Frequently Asked Questions
What is Therapy?
Therapy is a collaborative and confidential process between a therapist and a client. The therapist is a licensed and experienced professional who helps the client to more accurately identify sources of distress and understand themselves in relation to the world around them. Together, the client’s self defeating thoughts, behaviors, and emotions are identified as well as targeted for change. Relationships, choices, and patterns are thus explored in order to benefit the client. The goals of therapy are to identify and implement more effective strategies in order to resolve or cope with difficult situations and to achieve the client’s goals. While some client’s have chronic emotional or behavioral difficulties, most people seek therapy because of life’s problems. Most people are dealing with normal life events and need assistance in determining solutions.
Common reasons why people are referred for or seek therapy include:
- Relationship problems with spouses, children, parents, friends, and co-workers
- Feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or confused
- Alcohol, drug, and prescription medication abuse or dependency
- Gambling abuse or dependency
- Isolation and withdrawal from others
- Low self confidence and self esteem
- Problems in school performance
- Family problems
- Loss of loved ones, relationships, and bereavement
- Eating disorders
- Sexuality and gender issues
- Employment problems
- Health related issues
- Behavior problems at home, school, or on the job
When to Seek Therapy?
People often seek therapy at different times and for different reasons. However, we encourage you to seek therapy if:
- You feel hopeless and are unhappy most of the time
- You feel angry and as if you are about to explode most of the time
- You worry almost all of the time
- You are unable to concentrate at work or at school
- You constantly feel tired even though you get enough sleep
- You have sleep difficulties and do not get a good night’s sleep
- You constantly find fault with your spouse, parents, children, friends, boss
- You abuse drugs, alcohol, prescription medications, or cigarettes
- You feel alone and like an outsider
- You feel overwhelmed by daily life events
- You have lost or gained a lot of weight
- You have experienced an overwhelming loss
- You cut yourself or have thought about hurting yourself or others
- You can’t seem to succeed at school or work
- You receive learning or behavior reports from your child’s school
What to Expect in Therapy?
The first meeting with a therapist usually lasts one hour. Prior to this session, you will be asked to complete some paperwork. In the first session, you will be asked to describe why you are seeking assistance and what you hope to gain from therapy. You will be asked to provide information about your current living situation as well as a history of yourself and your issues. This session is an opportunity for you and your therapist to develop a working alliance and to determine a plan for treatment. You can then decide whether you want to continue with your therapist or seek another alternative. Sometimes, this first session is all that is needed to clarify feelings and options to resolve a basic issue. The number of sessions usually depends upon the problem, the severity of the problem, and the existing coping skills the client already possesses. In this first session, confidentiality, consent, and office practices will be discussed with the client. Additional sessions are approximately 45 minutes in length.
Are the Sessions Confidential?
Your confidentiality is carefully guarded. We respect your right to privacy and do not disclose confidential information. No information about the client, their appointments, and the issues discussed will be released without the client’s specific, written consent. All electronic information is double and triple password protected in our practice management records.
There are, however, situations where therapists are mandated by law to breach confidentiality and report certain situations without consent of the patient. These cases are when:
- There is a clear and imminent danger to the patient or others
- There is suspected or reported child abuse or elder abuse
- There is suspected or reported abuse of a disabled individual
- There is an order by a court of law
- A client raises their mental health as an issue in a legal proceeding
What are Client Responsibilities?
As a therapy client, resolving issues and making changes involves your commitment. You will be asked to keep the appointments you schedule. If you are unable to keep the appointment, please call to cancel at least 24 hours in advance so that someone else may be able to use that time. You will also be asked to be an active participant in your therapy by remembering and thinking about what was discussed in the session and to complete any homework assignments. Sometimes, painful feelings may be recalled or stirred up. You are encouraged to discuss those feelings with your therapist. You may also be asked to keep a journal of your thoughts, feelings, and accomplishments. You are encouraged to ask questions of your therapist and to practice new behaviors and thought patterns outside of the therapy office. Therapy requires effort and may sound like work but changes don’t occur without commitment, effort, and follow through.