How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. 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 also depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals, and values; thus, increasing your confidence, self-esteem, and security when confronting both new and everyday problems
- Developing skills for improving your relationships, allowing for better communication and understanding of you and your loved ones' needs
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy, granting you a sense of closure and achievement
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety, therefore allowing you to focus on leading a more fulfilling life
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures; which will assist your emotional maturity, self-discipline, and self-confidence
- Improving communication and listening skills that will also help with personal and professional relationships
- Changing unhealthy behavior patterns and developing positive new ones, thus allowing you to improve most, if not all, aspects of your life
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage, assisting you in recognizing recurring issues and how to solve them
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence, which will help you in your day-to-day life and in the future
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. 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 are in life and making a commitment to change yourself and 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 overcome whatever challenges you face.
Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?
People have many different motivations for seeking out and committing to psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues, such as: low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts, and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and offer problem-solving skills to get them through these periods. 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 psychotherapy are ready to confront the challenges in their lives and equip themselves with the tools to better meet them.
What is therapy like?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, the process will be different and will depend on the individual. 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 if you wish for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate both inside and outside the sessions. Therapy is a process and requires hard work. Its ultimate purpose 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 pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy 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?
Long-term solutions 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. Working with your medical doctor, you can determine what's best for you; and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office. 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, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
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, which will be reported to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement; this is based on information provided by the client or by 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; this will also be reported to the authorities.