How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. As a therapist, I provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for a variety of issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship issues, stress and more. Many people also find that counselors are a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapy provides 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
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
I get it...asking for help is hard! Maybe you are thinking you're weak because you may need someone to talk to or to help you. That is not the case! 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 finding that person to bounce things off of when you are feeling overwhelmed. In fact, 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 deal with stressors and 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, marriage, parenting, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need help managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, parenting problems and more. Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get through these challenging 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. In my office, the therapeutic relationship is crucial to your success. My goal is to make the experience feel safe, friendly, supportive, engaging and hopefully enlightening. 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. Sessions are usually weekly, but there are times when a client may require a bit more guidance and support.
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. It is not a place where you are lectured. It is a place where you can be heard, a place to feel safe and know that you are being validated. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life, to reach your goals. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, I may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a pertinent book, short homework assignments, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. If you are thinking about psychotherapy, you are ready to make positive changes in your life, are open to new perspectives, and to take responsibility for your life.
What about medication vs. psychotherapy?
Often medication is helpful and plays a role in some long term emotional or mental issues. However, medication is not the only way to go; emotional problems can not be solved by medication alone, therapy is needed. In fact, studies have shown that those people who require medication for a mental health diagnosis are significantly more successful combining psychotherapy with their medication regiment than those who do not attend therapy. I do not prescribe medication as only an MD can. However, when working together, should medication be an option to help you attain the goals you have set, then we would work together to ensure that is the right course of action along with your doctor. 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.
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
Yes, I do take insurance. Right now, I do take Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO, Aetna and Cigna. I will be joining other panels in the near future so please ask when you inquire about an appointment. 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:
- 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?
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 matters that are usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement or "Informed Consent" and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. 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 threatened to harm another person.