What should I expect as a new client?
After you schedule a meeting with me either online or by phone, you will receive an email confirmation of your appointment with specific directions of how to get to my office. When you arrive for your first appointment, the receptionist in the waiting room will give you a clipboard with any paper work that needs to be completed. You will have about 15 minutes to complete the forms, and then I will come greet you and take you to my private office for our meeting.
The first thing I do is to quickly look over your paper work to see if either one of us has any questions. Then it is your turn to get to tell me the reason that you have sought out counseling at this specific time. I may or may not ask you some questions as you “tell your story.” The goal of our first session is for me to get an understanding of your issues so that I can determine how to best help you.
Time is left at the end of the first session to discuss payment options.
What can therapy do for me?
There are a variety of benefits that can come from therapy, and they tend to be individualized. Therapists are there to provide levels of support, teach certain skills, and help clients discover new coping strategies for things like anxiety, depression, stress, or even creative blocks. You don’t need to have some kind of ‘major disorder’ to find usefulness from a therapist. In fact, if you’re simply looking for personal growth in any aspect of your life, you can typically find the skills and resources through therapy to help with family problems, marital issues, and more. Essentially, a therapist offers a different way of looking at things – perhaps a perspective you haven’t yet considered, which makes it easier to point you in the right direction, and find the solutions you’re looking for in life.
Of course, therapists can’t just ‘fix’ everything on their own. It’s about using those resources you learn in your everyday life that can really turn things around. Still unsure about what therapy could do for you? Let’s take a look a few examples of some common benefits:
– Grasping a deeper understanding of who you are
– Identifying your goals and dreams
– Obtaining the right skills for bettering your life’s relationships
– Learning resources to put an end to the issues that brought you to therapy
– Managing problem areas in your personal life, like anger, stress, depression, etc.
– Creating new patterns of behavior for yourself
– Changing your problem-solving perspective
– Boosting your self-esteem and confidence
If I feel as though I can handle my issues on my own, is therapy really necessary?
There isn’t a person alive who doesn’t experience challenges of some kind throughout their life. Some people can simply get through them better than others, and even then, it’s never a bad idea to have additional support and understanding when it comes to the obstacles you’ve gone through. In all actuality, therapy is ideal for people who understand themselves enough to realize they actually could use some help, instead of denying it. Noticing that your life isn’t necessarily where you want it to be is a big realization and admittance, and taking the steps to change that for the better is something to be incredibly proud of. You’re taking the first step down an incredible path that can lead to long-lasting benefits for the rest of your life, even when challenges come up again.
What makes people go to therapy in the first place? How do I know if it’s the right decision?
Everyone’s reasons for coming to therapy are different, whether they’re going through a big life change, or a specific event like divorce, or just aren’t dealing with stressful situations ideally. Sometimes, the assistance of therapy can not only help with specific situations, but personal issues as well. Depression, anxiety, relationship issues, and even low-self esteem are often common reasons to seek out help. You may start out looking for one thing, and find on your journey that you can gain so much more through learning the right skills, and having the right kind of encouragement.
In terms of making the ‘right decision’ for yourself, of course therapy is a personal decision, but if you take a look at your life, and your desire is to make a change that starts from within, it’s likely that some form of psychotherapy could be a great benefit.
What can I expect from therapy?
Just like the reasons for therapy are different for everyone, most people can expect different experiences. The good news is that therapy is completely individually-focused, which is why everyone can get something different out of it. Generally, your life, your history, and any relevant insights will be important to the specific discussions, but in a very personal and individualized manner. Sometimes therapy can be focused on a specific need, in which case it’s a ‘short term’ solution, while in other cases, many people go to therapy regularly, each week, to simply look for more personal growth.
Again, therapy isn’t meant to be some kind of ‘quick fix’ where you simply sit back and listen. It is a participatory experience. The more you involve yourself in the process, the better results you’re bound to see. It’s a practice in everyday living, in which you take what you learn from the session, and apply it to your life. Therefore, it’s important to be mentally prepared to make those changes in your life, and desire new perspectives on things.
How does insurance factor into therapy?
Insurance companies are different – some offer mental health coverage, while others do not. The easiest way to find out if mental health care is covered by your provider is to contact them, to make sure you understand their options. If you’re looking for a good place to start in asking them questions, you could consider asking what their coverage amounts are for therapy sessions, what an out-of-network provider might cost, or if prior approval will be needed from your primary care physician. Don’t be afraid to ask enough questions so you feel confident in knowing how your insurance responds to mental health care.
Do the topics in each therapy session remain private?
There is practically nothing more important in therapy than confidentiality. As with any doctor/client agreement, your privacy is of the utmost importance. A good therapist understands the vulnerability and openness that must come from each client in order to really get through, so therapy itself can take a lot of trust, and that needs to be developed over time. Make sure your therapist offers a confidentiality agreement before you begin your sessions, typically called ‘informed consent.’ It is your choice if you’d like to have your therapist share anything significant with your other healthcare providers, but this can only be done with your written consent. Nothing you share in your sessions is to be told to anyone else, with the rare exceptions of suspected abuse of any kind (including child protection), or if the therapist has any reason to believe their client may hurt themselves, or others. These situations are a matter of ethical procedures, and sometimes, even the law.