I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?
On the contrary, people who ask for help are courageous. Everyone needs some extra assistance to overcome the rough spots in life. You already have coping skills you’ve used before, but for some reason, these strategies are not working right now. Perhaps what you are currently facing feels overwhelming and is making it difficult to access your past strengths. In our work together, I’ll help you identify what those strengths are and how to implement them again.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
The difference is talking to a third party who has specialized training and experience in resolving relationship tension. A mental health professional can help you approach your situation in a new way – teach you new skills, offer different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations and help you listen to yourself.
My training in Bowen Family System’s Theory guides me in being a neutral third party. I believe there are “no good guys or bad guys” so I can present an unbiased perspective with individuals and couples. I ask questions to help you come to your own realizations and solutions, and I have a way of thinking about human behavior that many find useful.
Why shouldn’t I just take medication?
Research has shown that medication is most effective when used along with psychotherapy. Medication helps alter mood allowing one to think more clearly and reduce emotional reactivity. Medication can be effective and is sometimes needed in conjunction with therapy. While I believe medication is a necessary adjunct to therapy for some people, I also believe people can choose whether or not they want to seek medication management.
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, treatment varies with the individual. I view therapy as a collaborative process. I want you to have goals in mind that will be clarified over time and I’d like you to come to each session with an idea about what you want to focus on. I believe therapy is an active process. Those who benefit the most from therapy think about sessions between appointments and apply what was useful. I encourage people to give feedback about what is working and what is not a fit.
How long will it take?
Unfortunately, this is not possible to say in a general FAQs page. Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them. Many variables determine the length of therapy. If you are looking for symptom relief, you may accomplish such a goal in 5 to 8 sessions. Longer-term problems, including family of origin resolution, present or past trauma will require longer treatment. Ultimately, how long therapy takes depends on your goals, commitment and motivation.
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
I am so glad you are dedicated to getting the most out of your sessions. Your active participation and dedication is crucial to your success. After all, we only see each other weekly or every other week, depending on your preference. It’s the work you do outside of our sessions that will result in personal growth and development.
My partner and I are having problems. Should we be in individual counseling or come together?
It is optimum for both parties to attend couples therapy together. However, there are couples whose relationship dynamic is so intense that the couple cannot always be seen together. In these circumstances, I will see the partners individually to understand what personal issues are being co-created in the partnership. Each party signs a “no secrets” policy that emphasizes that couple issues are not the focus of individual sessions, and conversations belonging to the couple will be shared in the next conjoint session.
There are times when one partner is not interested in attending couples therapy or drops out early in therapy. My Family Systems training supports that seeing one motivated partner working on themselves influences the couple and family relationships in a positive direction. Family Systems Theory posits that one person focusing on their own contribution to the problem can change the dynamic in the relationship. If possible I want to have one session with the couple so the other partner and I can meet, but such a meeting can take place at any time.