I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?
By the time a person reaches out for therapeutic help, they are usual ready to face what is bothering them. Choosing to see a therapist is not really about being weak or strong. Instead, it has more to do with the honest recognition that you need or want some professional, expert help with a personal problem or relationship issue.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
Friends and family almost always have a personal stake in how you are doing. It can be hard for them to view your life objectively. They may think they know what’s best for you, or they may just want to comfort you or calm you down. A mental health professional can help you look at your situation from a new angle. The therapist does this, partly, by listening to you without judgment or expectations. A therapist can also help you listen to yourself honestly, without outside interference. Also, therapy is completely confidential. You won’t have to worry about others “knowing my business.”
Why shouldn’t I just take medication?
Medication alone does not solve underlying issues. Medication can help some people manage their thoughts and feelings so that they can continue to function. For example, some anti-anxiety medications reduce symptoms enough that a person feels able to sleep, work, and socialize without feeling too overwhelmed–but if that person wants to do more than manage symptoms, therapy can help. Research shows that medication is most effective when combined with in-person counseling.
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different for each individual. I tailor my therapeutic approach to your specific needs, strengths, and ways of being. My basic expectation is that you have are motivated to grow or change and that you agree with the idea that human growth and change require self-awareness and honesty. In sessions, I may ask you to speak about your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and experiences with the aim of understanding your situation and identifying areas in need to shift or transformation.
How long will it take?
Unfortunately, this is not possible to say in a general FAQs page. Everyone’s circumstances are unique and the length of time you devote to therapy depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek therapy in the first place. I will check in with you regularly about how you feel therapy is going and what you might like to add to or change about our collaboration.
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
Dedication to getting the most out of your sessions is a very helpful ingredient in therapy. Your active participation and commitment is crucial to your success. After all, we only see each other for a session a week, sometimes two. It’s the work you do outside of our sessions that will really help you see your personal growth and development. I encourage the people I work with to pay close attention to meaningful change that unfolds between sessions and to share them with me.
My partner and I are having problems. Should we be in individual counseling or come together?
If you are concerned about your relationship, and you would both like to work with me, I would initially work with both of you together. After this work, if one of you would like to continue in individual sessions, I could work with only one of you. Likewise, it is not helpful to move from individual into couple’s work with the same therapist because of potential trust and confidentiality issues.