What can therapy do for me?
There are a variety of benefits that can come from therapy. Therapists are there to provide support, teach certain skills, and help clients discover new coping strategies for things like anxiety, depression, stress, or even creative blocks. Therapy is useful for major diagnoses such as Depression, PTSD and Anxiety Disorders as well as life transitions, and personal growth. You can typically find the skills and resources through therapy to help with family problems, marital issues, and more. Essentially, a therapist offers a different way of looking at things – perhaps a perspective you haven’t yet considered, which makes it easier to guide you in the right direction, toward finding the solutions you’re looking for in life.
Of course, therapists can’t just ‘fix’ personal challenges. There is no therapeutic value in simply telling someone what to do. It’s about using the resources you learn or remember in therapy in your everyday life that can really turn things around. Still unsure about what therapy could do for you? Let’s take a look a few examples of some common benefits:
– Grasping a deeper understanding of who you are
– Identifying your goals and dreams
– Obtaining the right skills for bettering your life’s relationships
– Learning resources to put an end to the issues that brought you to therapy
– Managing problem areas in your personal life, like anger, stress, depression, etc.
– Creating new patterns of behavior for yourself
– Changing your problem-solving perspective
– Boosting your self-esteem and confidence
If I feel as though I can handle my issues on my own, is therapy really necessary?
There isn’t a person alive who doesn’t experiences challenges of some kind throughout their life. Some people can simply get through them better than others, and even then, it’s never a bad idea to have additional support and understanding when it comes to the obstacles you’ve gone through. In all actuality, therapy is ideal for people who understand themselves enough to realize they actually could use some help, instead of denying it. Noticing that your life isn’t necessarily where you want it to be is a big realization and taking the steps to change that for the better is something to be incredibly proud of. You’re taking the first step down an incredible path that can lead to long-lasting benefits for the rest of your life, even when challenges come up again.
What makes people go to therapy in the first place? How do I know if it’s the right decision?
While everyone’s reasons for coming to therapy are different, whether they’re going through a big life change, or a specific event (divorce, recent trauma, disaster), struggle in communicating with others, or just aren’t dealing with stressful situations ideally. Sometimes, the assistance of therapy can not only help with specific situations, but personal issues as well. Depression, anxiety, relationship issues, and even low-self esteem are often common reasons to seek out help. You may start out looking for one thing, and find on your journey that you can gain so much more through exploring your relationship style, thinking patterns, beliefs and strengths.
In terms of making the ‘right decision’ for yourself, of course therapy is a personal decision, but if you take a look at your life, and your desire is to make a change that starts from within, it’s likely that some form of psychotherapy could be a great benefit. It is very important that you feel that you and your therapist are a good fit. Initial consultations can give you a sense of how your therapist might work with you, how they respond to your needs and if their personality and skills are a good match for you.
What can I expect from therapy?
Just like the reasons for therapy are different for everyone, most people can expect different experiences. The good news is that therapy is completely individually-focused, which is why everyone can get something different out of it. Generally, your life, your history, and any relevant insights will be important to the specific discussions in session. Sometimes therapy can be focused on a specific need, in which case it’s a ‘short term’ solution. In other cases, many people go to therapy regularly, each week, to explore barriers to personal growth and fulfillment.
Therapy is a participatory experience. The more you involve yourself in the process, the better results you’re bound to see. It’s a practice in everyday living, in which you take what you learn from the session, and apply it to your life. Therefore, it’s important to be mentally prepared to make those changes in your life, and desire new perspectives on things.
How should one consider medication vs. psychotherapy?
While medication can be helpful for many different disorders, it has also been proven that time and time again, it simply isn’t enough. Medication often treats the symptoms of a problem, without getting to the root of solving it, which is where therapy comes in. The decision to take psychotropic medications or not, is a highly personal one, and your personal wishes will be honored. If in the course of treatment, you decided you might benefit from medications, I will refer you out to an appropriate provider.
People are turning more and more to holistic and natural alternatives to modern medicine to treat mental, physical and spiritual issues. I fully support alternative options as such essential oils, acupuncture, indigenous approaches, chiropractic and massage care, yoga, diet/exercise and nutrition options, and other means you might explore to improve your well being. I can refer you to professional holistic providers in the area for further consultation.
How does insurance factor into therapy?
Insurance companies are different – some offer mental health coverage, while others do not. The easiest way to find out if mental health care is covered by your provider is to contact them, to make sure you understand their options. If you’re looking for a good place to start in asking them questions, you could consider asking what their coverage amounts are for therapy sessions, what an out-of-network provider might cost, or if prior approval will be needed from your primary care physician. Don’t be afraid to ask enough questions so you feel confident in knowing how your insurance responds to mental health care.
Do the topics in each therapy session remain private?
There is practically nothing more important in therapy than confidentiality. As with any doctor/patient agreement, your privacy is of the utmost importance. A good therapist understands the vulnerability and openness that must come from each patient in order to really get through, so therapy itself can take a lot of trust, and that needs to be developed over time. Make sure your therapist offers a confidentiality agreement before you begin your sessions, typically called ‘informed consent.’ It is your choice if you’d like to have your therapist share anything significant with your other healthcare providers, but this can only be done with your written consent. Nothing you share in your sessions is to be told to anyone else, with the rare exceptions of suspected abuse of a child or elder, or if the therapist has any reason to believe their client may hurt themselves, or others. These situations are a matter of ethical procedures, and sometimes, even the law.