1. Why Psychotherapy?
People seek out psychotherapy when there is something in their lives making them unhappy. The unhappiness could be annoying or troubling thoughts, feelings or behaviors; disappointments or conflicts in a love relationship; a disturbance in mood or self esteem; or a problem with children or a job. Sometimes a particular personality trait makes it hard to make or keep friends, leading to feelings of loneliness or rejection.
2. What is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is a process based on a partnership
between patient and therapist, whereby they work together
to try and figure out what is causing the emotional discomfort. Since many of the causes of emotional problems may be out of one's awareness, it is the task of therapy to make the patient more aware of why he/she thinks, feels or behaves in a particular way. This will ultimately help the patient to better deal with the realities of everyday life and to make better, more effective choices. Psychotherapy may be done with an individual, a couple, an entire family or with a group.
3. What's the difference between counseling and therapy?
Some people use the terms "therapy"
Others prefer to use the term "counseling"
when referring to going for professional guidance to receive a little extra support, some help with achieving their goals, and "go from okay to great,"
while they use the term "therapy"
to describe a more prolonged, in depth and more psychiatrically oriented process
that aims at relieving serious and debilitating symptoms.
Some find the term "counseling
" more acceptable because, to them, it may carry less of a social stigma.
Whichever term you choose to use will probably be determined by how comfortable you are with the concept of seeking help for your issues.
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4. What can I expect at our first appointment?
Your first appointment is our opportunity to "interview" each other to make sure that there is a good "fit" between us. Without a feeling of comfort and connection very little can be accomplished in therapy.
After you fill out some forms and questionnaires, we will spend some time reviewing what is going on in your life, right now, that led you to seek my services. I will want to know your personal and family history and any previous experience you may have had with counseling. We will explore what goals you would like to attain in therapy and how we might work together. If, by the end of the hour, you feel comfortable about the session, we will schedule your next appointment.
5. What happens during subsequent therapy sessions?
A therapy session consists primarily of a therapeutic conversation. It appears, to all intents and purposes, to be a normal conversation, but it is strategically relevant to the issues that brought you into treatment. In your therapy you will be able to bring up any topic you consider important. At times, you may think that you have nothing to talk about. Be assured that the mind is always full of ideas, images, memories, feelings, etc. and after a while you will be able to recognize them and talk about them.
In therapy you will learn that you do not have to worry about whether what you are talking about bores the therapist or not; whether you are repeating yourself; or whether what you have to say will hurt the therapist's feelings.
Besides listening attentively to your story, the therapist will sometimes ask questions or make statements that will help you to deepen your understanding about your life, so that you will, finally, be able to recognize the behavioral patterns in which you are stuck and to figure out how to change them.
6. How long does therapy usually take?
That depends. It's like asking a piano teacher: "How long will it take for me to become a concert pianist?" The teacher might reply, "It depends on: (a) How proficient you are now playing the piano; (b) How committed you are to achieving this goal; (c) What your past experience with piano teachers was like; (d) How much time you are willing to dedicate to practicing the piano? (e) How consistently you attend the weekly lessons (f) How much money you are willing to allocate to the lessons; etc."
The same goes for answering the question about therapy: It depends. It depends on:
(a) How well you are handling your life now; (b) How committed you are to the process of therapy and the outcome you are striving for; (c) What your past experience with therapy was; (d) How much time you are willing to dedicate to practicing what you learn in your sessions; (e) How consistently you will attend your weekly therapy sessions; (f) How much money you are willing to allocate to therapy; (g) what your goals for therapy and your life are; etc.
7. How long are sessions?
Individual sessions are 45 minutes long and they are usually scheduled on a weekly basis.
In case of a crisis or another compelling reason, I may recommend coming in twice a week.
Couple sessions are actually a double session (2 individual sessions, back to back) and last for 90 minutes. Couple sessions are also scheduled on a weekly basis.
In case of a crisis or another compelling reason, I might suggest an "Intensive". An intensive is a block of time consisting of: a 90 minute session, a 90 minute break and another 90 minute session.
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8. Is what I (we) tell you confidential?
Absolutely! Confidentiality is the cornerstone of therapy and without it there is little reason to trust and open up to the therapist. I will not share anything you discuss in my office with anyone else, including members of your family, without your expressed, written and signed permission. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule and I will explain them to you when you come in for your first session.
9. Do you offer evening and weekend hours?
I do offer evening hours. The latest scheduled individual therapy session is at 7:00 p.m.
The latest scheduled couples' therapy session is at 6:30 p.m.
I also offer weekend hours, if absolutely necessary. The fees for weekend hours are somewhat higher than for sessions on a regular weekday.
10. Do you prescribe medications? If not, will you be able to refer me to some one who does?
In the state of Fl only licensed MDs, PAs and specially licensed nurses can prescribe medications. As your therapist I will be constantly monitoring and assessing your emotional, psychological and mental well being. If I feel that medication would significantly increase your ability to participate and benefit from therapy, as well as to function better in your day to day life, I will discuss it with you. If you so desire, I will recommend several names of physicians (psychiatrists) for additional evaluation and medication management.
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11. Will I be able to reach you in an emergency?
As a sole practitioner in private practice, I cannot provide a 24 hour service. However, my answering machine does work 24/7 and it doesn't even complain about it!!! You can leave me a message on my answering machine day or night and I will get back to you as soon as possible. During the day it may be within the hour and if you leave a message over night, I will return your call first thing in the morning.
12. How much does therapy cost?
My fee schedule is in line with those of other LCSW therapists in the area. I will be happy to discuss my fees with you when you call me to schedule an appointment.
13. What about insurance?
For many reasons, which I will be happy to discuss with you when you call me, I am not an advocate of utilizing managed care for the purpose of securing mental health services. However, if you have out of network benefits, I will be happy to provide you with the completed claim form with all the proper codes needed to process it, so you'd be able to send it and be reimbursed for part of your costs. It will be your responsibility to check in with your insurance company to determine whether the services you are seeking are covered and what the limits are to that coverage.
14. Do you accept credit cards?
No, I don't accept credit cards at this time, though I might be in the future.
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