I’ve never talked to anyone and am used to handling things on my own. Do I really need therapy?
We call doctors when we don’t feel well, we call dentists when we have an issue with our teeth, and we seek out the help of service providers in various capacities – whether to fix our cars, our plumbing, our landscaping, etc. Why when it comes to our mental health, do we feel obligated to “fix” things ourselves? Everyone goes through challenging times in life and needs additional support now and then. Rather than looking at seeking support in the form of therapy as a weakness, we can look at it instead as a strength to be admired. It reflects the self-awareness that one must possess to know they need help and reflects the courage they possess in asking for that help. Although you may be used to handling things on your own, perhaps this problem feels more overwhelming or is more challenging than what you previously experienced and is making it difficult for you to access your strengths. In our work together, I will help you identify your strengths and how you can utilize them in different ways to address your current situation.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
If you have confided in a friend or family member you may have struggled with feeling judged by them, feeling like a burden, or even feeling as if what you were sharing was minimized or dismissed by them. These experiences may have resulted in you walking away feeling worse. A mental health professional like myself is someone who has the education, training, and experience to support you and actively assist you in reaching your goals. The role of a therapist is to provide a non-judgmental, safe space to help you explore and analyze your situation while helping you find new, more effective ways to approach it. Last, but definitely not least – therapy is confidential.
Why shouldn’t I just take medication?
Medication can be effective and is sometimes needed in conjunction with therapy. However, medication alone cannot solve the root cause or may not alleviate all symptoms. Therapy is designed to help explore the root of the issue, understand your symptoms, and establish coping skills and strategies to help you reduce your symptoms. If you are considering medication, consult with your medical doctor and/or psychiatrist regarding the best course of action for you.
How does therapy work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will look different depending on the individual. What you can generally expect from therapy is to share your challenge(s) that you are facing and have an objective professional with a compassionate ear listen and empathize with you, while also helping you explore the challenge(s) you are facing and assist you in looking at things through different lenses. Therapists may provide you with new skills and tools, allow you to gain different perspectives, and provide suggestions for how you can continuously work on your therapeutic goals outside of sessions. I work collaboratively with my clients to understand their situation, encouraging them to share their truth in order for us to create their treatment plan together. It can take time to build a trusting therapist-client relationship, so it is important to find a therapist you can connect with. This will allow you to share and be honest about your experience, and in turn receive the best support that can be provided.
How long will therapy take?
Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them. 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 issue bringing you to therapy. It is common to begin therapy by scheduling weekly sessions, each lasting 50 minutes.
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 meet for a short time each week. Outside of your sessions, it is important for you to apply the tools and strategies you have learned in therapy. In addition, you may be asked to take certain actions outside of therapy sessions for the purpose of helping you reach your goals. This may include reading a relevant book, keeping a record of certain thoughts and behaviors, or responding to relevant journal prompts.
My partner and I are having problems. Should we be in individual counseling or come together?
Together we can assess what may be a good fit depending on your concerns and goals. If you and your partner have shared goals for therapy that focus on your relationship as a unit (improving communication between you), couples therapy can be a good place to start. If as individuals you have concerns about your relationship, but do not have shared goals at this time or have goals that seem to be more individually focused for one or both of you (one partner has experienced past trauma and it is impacting the relationship), individual therapy may be a good place to start.