Some Common Questions
How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits stem from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues, and more. Many people also find that counselors 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 fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a potential solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you utilize the process and practice what you learn while in counseling.
Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals, and your values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolutions 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 difficulties
- Improving communication 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 on my own.
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. 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're at 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, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome 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 therapy. 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, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts, or creative blocks. Therapy can help provide encouragement and help with skills to get individuals through these rough 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 therapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and are ready to make positive changes.
What is therapy like?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, experiences will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from 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). Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly, or bi-weekly).
It is important to understand you will gain 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 session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist 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.
Should my child see a therapist?
Significant life events — such as, death (family member, friend, or pet), divorce, moving, abuse, trauma, a parent leaving on military deployment, or a major illness in the family — can cause stress that might lead to problems with behavior, mood, sleep, appetite, and academic or social functioning.
In some cases, it's not as clear what has caused a child to suddenly seem withdrawn, worried, stressed, sulky, or tearful. But if you feel your child might have an emotional or behavioral problem or needs help coping with a difficult life event, trust your instincts.
Signs that a child may benefit from seeing a psychologist or licensed therapist include:
- Developmental delay in speech, language, or toilet training
- Learning or attention problems (such as ADHD)
- Behavioral problems (such as excessive anger, acting out, bed-wetting or eating disorders)
- A significant drop in grades, particularly if your child normally maintains high grades
- Episodes of sadness, tearfulness, or depression
- Social withdrawal or isolation
- Being the victim of bullying or bullying other children
- Decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Overly aggressive behavior (such as biting, kicking, or hitting)
- Sudden changes in appetite (particularly in adolescents)
- Insomnia or increased sleepiness
- Excessive school absenteeism or tardiness
- Mood swings (e.g., happy one minute, upset the next)
- Management of a serious, acute, or chronic illness
- Signs of alcohol, drug, or other substance use (such as solvents or prescription drug abuse)
- Problems in transitions (following separation, divorce, or relocation)
- Bereavement issues
- Custody evaluations
- Therapy following sexual, physical, emotional abuse, or other traumatic events
- Development of or an increase in physical complaints (such as headache, stomachache, or not feeling well) despite a normal physical exam by your doctor
But my child is refusing to come to therapy, what should I do?
As the parent, you need to decide if your child needs counseling. If you have decided your child does need to talk to someone and your child is refusing, ask yourself a question -- If your child was diagnosed with a medical condition that would affect the rest of their life and was refusing treatment, what would you do? If your child is displaying symptoms and you have deemed it necessary to obtain a professional opinion then trust your instincts.
What will happen to my child if I don't seek help?
This is the most difficult question because we don't know the future. However, we can acknowledge and understand the path a child is on. Sometimes kids grow out of things on their own and other times a small recurring problem, over several months or years, can turn into a severe blow to a child's sense of self. This could also affect the way they are labeled by peers or teachers. Ask yourself what their behavior will look like in 5, 10 or even 20 years.
After answering these questions, how do you feel about the concern you started with? Does it seem a bit more normal? Or, does it seem like a bit more of a problem?
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 solely treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that affect our personal growth. 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?
To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers.
Some helpful questions you can ask them:
- 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?
What if I can't afford it?
This practice serves all patients, regardless of ability to pay. We offer a sliding fee schedule for services deemed medically necessary. For more information please call our office and we will be happy to schedule a time for you to complete the appropriate paperwork.
Receiving the proper care for your mental health condition is essential to your recovery. The best treatments are the ones prescribed by a doctor or mental health practitioner, and that may include counseling, medication, support, diet and exercise, and alternative therapy. Unfortunately, visiting mental health providers and paying for many of these treatments can be expensive. Not all people have access to affordable insurance. Whether you're insured or not, and whether that insurance coverage is adequate, we are here to help. Along with the sliding fee schedule, we offer in house financing and payment plan options to help ease any financial stress.
Do you accept medicaid and medicare?
If we are unable to bill medicaid or medicare we make a commitment to never turn you away based on your insurance type or ability to pay, and will work with you for free. Please call our office to complete the appropriate paperwork and schedule your appointment with one of our highly qualified clinicians.
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 anything discussed in session 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.
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
* Suspected or proven past/present abuse or neglect of children, dependent adults, and elders.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming themselves or has threatened to harm someone else.