Answers to Your Questions About Therapy
What is therapy?
Therapy is a process. For healing. For you. For your relationship.
Although every therapy session is unique and tailored to each individual and their specific goals, there is a general therapy process that occurs. Therapy begins with the intake session, during which I therapeutically gather information on the problem that brings you to therapy as well as the background factors that may be contributing to the problem (such as family of origin, biological, psychological, and social aspects). Information from this session is then used to guide treatment planning and collaboratively develop therapy goals.
Moving forward, therapy entails learning coping strategies to help increase tolerance of distress, increasing insight and understanding around the factors that maintain the problem that brought you to therapy, and engaging in problem solving to help resolve or transform difficulties. Additionally, depending on the reasons why you sought therapy, specific types of interventions may be used to change thoughts and behaviors, increase your comfort level with emotions, foster healthy communication and connection within relationships, and ultimately create healing. All of this is experienced in a safe space and is cultivated through the client-therapist relationship.
What are therapy sessions like?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) since the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or to work toward more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. One of the goals of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session 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. It is important to process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change, and create greater awareness in their lives.
How do I know if therapy is right for me?
There are many reasons for seeking therapy. Some people may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, new baby, etc.). Some need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, stress, trauma, depression, anxiety, perfectionism, grief, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts, and creative blocks. Others may want to learn more about themselves, increase their effectiveness in reaching life goals, or revive their marriage. Through the use of effective, research-based techniques, practical guidance, and the therapeutic relationship, therapy can provide much needed encouragement and support as well as real strategies for enacting positive change. It can offer fresh perspectives to illuminate and transform persistent patterns and calm distressing thoughts and feelings.
Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in experiencing greater joy, peace, and fulfillment through taking responsibility for their actions, cultivating greater self-awareness, working towards meaningful change, and enhancing their own well-being. In other words, people pursuing therapy are ready to face the challenges life presents and make changes in their lives.
Seeking therapy is not an indicator of brokenness or weakness; pursuing therapy is sign of bravery, humility, and acceptance around being human. We all need compassion and support.
How can therapy help me?
Participating in therapy can result in a number of benefits. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and practical coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, and creative blocks. Many people also find that therapists can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a new 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, 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
How long does therapy last?
The duration of a course of therapy depends upon the person, the problem, and the unique circumstances and needs of the individual or couple. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. Most often, the clients I work with are seeking a long-term supportive relationship.
We will discuss the frequency of therapy sessions that best fits your needs. In general, I recommend beginning with weekly visits to build momentum and develop the therapeutic relationship. We will evaluate progress and adjust as needed.
In addition, although I love working with my clients, my hope is that eventually you feel confident enough and are equipped with the necessary tools to live and love with joy and ease. I also know, from personal and professional experience, that it is quite normal to return to therapy during a new season of life or as a result of a newly emerged problem. I always welcome my past clients to return to therapy if they become aware of the need for additional support.
What about medication versus therapy?
Research has established that, in the context of mental and emotional problems, enduring change and positive outcomes cannot be experienced solely through medication. Therapy does not just treat the symptom of the problem. Therapy addresses the origins of the distress and the patterns that impede growth and progress. Sustainable change and an enhanced sense of well-being is best achieved with an integrative and holistic approach to wellness. In some cases, a combination of medication and therapy can be helpful. Consult with your medical doctor regarding what is best for you.
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. You can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent.”
In the event you want me to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team, by law I cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
Please note that there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:
Suspected abuse or neglect of children, dependent adults, and elders
If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person
How do I schedule an appointment?
If this is your first time, please reach out via email or phone so we can chat about your needs. We will determine if we are a good fit for each other, and I will answer any of your questions. Click here to learn more about scheduling your first appointment.
If you are current client, please email, call, or schedule through the client portal.