How can therapy help me?
Therapy can help in many ways, as a Therapist, I can provide support, teach problem-solving skills, and enhance coping strategies for many different issues. Some of the common issues are depression, anxiety, trauma and trauma related issues, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management and many more. Additionally, people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new ways to cope with trauma, stress and/ or anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or relationships
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
Every person on this earth goes through difficult times in life, and while you may have successfully managed through other difficulties you've faced, sometimes situations can become exhausting and that is when having support will help. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcoming any challenges you might face.
Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?
People have many different motivations for coming to therapy. It might be a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, retirement, etc.), or maybe not handling stressful situations very well. Some people need direction in managing other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, trauma, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Therapy can provide some much needed encouragement and support with skills to learn to cope with these challenges we face in life. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking therapy are ready to make changes in their lives.
What is therapy like?
Each person has different issues and goals for therapy, the therapy will be different depending on the individual. I tailor make the sessions for each client because no two clients are the same and no two problems are the same. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist.
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the sessions. It is my job to help guide the client not to do the work for the client. That being said, I am there to support the client in the changes they want to make and help them stay the course to attain their goals to the best of my ability. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking therapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.
What about medication vs. psychotherapy?
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. There are indeed some people that need medication and I am happy to make a referral to a psychiatrist if needed and if that is the case the medication alone will not help the client learn new coping skills ... life changes do that. I believe instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of the distress and the behavior patterns that curb the progress. Sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness can best be achieved by working collaboratively with your psychiatrist and your medical doctor to determine what's best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components I regard in therapy with my clients. In order for therapy to be successful there must be a high level of trust between my clients and me because often these are things my clients have never told anyone about in their entire life. I honor that trust in the integrity that I hold for each client. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Psychiatrist, Attorney, etc.), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission first with a signed Release of Information. Any information that is shared upon a client's request is very basic and minimal and generally I will inform my clients as to what will be shared with exception to the the items stated below.
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
- Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
- If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.