How can therapy help me?
People usually start counseling because they have a problem they don’t know how to solve, or negative emotions that are causing some distress. Maybe you have talked to your friends, your parents or children, or even with online friends or forums especially geared for what is bothering you, but you haven’t found the relief you want.
Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and help you cope more effectively with issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, and stress management. Therapists can provide an objective listening ear about a difficult problem and have the skills to help you find relief. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend, in part, on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
If you are reading this then it is likely that you are close to realizing that the guidance of a therapist can help you solve your problems and feel happier. There have been many problems you have been able to figure out and solve, and times when emotions were harder to manage and then improved. If problems or emotions are not improving, then counseling will be valuable to you.
What is therapy like?
Our first session together is our opportunity to learn about you and your life, and what you are hoping to improve by coming to counseling sessions. Since we are just beginning to get to know one another, you are free to share as much or as little as you are comfortable with. It is also your opportunity to meet your therapist and ask them some questions too, because it is important that you feel that your therapist is a “good fit” for you. By the end of your first session your therapist will share ideas about goals we can work toward for your benefit, and what techniques we will use to help you achieve those goals. Each session typically is between 50-60 minutes.
In the next sessions, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer term, to deal with more difficult issues or to fully address your desire for more personal development.
What about medication vs. psychotherapy?
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of your distress and the behavior patterns that get in your way. Many of the people we see do not take medications to help with their problems or emotions, and some do. We do not prescribe medications, nor do we recommend specific medications. We will discuss your specific situation and if we feel together that medications can be helpful along with therapy visits, then we can help you find the right doctor to assist.
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important features of counseling. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but a therapist’s office. We provide everyone we see with a copy of our Notice of Privacy Practices and Office Policies, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. However, there may be a time when you want us to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team, but by law we cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However there are exceptions to this rule. Florida state law and professional ethics require all therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
* We must report suspected or admitted abuse or neglect of children and/or vulnerable adults to the authorities, including Department of Children and Families, and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
* If we have reason to suspect that our client is in seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.