Frequently Asked Questions about Therapy
As a professor, I teach a class on Interviewing and Counseling skills, and I ask my students to discuss their biases and preconceptions about counseling. They astutely identify many typical biases including a fear that entering therapy is admission that one is weak or "crazy". We have all been exposed to these biases and prejudices, and it's not uncommon to feel nervous about calling a therapist.
In reality, we all experience difficulties in our lives. At times those difficulties are manageable, but at other times, they feel unbearable. Psychotherapy is one method of dealing with those difficulties. It's purpose it to help clients explore their thoughts, feelings and behaviors to increase their functioning and overall well-being. As a therapist I work with my clients for 45 minutes per week to help them identify patterns in their lives and potential underlying explanations for their current difficulties. We then work together to proactively address those difficulties. I work to build strong relationships with my clients so they feel safe and understood, without judgment. My personal approach is results oriented and informed by research, and I adapt my techniques to each client.
What happens when I get started?
If you are an adult age 18 or over and you decide to contact me you will be directed to a voicemail--please leave your name, phone number and a time I can reach you, as well as a brief message. I do my best to return phone calls within 48 hrs. Our first step will be to schedule a free 15 minute phone session where we can discuss your concerns as well as my rates. TIf you'd like to move forward, we will schedule an in-person appointment. Prior to our appointment I will ask you to do 2 things: 1)review your insurance company's out of network coverage so you have a thorough understanding of the reimbursement options available to you and 2)complete a packet of questionnaires which will give me some background information about you. We will discuss this packet together in our first session and I will offer my recommendations regarding a course of therapy. If you feel we are a good fit, we will continue working together.
If you are a client under 18, I will complete the phone consultation with your parent or legal guardian. I'm happy to speak to you as well, but legally, I must speak to the parent first and obtain consent. I will also ask your parent to accompany you to the first appointment. This is to give us an opportunity to meet, obtain the necessary signatures, and discuss the confidentiality policy together. After the first appointment, you and I will be meeting one on one.
What does it mean for a therapist to be "a good fit"?
You have probably heard of the idea of "fit", with an apartment, a job, or a partner--fit is incredibly important in choosing a therapist. It is essential that you trust your therapist, feel comfortable being honest with him/her, and feel able to be yourself in his or her presence. If you feel that I am a good fit for you, I am confident our relationship will build as we continue working together.
PhD, PsyD, MSW, LMHC--what's the difference?
Choosing a therapist is challenging enough, and the alphabet soup of degrees doesn't make it easier! Essentially the difference between these relates to the length and nature of training. There are excellent therapists with all different levels of training and it's important that you choose somebody who is a good fit for you. This article provides a little more information on different degree options for mental health clinicians.
How long does therapy take?
The course of treatment varies from client to client, depending their individual needs. If you wish to end therapy for any reason, we can discuss this openly together and take action as needed.
Do I need to take medication?
Some clients benefit from taking medication to address their psychological concerns. As a clinical psychologist, I DO NOT prescribe medication. Only a psychiatrist with a medical degree (M.D.) can prescribe medication. If you are currently seeing a psychiatrist, I am happy to be in communication with him/her as needed to discuss your care. If you are interested in seeing a psychiatrist I will help you obtain referrals.
If I'm under 18, do you need to tell my parents everything?
Clients under 18 are also entitled to their confidentiality and that includes confidentiality from parents. There are exceptions to confidentiality regardless of age as explained on my Rates and Insurance page, and in those cases, I am obligated to inform your parent. If an issue comes up in treatment that I believe is important to disclose with your parents, we will discuss this together and take appropriate steps.