Therapy is not mysterious. It’s two or three people (or a small group) talking or working together in a completely confidential, non-judgmental, safe setting. We’ve done our best in the following FAQs to answer the most common questions and dispel a few myths about therapy. However, if you have a question not addressed below, please call and we’ll be glad to talk with you.
I’ve never done this before. How do I get started finding a therapist?
It’s pretty simple. Our intake staff member will talk with you, ask a few general questions about the issues or problems you’d like to explore in therapy, get a few details about your insurance and preferences in someone to talk with, and your preferred times/days for appointments. Then we’ll find the best match with one of our therapists, based on their expertise and availability. And we’ll also verify insurance coverage on your behalf so you can be sure services are covered and understand what payments may be required from you.
How does therapy work? What will I do in a session?
Each person has different issues and goals for therapy, so each person’s therapy will be different. However, there are some similarities. All new patients meet privately with their therapists, and begin by answering questions about the problems they want to solve, as well as about their life, job, family, etc. From there, we will decide together about your treatment plan and how you can begin improving your mental and emotional health.
How long will it take? How will I know when I’m “done?”
There’s no easy answer to this question. Everyone’s circumstances are unique, and the length of time needed for therapy will be different. It also depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment to attending sessions and doing any emotional “homework” your therapist might ask of you, as well as the factors that are driving you to seek therapy in the first place.
How often will I need to go to therapy?
When you initially start therapy, you will meet weekly with your therapist. This helps launch you into “healing mode” and earnestly begin the process of discovery and problem-solving. After several months, you and your therapist may then decide that meeting every other week is the right frequency to keep you on your healing path.
What do you mean by “talk therapy?”
It’s just that—a conversation. Guided by your therapist, you will share thoughts and feelings about the issues you want to explore. You can ask questions, challenge ideas and seek answers both within yourself and from your therapist’s knowledge, training and experience.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
A friend can certainly be a good listener, and may be able to do something, but a therapist has the training and experience to do that same thing professionally. We can help you approach your situation in a new way—teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgement or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Therapy is also completely confidential. You don’t have to worry about others “knowing your business.”
Lastly, if your situation provokes a lot of negative emotion—and you confide in a friend or family member—there is the risk that once you are feeling better, you might start avoiding that person so you aren’t reminded of this difficult time in your life.
Why shouldn’t I just take medication?
Medication alone cannot solve all issues. It can treat the symptoms, but it generally cannot address the root causes of your feelings. Our work together is designed to explore issues, dig deep into your behavior and emotional world, and teach strategies that can help you accomplish your personal and/or relational goals. Medication can be effective, but we believe it is most effective when combined with therapy.
My partner and I are having problems. Should we be in individual counseling or come together?
If you are concerned about your relationship, and would both like to work with us, we would initially work with both of you as a couple. Then, if you or your partner want to begin individual sessions, we would be happy to match you with your own therapist from our staff. It is not helpful to move from individual work into couples work with the same therapist because of potential trust issues. And if you or your partner start individual therapy with the therapist you initially saw together, it also removes the option of resuming couples work later on with that same therapist.
Please know that it’s not uncommon for partners to decide they also want individual work. In some cases, the personal development achieved in individual work can positively contribute to the success of couples work.
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
Your active participation and dedication are crucial to your success. After all, you and your therapist will usually only see each other for one session a week. It’s the work you do outside of your sessions that will really help you see your personal growth and development.