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 kind of ‘major disorder’ to find usefulness from a therapist. In fact, if you’re simply 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 really 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 really necessary?
Life is hard. Most of us will experience difficult challenges at some point. Some people get through them better than others Even then, it’s never a bad idea to have additional support and understanding when it comes to the obstacles you’ve gone through. 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 the steps to change that for the better is something to be incredibly proud of. You’re taking the first step 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?
Everyone’s reasons for coming to therapy are different. Individuals may be going through a big life change, a specific event like divorce, or struggling in stressful situations. Depression, anxiety, relationship issues, and even lack of self-acceptance are also common reasons to seek 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.
In terms of making the ‘right decision’ for yourself, therapy is a personal decision. I encourage clients to commit to a few sessions before evaluating the decision.
What can I expect from therapy?
Just like the reasons for therapy are different for everyone, most people can expect different experiences. Therapy is individually-focused, which is why everyone can get something different out of it. Generally, your life, your history, and any relevant insights will be important to the specific discussions, but in a very personal and individualized manner. Sometimes therapy can be focused on a specific need, in which case it’s a ‘short term’ solution, while in other cases, many people go to therapy regularly, each week, to simply look for more personal growth.
Again, therapy isn’t meant to be some kind of ‘quick fix’ where you simply 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 a 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 personal wishes will be honored. If in the course of treatment, you decide you might benefit from medications, I will refer you out to an appropriate provider.
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 in order to really get through, so therapy itself can take a lot of trust, 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 to 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.