New Patient FAQs
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 know when they need it, and we understand that it takes tremendous courage to reach out. Everyone needs help now and then; you are human, not a robot, and you are impacted by life events. Your treating provider will help you build skills, as well as explore and identify your strengths, so you can reduce any hardship you may be experiencing due to a life event and/or stressor, and overall work toward improved functioning.
What’s the difference between talking to a therapist or my best friend or family?
Friends and family are key to building resiliency and moving through recovery. However, a mental health professional can help you approach your situation in a new way – teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Additionally, communications during the therapy hour are privileged and confidential. You won’t have to worry about others “knowing my business.” Lastly, if your situation provokes a great deal of negative emotion, and you’ve been confiding in a friend or family member, there is the risk that once you are feeling better you could start avoiding that person so you aren’t reminded of this difficult time in your life. Allow us to help you with some of the difficult pieces of recovery that you may have been avoiding, and let your friends and family still be there to provide a warm smile, inviting hug, and empathic support. Your family member or partner is always welcome to join your session so he/she can receive education and learn about your symptoms and how best to help you in your recovery.
Why shouldn’t I just take medication?
Medication can be effective but as a stand-alone intervention it may not always resolve all symptoms. As dictated by best research practices, it is often the case that the most efficacious outcomes result from a combined approach of both psychiatric medication in conjunction with counseling. Our work together is designed to explore and unpack the problems you are experiencing and expand on your strengths that can help you accomplish your personal goals. If a combined approach is clinically indicated, your treating provider will offer you a referral and request you attend a medication consultation to learn more about incorporating psychiatric medication into your overall wellness plan.
How does therapy work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Because each person has different exposures to various life events and stressors, experiences different symptoms, and has different goals for counseling, the focus in treatment will depend on the individual. Your treating provider will tailor the therapeutic approach to your specific needs. We encourage you to be an active participant in your own treatment; you will likely see positive change if you are actively working on skills and suggested therapeutic assignments outside the therapy hour.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the specialty practice of using both cognitive science and behavioral learning principles to effectively treat psychological symptoms (i.e., panic attacks or nightmares) and physical manifestations of symptoms (i.e., stress induced headaches or lack of appetite). Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is an evidenced-based intervention used for the treatment of trauma related symptoms that can result from PTSD and/or a severe stress reaction.
Services offered during a therapy session may include an evaluation at the initial session to assess areas of concern and goals for therapy. Therapy will consist of ongoing assessment, education on current problem area(s) and/or symptoms, employing techniques of CBT and/or CPT, and supportive therapy that will guide you in learning how to independently implement interventions in order to alleviate emotional (feelings), cognitive (thoughts), and/or physical distress. The primary goal is to meet your personal goals and to improve your overall quality of life and daily functioning.
Typically one 55-60-minute session is scheduled weekly at a mutually agreed upon time; frequency may be more or less as dictated by treatment needs.
If your treatment includes trauma work, Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), an evidenced-based manualized treatment protocol may be implemented. Course of treatment is typically 12 weekly sessions (60-90 minutes in duration); this may vary as needed.
How long will it take?
Unfortunately, there is not a regimented time frame as to when you will no longer need or desire counseling services. Everyone’s circumstances are unique and the length of time counseling can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment and active participation both inside and outside the therapy hour, factors that are driving you to seek counseling in the first place, genetic factors, as well as external ongoing stressors. Research has shown that individuals who have a good therapeutic relationship with their treating provider and who also actively participate in their own treatment start to experience positive outcomes from therapy within the first 1-3 sessions.
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
We are so glad you are dedicated to getting the most out of your counseling experience. Your active participation and commitment to therapeutic assignments outside the therapy hour will be crucial to your success.
To get started, please contact us today, we would love to hear from you!