Many, many people have questions about exactly what happens during therapy. The following information is here to help give you more clarity and a level of comfort that you might not have had before.
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 have the ability to reach out. Everyone needs help now and then. You already have some strengths that you’ve used before, that for whatever reason aren’t working right now. Perhaps this problem feels overwhelming and is making it difficult to access your past strengths. In our work together, I’ll help you identify what those strengths are and how to implement them again in what is happening now.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
Best friends and family serve a different function than a mental health professional. Best friends and family members are there for support, encouragement, and perhaps a fresh perspective. All three of these things are extremely valuable and for most of our lives, these are the things we need. But sometimes, you need the guidance of a mental health professional who 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. Furthermore, therapy is completely confidential. You won’t have to worry about others “knowing my business.” Also, when you confide in a family member or best friend and begin to feel better, you can experience awkward moments later with that best friend or family member.
Why shouldn’t I just take medication?
Medication alone cannot solve all issues. What medication does is treat the symptoms which is a wonderful thing. But our work together is designed to explore the root of the issue, dig deep into your behavior and teach strategies that can help you accomplish your personal and/or relational goals.
Medication can be effective and is sometimes needed in conjunction with therapy.
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Each person has different issues and goals for therapy and so therapy will be different depending on the individual(s). I tailor my therapeutic approach to your specific needs. But in general, therapy includes the combined effort of the therapist and client(s) looking for solutions to improve your quality of life.
How long will it take?
Unfortunately, this is not possible to say in a general FAQs page. Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time therapy can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek therapy in the first place. However, I am a big proponent of short-term solution-focused therapy. On average short-term solution-focused therapy is from four to six sessions.
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
The most important thing for you to do is to show up. I am so glad you are dedicated to getting the most out of your sessions. Your active participation and dedication is crucial to your success. After all, we only see each other for a session a week and sometimes not even that often. It’s the work you do outside of our sessions that will really help you see your personal growth and development.
My partner and I are having problems. Should we be in individual counseling or come together?
If you are concerned about your relationship, and you would both like to work with me, I would initially work with both of you together. During that first session, I’ll be getting to know you and you’ll be getting to know me. If it becomes apparent that either one of you or both of you would benefit from individual, I’ll make that recommendation. After individual is complete, couples counseling might be a good option again. But what you might discover is that doing that individual work remedies the situation and couples counseling is no longer needed.