What is it like to be in therapy?
Well, therapy is an opportunity for you to be in a safe environment with a compassionate, nonjudgmental professional who will cater to your specific goals. You may begin therapy not knowing exactly what your goals are, so as you and I discuss what concerns or issues are most challenging in your life, goals of therapy can and do become clearer. In order for you to get the most out of therapy, you must be an active participant both in session and outside of session. A common course of therapy involves usually one weekly, 50-minute sessions, which may be short-term focusing on a single specific issue or longer-term involving a number of more complicate issues or you may have a more general focus for ongoing personal growth. Your active participation outside of session may involve keeping a written record tracking certain behaviors or reading material that is relevant to your situation. Engaging in therapy requires a willingness to take responsibility for your actions and a commitment to increased awareness and insight.
How do I know if therapy is right for me or if I really need it?
These are questions we should all ask. Committing to therapy is a big step and one that requires careful consideration. It is, first and foremost, a choice you make. At times when you are feeling like you can no longer handle a long-standing issue or concern one you have been coping with for quite some time, seeking therapy is a good way to get the support you need to move forward. There may be a psychological issue or concern that brings up such strong emotions like anxiety or depression as to make it difficult for you to function normally at home, work, with family and friends. For all of us, change can be at times too overwhelming to cope with on our own and we find ourselves in need of someone to talk with who can help us develop the tools to better manage change and thrive in the face of change. When you take responsibility for actively engaging in therapy you are committing to taking the action necessary to bring about the changes that will lead to living a more valued and meaningful life.
What kind of help can I expect to get out of going to therapy?
As a therapist with over a decade of experience in addition to many years of professional training, I can provide the therapeutic benefits of support, development and strengthening of coping skills to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD, unresolved childhood and ongoing development issues, relationship problems, complicated grief concerns, and the day to day stress from subtle or overt bias based on age, race, ethnicity, cultural background, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, identity, or gender. As a professional looking from the outside at the dynamics of your life, I am in a position to see your life from a different vantage point and can help guide you in a direction that will bring about a sustained resolution to the challenges you are facing. However, I can only help if you are committed to the therapeutic process meaning you will apply the skills you develop in therapy to not only manage current challenges, but also those in the future.
What are some of the new skills I can expect to develop over the course of therapy?
- Attaining workable ways to resolve current concerns/issues that brought you to therapy.
- Feeling more confident in your ability to handle and resolve problems.
- Developing strategies to change and improve old behavior patterns.
- Discovering new methods to resolve lifelong issues in family relationships.
- Developing more useful coping skills to manage anxiety, depression, stress, grief, anger and other strong emotions.
- Enhancing your ability to listen and communicate to effectively improve interpersonal relationships.
Will the information I disclose in therapy be confidential?
In a word, yes. None of your information can be disclosed without your written permission. However there are, as required by law, exceptions to confidentiality including suspected child abuse, elder abuse, threats of serious bodily harm to self or others, threats to national defense, when billing your insurance provider (when you do not self-pay), and other circumstances for which you sign a contract allowing your personal health information to be released to a third party.
Can’t I just take medication instead of going to therapy?
Generally speaking, if you are taking a psychotropic medication it is often better to combine this with psychotherapy. When challenged by mental disorders and emotional instability, medication alone is not always effective. With an integrative approach, we are not only treating the symptoms with medication, but also the cause of the distress with therapy to help alter maladaptive behavior patterns by providing the tools you will need to cope now and in the future. It is beneficial to discuss with your physician the best course of action for you.
How are psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists different?
I have a doctoral degree in psychology, which I earned over several years of study and clinical training in graduate school after earning both a Bachelors and a Masters degree. After graduation, I entered a yearlong clinical internship before being employed as a full time psychologist in the state of Colorado. I am licensed to practice as a clinical psychologist after passing a comprehensive national examination. As a licensed clinical psychologist, I am qualified to evaluate, diagnose, and treat mental disorders.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are qualified to evaluate, diagnose, and prescribe psychotropic medication to treat mental disorders and some combine this treatment with psychotherapy.
Psychotherapists practicing with a Masters degree include licensed professional counselors (LPC’s), licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT’s), and licensed clinical social workers (LCSW’s). There are still others who can market themselves as counselors or therapists with no formal training or licensing requirements.