How does therapy work?
Therapy can help you understand and address your problems and concerns. It can teach you specific emotional and relational skills, and can help you obtain more satisfaction from school, work, and relationships. A therapist’s office is a safe place to express private thoughts and struggles. Friends and family can provide excellent emotional support, but a therapist can give you a trained, and more impartial, perspective on your life.
How do I know if I need to seek help?
People typically present for help when they find that they are unhappy, anxious, or falling short of success, and what they have been doing to change their circumstances is not working. Some indicators that you might want to a see a therapist include: you know the problem is too big or complex to handle easily; others suggest you need to talk to someone or get help; you've tried numerous strategies over the years and have had some success with the issue but no real lasting or deep changes have occurred; or, you just don't seem to be reaching your full potential in your family, marriage, career, school, friendships/relationships, or hobbies.
Will the information I tell my therapist be kept confidential?
Confidentially is of the utmost importance and what is discussed in therapy remains confidential. This is one of the things that makes therapy a safe place to discuss any issue. There are a few exceptions to this rule as required by law (e.g., if an individual poses a danger to themselves or others). Confidentiality will be discussed in detail during the first appointment.
What therapeutic techniques will be utilized?
There are a variety of therapeutic techniques that can be helpful. Based on your specific needs, a treatment plan will be put together collaboratively. For example, interpersonal therapy techniques have been well supported in the treatment of mood disorders and relationship difficulties. Cognitive-Behavioral techniques can help you break out of self-defeating habits.
Will I be able to afford therapy?
Psychological Wellness Center believes in having a strong community presence, meeting the needs of the members of the community, and allowing everyone access to high quality psychological services. For this reason, we offer a private pay system that’s structured to help make therapy affordable for a wide range of people. Please call for more details.
How often do I come in for therapy?
To make the most progress, we will typically begin with 1 session a week. But we are sensitive to your work or school schedule as well as other commitments outside of therapy. Some clients choose to come in every other week after the first few sessions of individual counseling or couples counseling.
Also, clients that attain and maintain their goals and are close to the end of therapy may reduce the number of sessions to bi-weekly or less. This gives you time to test your new tools and ability to maintain these changes with less assistance from your therapist. These sessions are important to the therapy process and allow for a healthy transition from therapy.
How long will I need to be in therapy?
There is no set answer to this question. Some problems can be resolved in just a few sessions. Others take much longer. Therapy should continue as long as you are making progress and until the problems that brought you in are resolved to your satisfaction. It is always your decision to continue or discontinue therapy.
Is there a free initial consultation?
Yes. We allow you an opportunity to come in and meet your potential therapist to ensure a “good fit.” When you phone to set up your consultation, the full process will be discussed with you.
Are all therapists created equally? How do I choose a therapist with all the different options?
The following information is a guide for choosing a therapist and knowing how to make the most out of therapy.
There are many articles on the web about how to choose a therapist. Most of them focus on different degree levels (MA, MSW, Ph.D., Psy.D) types of training, titles (psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, marriage counselor), and theoretical orientation (Cognitive-Behavioral, Psychodynamic, Mindfulness, etc), and matching these to your concerns (relationships, depression, anxiety, ADHD, relationship problems, bipolar, etc). Additionally, there are many psychologists, counselors, and therapists with any mix of these specialties and qualifications, making the choice more difficult.
So how do you pick? The best strategy is probably to explore the "fit" between you and the therapist. In more detail, that might mean that the person seems competent, professional, trustworthy, friendly, and has something to offer you. Like someone you feel good about entering into a personal/professional relationship with. Research has shown there to be a variety of reasons for this, most notably that the therapeutic relationship is the best predictor of success. This is why we offer a free initial consultation for you to meet with your prospective therapist to ensure you enter into the professional relationship with the highest level of confidence.
Types of Providers:
Psychologists: a "psychologist" has a Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree in clinical or counseling psychology, has the most extensive training (5-7 years), and can specialize in a wide range of issues (social issues, PTSD, substance abuse, divorce, parenting, career or work problems, adolescent psychology, bipolar, couples/family therapy, anxiety and mood disorders, etc). Psychologists also frequently do psychological testing.
Counselors: a "counselor" has a Masters degree (2-3 years training), is licensed (LMHC, LMFT, LCSW), and specializes in mental health counseling, marriage family and couples therapy, or substance abuse (drug and alcohol). They often identify themselves as "marriage counselor" or "family counselor".
Therapists: a "therapist" is a general designation that many types of providers can use, but is not standard terminology beyond people who are licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFT), who fit the above description for counselor. Essentially, any mental health provider can call him/herself a therapist. You may also see a practitioner refer to him/herself as a "psychotherapist," which is also not a formal type of provider.
Psychiatrists: are trained physicians that specialize in mental health. Many psychiatrists do some limited form of counseling, with some being trained in deeper counseling approaches. Most treat mental health issues through medication.
Coaches: are a relatively new type of provider that as of this writing, are not regulated by state licensing bodies. That means that pretty much anyone can call themselves a "coach" and give some type of life advice, guidance, or counseling, although they are not legally allowed to practice the type of counseling that any of the above providers can.
How can I make the most of sessions?
There are certain things research has shown to lead to better outcomes. These include:
1. Coming to each session with a plan: This includes coming to each session with a plan that contains a goal or something you would like to get from your session that day. This can help you and your therapist stay on track with your goals, and make sure you are getting what you want from each session. A therapy goal can be as simple as "learn specific coping skills" or "talk about my relationship with my mom/husband/daughter," but starting off with this helps.
2. Think about the session during the week: Essentially, the more time you spend outside of the session, thinking about the work you are doing in therapy, the faster your goals will be met. Think of the time between sessions as an opportunity to try out the new skills and new thought patterns you acquire from therapy.
3. Tell your therapist what you like: All therapists work with different methods and counseling approaches, and each also has a unique interpersonal style. If your therapist is doing something helpful that you find changed the way you approached a situation, let them know. Likewise, if your therapist does something that you don't like, or don't find helpful, then it is important you communicate this. Most psychologists and other types of therapists are trained on navigating these kinds of discussions and if you don’t let your therapist know what feels comfortable and what doesn’t, the therapist can't make the adjustments.
4. Be honest with your therapist: You may be seeking therapy for things you feel unsure about discussing, or feel some shame around. If you can trust your therapist, then being honest with what is happening in your life is the best way to make progress. Hiding important information can complicate how your psychologists will work with you, and impede progress.
5. Try new things out: There are often parts of therapy that are focused on changing behaviors or trying new things. If you have homework or suggestions are given to try new things based on your session, giving it a real try will help you find out whether what you are doing in therapy is working.
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