Is therapy right for me?
Seeking out therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a divorce or work transition. Many seek the advice of a counselor as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Working with a therapist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Therapy can help address many types of issues including depression, anxiety, conflict, grief, stress management, body-image issues, and general life transitions. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards change in their lives.
Is therapy confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.
However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:
- Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police.
- If a client intends to harm him or herself, the therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.
- A therapist is required to comply with a court order for release of information.
How will I know if therapy is working?
It’s important to evaluate your progress to make sure you’re getting what you need from therapy. There is no smooth, fast road to recovery. It’s a process that’s full of twists, turns, and the occasional backtrack. Sometimes, what originally seemed like a straightforward problem turns into a more complicated issue. Be patient and don’t get discouraged over temporary setbacks. It’s not easy to break old, entrenched patterns.
Remember that growth is difficult, and you won’t be a new person overnight. But you should notice positive changes in your life. Your overall mood might be improving, for example. You may feel more connected to family and friends. Or a crisis that might have overwhelmed you in the past doesn’t throw you as much this time.
Asking yourself the following questions is helpful:
- Considering the various aspects of your life (work, home, your social life), is your life changing for the better?
- Are you meeting the goals you and your therapist have set?
- Is therapy challenging you?
- Do you feel you are beginning to understand yourself better?
- Do you feel more confident and empowered?
- Are your relationships improving?
How long with therapy take?
Making changes takes conscious effort and practice with new behaviors and coping techniques. The work of the therapist and client does not end with the conclusion of a session. We work with clients to develop new life strategies and behaviors to practice outside of the session, in real life situations. The number of sessions needed to accomplish goals vary based on the type of difficulty you are facing, life circumstances and the client's commitment to the their goals.
Do I really need therapy?
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you are in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits is available from participating in psychotherapy. We can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, and creative blocks. Many people also find that counseling can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. We can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend 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
What is therapy like?
Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. We will discuss with you the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of weekly or bi-weekly sessions, where each session lasts around fifty minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. It is important that you process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives. Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:
- Compassion, respect and understanding
- Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
- Real strategies for enacting positive change
- Effective and proven techniques along with practical guidance
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
It is also important to remember that mental and emotional problems have multiple causes, and medication is not a one-stop cure. Medication may help ease certain symptoms, but it comes with side effects. Furthermore, it cannot solve the “big picture” problems. Medication won’t fix your relationships, help you figure out what to do with your life, or give you insight into why you continue to do things you know are bad for you.
Therapy can be time consuming and challenging, as uncomfortable emotions and thoughts often arise as part of the treatment process. However, therapy provides long-lasting benefits that go beyond symptom relief. Therapy gives you the tools for transforming your life—for relating better to others, building the life you want for yourself, and coping with whatever curveballs come your way.
In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Working with your medical doctor, you can determine what's best for you. 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 our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well being with an integrative approach to wellness. We will be happy to work with your doctor to find the choice or combination that works best for you.