How do I know when it is time to see a therapist?
The very fact that you are reading this creates a likelihood that the time is near. Here are three questions for you to contemplate: Are you able to love and be loved in the ways you desire? Are you able to dream or set goals and pursue your dreams and goals? Do you know your self worth? Most problems that people bring to therapy are related to one or more of these questions. If you get a "no" on any of these questions, you are probably struggling in your life and could benefit from good therapy.
And here are some other questions that can help you clarify your need for therapy: Is there a persistent problem, condition, and way of feeling or upset that has been bothering you for a while? Is there something that you want to change in yourself or your life? Are you tired of having the same conversation about something over and over in your head or with your friends, yet nothing seems to change? Does the issue feel too big to tackle by yourself? Are you tired of feeling the way you have been feeling? Are you finally ready to do something about it? Has that quiet, intuitive little voice inside of you been nudging you to get some outside, professional help with something.... and it keeps nudging in spite of your attempts to ignore or shhhh it away? If the answer is "yes" to any of these questions.... it's time.
Why do I need a therapist? Why can’t I just talk to a friend or a family member?
A friend or family member is not professionally trained to help you grow, heal and change. It's likely that your friends and family have been giving you their best advice for some time now, and if it were sufficient, you probably wouldn't be reading this. But here is why your friend's advice is different from a therapist. Your friends want to maintain your friendship so they will probably tell you what they want to hear. Also, they will give advice that is based on their life’s experience. A trained therapist is interested in helping you find your own answers by helping you connect with what is true and right for you..
How does therapy work??
Essentially, my job is to create safety and undo aloneness so you can free yourself to be yourself. Here is how it works.
When something really bad happens and we feel powerless to control our environment or our future, we create a psychological strategy to protect ourselves. These are called defenses. Defenses are not bad things; without them we literally couldn't function.
The bad news is that defenses can interfere with your quality of life ... your ability to love and be loved, to pursue goals or experience self worth. When that happens, my job is to help you work through or around these defenses. Many of these defenses developed outside of your conscious awareness during vulnerable times throughout your past. They are no longer necessary and are depriving you of experiencing the life that you want. Gently, compassionately and tenaciously, we dissolve these defenses so you can know and express your real nature
I do this by helping you connect with yourself as deeply as you are capable. I also help you connect with me in an honest and deep way so you can experience the essential safety and security you need in order to heal. As we work together, new restorative experiences associated with feeling loved and whole become available to you. Your relationship to yourself, your life and others starts to deepen and expand. Fear gives way to freedom and curiosity. Anger gives way to acceptance. And sorrow eases, creating room for resilience, love and self- activation.
I’m very private and it is important to me that issues I talk about are confidential. Is my confidentiality completely protected??
Yes. By law I am bound to protect your confidentiality. The exceptions to this are related to child or elder abuse, a threat to harm another person or if you are in danger of self harm. If you want to use a third party payer to pay for therapy it will be necessary to provide the information required by your insurance company which will likely include a diagnosis. If this is the case I will discuss with you what is disclosed to an insurer
Do you take my insurance?
do not sit on insurance panels, which means I am an out of network provider. If you want to use your insurance you will need to contact your insurance company before our first session and ask them how much they reimburse you if you choose to see an Out-of-Network licensed MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist). I will give you a bill for your sessions that will have all the required information an insurance company requires. You submit the statement/bill directly to your company. When the reimbursement check comes, it goes to you, not to me.
In order to make an informed decision about using your insurance to pay for therapy services, it is important that you know the following information:
1. Your insurance company will require a mental health diagnosis, which will become permanent on your medical records. This not only compromises your privacy and confidentiality, it may effect your future eligibility and cost if you wish to make a change in your insurance.
2. Your insurance company will allow a limited number of sessions for you, usually 8 - 12. This may or may not be a sufficient amount of sessions, depending on your goals and other factors that are listed in the answer to "How long does therapy last?"