Answers to common questions…
How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in counseling or therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as:
- Resolving relationship challenges, communication training, dealing with parenting or step parenting issues, and developing a family plan that redirects everyone into lives with purpose.
- Providing 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.
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and value
- 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 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 are 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, and overcoming whatever 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 (unemployment, 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, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and are ready to make changes in their lives.
What is Brief Solution-Focused Therapy Like?
The initial appointment will be time for you to define the problem, or if the problem seems elusive, I can help you by asking specific questions designed to assist you to become clear about what brought you to seek therapy. From that point, the session(s) will focus on how to regain or reinvent aspects of your life or relationship that worked and to become more conscious about how to maintain this direction and/or feelings.
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 sessions back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, I may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process – such as 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 symptoms, therapy addresses the cause of 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 your medical doctor you can determine what’s best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
I do not process insurance forms. I can provide you with a diagnostic statement to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. Before you come to an appointment, contact your insurance company and find out the following information:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
- How do I submit a claim for my therapy session(s)?
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and therapist. 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 sessions will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
One of the reasons I do not submit for insurance coverage is that insurance companies retain the right to view confidential records of clients at their discretion. This violates my definition of ‘Confidentiality.’
State law and professional ethics 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.