Is therapy right for me?
Seeking out therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a medical diagnosis, a divorce or work transition. Many seek the advice of a therapist as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Working with a therapist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Therapy can help address many types of 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 their 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 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. 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. Therapy can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as a medical diagnosis, depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, bereavement, stress management, body image issues, and creative blocks. Many people also find therapy to be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, and the hassles of daily life. Therapy 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, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
What is therapy like?
Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard to talk about the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around fifty minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. 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 are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives.
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Working with your medical doctor you can 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 medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, 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.
Working with individuals, couples and families that are affected by illness can sometimes necessitate the need for the therapist to come to the home. I am willing to do this too and find that it is very beneficial for all involved. I believe that it is important to truly and fully understand what each family member goes through by experiencing a session in your home. I offer an option to do in-home sessions and the drive time is included in the cost per session. Please ask me about this option if you have someone that is not mobile due to illness.
I work with individuals, couples and families with medical illness issues. At times, it may be important to connect with someone outside of the family, such as a medical provider. The collaboration of all involved can improve the effectiveness of counseling. If it does seem important to connect with others, such as your doctor, oncologist, radiologist, etc, I will have all members involved in counseling to sign a release of authorization of information before I can speak with any person or organization. If you see no need for me to talk to anyone on your medical team, I won't.
Why don't you accept insurance?
There are several advantages to paying for therapy sessions out-of-pocket (also called fee-for-service or self-pay), a few very important ones include:
1) Privacy-- When you are not going through an insurance company for mental health services, your private health information stays in my office. I am the only person who has access to it except under specific circumstances which are outlined in the Informed Consent packet and discussed in the first session. Insurance companies have numerous people examining your files at various stages. There are people that authorize payment, track your progress, audit psychotherapy practices, input data, print bills, and so on.
2) Control-- The number of sessions you may attend when you pay out-of-pocket is up to you. Often, insurance companies will authorize a certain number of sessions. They usually require some proof that progress is being made. They also reserve the right to stop paying for sessions for a variety of reasons.
3) Your Future-- Did you know that you can be denied insurance benefits for a previous mental health diagnosis? If you use your insurance to pay for mental health, your practitioner MUST designate a diagnosis for your issue (e.g. major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, bi-polar disorder). If you wish to purchase health or life insurance in the future, your mental health records will be reviewed and you and your family maybe denied coverage. Paying out-of-pocket ensures that no insurance company ever knows you were seen by a therapist.
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.
However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:
- An immediate threat of harm to yourself, the threat of harming others or if you require appropriate emergency medical care.
- Any abuse, neglect or sexual abuse of children or vulnerable adults.
- Excessive use of alcohol or any illegal drug for non-medical purposes during pregnancy.
- Any sexual exploitation by health care professionals.
- If State or Federal law authorizes the release of your records.