Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the benefits of therapy?
Many people come to therapy to help them sort out their personal concerns and problems. Therapists can assist with personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marital and couples issues, and any of the challenges of dealing with daily life. Therapists offer emotional support, advanced problem-solving skills, and a path for healing from such issues as depression, anxiety, unresolved childhood trauma, grief, stress management, body-image distortion and blocked creativity. Therapy can also be helpful through sharing ideas and concerns with an independent person in order to gain an additional perspective: there are times when we might not recognize certain options that are available to us until they are pointed out by somebody else. Here are some examples:
- Develop improved communication skills in order to improve your relationships
- Gain new perspectives and problem-solving skills to address ongoing family conflicts
- Clarify your personal life goals/mission/values and the steps needed to realize them
- Develop coping strategies for effectively managing stress, depression and/or anxiety
- Be better able to manage your anger, grief, or other strong emotions causing you difficulty
- Boost your self-esteem and your sense of self-confidence
- Help to make choices or decisions which feel difficult to make
- I know I can handle my own problems, and I have my friends and family to rely on, so why should I see a therapist?
Everyone has had success in their life dealing with challenging situations, and everyone has important people in their life who they can lean on for support. However, a therapist has a unique combination of training and experience in helping others that is not available to most people. Each of our therapists will use their personal and professional skills to help you gain a new perspective on your particular situation and challenges, and to offer help that has been proven to be effective for other people dealing with similar issues. In the past our society has had negative associations connected with therapy. Fortunately this reputation has changed a great deal in our times, and it continues to improve as more and more people experience the help they can get from therapy. The fact is that everyone can use some professional help at certain points in their lives. It is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of personal strength and self-awareness, to consider that a therapist’s help may be beneficial to you.
- What is therapy like?
Each person’s experience of therapy will be unique to them, as well as uniquely tailored to their particular situation and needs. However, it is typically true that you will be discussing with your therapist the details of your current situation and challenges, your desires and your goals, your personal history as it relates to the issues you are addressing, and the progress or lack of progress toward your goals between therapy sessions.
How much you get out of therapy, like many human activities, is directly related to how much you put into it. You will notice that the rate of your progress will increase the more you are able to actively engage in your sessions, and able to share your inner thoughts, feelings and experiences with your therapist. It will also be helpful to you to follow through on any suggestions and/or “homework” your therapist provides to you. However, it is also important to also maintain a sense of patience with the therapeutic process, as some problems that have taken a number of years to develop will not easily be changed in just a few sessions.
- What if I do not feel comfortable with my therapist?
If you do not feel comfortable in your therapy sessions, and find it difficult to be open about your thoughts and feelings with your therapist, it is important to take some action rather to either quit or try to endure it. Effective therapy is based on a relationship of mutual trust and honesty, and if that sense is not present early in the process then a change of therapists might be in order.
It is very important to realize that if this happens, which by the way is not uncommon, it does not indicate that either you or your therapist is doing anything wrong. It is not expected that every client can work with every therapist, and even the best and most experienced therapists have had clients they have not worked well with. There is some degree of rapport that is required for the therapy to be effective.
If your experience in therapy is not comfortable for whatever reason, please let us know so we can help you find a therapist who is a better fit for you. If you feel able to address this issue directly with your therapist then you are encouraged to do so. Either way, you can feel assured that we are committed to providing the greatest amount of comfort and safety while providing the highest quality of care.
- What about medication vs. therapy?
Medication and therapy are two different approaches to dealing with certain mental and emotional problems, but they are in no way mutually exclusive. In other words, there are times when medication alone will address certain issues, and many issues that can be addressed solely by therapy. However, there are problems that have been shown to be most responsive to a combination of medication and therapy.
If you are currently on medication, we recommend that you consult with a therapist about what additional help and resources might be available for you. If you are considering starting a medication for a mental or emotional concern, or you prefer to address an issue without medication, please help your therapist to know your preferences and desires. Your therapist will help you consider what choices are available, and will help you to find the path that is right for you.
- How confidential is whatever I share in therapy?
Within certain legally prescribed limits, your participation in therapy is completely confidential, and your therapist cannot share any of your personal or identifying information to anyone without your signed written consent. To break confidentiality without your consent would violate legal statutes and professional ethics. Certain information may be required by your medical insurance carrier if you are using your health insurance to pay for therapy, and the details of what is or is not shared can be discussed with your therapist.
There are a couple of situations, however, when your therapist is legally required to break confidentiality:
- If your therapist concludes that a dependent person, such as a child or an elderly person, is currently being abused then your therapist is required to report it to Protective Services;
- If your therapist concludes that you cannot stop yourself from harming either yourself (suicidal) or a specific other person (homicidal) then your therapist is required to report this information to the authorities.
Other than these exceptions, all information that is shared in therapy is held in the strictest confidence as outlined above.
- Can you see my whole family?
Yes we can. Our therapists work with adults, adolescents and children. We work with individuals, couples and families, depending on what your situation and needs are. As you discuss your concerns with your therapist a plan will be put in place to help you decide who should be included in counseling sessions.
- Do you do marital counseling?
Yes we do. Our staff has extensive experience in dealing with all types of relationship issues, whether it is a marital relationship, a relationship moving toward marriage, or partners. We help couples improve their communications skills, learn what they need to resolve conflicts, and develop the insight and understanding needed to bring more joy and intimacy into their relationship.
- How do I know what my insurance benefits are?
Our administrative staff will verify your insurance benefits and notify you of any deductibles and co-payments for which you will be responsible. You can also verify your mental health benefits by directly contacting your insurance carrier.
- What if I need help after business hours?
Evening and weekend appointments are available, and our therapists can accommodate a wide variety of scheduling needs.
- How long do sessions last?
We use the industry-standard time of 45-50 minutes per therapy hour. Particular needs around length and frequency of your sessions should be discussed with your therapist.
- How long will I need to see a therapist?
The duration of therapy varies significantly and is tailored to the needs of each client; the decision on the length of therapy is ultimately up to you. Many people find that they can make significant improvements in their lives within 2-3 months of beginning therapy. Some people find that they enjoy the therapeutic process and the benefits it brings to their lives, including increasing their personal insight and making positive life changes, and they therefore decide to continue therapy in order to make additional progress. The decision is yours to make. If you would like, your therapist can help you decide what best fits for you.
- Do you have therapists that speak other languages?
No, our staff at this time does not include any bilingual therapists. All of our therapists communicate in English.
Our clients stay in therapy as long as they feel they are benefitting from it. Many clients decide to stay longer than they originally anticipated as they recognize the gains they have made and want to continue their progress.
Have additional questions? Feel free to Contact Us