Is therapy right for me?
Seeking out therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a divorce or work transition. Many seek the advice of counsel as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Working with a therapist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Therapy can help address many types of issues including depression, anxiety, trauma, childhood issues, conflict, grief, stress management, body-image issues, and general life transitions. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards change in their lives.
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, family of origin issues, trauma, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
- Resolving trauma issues
What is therapy like?
Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around fifty minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. It is important in order to process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives. Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:
- Compassion, empathy, respect and understanding
- Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
- Real strategies for enacting positive change
- Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you. It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.
Do you accept insurance? How does insurance work?
I do not accept insurance and require payment at the time of service. However, I can provide a superbill to clients and they may submit claims to their insurance provider and be reimbursed directly if their insurance allows. I would be considered an "out-of-network" provider of services.
To determine if you have mental health coverage, the first thing you should do is check with your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and find the answers to the following questions:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
Is therapy confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.
However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:
- Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- 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 individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.
- If the client is involved in a legal proceeding and my records are subpoenaed
EMDR, a remarkable treatment method discovered 14 years ago, currently used by over 40,000 therapists worldwide, can heal the symptoms of trauma, as well as other emotional conditions and dramatically enhance performance and creativity. Extensive scientific research has shown that it is the most effective and rapid method for healing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Unique to EMDR is its use of bilateral stimulation, either left/right eye movement, sound or tactile stimulation, which repeatedly activates the opposite sides of the brain. This helps the neurophysiological system, the basis of the mind/body connection, to free itself of blockages and reconnect itself.
EMDR therapists have successfully healed over a million people suffering from PTSD stemming from serious accidents, rape, muggings, the murder or suicide of a loved one, terrorism, torture, military combat and natural disasters in as little as one to three extended sessions, as opposed to the months and years other treatments usually require to treat this condition. Although considerably more time is necessary, EMDR is also remarkably effective in the treatment of adults who have been traumatized by ongoing mental, physical and sexual abuse in childhood.
A performer or athlete suffering from performance anxiety and loss of confidence show the same neurological effects found in those suffering a traumatic event. EMDR resolves these performance inhibitions in the same rapid, effective manner as with trauma and achieves astonishing results in performance and creative enhancement with athletes, actors, performers, artists, and writers.
EMDR has direct application to almost every human situation, including phobias ( social anxiety, fear of public speaking or flying), depression, dissociation, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), overeating, anger management, low self-esteem and body distortions, as well as bodily manifestations of stress (head, stomach and backaches). EMDR is also a valuable tool in addressing the family traumas of divorce, illness or death of a loved one, financial crisis, alcohol and drug abuse by parent or child and family violence.
How is It Done?
EMDR is driven by bilateral brain stimulation which results from a client tracking the therapist's fingers from side to side (or by sound moving from ear to ear or by tapping the hands left and right) which stimulates powerful brain activity. Simultaneously, the client reactivates an image, with its accompanying sensory experiences, of a profound traumatic event, along with the associated distorted negative self-beliefs (i.e., it was my fault; I am no good; I can never be safe again). This process generates emotions which are often felt as body sensations. With the bilateral stimulation, the client is instructed to uncritically follow his/her thoughts and associations, which often leads to retrieval of old memories and rapid insights and accompanied by a systemic letting go of the traumatic event and the symptoms associated with it. After an EMDR experience, the person can then believe deep down that the crisis is in the past, they were not responsible, they are safe now, and they can go on with their lives. This results in a person finally letting go finding profound recovery and healing.
An interview with Francine Shapiro, the founder of EMDR, can explain.