Common Questions

How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Psychotherapists can provide support, develop problem-solving skills, and enhance coping strategies for a variety of issues.  Many people also find that therapists can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, and the struggles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or help explore various options toward a potential solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you participate in the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from psychotherapy 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 psychotherapy?  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 extra support when you need it. In fact, psychotherapy is for people who have the 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 can provide long-lasting benefits and support, such as: offering you the tools needed to manage triggers, providing ways to re-direct thinking and behavioral patterns to enhance personal and relational functioning, and helping to develop effective coping and stress management skills.

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: dealing with a major life transition (unemployment, moving, divorce, new job, new school, death, crisis, etc), managing stressful life circumstances, or handling a variety of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, relationship problems, or communication issues.  Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with developing skills to navigate through these experiences.  Some people may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with identifying/strengthening life goals.   In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and work on making changes.

What is psychotherapy like?  I feel nervous or uncomfortable talking about personal issues with a stranger....

Because each person has different issues and goals, psychotherapy will be different depending on the individual.  It is natural to have many different feelings about therapy, especially when planning for the Initial Consultation.  I will make every effort to help you to feel as comfortable as you are able and understand the difficulty in talking about personal issues.  The client-therapist relationship is very important and developing trust will take time; however, if at any time you do not feel comfortable with me or believe you need to explore other professional options, it will be important to discuss this directly with me.

In general, you can expect to explore the current events happening in your life, personal and/or family history, and discuss progress throughout the treatment process.  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.  Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions (usually weekly).
It is important to understand that you will get more results from psychotherapy if you actively participate in the process, both during and outside of sessions.  The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you utilize what you gain in sessions throughout daily living.  Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, suggestions may be made of some things you can do outside of therapy to support your progess - such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, monitoring particular behaviors, or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are open to new perspectives in order to work toward making positive changes in their lives.

How long are sessions and how many sessions will I need?

The duration of sessions varies anywhere from 45-60 minutes, depending on each individual and his/her needs.  Treatment goals will be discussed and developed during the Initial Consulation and continually be assessed and restructured as needed throughout the therapy process.  The number of sessions is variable and will continually be addressed in conjunction with reviewing treatment goals and client progress.
What about medication vs. psychotherapy?  
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional issues and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, psychotherapy addresses the cause of distress and the behavior patterns that curb progress. Sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being can occur with an integrative approach to wellness, including working along with medical physicians as needed and with your written permission, to determine recommendations and openly discuss appropriate options.
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 matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office.   A written copy of a confidential disclosure agreement will be provided and discussed during the Initial Consultation.  Sometimes, however, you may want me to share information or give an update to someone (such as your physician, a family member, or a friend), but by law I cannot release this information without obtaining your signed permission (called a Release of Information).
~However, state law and professional ethics do 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 threated to harm another person.
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