Is therapy right for me?
Seeking out therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in your life such as a divorce or work transition. Some people see a therapist as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Working with a psychiatrist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. You have the opportunity to address many types of issues including depression, anxiety, conflict, grief, stress management, body-image issues, and general life transitions. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards change in their lives.
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully 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're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy, and sometimes medication, 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 now and may face in the future. It's also important to eliminate physical causes for your symptoms, so as a psychiatrist I may request lab studies or refer you to other specialists if it is indicated.
How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. 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 depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
Developing skills for improving your relationships, and problems solve in your family or marriage
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones which often improves self-esteem and self-confidence
What is therapy like?
Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts forty five minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. It is an important that what has been discussed during sessions is used and integrated into your life between sessions. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives. Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:
- Compassion, respect and understanding
- Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
- Real strategies for enacting positive change
Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Working with a psychiatrist you can determine what's best for you. It is well established that the long-term solution 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 your distress and the behavior patterns that curbs your progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness, utilizing medications and therapy.
Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?
To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover per year?
- Does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider, and if so, how much?
- Is pre-approval required from my primary care physician before a visit to a specialist like a psychiatrist?
- I am an out of network provider for all insurance companies including Medicare and Medicaid, so you will need to assess how much your insurance will cover and how much your out of pocket expenses will be. It's one thing to consider medication management only, and quite another to be considering long term psychotherapy that you may have to pay for, either part or all of the expenses, out of pocket.
Is therapy confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.
However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:
- Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.