Frequently Asked Questions
If you have a question about how I can help you or someone you care about you can call me at the number at the bottom of the screen, or contact me through the contact page.
Q: Why do people seek out counseling (psychotherapy)?
A: There are several reasons people seek psychotherapy. Sometimes it is because people experience a crisis in their lives such as abuse, the loss of a job, serious illness, death of a loved one, etc. These crises can cause a person to feel very overwhelmed and effect their day-to-day functioning. Other times people suffer from feelings of depression, anxiety, phobias, etc, and seek therapy to help them overcome or deal with these feelings so that they can function more effectively in their lives. Still others just feel “stuck”. They may be in a relationship that feels like it is going no where, working at a unfulfilling job, feel like they have reached a cross roads in their lives and want to make a change.
Q: What happens during a session?
A: On or before your first session, you will usually fill out some type of form which will provide your therapist with some background information (i.e. what is the issue you are seeking counseling for, how severe is it, how long has it been going on, etc.) that will help him/her to get a clearer picture of the problem and how to proceed. After you have met a few times with your therapist and have decided that you feel comfortable, the “work” can begin.
It is important for the therapist and the client to work together as a team. Your therapist will help guide the client toward new insights and personal growth, while it is the client’s responsibility to incorporate those new insights into their daily life. If you ever feel that things are not progressing or going in the direction you want in your sessions, you can and should bring it up to your therapist. If after doing so you still feel that it is not meeting your needs, you should probably look for another therapist. Keep in mind, if you feel that your therapist is competent and has a good understanding of your problem, but you still feel like things are not moving forward, ask yourself if you are being completely open and honest in your sessions. Often times, therapy can come to a standstill when clients (knowingly or unknowingly) become resistant. Be aware of areas that you try to avoid (or have never shared with your therapist) because that might be the exact issue that needs to be worked on in order for things to move forward.
Q: How long does therapy last?
A: There is not a magic number of sessions that will “cure” a person of their emotional ills. When you no longer suffer from what brought you in to see the therapist, you will know it and can make the decision to end therapy. Others, although they have alleviated the “symptom/s” of their initial visit, opt to continue therapy to gain greater insights into other aspects of their lives or to strive toward what some call “self actualization”.
Even if you are not feeling like your issue is totally resolved, you should be feeling like things are starting to change after several sessions. Although some people do feel like a weight is lifted after one or two sessions just because they are able to talk to someone, do not expect a great deal of change to occur so quickly. Chances are, whatever has brought you into counseling has taken a long time to get to the point of being a problem, so expect that it will take some time to tackle it.
Another thing to expect in therapy is that it will be difficult at times. I have likened the process to a roller coaster ride to several of my clients. Sometimes you will leave a session feeling on top of the world, and other times you may feel quite frustrated. This is normal. When working through difficult problems that have difficult feelings attached to them, you are bound to feel many of them during and after your session.
Another way to answer this question is to say, if you are seeking therapy for a small issue that is mildly upsetting or if you just want an objective perspective in a therapeutic setting, you will not need many sessions. If, however, you are dealing with a serious mental illness that is seriously effecting the quality of your life, you will need to invest much more time.