insights and perceptions that can help. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, which is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you are in life and making a commitment to change a negative situation by seeking therapy. Therapy can provide long-lasting benefits and support, give you the tools you need in order to to recognize causes of distress, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome the challenges you currently face.

How can therapy help me?

A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Therapists can provide support to help you develop problem-solving skills and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management,  moving through abuse and/or creative blocks. Many people also find that a therapist can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage and relationship issues, and the challenges of daily life. A therapist 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 the insights you gain. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:

  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your behaviors, expectations, 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 unproductive behavior patterns and developing more effective ones
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family, marriage, or relationship
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence

What is therapy with me like?

Each therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and his or her specific goals. We will discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life and set goals for your therapy. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around fifty minutes. Sometimes therapy can be scheduled for more sessions or less frequent visits than weekly.  It can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. It is important to stay attuned to what is discussed and experienced to integrate it into your life between sessions. It is also important for you to let me know how the therapy is going for you and if there are other ways of working with you that will be a better fit for you.  For therapy to be most effective it is important to be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. At times it can be difficult, even feel that things are worse for a time.  This is common (but not inevitable).  It is part of the process of healing and change. Here are some things you can experience and discover in therapy:

  • Compassion, respect and understanding (for yourself and for others
  • Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
  • Real strategies for enacting positive change
  • Gentle challenges your life, involving thinking, feeling, and/or behaviors
  • Practical guidance and emotional support
  • Greater awareness of your needs and of the way you operate in the world

Is medication a substitute for 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.  Marriage and Family Therapists do not make decisions or offer medical advice regarding medications, though discussion of their potential use, their actual use and effect is important for you to discuss with your therapist.

Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?

We can discuss whether or not I am able to provide services through your specific insurance provider.  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?
  • Do I have a co-payment to make?
  • Do I have a deductible and has it been met?
  • How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?

Is therapy confidential?

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 to this rule. Exceptions include:

  • Suspected child abuse or dependant 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.
  • Consultation with another licensed therapist is allowed and encouraged and is strictly confidential beyond the professional consultation.

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