Therapy is a unique and personal place for you to talk about the problems you carry with you. It is not advice, it is not band-aide fixes. This is a safe environment to be in touch with and process those things that you would normally bury, “try to forget about”, or hide from others. First we start by allowing yourself to experience that you are okay even though you have these problems. We can then move on to the work of discussing, identifying, planning and actually following through upon actions to take better control of your life.
For children and adolescents, therapy is a place where their thoughts and feelings are validated and acknowledged. By aligning with them, we lower their defenses and collaborate to help them make better choices for themself. Too often youths either do not have the words, are too overwhelmed by the feelings, or scared of the reactions/repercussions of authority to ask for help. As a result, what is often seen is their outward non-productive attempts to cope. They shut down and turn negativity inwardly on their selves leading to depression and anxiety symptoms. Equally they act out, an outward turning of those same powerful feelings into aggression, anger, running away from responsibilities.
Psychotherapy can help clients gain an ever deeper understanding of the thoughts and feelings that are steering them, evaluate the rationale of their patterns and cycles of coping, challenge whether those ways of coping are still effective, and identify and begin to integrate new, more healthy, consistent, effective, and fulfilling ways of living their lives.
Do I have to take medication? Can’t I just take medication?
Psychotherapy is an entirely different branch of the mental health field. We have the luxury of more extended time to work through complex, years-in-the-making problems. Therapy focuses more on the core causes of the problems. While there is of course some overlap, psychiatry is typically focuses on symptoms and then prescribes medications. Not all individuals require medications. Many symptoms can fade away as you address your needs. Oppositely, some symptoms are very intense and medications are quite helpful. MEDICATIONS ARE NOT CURES. They curb symptoms and provide opportunities to work through situations that in the past would have been too overwhelming to cope with. Overall psychotherapy and psychiatry are working partners that when balanced together allow for positive changes.
Does everything we talk about remain private?
Absolutely. The bedrock of treatment is confidentiality. If you have concerns about privacy, then you will never share the deepest truths and certainly we will never have full trust. I am ever thoughtful of protecting your information and most sensitive subject matter.
Confidentiality is also extended to children. This can at times be particularly challenging for parents. Private thoughts of children will be confidential. I encourage discussion with parents as no change happens without the parents and system being involved. I will never take chances with anyone’s safety.
Expect that any and all we do is protected by laws and ethical statutes. There are some important exceptions though:
⦁ If there is concern about physical harm to self, others, children, or elders, I am compelled to alert proper authorities. If this was ever to be the case, we would discuss the circumstances thoroughly.
⦁ If you request that I communicate with someone, you will be asked to sign a “Release of Information” and to specify what can be communicated and for how long the release will remain in effect.
⦁ If during a medical emergency I need to reveal information that is necessary to protect or insure your health and safety.
⦁ If I am subpoenaed and ordered to testify in a court of law if their objections are overruled. This happens in very few instaIf there is concern about physical harm to self, others, children, or elders, I am compelled to alert proper authorities. If this was ever to be the case, we would discuss the circumstances nces and typically occurs in legal proceedings involving child custody, law suits in which services your received are considered to be evidence in a court of law, or charges involving certain types of criminal behavior.
⦁ If you have any concerns about the privacy and confidentiality of your treatment, please discuss this with me. A complete “Notice of Privacy Practices” will be made available to you on or before your first visit.
Do offer telephone consultations?
A free telephone consultation may be available to you provided that this means of communication is compatible with your needs and particular situation. Please note that telephone consultations are for guidance purposes only. Please contact me for more information.
After becoming a client, occasionally you may need a check-in. These too are part of my service to you. These, however, are not intended to replace actual treatment and if the particular issue(s) are not able to be resolved within a reasonable amount of time, it may be that you would need to come in for a more immediate session.
How long is a typical session and how many times a week should I see a therapist?
Sessions are usually 45-60 minutes (although sometimes up to 90 minutes or longer). Most clients are seen once or twice a week in the beginning and as time goes on less frequently. The number of sessions depends on what your current needs are. Together we will find a time that works for you while allowing you to keep important life obligations. This will be discussed during your initial session.
How long should I be in therapy?
The length of time a client is in therapy largely depends on the nature of the problem and the identified goals. Some clients have a very specific problem that can be worked through in a course of brief therapy. Other individuals see therapy as an on-going learning process and choose to be involved in therapy for a longer period.
Do you have a particular theoretical approach to counseling?
My approach is eclectic meaning I draw elements from a variety of counseling approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Enhancement, Interactive-Play Therapy, Behavioral Therapy, or Solution-Focused treatment. I feel each person’s unique constellation of qualities dictates the way in which we proceed. Each person is different. When I first started my career I committed myself to avoid at all costs placing individuals in tiny labeled boxes or forcing circular people into square counseling theories.
Psychotherapy is not a mechanical endeavor, and what is effective and useful for one person may look quite different than what is helpful to another. I work collaboratively with each individual to identify and integrate the most useful approach or combination of approaches for them and their present situation.
For example, I may use role play (acting out scenarios to evoke feelings and work through things while experiencing them). Or at times we may spend time creating measurable and observable plans to implement behavioral change. Or at other times we may process past upsets and find their connection to your functioning today. I do a fair bit of modeling the use of techniques and I encourage parents to practice home. Because we believe therapy does not stop once you leave the office, I may provide you a homework assignment to encourage insight and growth.
What should I know about phone calls, email communications, and texting?
We live in a digital age and these have their uses. Be advised however that the confidentiality of texting and email has limitations and that confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. I am always willing to receive email. It most times is a one-way communication that I will read and respond via phone or in person. If I need to send you something via email, I will have to encrypt this (which would require me calling you to tell you the password—so therefore most times we will communicate via phone anyway). I will receive text messages but I rarely at all respond via text (it is not secured and usually does not lead to clarity).
My phone is completely confidential. No one but myself ever has access or will listen to your messages. I ask for detailed messages and to be told if your line is similarly safe to leave a message. I am very responsive to your needs and will call back as soon as is possible. I ask that you be patient in knowing that I don’t take calls during sessions, but I am committed to being available to you.
Email is not always the best way to reach me. Do not use email or texting during a crisis. In the case of a medical emergency, call your local emergency response number – which for many areas is 911 or go the ER.