Why do people seek therapy?
People come into therapy for many reasons. One of my clinical supervisors and mentors, Vann Joines, Ph.D. has stated that "It isn't that there is something wrong with people; instead, they haven't been given correct, accurate information to lead healthy lives." Some people need to respond to unexpected changes in their lives, while others seek self-exploration and personal growth. When coping skills are overwhelmed by guilt, doubt, anxiety, or despair, therapy can help. Therapy can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping for issues such as depression, anxiety, lack of confidence, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, bereavement, spiritual conflicts, stress management, body image issues, and creative blocks. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives.
What can I expect in a therapy session?
During sessions you are expected to talk about the primary concerns and issues in your life. A session lasts 50 minutes and some people request longer sessions. Couples may benefit from double sessions of 100 minutes to gather information as well as to begin making changes in the presenting concern. Usually weekly sessions are best. Some people who are in crisis or extreme distress may need more than one session per week, at least until the crisis passes. During the time between sessions it is beneficial to think about and process what was discussed. At times, you may be asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records. For therapy to "work," you must be an active participant, both in and outside of the therapy sessions.
What benefits can I expect from working with a therapist?
A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Often it is helpful just to know that someone understands. Therapy can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. Many people find therapy to be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, and the hassles of daily life. 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 and your personal goals & values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Find new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications skills - learn how to listen to others, and encourage others listen to you
- Getting "unstuck" from unhealthy patterns - breaking old behaviors while developing effective alternatives
- Discovering new ways to solve problems
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
What if I don't know what my goals are for therapy?
If you aren't sure what your goals are for therapy, your first task is to figure that out. It may take several sessions before a direction is clarified. During the course of therapy your goals may change. However, establishing a direction for therapy will help you get the most out of the experience.
Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?
There is a confusing array of insurance arrangements. Services may be covered in full or in part by your health insurance or employee benefit plan. The first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Please check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:
- How many sessions per calendar year does my plan cover?
- What organization manages my behavioral health coverage?
- How does my psychiatric or substance abuse diagnosis affect my benefits?
- What limitations does my insurance plan have for substance abuse services?
- What is my co-pay per session?
- What is my deductible and has it been met?
- Is my preferred therapist covered by my insurance carrier?
- How much does my insurance plan pay for out-of-network providers?
- Does my insurance plan cover Couples Therapy?
- Is a referral from my Primary Care Physician required?
Is therapy confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a psychotherapist. Information is not disclosed without written permission. However, there are number of exceptions to this rule. Exceptions include:
- Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s. The therapist must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in insuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, further measures may be taken without their permission in order to ensure their safety.