I once heard the definition of therapy as “the practice of raising awareness”. For me, this seemed to provide one of the most accurate definitions of what happens when we work together. Therapy (or also known as Psychotherapy) is a process in which you develop enough awareness that you are able to see the answers to your distress. Whether you are looking to develop parts of yourself or needing to address underlying deeper emotional issues, therapy allows you to understand who you are, and by doing so, what you need for yourself.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN THE FIRST THERAPY SESSION?
The first session is a chance for us to get to know each other and to assess whether we feel we will work well together. I will spend time allowing you to freely express what it is you feel you need to work on (why you are coming into therapy) and I will also ask you questions about your current life, your friendships/relationships, and your family background. We will also discuss any questions you may have regarding fees, cancellations policy, insurance, etc. The first session is also a time for you to ask me any questions you may have.
IS MY THERAPIST GOING TO FOCUS MAINLY ON MY CHILDHOOD?
The focus will be on whatever has occurred in your life that has either developed your belief system or been significant enough to have impacted you. Although talking about your childhood may help you understand the conscious and unconscious messages you have internalized from your family dynamics. Often, understanding where you are from can shed light on where you are (internal struggles, current relationships & situations) and where you are going. I work with each person uniquely and sometimes if the focus on childhood allows the person to get more clarity, then we will address it. Once clarity is realized, I often move on allowing each person to “connect the dots” with their current issues.
HOW OFTEN WILL I NEED TO COME TO THERAPY TO FEEL BETTER?
Therapy is a very individualized process. Given your issues and therapy goals, we will determine what schedule will be most helpful. However, it is usually recommended that you attend therapy at least once a week initially to develop a sense of continuity as well as build rapport in the beginning. Typically, as your therapy goals are met, we move to every other week and then once a month, etc. Often, people will come back to therapy as life demands or issues arise.
I HAVE LIMITED TIME/MONEY. CAN I COME EVERY OTHER WEEK?
In the beginning phase of therapy, I do not recommend that you attend less than once a week. I find that if a client comes less than weekly, it is difficult to form a connection and your progress may be slow. We can definitely discuss any issues that are affecting your ability to attend therapy. Again, some clients come less frequently after they feel significantly better, or are making the transition to ending therapy.
HOW LONG WILL I NEED TO ATTEND THERAPY?
The length of time varies from person to person. It depends on your therapy goals, the amount of distress you are experiencing, the length of time you have been in pain and how often you attend therapy. This is due to the possibility of deeper complicated issues that are not always apparent at the beginning of therapy. Also, each person varies in his/her ability to develop understanding and to apply new information towards change in their lives. Most people attend for at least several months, and many for several years. If you have a specific problem, such as getting over a breakup, you may resolve this fairly quickly. More complex problems require more time.
HOW WILL I FIND THE RIGHT THERAPIST?
Finding a therapist who is a "good fit" for you is essential. Try to listen to your "gut" about the therapist: Do you feel comfortable talking to her, do you feel that you could potentially tell this person thoughts and feelings that may be hard for you to share with anyone? Since beginning therapy can be scary, you may need to meet with a therapist a few times in order to figure out whether you feel comfortable. Look for a therapist who has expertise in the particular area(s) that you think you want to work on. Ask whether the therapist is trained and licensed in marriage & family therapy, social work, psychology, or psychiatry. If the therapist is not licensed, you should ask where he/she is being trained and whether he/she is under the supervision of someone who is licensed in one of the above-mentioned fields.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PSYCHIATRISTS, PSYCHOLOGISTS, AND PSYCHOTHERAPISTS?
A psychiatrist (M.D.) has undergone medical training and is authorized to prescribe medication. Some psychiatrists also practice psychotherapy while others handle medication management only. Psychologists (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) have earned a doctorate in clinical psychology or marriage & family therapy, marriage & family therapists, social workers, and professional counselors (M.A. or M.S.) all receive training in psychotherapy. Each discipline approaches the therapeutic process from a different angle. Research has shown that the personal connection a person has with their therapist, the clients’ openness to the process and their level of active involvement, rather than the theoretical orientation of the clinician, are both highly correlated to successful outcomes.
WHAT IF I HAVE BEEN IN THERAPY BEFORE, AND IT DIDN'T WORK?
If one therapist was not able to help you, don’t give up on therapy; keep trying until you find the right person. Please share with me what went wrong in the past. Feel free to share your reactions to our work together as your therapy progresses. It could have been the relationship with your previous therapist or perhaps you are in a different place now and may see things in a new way.
WHAT IF I AM NOT SURE ABOUT WHAT I NEED FROM THERAPY?
Many people who begin therapy do not know exactly what they need. Clients commonly come in for a specific problem and come to realize they have other goals. I can assure you that if you are calling to make an appointment, you intuitively “know” there is something you are seeking. I will be able to assist and guide you through the process of raising your awareness, and in doing so, I believe you will come to understand what it is you need.
I THINK I WOULD LIKE TO COME AND SEE YOU, BUT YOU ARE NOT ON MY INSURANCE PANEL. IS THERE SOMETHING THAT WE CAN WORK OUT?
- If you want to use your insurance benefits, and they will reimburse for "out of network" services, you will want to find out how they calculate what is reimbursed and what you have to do in order to make a claim. When you come to your appointment, you will pay for the service and I will provide you with the paperwork you need to make the claim. The insurance company will reimburse you and not me.
- If your insurance company does not reimburse for out of network claims (or your insurance benefits are exhausted for the year), then we can negotiate a fee based on a sliding scale.