Common Questions

How can therapy help me?
 
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide a safe space to discuss anything that is troubling you. Therapists provide support, a different perspective, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as relationship concerns and conflict, depression, anxiety, unresolved childhood issues, grief, and stress management, among others. Many people also find that therapists can be a tremendous help in 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 guide 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 understanding and 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 communication 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.   

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 seeking out extra support when you need it. 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 and encouraged. 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 behavioral patterns, and overcome various 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 (a move, a newborn, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well.  Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, relationship problems, even spiritual conflicts.  Therapy can help by providing much needed support, encouragement, greater understanding, a fresh perspective and new  skills to get through these periods.  In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges and 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 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 deeper personal development.  Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly or every other week)
 
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process.  The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life.  Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as working on specific tasks, reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives, and take responsibility for their lives.   

What about medication vs. psychotherapy?  

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 your distress and the behavior patterns that curb your progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to your health. 

In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. In that case, you will be asked to consult with your physician and/or psychiatrist for a medication evaluation.

Do you take insurance, and how does that work?

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 are:

  • What are my mental health benefits?
  • Do I have deductible that needs to be met?
  • Have I met my deductible? 
  • Do I have a copayment per session?
  • How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
  • How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
  • Is a referral or authorization required from my primary care physician? 

You will be asked to provide insurance information when you call my office and we can usually determine your benefits and your financial responsibility, if you have one.
 
Please keep in mind that in order for your insurance to pay for the sessions, a claim that includes a mental health diagnosis has to be sent to the insurance. The insurance then determines if the services provided are "medically necessary," in which case they are paid partially or in full.

Services are also provided for people who do not have insurance or prefer to pay for their therapy sessions out of pocket. 

Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?

Confidentiality is one of the most important components in therapy and a main reason why people feel so comfortable and safe opening up about their issues. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office.   Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, 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 but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission or informed consent. 

State law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations that need to be reported to the authorities:
 
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders 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 threated to harm another person.

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