HOW DO I KNOW WHEN IT IS TIME TO SEE A THERAPIST?
Many individuals and couples wait until circumstances exceed their ability to cope before they come to counseling. While that is certainly an indicator that it’s time to come to counseling, you don’t have to wait until that point. In fact, the length of time in treatment can be considerably shorter when you come in to work on things prior to a crisis. Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering if counseling is for you. 1) Are my relationships how I would like for them to be? 2) Am I satisfied with my life and the direction of my life? 3) Do I know who I am and like who I am? If you answer no to any of these questions, counseling may be right for you.
WHY DO I NEED A THERAPIST? CAN’T I JUST TALK MY FAMILY OR FRIENDS?
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THERAPY?
The benefits of therapy have been demonstrated in numerous studies. In a review by Martin Seligman he found that: Psychotherapy produced positive effects in 92% of respondents. The longer people stayed in therapy, the better their results. People that were active in therapy did better than those that were passive. People that actively engaged by being open, asking questions, and following up did better. For most psychological conditions, people in therapy alone did as well as people who had medication plus therapy. Respondents who stayed in therapy only until insurance coverage allowed did worse than those who stayed until their concerns resolved.
HOW WILL I KNOW IF YOU ARE THE RIGHT THERAPIST FOR ME?
You really need to meet with your therapist to get a good idea of what they are like as a person and as a professional. At our first meeting you should keep these questions in mind: How easy is it to talk to her? Does she seem like somebody I could trust? Is he really listening to me? Does she seem to know what she is doing? Does he seem confident and competent? Do I feel comfortable with her? Could I ever show this person the deepest, ugliest parts of myself? Does he seem to have the capacity to handle me? Mostly, “Do I like her?”
HOW LONG DOES THERAPY LAST?
It would be so handy to have an exact answer to this question, but unfortunately, we don’t. There are many factors to consider, such as: What sort of life have you had before coming to therapy? Why are you deciding now to come to therapy? How long has the problem been in the making? How have you coped with the problem up until now? How have your ways of coping compromised your deeper sense of aliveness and well-being? What are your goals or hopes for therapy? How will we know when they have been met? I know, lots of questions here. Some of these questions cannot be answered right away; they are answered during treatment through discovery and understanding. Here’s how you will gain the most benefit from therapy. 1. Look at the money you spend on therapy as an investment in your future. The benefits you experience will justify the expense. 2. Be an active participant to your fullest capacity. Your therapy will take work – on your part and on the part of your therapist. If you don’t put honest effort forward, you won’t feel as if you are getting your money’s worth and you will likely resent the cost.
HOW DOES THERAPY WORK?
Therapy is a unique process whereby your therapist will create a safe space for you to decide your unique truth. In order to do this, your therapist must develop a respectful relationship with you so that you feel that you are able to talk to him or her. Once this is established, your therapist will work to determine where you are in your journey toward healing and match their approach to you. For example, if you know that your job is a problem, but you aren’t ready to quit, then we talk about how it’s a problem and what that’s like for you. We do not talk about why you won’t quit and how you need to be moving on. Your therapist doesn’t get to make the decisions for your life. Your therapist is there to motivate you and mirror back times when you are lost in your journey. When you are ready to make change, then we undergo the process of deciding how you have stumbled in the past and what you can do to overcome those hurdles in the future.
HOW LONG ARE SESSIONS?
ARE MY SESSIONS CONFIDENTIAL?
Yes. By law your therapist is bound to protect your confidentiality. The exceptions to this are related to child or elder abuse, a threat to harm another person or if you are in danger of self-harm. If you want to use a third-party payer to pay for therapy, it will be necessary to provide the information required by your insurance company which will likely include a diagnosis. If this is the case, your therapist will discuss with you what is disclosed to an insurer.
CAN YOU GIVE ME MEDICINE?
No, but here’s the way it works. After evaluating your situation, we will decide if you need to speak with a psychiatrist who is a MD and is allowed to prescribe medicine. If we decide that medication might be beneficial, we have some very competent psychiatrists we work with. It’s always a good idea for someone who is taking medication to have his or her therapist in contact with the doctor who is prescribing medicine. That way you have a team working together on your behalf. Of course, this communication between therapist and psychiatrist only happens if you give written permission for it to happen.
WHAT IS SEX THERAPY?
Sex therapists receive additional training in a variety of topics related to human sexuality to include, but not limited to, sexual disorders, sexual abuse, anatomy, sexually transmitted infections, sexual and gender orientation, and fetish behaviors. Sex therapy is specifically designed to help you reflect upon areas of concern where your sexuality is concerned and what, if any, change you desire to make in these areas.