FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect in an individual therapy session?
Our meetings usually take place in my office–a beautiful, quiet and peaceful sanctuary. During sessions you are invited to talk about the primary concerns and issues in your life. I will ask you questions that will help you with inner reflection. Over time, you will gain insight and find workable solutions to your problems. I am told I have a nurturing, gentle communication style, with a talent for getting to the core issues sooner than later. A one-to-one session usually lasts 53-60 minutes, but some people request longer sessions. Weekly appointments are usually best and may be scheduled for at least six weeks. Deeper issues may require about 24 weeks or more. Some people who are in crisis or extreme distress need more than one session per week at least until the crisis passes. During the time between sessions it is beneficial to think about and process what was discussed. At times, you may be asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book, practicing a new skill, journaling or keeping logs. For therapy to “work,” you must be an active participant, both in and outside of the therapy sessions.
What if I don’t know what my goals are for therapy?
If you aren’t sure yet what your goals are for therapy, our first task is to figure that out together. During the course of therapy your goals may change. However, establishing a direction for therapy will help you get the most out of the experience.
What benefits can I hope to get out of therapy?
A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. I believe the purpose of therapy is to gain more happiness and more clarity.Often it is helpful just to know that someone understands. Therapy can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. Many people find therapy to be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, and the hassles of daily life. 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 and your personal goals and values Developing skills for improving your relationships Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy Finding new ways to cope with stress and anxiety Managing anger, depression, and other emotional pressures Improving communications skills – “fighting fair,” and learning how to listen to others, and have others listen to you Getting “unstuck” from unhealthy patterns – breaking old behaviors and developing new ones Discovering new ways to solve problems Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence Healing past trauma so it becomes a teacher.
What does a psychological evaluation entail?
You and I will meet for approximately 1 to 1-1/2 hours during which time I will conduct a clinical intake and history. If more formal psychological tests are required, we will plan to meet for several more hours, accordingly. With your consent, I will contact collateral resources who can help me “paint” a complete picture of your situation. Also with your consent, I might review your school and medical records as appropriate. A full battery of tests may include assessments for intelligence, academic achievement, personality, and memory.
Are assessments and therapy confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a psychotherapist. I try very hard to maintain a sacred space where your privacy and confidentiality are honored. I am bound by HIPPA and FERPA regulations. Except possibly in emergencies, information is not disclosed without written permission. I may consult with a professional colleague in cases where another viewpoint or opinion might be helpful, however, I use pseudonyms and do not disclose your personal identity. There are a number of exceptions to the confidentiality standards that are set by law:
- Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse. The therapist is legally bound to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s. The therapist must notify authorities. If a client is threatening to injure or kill him or herself. The therapist may need to refer to emergency or hospital services.
The rules of confidentiality are different when a psychological evaluation or psychotherapy are court-ordered.