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FAQ

 

WHAT TO EXPECT MY FIRST SESSION

 My initial focus will be addressing any immediate distress you may be experiencing and help you to reduce your discomfort.  We will spend our time discussing:
– What brought you to therapy
– How it’s impacting you and your relationships
– Some of your personal history
– What you would like to accomplish
I will provide you with my initial impressions, feedback and suggestions. If you feel we are a good fit for one another and you chose to schedule another session, we will then further articulate your goals and explore your expectations and questions about the therapeutic process.  Opening up takes time, safety and trust.  In the beginning you may want to see how comfortable you feel talking about different things and how I respond to you.  As you come to feel more comfortable with me & my interactive style, you’ll be able to talk more about troubling experiences, thoughts and feelings.  It’s important that you take your time and do this your way so you feel you have the freedom to truly be yourself.
My hope and intent is that you will leave my office:
– Feeling heard and understood
– Hopeful about your goals
– With immediate coping skills to address current distress

 

IS THERAPY REALLY CONFIDENTIAL?

Yes.  Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client & therapist.  Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but a therapist’s office.  The law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client & therapist.  NO information is disclosed without prior written consent from the client.  State law & professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:

  • suspected child abuse or neglect of children, dependent adults & elder .  Therapists are required to report this to the appropriate county agencies immediately based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.

  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person.  The therapist is required to notify the police.

  • if a client intends to harm himself or herself.  The therapist will make every effort to work with the client (& their current support system) to ensure their safety.  However, if the client still presents harm to self, a therapist is required by law to call (911), or a county designated mental health crisis team for additional evaluation to avoid harm to self.

 

IS THERAPY RIGHT FOR ME?

You might be asking yourself this question if your normal coping skills are no longer working to reduce your pain, conflict or concern.  Seeking therapeutic support is a very individual decision. If everyday functioning, due to your emotional health struggles, is being compromised in such a way that your having difficulty meeting your family, work or social obligations, or no longer find joy in these roles, therapy can be extremely beneficial in understanding how to improve your functioning in these areas.  I encourage you to take time in finding the right therapist.  If you have more questions, feel free to call me at 805-750-0356 to schedule your free initial 30 minute consultation.  If I am not qualified to meet your needs, I will refer you to someone who can!

 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THERAPY?

In my experience, validation is one of the biggest, & makes up the “bulk” of my work so to speak.  We all need some form of validation that we are on the right track in life.  Validation regarding our strengths, “What IS working well in our life,” contrasted with what’s NOT working, helps in so many ways…

  • illuminates & strengthens our values

  • RELIEF!!…..”You mean there’s others like ME???”

  • helps determine the missing tools in your life belt.

  • increases our confidence in meeting our needs & goals

Therapy can help you better manage personal growth, milestones, relationships or family concerns.  For unexpected, tragic or sudden life events, a great deal of healing can take place within a safe & supportive therapeutic relationship.  Day-to-day survival can rely heavily on having people & places where you know you feel safe, will be listened to in a way that you feel understood, & bearing witness to your pain, struggles and success.  This can evolve into deeper healing when the therapist takes great care in recognizing & honoring your readiness for growth.   Unfortunately it is so easy for many of us to lose sight of our strengths that can often help us cope, therapy can help you rediscover and apply your strengths with consistency.  Therapy can also help you develop consistent ways to stay on top of emotional and mental hassles of daily living.  In order to maximize your success in therapy, it will be important to apply, or practice outside of session what you have learned within our sessions, or what I like to call your “personal laboratory.”

 

WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE ANY SPECIFIC GOALS?

That is perfectly common!  Many clients tell me they experience this vague unhappiness.  “I’m not as happy as I want to be, but I’m not sure why or how.”  Starting with what you know is always the best place to begin anyway.  This will give you and I an opportunity to collaborate in the early stages of our relationship.  Usually within the first 2 sessions, we will be able to define your goals and our beginning methods to get you there!  Often as you progress, your goals evolve depending on your insights, needs or circumstances.  I will be exploring progress towards your goal throughout our time together.

HOW LONG DOES THERAPY LAST?

It varies from person to person based on whether they have short or long term therapy goals. Weekly sessions work best initially in order to build our working relationship.  If you are experiencing a crisis or extreme distress, additional therapy sessions will be made readily available to you.

DOES THERAPY USUALLY INVOLVE MEDICATION?

Sometimes, but therapists/counselors CANNOT prescribe medication, only medical doctors are legally authorized to do so.  Psychotropic meds, just like meds for the rest of your body, (your brain is an organ too:), can only be prescribed by a MD, not a PhD.  Psychotropic medications only address the neurobiological chemical imbalance in the brain due to either extreme stress or genetics. I have seen clients experience tremendous relief with the proper medication, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.  Medication alone does not address the long term solutions to mental & emotional problems, & the pain they create.    If medication is something you are considering, we would explore this very thoroughly in therapy so you can make an informed decision.  As with all treatment recommendations, if medication is something you conclude to try, I can give you several referrals to local psychiatrists.  Monitoring the side effects, reduction in symptoms, supporting you in your communication with your psychiatrist, & a release to speak & coordinate treatment with your psychiatrist, (if you give written consent), are ways we would monitor it’s effectiveness for improving your emotional health.

 

DO YOU ACCEPT INSURANCE?

Unfortunately I do not.  Insurance companies often dictate type & length of therapy you can receive.  However, my services are covered by most insurances for partial reimbursement as an out of network provider.  I will give you a completed insurance claim form weekly, monthly, or whatever you prefer, to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.  Call your insurance provider & ask the following questions:

  • What are my mental health benefits?

  • What percent of cost do you cover, per session, for out of network providers?

  • What is my deductible and has it been met?

  • How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?

  • Is approval required from my primary care physician?

 

WHY THERAPY FOR THOSE EXPERIENCING ANY DEGREE OF PAIN & SUFFERING CAN BE SO HELPFUL~

Many people think their pain isn’t significant enough to warrant support or help, or, “Why bother?  It’s not going to change anything.”  “Some have it a lot worse.” In my experience, those suffering tread a delicate balance by which they wish to be left alone (recouping every bit of strength to keep it together) and at the same time, wishing others would ask how they are doing.  They sometimes don’t even know what they need minute to minute.  A LaMaaze instructor once said it best, “You will know when your partner is in pain, she will “go within herself.”  Clients in pain that I have seen “go within themselves” have shared….”It hurts so bad,” “I hate my life,” “It feels like I will never stop hurting,” “I feel numb and empty.”  It’s been a privilege to walk in the dark with them until we found light.  Through these humbling experiences and lessons, I have learned how to help those in pain communicate their needs more effectively towards healing and stability.