How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors 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 point you in the direction of a solution. 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, your goals and values
Developing skills for improving your relationships
Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
Improving communications and listening skills
Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
Everyone goes through challenging 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 a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?
People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.
What is therapy like?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist.
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.
What about medication vs. psychotherapy?
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 patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them:
What are my mental health benefits?
What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
Is approval required from my primary care physician?
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (you’re your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threated to harm another person.
Why should I choose online counseling?
Online counseling can be conducted from anywhere in the world. All you need is access to the internet. Online counseling provides professional and supportive counseling and guidance from the privacy of your home or office. It may decrease any anxiety and intimidation that can sometimes occur with face-to-face sessions. You may feel more relaxed and in charge of the counseling process. Online counseling can be beneficial for:
- Busy professionals who do not have time to leave their office for a therapy session
- People whose work schedules may conflict with meeting during business hours
- Those who have fear of being in public places
- People who live in remote areas who do not have therapist within driving distance
- People with physical disabilities where transportation is a challenge
- Those who do not have time to meet face-to-face due to parenting or caregiving responsibilities
- Those who have concerns talking about issues face-to-face due to feeling embarrassed or intimidated
What equipment do I need for online counseling?
Online counseling allows you the opportunity to receive professional support and guidance from the convenience and privacy of your home or office. You will only need to have access to a computer or laptop with a web camera and adobe flash player version 11.7.
If you do not currently have adobe flash player installed on your computer, then you can download it from the Adobe website at http://get2.adobe.com/flashplayer
What are the possible drawbacks with using online counseling?
It should be mentioned that as with face-to-face counseling, there is no guarantee that online counseling will be effective in helping you reach your identified goals. A therapist should not be expected to make important life decisions for you. These decisions are yours alone, although the therapist can offer guidance in helping you work through what may be the best decision for you. Therapists are not authorized to provide any legal advice, as these activities are outside the scope of practice.
The risks from online counseling, include, but are not limited to:
- The possibility, despite reasonable efforts on the part of the therapist, that the transmission of medical information could be disrupted or distorted by technical failures
- The transmission of medical information could be interrupted by unauthorized persons and/or the electronic storage of my medical information could be accessed by unauthorized persons
- It is possible that technical problems might at times cause messages not to be received
- It is also possible that misunderstandings due to lack of visual or verbal cues may occur
- Turnaround time for asynchronous (such as email) communications cannot be immediate
- Possibility of misunderstandings through text based communication
- Possibility of technical issues such as power outages or phone interruptions
- Problems with helping those who are actively suicidal or homicidal
- Requires being comfortable with computers and typing
- Insurance companies generally do not cover online services