How might I benefit from therapy?
There are a variety of benefits that can come from therapy, and they tend to be individualized. Therapists are there to provide levels of support, teach certain skills, identify problematic thinking patterns and behaviors, and provide direction and support for changing problematic thinking and behaviors. Essentially, a therapist offers a different way of looking at things – perhaps a perspective you haven’t yet considered, which makes it easier to point you in the right direction, and find the solutions you’re looking for in life.
Of course, therapists can’t just ‘fix’ everything on their own. And, in fact, a lot of therapeutic benefit comes from patients learning how to make positive changes in their own lives. Here are a few examples of some common benefits:
– 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
– Overcoming inertia and procrastination
– Creating new patterns of behavior for yourself
– Changing your problem-solving perspective
-Becoming more flexible in your thinking
– Learning greater self-acceptance and acceptance of others
What is cognitive therapy?
Cognitive therapy is a school of therapy rooted in the basic premise that cognitions (thoughts) have a substantial and important impact on both emotions and behavior. Situations, in and of themselves, are neutral and mainly affect us through the meaning that we give them. Consequently, two individuals may interpret the same situation differently because they attach different meanings to it. For example, someone with low self-esteem might interpret a friend’s failure to return a phone call within a day as rejection while someone with a better self-image would think nothing of it. Cognitive interventions consist of both in-session exercises and between-session tasks with the goal of identifying and changing maladaptive thoughts to consequently improve both emotions and behaviors.
What is behavior therapy?
Behavior therapy is “the application of techniques, methods, principles, and assumptions of modern behavior theory and science to human problems.” (Hayes, Follette, & Follette, 1995 p. 132). From this perspective, learning accounts for the development of pathological behavior, the modification of this behavior, and the acquisition of more adaptive behavior (O’Leary & Wilson, 1987). Therapeutic interventions are designed to help the individual extinguish or “unlearn” problematic behaviors and learn more adaptive ones. Examples of interventions include modeling (learning through observing someone competent in the behavior) and exposure (repeated encounters with feared situations which should help the person overcome that fear).
What is the evidence that cognitive and behaviol therapies work?
The Clinical Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association has compiled evidence on empirically supported psychological therapies. The research showed that cognitive and behavioral therapies were superior to placebo and other types of therapies for a variety of conditions including panic disorder, agoraphobia, simple phobia, etc. Since then, evidence has continued to mount suggesting that these interventions are the most effective psychological treatments we have for these conditions.
What can I do to maximize the likelihood that I will improve?
There are a few things an individual can do to maximize the likelihood that he or she will improve in therapy including:
Make therapy a priority. This means that you should avoid canceling appointments except in emergencies, and carry out therapeutic homework to the best of your ability.
Be honest. It’s important that you be truthful and forthcoming with your therapist. It’s also important that you periodically give your therapist feedback about how you feel therapy is progressing.
Trust your therapist. Although it is important to express concerns you may have about the progress of your therapy, trusting and having confidence in your therapist is critical to making therapeutic gain. It is your therapist’s job to help you to make positive changes in your life, so you need to trust that he or she is implementing interventions to that end.
How should one consider medication vs. psychotherapy?
While medication has been proven to help with 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.
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.
When do you offer appointments?
I see clients on Mondays and Thursdays and offer both daytime and evening appointments.
Do you see children?
I see adults and adolescents as young as 12.
Do the topics in each therapy session remain private?
There is practically nothing more important in therapy than confidentiality. It is your choice if you’d like to have me 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 any kind (including child protection), or if the therapist has any reason to believe their patient may hurt themselves, or others. These situations are a matter of both ethical and legal mandates.