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Green Hills with Blue Sky

Common Questions

  How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. 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, or coping with medical or psychiatric illnesses.  Many people also find that therapists can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the difficulties of daily life. Therapists can provide 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 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

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'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 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, or medical or psychiatric illnesses. 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 ready to make changes in their lives. 
What is therapy 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 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 or your desire for more personal development.  Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually on a weekly basis to start).
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 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, or taking some specific action towards 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?  
Solving long-term psychological problems requires more than medication alone. Psychotherapy addresses the causes of distress and the behavior patterns that get in the way of achieving one's goals. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach.  In the case of severe or persistent mental illness, medication is usually necessary for sufficient symptom relief to be able to make good use of psychotherapy.  At the same time, many clients who come to therapy do not need medication at all.  If in the course of our work together, we suspect that medication might be a useful tool, I can refer you to a psychiatrist for an evaluation to see if medication might help.  Working with your psychiatrist and your therapist, you can determine what's best for you.  
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
I am an out of network provider, but reimbursable by most private insurance plans that allow you to go out of network.  I am not a Medicare or Medicaid provider; clients with Medicare would need to contract with me for services outside of their Medicare benefit.  To determine if you have coverage through your private 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:
  • Do I have mental health coverage?
  • 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?
  • Do I need pre-authorization? 
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important elements of a good therapeutic relationship. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust; highly sensitive subject matter is discussed that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office.   You can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone.  Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone, for example another member of your healthcare team, but by law your therapist cannot release this information without first obtaining your written permission. 
State law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children or vulnerable adults
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threated to harm another person.

In such situations, the therapist is required by law to break confidentiality and notify appropriate officials or individuals