FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What’s the purpose of therapy? The purpose of therapy is to have a “safe” place to discuss your inner most thoughts and feelings and to find resolutions to your problems. BACK TO TOP What is my role in the therapy process? In therapy, the more of an active participant you are, the greater the benefit will be. You will be asked to identify goals for yourself, which will provide the framework for our therapy work together. It is important for you to express your feelings and thoughts openly. With that said, being able to get your thoughts and feelings out is generally not a sufficient condition for successful therapy. The work you do outside of therapy is often as important as the work you do in therapy. You will most likely need to be open to changing some patterns of thought and/or behavior in your life. I may assign reading material or homework to assist you with your goals to complete between sessions. You may spend the week processing what we discussed in session. Through the therapy process it is not unusual to have “light bulb” experiences where you gain insight into problems that have had you stuck. We will work together on uncovering what changes in thinking or behavior may be of benefit to you. BACK TO TOP What is my therapist’s role in the therapy process? Your therapist should: provide a safe place for you to express your thoughts and feelings and for you to work toward resolving your problems; allow you the major responsibility for determining the content that is discussed during your sessions; listen as you discuss your concerns and experiences; try to understand you from your point of view; explore alternative points of view with you; help you make connections between different aspects of your experience; and clarify the interconnections between your immediate concerns and the complexities of your personality and history. BACK TO TOP When will I know I’ve completed therapy? You’ll know because you’ll have reached your goals that you have established at the outset of treatment. Sometimes therapeutic goals may change or you may add different goals once others are achieved. You’ll know you don’t need to come back when you’ve adequately resolved what you came in for. BACK TO TOP How long before I begin to feel better? You may feel some relief after the first few sessions, however therapy may take some time to be optimally beneficial. Just as the issues you may have most likely did not begin yesterday, processing and working through takes time. With that said, therapy does not have to be “long term” to be effective. I utilize brief treatment approaches and my clients average approximately 10 sessions. BACK TO TOP Who will know I’m in treatment? Therapy is completely confidential unless you sign a release of information allowing your therapist to communicate with another individual about your treatment. Clients often wish to allow their therapist to have contact with a family physician or family member, however this decision is up to you. Typically, the only way others would become aware of your choice to seek therapy is if you decide to tell them. There are other limits to confidentiality, which you can learn about in the Client Information and Office Policies and/or the Notice of Privacy Practices under the “Forms” link. (Note: The forms section is password protected, please contact me for the user name and password to view the forms section.) BACK TO TOP Can I talk to you about anything? Yes, you may speak with me about any topic that you feel is creating emotional hardship for you. I treat a wide range of presenting problems and a wide range of clientele. Infrequently, I may suggest referring a client to an additional provider who specializes in the specific problem the client is struggling with. BACK TO TOP Don’t only “crazy” people go to therapy? Some people receiving therapy are very emotionally disturbed; most are not. Most healthy individuals experience some emotional troubles at one point or another in their lives. Seeking therapy as a step in dealing with them is no indication in itself of having a psychiatric disorder. On the contrary, it often represents a strong, self-caring, mature and responsible decision for yourself and often for those you love. BACK TO TOP Does insurance cover treatment? Most insurance plans have a mental health benefit. Often times you will owe a co-pay for each visit, similar to a visit to your family physician. Some plans require pre-authorization for coverage so be sure to call your insurance company prior to your first appointment. When you call your insurance company you may wish to ask if there is a deductible, if there is a co-pay and how many sessions you are allowed per year. Sometimes they will give you an authorization number to give to your therapist for use when submitting the claim. You may also contact your Human Resources department if you are employed to see if your employer offers EAP (Employee Assistance Program) benefits. Often mental heath therapy benefits are offered by EAP and you may be eligible for several no cost visits. I am a provider for nearly all major insurance panels and EAP panels. You may check with me to see if I am covered on your plan. BACK TO TOP What if I begin to question the effectiveness of therapy? Talk to your therapist. Successful therapy can be expected to have ups and downs. Sometimes you may move rapidly; at other times you may progress more slowly. It’s important that you let your provider know if you are not getting what you need out of treatment. Perhaps your treatment goals need to be re-evaluated or a different approach needs to be taken. BACK TO TOP If therapy is supposed to help, why do I sometimes feel exhausted and drained following a session? You need to keep in mind that therapy is hard work but on the flip side therapy can be a life changing experience. Often times, emotionally laden and difficult issues are brought up in therapy, as they are usually the very issues that bring you in the first place. You can expect to have some mixed feelings about attending sessions from time to time. This does not mean that the therapy is not effective or that you should discontinue treatment. What it does mean is that you are getting at the heart of issues and closer to resolving your problems. Please, talk to your therapist about your emotions as therapy progresses. Keep in mind that just as you may have some difficult sessions, you will leave some sessions refreshed and with new insights, perspectives and solutions to your problems. BACK TO TOP Do I have to explore my childhood during therapy? Who we are today is often a result of cumulative experiences from our past. Frequently, successful therapy involves understanding how your childhood may have contributed to the problems you are currently experiencing. It may involve looking at problems your parents may have had, what role you played in your family, the hurts and losses you may have experienced as a child, etc. However, therapy that gets stuck in the past and never moves to resolving the problems in the present is often not successful. Although in certain situations it is understandable, blaming parents and others for our problems is not a helpful solution and we will enjoy greater success when we take responsibility for our lives in the present. BACK TO TOP Who do you treat? I treat individuals, couples, families, children age 8 and up, adolescents and adults of all ages for a wide variety of issues. (For more information on Family Therapy, visit www.mayoclinic.com/health/family-therapy/HQ00662.) BACK TO TOP How do I choose a mental health provider? What are the different types of mental health providers and what do all the letters mean? For answers to these questions and more visit www.mayoclinic.com/health/psychotherapy/MH00095. BACK TO TOP
For more information on these or other questions, please view the other pages on this website or e-mail us.