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I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.

What can therapy do for me?

There are a variety of benefits that can come from therapy, and they tend to be individualized. Therapists are there to provide levels of support, teach certain skills, and help patients discover new coping strategies for things like anxiety, depression, stress, or even creative blocks. You don’t need to have some ‘major disorder’ to find usefulness from a therapist. In fact, if you’re only looking for personal growth in any aspect of your life, you can typically find the skills and resources through therapy to help with family problems, marital issues, and more. Essentially, a therapist offers a different way of looking at things – perhaps a perspective you haven’t yet considered, which makes it easier to point you in the right direction, and find the solutions you’re looking for in life.

Of course, therapists can’t just ‘fix’ everything on their own. It’s about using those resources you learn in your everyday life that can turn things around. Still unsure about what therapy could do for you? Let’s take a look a few examples of some common benefits:

– Grasping a deeper understanding of who you are
– Identifying your goals and dreams
– Obtaining the right skills for bettering your life’s relationships
– Learning resources to put an end to the issues that brought you to therapy
– Managing problem areas in your personal life, like anger, stress, depression, etc.
– Creating new patterns of behavior for yourself
– Changing your problem-solving perspective
– Boosting your self-esteem and confidence

If I feel as though I can handle my issues on my own, is therapy necessary?

There isn’t a person alive who doesn’t experience challenges of some kind throughout their life. Some people can simply get through them better than others, and even then, it’s never a bad idea to have additional support and understanding when it comes to the obstacles you’ve gone through in life. In all actuality, therapy is ideal for people who understand themselves enough to realize they actually could use some help, instead of denying it. Noticing that your life isn’t necessarily where you want it to be is a big realization and admittance, and taking steps to change that for the better is a reason to be incredibly proud. You’re taking the first phase down an incredible path that can lead to long-lasting benefits for the rest of your life, even when challenges come up again.

What makes people go to therapy in the first place? How do I know if it’s the right decision?

Some may be going through a significant life change or a particular event like divorce, or just aren’t dealing with stressful situations ideally. Sometimes, the assistance of therapy can not only help with specific circumstances but personal issues as well. Depression, anxiety, relationship issues, and even low-self esteem are often common reasons to seek out help. You may start out looking for one thing, and find on your journey that you can gain so much more through learning the right skills and having the right kind of encouragement.

Regarding making the ‘right decision’ for yourself, of course, therapy is a personal decision, but if you take a look at your life, and you desire to make a change that starts from within, it’s likely that some form of psychotherapy could be a great benefit.

What can I expect from therapy?

Just like the reasons for treatment are different for everyone, most people can expect different experiences. The good news is that therapy is completely individually-focused, which is why everyone can get something different out of it. Your life, your history, and any relevant insights will be valuable to the specific discussions, but in a very personal and individualized manner. Sometimes therapy can be focused on a particular need, in which case it’s a ‘short-term’ solution, while in other cases, many people go to therapy regularly, each week, to only looking for more personal growth.

Again, therapy isn’t meant to be some ‘quick fix’ where you only sit back and listen. It is a participatory experience. The more you involve yourself in the process, the better results you’re bound to see. It’s practice in everyday living, in which you take what you learn from the session, and apply it to your life. Therefore, it’s important to be mentally prepared to make those changes in your life, and desire new perspectives on things.

How should one consider medication vs. psychotherapy?

While medication has been proven to help with many different disorders, it has also been proven that time and time again; it simply isn’t enough. Medication often treats the symptoms of a problem, without getting to the root of solving it, which is where therapy comes in. The decision to take psychotropic medications or not is a highly personal one, and your wishes will be honored. If in the course of treatment, you decided you might benefit from medications, I will refer you out to an appropriate provider.

People are turning more and more to holistic and natural alternatives to modern medicine to treat mental, physical and spiritual issues. I fully support alternative options as such essential oils, chiropractic and massage care, yoga, diet/exercise and nutrition options, and other means you might explore to improve your well-being. I can refer you to professional holistic providers in the area for a further consultation.

How does insurance factor into therapy?

Insurance companies are different – some offer mental health coverage, while others do not. The easiest way to find out if mental health care is covered by your provider is to contact them, to make sure you understand their options. If you’re looking for a good place to start in asking them questions, you could consider asking what their coverage amounts are for therapy sessions, what an out-of-network provider might cost, or if prior approval will be needed from your primary care physician. Don’t be afraid to ask enough questions, so you feel confident in knowing how your insurance responds to mental health care.

Do the topics in each therapy session remain private?

There is practically nothing more important in therapy than confidentiality. As with any doctor/patient agreement, your privacy is of the utmost importance. A good therapist understands the vulnerability and openness that must come from each patient to really get through, so therapy itself can take a lot of trusts, and that needs to be developed over time. Make sure your therapist offers a confidentiality agreement before you begin your sessions, typically called ‘informed consent.’ It is your choice if you’d like to have your therapist share anything significant with your other healthcare providers, but this can only be done with your written consent. Nothing you share in your sessions is to be told anyone else, with the rare exceptions of suspected abuse of any kind (including child protection), or if the therapist has any reason to believe their patient may hurt themselves or others. These situations are a matter of ethical procedures, and sometimes, even the law.