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Green Hills with Blue Sky

Common Questions

Is therapy right for me?
Do I really need therapy?  I can usually handle my problems.
How can therapy help me?
What is therapy like?
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?
Is therapy confidential?


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 longstanding psychological issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a divorce or work transition. Yet others seek therapy, or counseling, to help them with 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, guilt and shame, self-esteem, and general life transitions. Therapy can be right, and helpful, for anyone who is interested in getting the more out of life by taking responsibility, increasing self-awareness and self-understanding, and working towards positive change.

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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 that they could use some help; though this may feel like a "weakness," it can actually be a strength and something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to get help to make positive changes. Therapy provides support and long-lasting benefits, giving you tools to help you with the present challenges as well as when you face difficulties in the future.

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How can therapy help me?
 

Participating in psychotherapy typically provides any of a number of benefits. Therapists can provide support, understanding, and validation; offer different and helpful perspectives; teach you problem-solving skills; and enhanced coping strategies for a wide range of problems, situations, and difficult experiences and emotions.   Many people find that therapists can be very helpful in managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the many stresses and hassles of daily life. The benefits you obtain from therapy will depend on your needs and goals. Some therapy benefits include:

  • Developing a better understanding of yourself, your emotions, thoughts, goals, and values
  • Improving relationship and communication skills
  • Learning relaxation techniques
  • Resolving specific issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
  • Getting better at identifying emotions and learning new ways to deal with them
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem and self-confidence

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What is therapy like?
 

Every course of therapy is different, based on the unique characteristics, circumstances, needs, and goals of each client.  It is not unusual to feel nervous about coming in, though, especially if you haven't been in therapy before.  My goal is to help you feel safe and as comfortable as possible in therapy, largely by listening supportively, respectfully, and non-judgmentally.  I will invite you to tell me about what is bothering you, and ask questions where helpful.

Sessions are typically about fifty minutes. Together we decide how often to meet: typically people come once a week or every other week at the start, though sometimes more or less often, as circumstances and needs warrant.  It is often difficult to predict how long therapy will go; this, too, we decide together, on an ongoing basis.  I never pressure clients about therapy: It is up to you to come in to begin with, and you get to decide how long to continue in therapy.

Typically it is helpful for you to take an active role in therapy: to join with me in assessing and understanding you and your situation, and figuring out ways to make things better.  It can also be helpful to try to apply ideas from therapy in your life between sessions, though sometimes this it is difficult to think about painful topics outside of sessions, and that's okay.

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Is medication a substitute for therapy?
 

Psychotherapy is often sufficient by itself to help people feel better regarding the problems that bring them to therapy. Therapy addresses the emotional, interpersonal, psychological, and behavioral causes of your distress. In some cases medication may be helpful in addition to psychotherapy. Whether medication is warranted can be discussed with your therapist as well as with your medical doctor.  Of course, no one can or will require you to take medication; and when it is helpful, often it is most helpful in addition to, rather than instead of, psychotherapy.

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Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?
 

To determine if you have mental health coverage, you should check with your insurance carrier. Find answers to the following questions:

  • What are my mental health (or alcohol and drug) benefits?
  • Are there limits in terms of who I can see?  Is there a limited "provider panel" or "network," and if so, how do I find out if someone is on it?
  • Do I have a "copay" -- a part of the cost that I must pay for each session?  If so, how much?
  • Is there a "deductible" -- an amount I must spend on health (or mental health) services before my insurance "kicks in"?
  • How many therapy sessions does my plan cover per year?
  • Is "prior authorization", "precertification," or pre-approval required for mental health (or alcohol and drug) services, and if so, how do I get it?

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Is therapy confidential?
 

The law as well as professional ethics protect the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information may be disclosed without prior written permission from the client, with several exceptions. These include:

  • If the therapist believes that the client is at imminent risk to seriously physically harm or kill him/herself or someone else;
  • Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse.
Confidentiality and limits to confidentiality should be detailed in treatment documents you will be asked to read and sign before your first visit. ^back-to-top^