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Blue Mountains
Blue Mountains

Frequently Asked Questions

Is therapy right for me?

Seeking therapy is an individual choice.  There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to address 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, loss of a loved one or work transition.  Many seek the support of therapy as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth.  Generally speaking, as to whether or not therapy can help, the answer is "yes!".  There is a vast amount of research findings which support the effectiveness of therapy for a wide range of emotional and personal issues affecting the majority of people.  

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 adult problems and adolescent problems 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.

Do I really need therapy?  I can usually handle my problems.

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 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.  In seeking therapy, you ARE taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change.   Therapy can provide long-lasting benefits, giving you the tools you need
to avoid triggers, re-directing damaging patterns, and overcoming other challenges you face.

How can therapy help me?

A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy.  Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks.  Many people also find that a therapist can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life.  Therapists 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 committed you are to the process as well as effort you make to utilize the insights gained about yourself. Some of the benefits  you may experience include but are certainly not limited to:

  • Attaining a better and more realistic understanding of yourself.
  • Feeling more in control of your life.
  • Feeling more resilient.
  • Feeling an increased sense of energy and wellbeing.
  • Deeper feelings of belonging and contentment in your relationships.
  • Feeling a broader range of personal choices and alternatives.
  • Finding hope that you will be able to resolve the concerns that led you to seek therapy.
  • Feeling greater competence to cope with stress and anxiety.
  • Managing and regulating anger, shame and other strong emotions.
  • Feeling a stronger sense that your life is purposeful.
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones.
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage.
  • Improving your self-esteem and self-confidence.
  • Feeling increased joy and good humor.

What happens during those first few sessions?

  Our first two to four sessions are a time for assessment so I have a clear understanding of the issues you want to work on.  They are also a chance to meet me and decide if you want to work with me.  The intial session is almost exclusively about why you are seeking therapy now, even though we may wander on to other topics, as well.  You will have time to ask me questions.  I will also need to obtain certain specific information, like phones numbers, etc.  There are also a few forms to complete.

If I think I can be of some help, I will offer to continue psychotherapy with you beyond these assessment sessions.  I will share my initial thoughts about the issues you have raised as well as my recommendations. 

In general, everyone can benefit from a safe confidential talk with a trained therapist they trust who works hard to understand them.  However, on rare occasions, the therapy work you need is not work that I do.  If that turns out to be thecase, I will explain what type of therapeutic help you need and where you might get it.  I will offer to assist you in finding the correct treatment and offer to stay in touch with you in person or by phone until you have made the transition to the new treatment. 

Assuming we plan to continue meeting beyond those initial few sessions, you will be encouraged to talk about whatever is on your mind and I will make comments, offer feedback and insight.  The basic rule is to simply say what comes to mind....thoughts, feelings, sensations, memories, dreams, etc.  While this might sound a bit bland or boring at first glance, it should become deeply meaningful and intense.

How long does therapy take?

The length of time therapy lasts, depends on a number of variables...the nature of the presenting problem(s), goals of the client, etc.  Some clients utilize therapy for very short periods of time while others choose to use therapy over much longer periods.  Some problems can resolve quickly while others take a longer time.  Length of therapy, length of sessions and frequency of sessions are all aspects of your therapy and would be worked out between you and your therapist. 

Is medication a substitute for therapy?

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 your distress and the behavior patterns that curb your progress. 

You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.  However, if my patient and I both believe that medication might be helpful as a support to therapy, we will discuss the possible merits of seeking psychiatric consultation and medication.  There are a number of psychiatrists I consult with in the Springfield area in whom I have confidence and to whom I can refer you for such consultation and medical management.

Is therapy confidential?    

In general, the law protects the absolute confidentiality of all communications between a client and therapist.  No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.

However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule.  Exceptions include but may not be limited to:

  • 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 that person so that they may take steps to protect themselves.  Sometimes it is necessary to notify the police.
  • If a client intends to harm himself 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.

OK, how do I begin?

You already have!  The next step is to make that first phone call.  Please know that my number is a completely confidential line.  I am the only person who will answer the phone and the only person who has access to its voice mail system. You can leave a  message  in the voice mailbox with complete confidence that I will be the only person retreiving it.  Be sure to leave a phone number where I can reach you and perhaps suggest a good time for me to return your call.  We will speak briefly on the phone and I will be happy to answer preliminary questions.  If you wish, we can also set up a time to meet for an initial consultation.  An alternative way to reach me is to use the APPOINTMENT REQUEST.  Once I have received it, I will call you at the phone number you have provided.  

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