Frequently Asked Questions
How is therapy structured? What to expect at the first session.
If possible, I recommend meeting once a week. However, clients may have different requirements or scheduling concerns. You and I can talk about this, and reach a decision about what would be in your best interest to make your experience optimal. Most people find they get significant benefit from therapy after 8 to 12 sessions. Again, this may vary depending in the individual(s). Many clients continue in therapy longer, utilizing it as a safe, productive place to continue learning more about themselves. It is not unusual for someone to see a therapist for several years, although many people choose to meet less frequently than once a week.
How can I know if therapy is going to work for me?
Much of this depends upon your readiness for change and the ability to form an alliance with your therapist. I offer free phone consultations to people who are interested in pursuing counseling with me. I hope that in talking to me on the phone, you can get a sense about whether or not you would feel comfortable working with me on your therapeutic goals.
How does therapy work?
The main ways that therapeutic goals are achieved is through creating a safe place and through developing a therapeutic, working alliance with a therapist who is devoted to your well-being and growth. Some of the goals you may include observable changes in your behaviors or lifestyle. You may also wish to gain insight into yourself through the process of therapy. Whatever your goals are, your therapist works with you to help you attain them. The only direct benefit to the therapist is the fee you pay.
If you are agreeable, other methods such as expressive therapies, (i.e., drawing, painting, or writing) and relaxation training may be implemented. However, you have the right to understand the rationale behind all proposed practices. As well, it is your right to be informed and to understand the chances of success and potential risks involved.
Therapists may also refer you to other health care professionals. Adjunctive practices such as pharmacotherapy, physical exercise, journal keeping, hypnosis, meditation, acupuncture, dream analysis and massages are often suggested to augment your self-care.
Therapy does not dissolve life stressors or take dangerous people and situations out of your life. It can, however, assist you in developing skills to recognize, evaluate, problem-solve, and become more self-protective. By taking responsibility for your part in the problems you face, you also find the power to change your actions in order to improve your situation. Therapy can also help you learn to cope with situations that are beyond your control.
In maximizing the benefit of counseling, it is helpful to make a commitment to the process, which usually requires more than the one-hour therapy session. In addition to talking with your therapist at the time of your appointment, self-help work or “homework” may be assigned for you to complete during the week. The self-help assignments may take the form of written work, or they might be behavioral tasks to implement. Ultimately, you will begin applying the new behaviors and new ways of thinking that you are working on in therapy to your life. You will be practicing and testing your new skills in your daily life.
Does therapy really work?
Yes. The research shows that psychotherapy really is effective. For statistics about the benefits of therapy, visit the American Psychological Association help center at www.apahelpcenter.org. Go to the “search” box and type in “Does therapy work?” and you will pull up numerous citations for research about the efficacy of therapy and the mechanisms involved in producing change through the process.
How confidential is my visit?
Every aspect of the counseling process is held in the utmost confidence. Information related to counseling and/or your protected health information will only be disclosed at your request and after you have given me written consent. However, state law does not require your written consent when it is so mandated by the court or in instances when you pose as a significant threat to the safety of yourself or others. Please note the following exceptions to confidentiality requiring disclosure by a therapist in South Carolina: child abuse/neglect, imminent danger to others, elder abuse, court order by a judge, and imminent danger to self.
Can I use my insurance?
I do not accept or file insurance. However, if you have out of network benefits with your insurance provider and you plan to file, I will gladly provide you the appropriate documentation to include with your claim forms. Any reimbursements your plan provides will then be paid directly to you.