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"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."

  - Oscar Wilde

Woman Standing on Dock
Woman Standing on Docks

Common Questions

Therapy is expensive, is it worth it?
We hear this a lot and understand that considering to pay for counseling can give you pause to ask if it's worth it.  We believe that investing in yourself is one of the best things you can do, in order to create a life you want.  By investing in yourself - with your time, emotionally or financially - gives you the opportunity to gain insights and awareness around the patterns of your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Ultimately, this may be one of the best "purchases" of your life - because it's completely for you.

Is therapy right for me?
Seeking out therapy is an individual choice, of course. If someone has told you to go to therapy, you have to decide if it sounds like the right idea, because let's face it, if you're going in order to please someone else it won't be as effective as if you go to please yourself.  Here are some thoughts to help you decide:  If you're in life transition, you might want to simply gain perspective of a non-family member.  If you are facing long-held or long-suppressed traumas or other issues, you can see if processing through those things once and for all leads you to be less "stuck" than you might be now.  If you are questioning relationships and values, or trying to rid yourself of unwanted behaviors, then therapy might be a great place to start.  I will be honest, if you're a practicing alcoholic or drug user, I do believe that therapy must be in conjunction with 12 steps and/or a treatment program in order to be effective. 

Do I really need therapy?  I can usually handle my problems.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is good for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that's admirable. Special note to men and women who see therapy as a sign of weakness:  I understand that you may see it that way, but I do believe that you might be succumbing to gender or cultural bias and could be doing yourself a disservice by not checking it out.

How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many 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 stress and 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 marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence

What is therapy like? 
Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around fifty minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. Here are some things you can expect out of therapy  with me:

  • Compassion and understanding
  • Respect of your values and boundaries
  • Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
  • Strategies for enacting positive change
  • Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance

Is medication a substitute for therapy?
It's not in my scope of practice to prescribe medication.  I'm not a psychiatrist:  a psychiatrist is a medical doctor who is trained in psychology as well as the inner workings of the brain and other systems in the body.  In some cases, I may suggest visiting with a psychiatrist or your own doctor in order to evaluate whether medication can be helpful to you.  There are times when a combination of medication and psychotherapy is the right choice.  And I've seen overmedication and undermedication.  Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you. 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. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.

Is therapy confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.

However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:

  • Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police.
  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.

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