Is therapy right for me?
For someone to undertake therapy is almost always fraught with anxiety. Who is this person I am trusting with my thoughts and feelings? Will she understand me? Everyone shares these questions and concerns in one form or another. The work I do with people is geared toward helping them to understand themselves better and to make better choices in their lives. I have many years of experience in working with people facing relationship difficulties, the challenge of using their skills to their best advantage, and in helping adults to navigate the challenges of parenting.
Seeking out therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people seek help from a psychologist. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected life changes such as a divorce or work transition. Many seek another’s ear as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Working with a psychologist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Therapy can help to address many different issues including depression, anxiety, conflict, grief, stress management, body-image issues, and general life transitions. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards change in their lives.
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 other difficulties you’ve faced, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. Some of my patients have said: “it takes a strong person to go to therapy.” And in fact that is very true. 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’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.
How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. A psychologist can provide ways of enhancing your ability to perceive yourself and others, 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 a psychologist can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage 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 your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
What is therapy like?
Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and his or her specific goals. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session beyond the first (which I try to schedule for an hour) lasts forty five minutes. It is important to process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking psychotherapy ultimately have to do the hard work of facing their choices and actions, working toward change and in soing so create greater awareness in their lives. Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:
- Compassion, respect and understanding
- Close listening and reflection of what you express
- Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
- On occasion, practical guidance
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. I will work with you and your medical doctor in order for you to 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 medcation. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the causes 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.
Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?
I do not participate with any insurance plans. Even so, most plans provide coverage for mental health benefits. 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?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
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. The only basis for my breaching the confidentiality of our sessions is if you present a danger to yourself or someone else, including abuse or neglect of a minor. In addition, in the case of my being subpoenaed by a court for the records of our work I would be required to provide these. Such instances are rare and would not occur without your being aware if not having initiated them by a choice of your own.
In summary, the exceptions to the complete confidentiality of our work are:
- 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 the person’s safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.