How can therapy help me?
My mentor said: "A question well asked is ninety percent of the answer." A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. 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
- 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 behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
- Addressing spiritual questions about the meaning or purpose of your life.
- Learning how meditation can help manage your life
- Learning that you are more than your thoughts and ego
- Learning how to deal with issues related to family of origin.
- Learning how to manage impulsive thoughts and behaviors.
- All questions are important in therapy and learning what are your specific questions is part of the process
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
That's really the wrong question to ask! It's not a matter of need but rather "can I make my life better?" Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced....sooner or later it happens to all of us. The challenges of life catch up to us at some point and 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 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.
Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?
People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life 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, and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them 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. In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.
What is therapy like?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. 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 session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors, or taking action on your goals. People seeking 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 solved 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 your insurance provider. 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 components between a client and psychotherapist. 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:
* 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 meaning of life is a big question and at times can be dealt with in very simple ways. My experience has taught me that the meaning of our lives is very closely associated with the developmental stage we are in. This is to say for the adolescent, which is Stage Five Identity vs. Identity Confusion, meaning is found in developing peer relations. On the other hand for someone in their 50's, which is Stage Seven Generativity Vs. Stagnation, meaning is related to making a difference in the world or other activities that involve giving back. Regardless of the stage, faith and hope are central to finding meaning and can be addressed as therapy evolves. My background in attending a Christian seminary as well as my meditation practice allow me a broad foundation to provide support and direction.
The cure for the pain is in the pain., Rumi
The wound is where the light comes in. Rumi
Stillness is master of the deed. Osho
Practice dying. Plato's last words.
Grief can be the gaqrden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life's search for love and wisdom. Rumi
I slept and dreamed that live was joy, I awoke and found that life is service. I acted and behold, service was joy. Tagore
You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free, Jesus
The soul usually knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind. Carl Jung
Enlightenment is the ego's ultimate disappointment. Trungpa
When a pickpocket meets a saint, all he sees is his pockets. Ram Dass
What you resist, persist. Carl Jung
Help my unbelief, New Testament
If a man lose his ego for my sake, he will find the Self. Mathew 16: 26
Those who seek the easy way do not seek the true way., Dogen
Why are you so enchanted by this world, when a mine of gold lies within you? Rumi
There is a voice that doesn't use words. Listen. Rumi