How do I know it is time to see a therapist?

The fact that you are reading this creates a likelihood that the time is near. Here are three questions for you to contemplate:

  • Are you able to love and be loved in the ways you desire?
  • Are you able to dream or set goals and pursue your dreams and goals?
  • Do you know your self-worth?

Most problems that people bring to therapy are related to one or more of these questions. If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you are probably struggling in your life and could benefit from good therapy.

Here are some other questions that can help you clarify your need for therapy:

  • Is there a persistent problem, condition, and way of feeling or being upset that has been bothering you for a while?
  • Is there something that you want to change in yourself or your life?
  • Are you tired of having the same conversation about something over and over in your head or with your friends, yet nothing seems to change?
  • Does the issue feel too big to tackle by yourself?
  • Are you tired of feeling the way you have been feeling?
  • Are you finally ready to do something about it?
  • Has that quiet, intuitive little voice inside of you been nudging you to get some outside, professional help with something…. and it keeps nudging in spite of your attempts to ignore it?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions…. it’s time.

Why do I need a therapist? Why can’t I just talk to a friend?

A friend or family member is not professionally trained to help you grow, heal and change. It’s likely that your friends and family have been giving you their best advice for some time now, and if it were sufficient, you probably wouldn’t be reading this. But here is why your friend’s advice is different from a therapist. Your friends want to maintain your friendship so they will probably tell you what you want to hear. Also, they will give advice that is based on their life’s experience. A trained therapist is interested in helping you find your own answers by helping you connect with what is true and right for you.

If I go to therapy is there something wrong with me?

Making the decision to seek out therapy isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a wise act of self-care to reach out for support from professionals when there’s a challenge you need help with or to address the challenges you’re facing.

What are the benefits of therapy?

  • The benefits of therapy have been demonstrated in numerous studies. Some key findings are:
  • Psychotherapy produced positive effects in 92% of respondents.
  • The longer people stayed in therapy, the better the results.
  • People that were active in therapy did better than those who were passive. People who actively engaged by being open, asking questions, and following up did better.
  • For most psychological conditions, people in therapy responded well whether or not they were also taking medication.
  • People who continue therapy until their concerns were resolved did better than those who stopped when their insurance coverage lapsed.

How does therapy work?

Essentially, my job is to create a safe space so you are free to be yourself. Here is how it works.

When something really bad happens and we feel powerless to control our environment or our future, we create a psychological strategy to protect ourselves. These are called defenses. Defenses are not bad things.  Without them we literally couldn’t function.

The bad news is that defenses can interfere with your quality of life, your ability to love and to be loved, to pursue goals or to experience self-worth. When that happens, my job is to help you work through or around these defenses. Many of these defenses developed outside of your conscious awareness during vulnerable times throughout your past. They are no longer necessary and are depriving you of experiencing the life that you want. Gently, compassionately and tenaciously, together we dissolve these defenses so you can know and express your real nature.

I do this by helping you connect with yourself as deeply as you are capable. I also help you connect with me in an honest and deep way so you can experience the essential safety and security you need in order to heal. As we work together, new restorative experiences associated with feeling loved and whole become available to you.

How long are the sessions?

Sessions typically last fifty minutes. Sometimes people schedule 1.5 sessions, which last 75 minutes, or a double session which is 1 hour and 40 minutes. Longer sessions work really well for couples.

What kind of clients do you work with?

I work with individuals (children, teens & adults), couples, and families who are in pain and who are at a point where they’re willing to commit and invest in themselves and in therapy in order to change and create something different in their lives.

What exactly is therapy?

Put simply, therapy – also called psychotherapy or counseling – is the process of meeting with a trained and credentialed professional on an ongoing basis to help you recognize and change deep-rooted and potentially self-sabotaging mental and emotional behaviors, thoughts, and patterns that are keeping you feeling stuck, in pain, and away from the life you want to live.

Do you accept insurance?

No, I don’t accept insurance. However, I’m happy to work with you to provide itemized receipts for your insurance company for partial or full reimbursement for your out-of-network therapy benefits. I have a sliding scale based on your ability to pay that we can talk about when you make an appointment.

What happens in a therapy session?

During the first part of the session we will spend time getting to know one another. Hopefully, you will begin to get an idea about whether I am the right therapist for you. The relationship we develop is the most important part of therapy.  If you do not feel that I am a match for you, do not hesitate to tell me and I will give you a referral to see someone else. You don’t have to leap into your deepest darkest secrets immediately.

I will need to know why you’re seeking therapy. I will ask what kinds of needs or issues you’d like to address in your treatment together as well as what you’ve done to manage your mental health in the past. I will ask questions about your life and how you grew up. We will discuss what worked and what didn’t to get an understanding of how best to help you.

What is Trauma Focused Therapy?

Trauma focused therapy is a specific approach that recognizes and emphasizes understanding how traumatic experiences affect your mental, behavioral, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. This type of therapy is rooted in understanding the connection between the trauma and the your emotional and behavioral responses. The purpose of trauma-focused therapy is to offer skills and strategies to assist you in better understanding, coping with, and processing emotions and memories tied to traumatic experiences, with the end goal of enabling you to create a healthier and more adaptive understanding of the traumatic experiences in your life.

What is EMDR?

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy process that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.  Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy quicker than talk-based therapy alone. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal.  EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma similar to how the body recovers from physical trauma.

What is Play Therapy?

Although sometimes used with adults, play therapy is a psychotherapeutic approach primarily used to help children ages 3 to 12 explore their lives and freely express repressed thoughts and emotions through play. Therapeutic play normally takes place in a safe, comfortable playroom, where very few rules or limits are imposed on the child, encouraging free expression and allowing me to observe the child’s choices, decisions, and play style. The goal is to help children learn to express themselves in healthier ways, become more respectful and empathetic, and discover new and more positive ways to solve problems.

What does Registered Play Therapist mean?

A Registered Play Therapist (RPT) is a mental health professional with training and experience working with children and families through the use of play therapy. As an RPT, I have met specific requirements and am registered through the Association for Play Therapy.

What is the difference between therapy and counseling?

I use the two words interchangeably.  I use both words because different people relate to one word more positively than the other. Some prefer the word counseling, others prefer therapy, so I use them both. Counseling implies advice or guidance and therapy implies change and healing, I see myself as more of a therapist than a counselor.

What is a Marriage and Family Therapist?

Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) are relationship specialists who help people in their interpersonal relationships. They are trained to assess, diagnose and treat individuals, couples, families and groups to achieve more adequate, satisfying and productive marriage, family and social adjustment. The practice also includes premarital counseling, child counseling, divorce or separation counseling and other relationship counseling.