I’m in crisis. What do I do?
This office is not set up to provide urgent crisis care. In case of emergency situations, please call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room. The National Suicide Hotline (1-800-273-8255) is staffed 24/7.
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. Seeking help is taking control.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
The difference is between someone who can do something, and someone who has the training and experience to do that same thing professionally. A mental health professional 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.” Lastly, if your situation provokes a great deal of negative emotion, if you’ve been confiding in a friend or family member, there is the risk that once you are feeling better you could start avoiding that person so you aren’t reminded of this difficult time in your life. A professional will listen and work with you in an unbiased, objective way.
Why shouldn’t I just take medication?
Medication can be effective and is sometimes needed in conjunction with therapy. If I think medication could help support your work in therapy, I will let you know. Sometimes medication allows you to stop focusing on the anxiety or depression and allows you to focus on finding the answer.
My first course of action is not medication though. Medication alone cannot solve all issues. What medication does is help treat the symptoms. 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.
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. I tailor my therapeutic approach to your specific needs. We work in the direction you want to go, which may lead us in many other directions. But that will be where we go! Your responsibility is to be honest and communicate your thoughts and feelings. If that is difficult, we have time.
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. I love the saying, “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step.”
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
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 or so. It’s the work you do outside of our sessions that will really help you see your personal growth and development. I have index cards you can use to take notes or jot down things you want to remember. I also give “homework” of activities/skills to work on between sessions. The more you focus on what we talk about in therapy, on the skills presented, the more you will get to where you want to be.
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. After this work, if one of you would like to continue in individual sessions, I could work with only one of you. It is not helpful to move from individual into couple’s work with the same therapist because of potential trust issues. I could refer your partner/spouse to another therapist.