I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?
Not at all. People who ask for help when they are struggling are really the stronger persons, if you ask me. Being willing to admit that you are having a hard time and that you don’t have all the answers takes a good deal of courage as sharing your vulnerability puts you at risk of being hurt by another. The truth of it is that everyone needs help now and then. Your being willing to try therapy is saying that you are NOT fighting this fact and that alone makes you stronger. After all, fighting facts takes a lot of energy you could be using more wisely.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
One of the biggest differences between a therapist-client relationship and other relationships is that your therapist’s only agenda is to support you in working towards your goals. A friend or family member may want to support you in this way, but they also have their own needs to meet and personal agendas that factor in to the equation. These complications do not exist in therapy, which is part of why it is so helpful. Your therapist is solely here for your needs. I am “signing-up” for this arrangement, which means you need not worry about many things that you WOULD be concerned about in other relationships. Some examples of these common concerns include your worry that you are a burden, that you “take too much and give too little,” that you are “selfish,” that you are being judged, or that your confidante will somehow use your private thoughts, feelings, or experiences to hurt you later. Also, your therapist is specially and intensively-trained in working with you on the issues with which you are struggling so we generally know more about what to do (and what not to do). This increases the likelihood that you will be validated, heard, respected, and understood.
Why shouldn’t I just take medication?
Medication alone cannot solve all issues. Often times, medication can help to stabilize your mood which makes your mind clearer and more able to problem-solve and cope effectively. Medication cannot cure or heal emotional wounds or mental illness. Medication just treats the symptoms of those things. For many conditions, the best treatment outcomes are experienced by those who are receiving a combination of medication AND psychotherapy.
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. I tailor my therapeutic approach to your specific needs.
How long will it take?
Unfortunately, this is not possible to say in a general FAQs page. Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time therapy can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek therapy in the first place.
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. As with most things, you get back only as much as you are willing to put into the experience. Recognize that sometimes therapy will be difficult, though often, you may find you enjoy the experience. Be patient and keep your appointments. It is not something you should just do when you are feeling a certain way; such as only taking a pain-reliever when you are experiencing pain.
My partner and I are having problems. Should we be in individual counseling or come together?
If you are concerned about your relationship, and you would both like to work with me, I would initially work with both of you together. After this work, if one of you would like to continue in individual sessions, I could work with only one of you. It is not helpful to move from individual into couple’s work with the same therapist because of potential trust issues.