Frequently Asked Questions about Therapy

Choosing the right therapist can become a challenging task. We want to help make it easier by providing answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) of new clients. Please contact us if you have a question that is not listed below and we will be happy to help.

How does counseling work?

Like antidepressant medicine, counseling works to improve your symptoms slowly over time. Most people in counseling start to feel better about themselves and their situations. Treatment can be provided in individual, couple, family or in a group setting. The number of visits needed for treatment varies for each person. Generally, a session is 45 to 60 minutes for individual, couple and family therapy and 60 to 90 minutes for group counseling. You can decide on the type of counseling you’d prefer, individual, couple, family or group sessions. Before starting, commit to stick with counseling for the time period that you and your counselor agree would be beneficial. Also make a commitment to follow through with recommendations that you and your counselor agree upon during your sessions.

How do I know therapy is for me?

Our practitioners can help you cope with feelings and symptoms, and change behavior patterns that may contribute to your feelings of unhappiness in your life. Talk therapy is not just “talking about your problems”; it is also working toward solutions. Some therapy may involve homework, such as tracking your moods, writing about your thoughts, or participating in social activities that have caused anxiety in the past. You might be encouraged to look at things in a different way or learn new ways to react to events or people. Most of today’s psychotherapy is brief and focused on your current thoughts, feelings and life issues. Focusing on the past can help explain things in your life, but focusing on the present can help you cope with the present and prepare for the future. You might see your therapist more often at the beginning of treatment, and later, as you learn to manage problems and avoid triggers, you might go to psychotherapy appointments less often.

How can Psychotherapy help me?

Psychotherapy is brief and focused on your current thoughts, feelings and life issues. Focusing on the past can help explain things in your life, but focusing on the present can help you cope with the present and prepare for the future. It helps with:

  • Understand your illness
  • Define and reach wellness goals
  • Overcome fears or insecurities
  • Addictive Behaviors
  • Cope with stress
  • Make sense of past traumatic experiences
  • Separate your true personality from the mood swings caused by your illness
  • Identify triggers that may worsen your symptoms
  • Improve relationships with family and friends
  • Establish a stable, dependable routine
  • Develop a plan for coping with crises
  • Understand why things bother you and what you can do about them
  • End destructive habits such as drinking, using drugs, overspending or unhealthy sex

What is the difference between a psychologist, therapist and a psychiatrist?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in understanding how medications for mood disorders interact with the body and other medications you may be taking. Some psychiatrists may provide occasional therapy but they primarily provide medication. Psychologist and Therapists who specialize in understanding mental health. They provide counseling and do not prescribe medication.

Why shouldn’t I just take medication?

Medication alone cannot 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.

I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?

Not at all. People who ask for help know when they need it and have the ability to reach out. Everyone needs help now and then. You already have some strengths that you’ve used before, that for whatever reason isn’t working right now. Perhaps this problem feels overwhelming and is making it difficult to access your past strengths. In our work together, I’ll help you identify what those strengths are and how to implement them again in what is happening now.

What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?

The difference is between someone who can do something, and someone who has the training and experience to do that same thing professionally. 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.

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 our providers, we would initially work with both of you together. After this work, if one of you would like to continue in individual sessions, we could work with only one of you. At times, it is not helpful to move from individual into couple’s work with the same therapist because of potential trust issues.

How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions? How do I get started?

Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. We tailor our therapeutic approach to your specific needs. Before your initial appointment you may want to make a list of the things that are bothering you and the issues you would like help with. Bring it with you to your first appointment. You might include:

  • Issues in your family or other relationships
  • Symptoms like changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Anger, anxiety, irritability or troubling feelings
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself

In your first few sessions, you will probably do most of the talking. You should tell the therapist why you are there and what you would like to get from therapy. Together, you and your therapist will make a list of short- and long-term goal. After a few sessions, your therapist may be able to give you an idea of how long therapy will take and when you can expect to see changes in your moods as well as you reporting to the therapist the changes you see in yourself.

How long will it take? How long can I expect to be in treatment?

Unfortunately, this is not possible to say in a general FAQs page. Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time therapy can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek therapy in the first place. Each person’s or couples’ goals are unique, as is their state of readiness and ability to implement learned strategies. The honest answer is that although you might begin feeling better as soon as your first appointment, there is no set time frame for completion of treatment that would be accurate for everyone. Therapy unfolds in its own way and time for each client. Our office strives to maximize your progress with tailored treatment that incorporates evidence-based and clinically proven methods. By combining the most effective treatments with a thorough and customized plan, we see great results in less time

I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?

We are 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. Please note some people or families may need treatment more time than once a week which is not unusual.

How will I know if I’m making progress?

After some time has passed, you can check your treatment plan and see if you’re closer to reaching your goals. It may be helpful to track how you feel each day and how you cope with difficult situations. Review your progress with your therapist. Improvement won’t happen overnight, but you should see some change, even if it’s just a better understanding of your own thoughts and feelings.