Some people receiving therapy are very emotionally disturbed; most are not. Most healthy individuals experience some emotional troubles at one point or another in their lives. Seeking therapy as a step in dealing with them is no indication in itself of having a psychiatric disorder. On the contrary, it often represents a strong, self-caring, mature and responsible decision for yourself and often for those you love.
What are sessions like?
In the first sessions we complete the paperwork, discuss confidentiality, and begin to hear your story. The focus of the second session is to continue to hear your story and discover potential areas of strength and improvement.
The third and fourth sessions are typically a time to write down what the focus of counseling will be. This is often called a “Treatment Plan.” The treatment plan will outline what things you’d like to change, for example:
For Pete to follow directions the first time, 70% of the time.
To discuss my feelings with my mother more openly by Christmas.
To yell less when we’re upset with one another and feel like we’re married within 2 months.
The Treatment Plan outlines your specific goals, how we will measure them, and what will happen to help you reach them. Also, it will outline who is in charge of what aspects of it. For example, a child may need to practice new skills, a parent may learn new parenting techniques, and your therapist may provide you with a list of resources.
The following sessions will focus upon meeting your Treatment Goals. We will discuss the progress and decide if we need to add goals, change them, or if you want to be done with counseling. Our goal is to help you decide when you’re done with counseling, so you can get on with your life.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
A mental health professional can help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Furthermore, therapy is completely confidential. You won’t have to worry about others “knowing my business.” Lastly, if your situation provokes a great deal of negative emotion, if you’ve been confiding in a friend or family member, there is the risk that once you are feeling better you could start avoiding that person so you aren’t reminded of this difficult time in your life.
Is it normal to be nervous my first appointment?
Starting something new can always be cause for some anticipatory anxiety. Many people feel that going to counseling means they have become powerless over their lives, however I see this as the opposite as you have now chosen to take your power back. It is always normal to be nervous coming in for your first session, but we will help you to feel confident about your decision from the start.
Why shouldn’t I just take medication?
Medication alone will not solve all issues. What medication does is treat the symptoms. Our work together is designed to explore the root of the issue, dig deep into your behavior and teach strategies that can help you accomplish your personal and/or relational goals.
Medication can be effective and is sometimes needed in conjunction with therapy.
Can I afford Therapy?
We accept most major insurance plans. Sliding scales are also taken into consideration in special circumstances. Therapy is an investment in yourself and your future. Here is an article why self-paying for therapy is a good idea. Please call to see how we can work with you to meet your needs.
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
I am so glad you are dedicated to getting the most out of your sessions. Your active participation and dedication is crucial to your success. After all, we only see each other for a session a week. It’s the work you do outside of our sessions that will really help you see your personal growth and development.
My partner and I are having problems. Should we be in individual counseling or come together?
If you are concerned about your relationship, and you would both like to work with me, I would initially work with both of you together. After this work, if one of you would like to continue in individual sessions, I could work with only one of you. It is not helpful to move from individual into couple’s work with the same therapist because of potential trust issues.