Frequently Asked Questions
Why go to therapy?
People experience many emotions in life, joy, grief, excitement, fear, happiness, sadness, love, and distress – to name a few. We each have an enormous capacity to feel these varied emotions. Sometimes, however, the pain we experience turns to suffering as we become cut off from some of these emotions, or a few painful ones come to dominate our experience. Our responses to stress and problems that once helped us may no longer work. Though our needs and desires change throughout life, our life experiences can keep us stuck in habits and patterns that are no longer useful in meeting our changing needs and desires. Psychotherapy provides an opportunity to develop patterns and ways of responding to problems that help us connect to our full Selves and find satisfaction in life.
People begin therapy for many different reasons. Some have been in therapy before and return for help in addressing additional concerns or for additional support. Some have wanted to come for a long time but various barriers may have stopped them until now. Some may feel a desire for growth and personal development. Some may be simply be curious. Some come, unsure of why, but encouraged to try it by others. Some come in crisis or under urgent circumstances. Many arrive sad, confused, overwhelmed, hopeless, angry and may be going through a difficult time. Others arrive in therapy without an identifiable concern, but with the desire to find more meaning, satisfaction, creativity, and “flow” in their lives. Together, we carefully investigate potential blocks and defenses that are no longer working, discovering new ways of being in the world.
How do I know if therapy is right for me?
I believe therapy has potential benefits for every person. Therapy is appropriate for a wide range of concerns, severities, and even for those without specific concerns who are looking to enhance their well-being or personal development. Therapy is “right” for anyone who is ready to engage in and commit to this investment in themselves.
How do I get the most out of therapy?
There are a variety of factors that contribute to therapy effectiveness, some factors are directly related to you, the client, and how you engage in therapy, some factors are directly related to my skills as a clinician, and other factors are determined by how well the two of us work together.
Therapy is hard work. Making changes in our lives is difficult. Clients who are ready to do this hard work are often most successful in meeting their goals. Know that while hard work happens in session, it also happens outside of session in your everyday life. As you take on this work, remember to be compassionate towards yourself and patient with your process.
It’s important to find a therapist that you trust and that you feel can understand you. Therapy works best with open, honest, and direct communication between the therapist and client. It takes time to build a trusting relationship, but if it’s too difficult to be vulnerable with your therapist it may be an indicator that the therapist is not a good fit, or that now is not the best time for therapy.
How long will therapy last?
The length of your therapy is ultimately up to you as it is your right to end at any time. Some people find that they get what they needed from therapy within a few weeks or months, while others continue in therapy for a year or many years. Sometimes, due to financial or life circumstances it makes sense for people to “take a break” from therapy after a while and return when they are able. In talking with your therapist, you may be able to determine a plan that will work best for you.
What about medication?
Some people have very strong feelings about taking medication; others may feel ambivalent or even confused. Medication is not for everyone. As a psychologist I do not prescribe medication but I do have knowledge about various medications and how they work. If you are interested in exploring medication as an option for yourself I am happy to discuss your concerns and the potential pros and cons for you. Some people choose to take medication while also engaging in therapy, others may choose to only take medication or to only engage in therapy. I can provide a referral to a physician or psychiatrist to those interested in pursuing medication as an option. In many cases, there are also alternatives to medication research shows to be equally effective that we can discuss.