Is therapy helpful? And do I need it?
Choosing to seek out therapy is a personal choice. However, there are a number of reasons as to why therapy could be helpful. Therapy is a great way to process personal thoughts, experiences and relationships in a safe, confidential and objective setting. I can support you in developing healthy problem-solving skills, insight, communication skills and coping skills to work through past or current traumas, and develop tools to help reduce anxiety or depressive symptoms. For many, therapy has been shown to provide long lasting benefits and tools that can provide for a more fulfilling well-rounded quality of life.
For therapy to be effective, you must actively and consistently participate during and outside of your sessions. This may mean doing different therapeutic 'homework' assignments, such as skill exercises or awareness tasks throughout the week. I am a firm believer that you will get out of therapy what you are willing to put into it, and therefore, daily applications of what is processed and learned will ultimately lead to greater outcomes. Developing healthy self-care skills, living habits, and building/maintaining a healthy support system will also greatly impact outcomes.
What can I expect?
You can expect that you will be welcomed with compassion, confidentiality (with the exception of my mandated reporting duties around safety issues) and respect. You can expect that parts of therapy may be challenging as working through issues that are uncomfortable can cause us to have an increase in discomfort. It is normal and common for uncomfortable emotions, such as grief, sadness, anger, loss, or insecurity, to come up as a natural part of the process of consciously exploring and looking deeper into what barriers exist to both living life to its fullest and being emotionally present in it. These short-term discomforts of the therapeutic process are often outweighed by the longer-term benefits of choosing to do this work.
Therapy can vary greatly depending on the individual and his/her unique needs and goals. I will want to discuss the events that lead you to seek therapy in the first place and move on to resolving more specific goals collaboratively. Commonly, sessions will be scheduled weekly and will last approximately 50 minutes. Therapy can be focused on a singular issue or can be longer term – addressing overarching personal issues and working on emotional and personal growth. On occasion, I might suggest books, activities, journaling or keeping track of events in your life. It is important to understand that a therapist's role is NOT to make relationship or life decisions for anyone, but rather to help you process and explore your own thoughts, feelings and experiences so that you are better able to make healthier and more informed choices for your own life.
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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 a therapist 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, conflict, grief, stress management, relationship issues, and general life transitions. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by facing themselves, taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, breaking unhealthy habits/cycles and working towards change in their lives.
Everyone goes through challenging times and 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 some support and space to process, and that is something to be respected. You are taking responsibility by acknowledging where you're at in life and making a commitment to address the unhealthy or wounded areas of your life by seeking therapy. Therapy can provide long-lasting benefits, growth and awareness, giving you the tools you need to work through triggers, redirect damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you may face.
How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from actively participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship problems, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, and life transitions. Many people also find that therapy can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or help you explore possible solutions so you can decide what might work best for you. 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:
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 practice new skills or self-awareness outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. It is important 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 therapy who are hungry for healing are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives.
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
In some cases, a combination of medication and therapy can be the right course of action. For instance, if someone's depressive or anxious symptoms are so severe/debilitating that they are unable to function, complete daily tasks, make constructive decisions or regulate their emotions, medication may be beneficial for stabilization and/or helping through a difficult season. Working with your medical doctor and/or psychiatrist 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/thought patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. This means looking at overall health and wellbeing by addressing physical, mental, emotional, sexual, financial, spiritual and social factors and needs.
Is therapy confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and therapist. Information is not disclosed without prior written permission from the client, unless lawfully permitted by the profession in support of providing the best care (such as professional consultation without any identifying information). However, there are some exceptions to confidentiality required by law for mandated reporters. Exceptions include:
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