How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, trauma resolution and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, pain, habit change, relationship and career challenges, 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 spiritual, professional and personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists/Coaches can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or life or career challenge, inspire you to connect with your inner wisdom, or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy or coaching depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from Coaching, therapy and counseling include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old, unhealthy behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage or in your career
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
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 and coaching are for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they may benefit from a guide or a coach, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you are in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy or coaching. Therapy and coaching provide long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?
People have many different motivations for choosing to consult with a coach or in coming to psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life or career transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts, physical pain and creative blocks. Coaching and Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement, education, guidence, support and help with learning new skills to get through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life and career. In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives. It takes courage to take control.
What is therapy or coaching like?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy or coaching, therapy and coaching will be different depending on the individual and the clients needs and goals. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy or coaching session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy or coaching can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal or career development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist or coach (usually weekly).
It is important to understand that you will get better results from therapy and coaching if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of coaching and therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy and coaching sessions, your therapist and coach may suggest some things you can do outside of your session to support your process and progress, such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors, becoming more mindful and present in the moment or taking action on your goals. People seeking coaching or psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.
What about medication vs. psychotherapy?
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be achieved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important aspects of the client and therapist relationship. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
* Therapists are required by law to report suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threated to harm another person, the therapist is required by law to notify the authorities.